Blockchain is undergoing a ‘compelling’ evolution from being an experimental technology to a true strategic priority for organisations, according to Deloitte’s latest Global Blockchain Survey.
The study, the third edition which polled almost 1,500 senior executives across 14 countries, found that two in five (39%) companies had already moved their blockchain projects to production – a significant climb from 23% this time last year.
This makes for interesting reading when comparing with previous research on moving from pilot to production. A session at MWC last year explored how blockchain had the potential to transform Industry 4.0 processes – and as Brett May, VP and COO of McKinsey’s IoT arm noted, citing McKinsey research, 58% of organisations who had gone into production with their IoT initiatives had seen at least a 5% increase in revenue.
The theory held that blockchain projects could hold similar gains – if organisations were able to take the next step and push to production. More than four in five (83%) respondents in the Deloitte survey believe they will lose competitive advantage if they don’t adopt blockchain – up from 77% in 2019.
Regardless, the study has found significant increases across the board in the investment and strategic prioritisation of blockchain. Almost nine in 10 execs surveyed said digital assets would be ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ important to their industries in the next three years, while 82% said they were hiring staff with blockchain expertise, or planned to do so in the next 12 months.
General consensus, as a key takeaway from the report, was around acceptance of blockchain’s scalability, which continues to tick up as 88% of respondents believed it was broadly scalable. From different countries’ perspective, respondents in Brazil, Hong Kong, Israel and the UAE registered above average sentiment over scalability, while those in Canada, China and Ireland were more likely to believe refusing to adopt blockchain would sacrifice competitive advantage.
This can be linked to how many blockchain projects are in production right now, with countries’ averages varying wildly. 59% of respondents in China said they were going into production, compared with only 31% in the US.
The report does note that this remains an iterative process, with bumps remaining in the road. “As companies adopt and implement blockchain solutions, and as leaders increasingly accept blockchain as a fact rather than a future breakthrough, there remains an underlying level of uncertainty about current and future applications of blockchain technologies,” the report explains. “We don’t expect that organisations will sort this all out right away – this process will continue to take time, depending on industry, maturity, risk tolerance, and budgets.”
Sceptics remain, with those believing blockchain is overhyped increasing, at 54% of those polled from 43% last year. But while large scale projects, such as Libra, may get the media headlines and the subsequent scorn, it is the smaller initiatives which are more likely to succeed and reinforce credibility.
Smaller-scale examples of blockchain adoption, such as title transfer and protection, patient data storage, and tracking food sourcing – essentially affecting one part of a gigantic supply chain – are “proving to be just as transformational in the way people live and the way work gets done”, the report noted. “These and other real-world implementations serve as nuanced but tangible proof that blockchain is finding its footing in the stream of global commerce.”
Another area which has the potential to cause friction is around stakeholder investment. One of the biggest steps in moving to production is getting the board onside, and as more examples of ROI appear, this may become an easier task going forward. Yet blockchain has one facet in its advantage, as the report explained.
“When an organisation integrates a blockchain platform into its core operations, virtually everyone who supports those core operations becomes a stakeholder; the C-suite, the board of directors, internal and external auditors; legal, compliance and financial professionals, and of course everyone directly involved in the blockchain system itself,” the report noted.
“The story of blockchain in 2020 is a story of tangible, real-world implementations across large and small scales. But it is also a story about how blockchain affects the entire organisation and makes everyone a participant in its success.”
Credit : The Block