In 2020, businesses likely to shift blockchain focus to integration, interoperability
After several years of proofs of concept testing, followed by pilot programs, enterprises deploying blockchain should turn their focus toward integrating the distributed ledger technology (DLT) with legacy data systems and making sure they can communicate with other external blockchains.
That advice is part of Forrester Research’s 2020 Predictions, which highlight several upcoming challenges for the nascent electronic ledger technology.
In the world of enterprise blockchain, the shift from irrational exuberance to realistic assessment is almost complete, Forrester said.
“While we still see a lot of excitement around what DLT can or could do, the focus has expanded to include questions about how DLT is going to deliver a particular benefit,” the report said.
Among Forrester’s predictions: the battle between private and public blockchains will heat up and the debate will reach corporate executive teams; 80% of blockchain deployments will be hybrid, multi-cloud or both; and non-technical issues will represent some of the biggest hurdles.
“It really is first agreeing on what data is to be shared among partners, what that process should look like, and then putting everything on an appropriate legal footing,” said Martha Bennett, a Forrester vice president of research. “You need to understand what yours and others’ contractual obligations are. No one has done this to scale.”
For example, when a company rolls out a blockchain ledger, it will not likely integrate with existing corporate single sign-on capabilities. So, for a time – perhaps even permanently – a blockchain project will likely function on an exception basis, which propagates discussions around security and risk management.
“It sounds like a minor thing, but I’ve seen projects grind to a halt over it,” Bennett said.
Governance of a permissioned business blockchain is also a critical non-technical issue that hampers deployments. Most often, determining how a distributed ledger will be managed falls to a single third party in charge of key considerations, such as who has access and…