Companies all over the globe, from financial institutions to retail and food industries, see blockchain as the technology that will modernise their business processes. As a result, they are now hyper-focused on vendors offering them early jump-starts into this space.
Charlotte Dunlap, Technology Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Businesses will come to realise that blockchain is a technology play and solution providers with expertise in infrastructure and platform technologies are most likely to successfully capitalise on this new market opportunity. In particular, organisations are looking to application platforms giants such as IBM, Oracle, SAP and Microsoft, with their ability to gain traction through tens of thousands of customers in disparate industries.”
These companies are building blockchain into their PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) offerings, not only as an additional blockchain network service but also as a foundational platform capability. Eventually these services will support and interoperate with line of business products.
Furthermore, blockchain will be a future enabler of Internet of Things (IoT) efficiency, scalability, security and cost management and a facilitator of IoT applications such as supply chain track-and-trace. Software and equipment vendors and service providers are likely enterprise suppliers.
“Initially we will see platform providers offer blockchain tools and frameworks to help application developers create smart contracts in which they can not only capture data but act on that data and attach rules to it so, for example, only appropriate parties may view documents,” says Dunlap.
“Consider the possibility of information on products and supply chains being able to reach customers and partners, weeks earlier than previously allowed through traditional business processes. Imagine the effect such efficiencies could have on businesses in terms of visibility, validation and ensuring accuracy.”
Blockchain is increasingly attractive for its ability to address the increasing inefficiencies and fraud associated with current methods of doing business, costing some companies millions of dollars and requiring significant numbers of IT staff simply to run those cumbersome business systems.
“Many in the industry have concluded that the current methodology for tracking and transporting goods and manually creating and maintaining legal contracts is broken. Therefore, computer leaders such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and others have stepped up technology investments in the past 18 months, largely through R&D labs and participation in open source software bodies including the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger project, which is a series of OSS blockchain tools and solutions,” says Dunlap.
“This activity alone is critical because, as participating vendors like to say, ‘Blockchain is a team sport’, because distributed ledgers are built out of a collaborative effort by multiple parties, so everyone has to be on board with the same methodology.”