Block Chain: Does Your Proof of Concept = Success?
We get it. If your company isn’t up on block chain, your future is doomed. At least, that’s the general vibe industry leaders are putting out – scrambling to understand and utilize a framework that is more frequently associated with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. In other words, block chain is, generally, poorly understood. So, should your company stand back and let it mature, or wade into the fray and hope for the best?
The answer, as it usually does, falls somewhere in the middle.
Recently, a Gartner blog highlighted the mad dash of companies trying to capitalize on block chain, and the main takeaway is that companies should pursue the technology, but be wary of diving into a “pointless” project:
There are multiple causes for disappointing project outcomes, including rapid rate of technology evolution,” said Ray Valdes, vice president and Gartner Fellow. “However, a primary cause of failure is a fundamental lack of understanding around the basic concept of blockchain technology, which results in a misalignment of its capabilities with the business problem that the enterprise is seeking to solve. Often this means that enterprise projects using — or claiming to use — blockchain technology don’t actually need it to achieve their goal.
The short of it is that companies should not ramp up a block chain project simply for the sake of doing so. Instead, take the time to understand the very real advantages offered by the technology, determine the true business value, and have an outcome in mind before moving forward.
We’ve been on the front lines of some leading- and bleeding-edge software development projects – including block chain applications – and, to put it simply, Gartner has it right.
One of the main things we pride ourselves on is being able to develop tangible and realistic business value assessments. With regard to block chain, this is complex. Often, at first, it may seem like a great application fit, but in the end it runs out to be unnecessary. Quite frankly, even navigating the platforms and toolsets can be challenging; although, we see the open source platforms like Ethereum and Hyperledger providing valuable application-centric block chain capabilities allowing users to work with public ledgers or build their own private ledger.
This is really only the tip of the iceberg – the beauty of block chain is that both the applications that make sense and those that do not will multiply as it becomes better understood. However, do yourself a favor: really evaluate your proof of concept (POC) and determine if there is real business value attached or you are just part of the hype. Your future self will thank you for it.