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Gartner survey of 3k global CIOs shows blockchain employment is overhyped

Sampath Putrevu
4th May 2018
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According to a survey conducted by Gartner with 3,000 Chief Information Officers (CIOs) across several corporations around the world, only one percent of CIOs indicated any kind of blockchain adoption within their organisations, and only eight percent of CIOs were in short-term planning or active experimentation with blockchain.

Furthermore, 77 percent of CIOs said that their organisation has no interest in the technology nor have they planned to investigate or develop it.

In a press statement, David Furlonger, Vice President and Gartner Fellow, said,

"It is critical to understand what blockchain is and what it is capable of today, compared to how it will transform companies, industries and society tomorrow. Rushing into blockchain deployments could lead organisations to significant problems of failed innovation, wasted investment, rash decisions and even rejection of a game-changing technology."

Among 293 CIOs of organisations that are in short-term planning or have already invested in blockchain initiatives, 23 percent of them said that blockchain requires the most new skills to implement of any technology area, while 18 percent said that blockchain skills are the most difficult to find.

A further 14 percent indicated that blockchain requires the greatest change in the culture of the IT department, and 13 percent believed that the structure of the IT department had to change in order to implement blockchain.

Furlonger added that the major challenge for CIOs is not just finding and retaining qualified engineers, but finding enough to accommodate growth in resources as blockchain developments grow. "Qualified engineers may be cautious due to the historically libertarian and maverick nature of the blockchain developer community," he said.

 These CIOs also recognised that blockchain implementation could potentially change the operating and business models of the organisations, and they indicated a challenge in being ready and able to accommodate this requirement.

The Vice President said,

"Blockchain technology requires understanding of, at a fundamental level, aspects of security, law, value exchange, decentralised governance, process and commercial architectures. It therefore implies that traditional lines of business and organisation silos can no longer operate under their historical structures."

Who is leading the way with Blockchain?

From an industry perspective, CIOs from telecom, insurance and financial services indicated being more actively involved in blockchain planning and experimentation than CIOs from other industries.

While financial services and insurance companies are at the forefront of this activity, the transportation,  government and utilities sectors are now becoming more engaged due to the heavy focus on process efficiency, supply chain and logistics opportunities. For telecom companies, interest lies in a desire to own the infrastructure wires and grasp the consumer payment opportunity, the Gartner report stated.

Business, governance and operating models, and designed and implemented pre-digital business will take time to re-engineer. This is because of the ramifications blockchain has concerning control and economics.

"While many industries indicate an initial interest in blockchain initiatives, it remains to be seen whether they will accept decentralised, distributed, tokenised networks, or stall as they try to introduce blockchain into legacy value streams and systems," Furlonger concluded.

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