Our recent Enterprise Blockchain Market Forecast Report has certainly kicked up a bit of a storm; it is one of our most-read reports to date. Even so, Enterprise Blockchain remains a topic that is not talked about all that widely. For every mountain of information exploring the future of cryptocurrency, there is but a fraction for Blockchain in the Enterprise. In our analysis, the Enterprise is where the real value and interest of Blockchain should be focused.
Since first starting to cover Enterprise Blockchain in early 2017, IBM has grabbed the headlines, and rightly so. It has been aggressive in its marketing and launched many strong industry vertical initiatives into the Food Chain, Pharma, etc. But the dark horse seems to be Oracle, who have quietly yet steadily been creeping up on the inside track. It started innocuously enough with the release of the Oracle Blockchain Platform in late 2018. At the time it seemed like a ‘me too’ response to SAP & IBM and went largely under the radar. But in 2019 things appear to have changed, and the foot is firmly on the accelerator with the release of Blockchain SaaS applications and a slew of accelerators and tools to quickly onboard clients.
The business proposition for Enterprise Blockchain is fairly simple, and its this simplicity that seems lost on so many. Reducing or eliminating volumes of costly paperwork, removing intermediaries and quickly resolving disputes with third parties. Nothing new here, but why should there be? These are the issues that impact and cause pain to companies, and they want a better way to resolve them.
We plan to cover this all in much more detail, but the way that Oracle has emerged as a player reflects the broader Enterprise Blockchain market. To many, it is still invisible, but every major player from Cisco to Samsung is busy if quietly forging ahead. They are doing so as there is a willing and eager customer base in the supply chain, healthcare, government, and legal willing to jump in and get going.
But get going how? Today there are two camps to consider — blockchain as infrastructure, where extensive and expensive consulting services can be leveraged. Alternatively, Blockchain as embedded functionality that business applications can be plugged into. The latter is the way forward, hence our interest in Oracles work, but the former still dominates. IBM, though it has made great early strides to date, too often appears to shoot itself in the Blockchain foot by sending in armies of consultants. That is not sustainable; Blockchain technology is readily available, efficient, and tested. It is or at least should be functionality that can be equally readily accessible in day to day enterprise environments. Change management is the biggest obstacle to adoption, not technology. It sounds excellent to eliminate and automate reams of shipping documentation (for example) but to get long-established third parties to embrace that change can be an uphill struggle. But it is happening, not so slowly and very surely.