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Measuring the value of blockchain

The World Economic Forum and Accenture have designed a framework and visual roadmap with key questions to ask when building a blockchain business case.

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WEF wants to help organisations understand that blockchain is a tool not a goal in itself
WEF wants to help organisations understand that blockchain is a tool not a goal in itself

The World Economic Forum (WEF), the international organisation for public-private cooperation, has released a framework for measuring the value of blockchain in four steps.

 

The Blockchain Value Framework is part of a white paper, Building Value with Blockchain Technology: How to Evaluate Blockchain’s Benefits.

 

Co-designed with the professional services firm, Accenture, the framework is the second in a series of white papers to help organisations better understand that blockchain technology is a tool deployed to achieve a specific purpose, not a goal in itself.

 

Visual roadmap

 

This new framework provides organisations with the tools to begin measuring blockchain’s value, including key questions to consider. It claims to be the first visual roadmap of its kind and is based on a global survey of 550 individuals across 13 industries, including public sector leaders, chief executive officers, representatives from the automotive, banking and retail sectors and an analysis of 79 blockchain projects.

 

“In our last paper, we stressed that blockchain deployment is not the end goal,” said Sheila Warren, head of blockchain at the World Economic Forum. “We wanted to get beyond the hype. This new framework is for those business leaders that have figured out blockchain is the right solution for a specific problem, but don’t know what to do next.”

 

The framework starts with questions on blockchain’s role and desired impact. Assessing potential pain points and areas for opportunity without thinking about the technology is essential. Next is to examine the three key dimensions of blockchain’s role alongside its capabilities.

 

The roadmap can assist organisations in moving from "current-state assessment to future blockchain opportunity", and to identify where the value will be created and delivered. Cost-savings, increased revenue and improved customer experience are all possible business case results.

“We aim to educate businesses and challenge them to rethink their current business models, relationships between ecosystem partners, customers and their investments in technology”

“Organisations need to make business decisions and investments with confidence and that requires proof of the value-add and an analysis of why, or why not, they should consider something new,” said David Treat, managing director and global blockchain lead at Accenture.

 

“Through this new framework, we aim to educate businesses and challenge them to rethink their current business models, relationships between ecosystem partners, customers and their investments in technology.

 

“The path to blockchain adoption starts here with evaluating the technical and strategic priorities and aligning them with investments in innovation.”

 

Survey results

 

According to the global survey conducted in conjunction with the new framework, 51 per cent of survey respondents identified “missing out on developing new products/services” as the number one expectation if they do not invest in blockchain technology in the near future. The other two most common answers were missing out on speed/efficiency gains (23 per cent) and missing out on cost savings (15 per cent).

 

The interviews highlighted the potential of the technology to simplify and optimize complete value chains through the sharing of simplified real-time data with increased efficiency. However, the paper also cautions organisations to carefully consider whether blockchain is the best solution, relative to other technologies or digitisation strategies.

 

As noted in the Blockchain Beyond the Hype white paper, blockchain may not be a viable solution or it may not be the correct time to pursue this avenue.

 

In nine of the industries surveyed, the full traceability and integrity of the data were the top two potential advantages of using blockchain technology. Most of the industries surveyed could benefit from smart contracts and automation provided by blockchain.

 

Surprisingly, few organisations selected “new business products or services” as one of the benefits. This suggests the current focus for organisations is on improving existing products and services before considering investing in new opportunities.

 

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