The requirements needed to make blockchain technologies a
viable offering in the enterprise involve long-term investment and planning, as
well as significant technological and cultural change.
It may seem an awful lot of work – which it is – but the
eventual benefits are evident. McKinsey research found that more than half of
companies surveyed who had gone into production with their Internet of Things
initiatives had seen a 5% or better increase in revenue. If this can happen for
IoT, whither blockchain?
As this publication has explored, the issues are primarily
focused around getting the technology up to scratch. Speaking
to The Block at Blockchain Expo
Global last month Douglas Horn, architect at Telos, explained that
organisations were caught between a rock and a hard place. They can’t roll out
because the limitations of many public blockchains did not allow for sufficient
transactions to take place.
The desire for change is there, however – and according to
IBM, there are five steps vendors and enterprises need to bear in mind before
we get there. In a blog post written by the company’s Pulse team, the company
cited openness, permissioned and trusted access, governance, common standards,
and privacy as the quintet of guiding principles.
The commitment towards openness is a road IBM has been down
for some time. At the company’s Think event in San Francisco in
February, CEO Ginni Rometty told attendees of the move towards open and hybrid
as the second phase of the company’s cloud operations. Indeed, the acquisition of
Red Hat last year was a further – if expensive – nod to this. Rometty took to
the stage at Red Hat Summit earlier
this month to elaborate on the ‘even bigger opportunity’ in front of the
The parallels between cloud and blockchain, in terms of
market development, are irresistible. Moving from public and private, and
defining the market, to realising there needs to be a multitude of solutions
for different business cases.
Sound familiar? Having an open ecosystem is naturally vital
to this. “To promote open innovation and ensure the overall quality of code, blockchain
networks must foster diverse communities of open source contributors and
organisations,” wrote IBM, citing the Hyperledger project as a key example.
As far as governance is concerned, IBM notes it is a
balancing act to get all stakeholders onside. “Enterprises should choose a
platform that automatically provides a democratic structure hardwired into the
network, with privacy and permissioning features built-in,” the company wrote. “Rules
governing who can join and how should be clearly stipulated, as well as
guidelines on which participants can play key roles, such as ledger operators.”
IBM argues that of the many pilot projects where it is
involved – this publication has focused on Albertsons
and the French
National Council of Clerks among others – that the time for experimentation
is over and ‘a clear picture has emerged of what a trusted and transparent
enterprise blockchain looks like.’
“Good technology is a product of more than just sheer
ingenuity; it is a reflection of the will to do the right thing,” IBM concluded.
“If blockchain is to move beyond the technological fringe and into the
mainstream, to underpin the nexus of a more trusting and transparent world, we
must, as innovators, remain committed to a set of ideals.”
You can read the full piece here.
Interested in hearing more in person?- Find out more at the- Blockchain Expo World Series, Global, Europe and North America.
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