When it comes to blockchain, the times — and implementation approaches — have changed. And quickly.
“Two years ago, I spent most of my
time trying to convince clients to use
blockchain,” jokes Eric Piscini, the
leader of Deloitte’s digital transforma-
tion and innovation offerings in the fi-
nancial services space. “Today, I spend
most of my time trying to convince cli-
ents not to use blockchain.”
Piscini’s underlying point — that
banks should proceed thoughtfully
when testing and implementing block-
chain applications — is serious and
shared by other consultants. A recent
Harvard Business Review (HBR) arti-
cle, “The Truth About Blockchain,” lays
out the case that blockchain adoption
will “take years” to play out along a pre-
dictable and gradual journey because
it represents a foundational technolo-
gy rather than a disruptive technology.
“Most of what’s going on now with
blockchain involves smaller, more
measured implementations,” says
Keystone Strategy Chairman Marco
Iansiti, who is also the David Sarnoff
Professor of Business Administration
Unit Head of Technology and Opera-
tions Management at Harvard Busi-
ness School — and the co-author of the
HBR blockchain article. “Blockchain
initiatives that include a small number
of partners within a private chain seem
to be working well.” While Iansiti re-
mains enthusiastic about blockchain’s
ability to transform banking, other
businesses and the public sector, he
believes that this revolution will take
“many years” to unfold.
When descriptions like “measured”
and “gradual” are used to describe the
technologies driving transformation,
it speaks well of companies’ commitments to these fundamental changes.
When banking consultants discuss
largescale transformation projects,
they typically spend more time talking about legacy systems, back-office
process and the customer experience
than they do about mind-bending technological implementations.
While technology plays a crucial
role in driving and enabling the digital
transformation of retail banks, those
advancements likely to deliver the
greatest impact over the short-term
sound fairly familiar.
ALM Intelligence Associate Director,
Lead for Digital Consulting Research
Brendan Williams points to the impact
of the data analytics embedded in new
forms of automation. “These analytics
help humans make better decisions,”
he adds. “Analytics are being applied
in a lot of interesting areas, including
fraud-detection for insurance claims.
The algorithms are surprisingly good at
detecting the patterns behind legitimate
claims, and flagging examples that deviate from those patterns.” —E.K.
Algorithms, Robots and Blocks: Oh, My!