Getting Blockchain “Ready for Prime Time” in the Enterprise
Organizations getting their feet wet on blockchain are entering a sea of opportunity, but that sea happens to be clouded by tons of hype — not unlike the hype a decade ago around Hadoop. Then, as now, an exciting new technology unlocks a lot of possibilities — but also a lot of potential for misunderstanding, and misapplications, from rushed implementations.
This blog takes a closer look at the effort to make blockchain ready for the real world demands that come with enterprise applications.
Focusing on Blockchain for the Enterprise
Blockchain in the enterprise is still a moving target. Many barriers remain around security, legacy technology, interoperability, integration and a host of other practical and strategic considerations. Furthermore, implementing blockchain requires reorienting the IT department to grasp key aspects of blockchain-related security, smart contracts law, value exchange and decentralized governance — all within the context of commercial architectures.
There are powerful cultural challenges that involve getting used to new levels of transparency and unvarnished views into business environments and stakeholder operations. Consider the example of supply chain: two different suppliers can now collaborate to better understand how each other’s priorities differ under a system that allows them both to get the insight they need. This is valuable, but it involves levels of transparency between companies that may take some getting used to.
Ultimately, blockchain is still a nascent technology that is growing and changing — one that must be harnessed with care before trusting it in the enterprise. And not all of the potential applications of blockchain will actually become a reality. In the end, it will be the business value of a use case that will drive adoption.
Key Unisys Priorities in Getting Blockchain Ready for Prime Time
Unisys is working to better integrate blockchain into enterprise IT infrastructures and erase the pain points and hurdles to organizational readiness. We have several focus areas for our efforts:
- Speed is a factor — Transaction rates in public blockchains have traditionally been too slow, on the order of seven transactions per second. Unisys is helping orient enterprises to private DLT environments that can execute much faster, at a thousand or more transactions per second.
- Blockchain takes a lot of energy – Bitcoin, for example, uses the same energy it takes to power a quarter of the continent of Australia. Unisys is closely tracking advances in more efficient energy consumption.
- Keeping up with maturity is a big challenge – As blockchain continues to evolve and shift, Unisys is among the few with the expertise to track trends and advances in enterprise-grade blockchain.
Throughout, security is the most important factor. Unfortunately, security is often taken for granted, or as an afterthought. In reality, there are many ways for security to be compromised around blockchain, including how it’s connected to enterprise systems and how keys can be stolen or code corrupted.
Unisys brings its deep expertise to bear on the blockchain challenge. Much of the to-do list for getting blockchain enterprise-ready involves creating the right private, permissioned environments for blockchain — like a Hyperledger-Fabric or private Ethereum.
This is especially true where security is concerned: our independent federal group and our public sector group hold deep expertise in OT and critical infrastructure environments. Unisys is uniquely positioned to pioneer the application of blockchain in the enterprise.
We have deep experience with IT infrastructure and understand how a new technology will impact the IT department and broader operations at the scale of even the largest global enterprise. Where blockchain is concerned, the Unisys mantra of security first and security inside is exceedingly relevant.