Blockchain Tech Still Massively Underused, Gartner Survey Reveals

Blockchain technology has been touted as the solution to many of the challenges facing most industries today. From insurance and real estate to content distribution and supply chain management, the potential of blockchains to revolutionize business is great. However, contrary to popular opinion, only 1% of chief information officers in a recent Gartner poll indicated that they’re currently making use of blockchain technology in their organizations. The poll, which included 3,138 CIOs, revealed a worrying reality of low enterprise implementation and people’s apprehension towards the new technology.

The Numbers Are Worrying

The survey, which was released on May 3, revealed that only 8% of respondents are engaged in short-term planning or are currently experimenting with blockchain tech. The majority of the respondents indicated they were either not at all interested in implementing blockchain technology at their organization, or were aware of its benefits but lacked any actionable plan to implement it. The latter group constituted a majority of the respondents (77%), with 34% being not interested at all and 43% not having any plan in motion.

Of the 293 CIOs who have begun efforts to incorporate blockchain technology in their organizations, the majority of them are of the opinion that it will force their IT departments to make radical changes. 23% perceive the blockchain as the technology that requires the most new skills to implement, 18% said that people who are skilled in blockchain applications are the most difficult to find, while 14% indicated that the blockchain calls for the greatest change in the culture of their IT department. A further 13% believe that their entire IT department would have to be overhauled for proper blockchain implementation.

The survey further revealed that the fields that are most actively involved in blockchain implementation are financial services, insurance, and telecommunications. These industries have continued to exploit the blockchain to increase transparency, efficiency, and to cut costs. However, there is a growing presence in the transport and utilities provision industry, as well as at government institutions. This is largely due to a growing focus on and demand for greater process efficiency.

Has Blockchain Adoption Been Overhyped?

With these figures in mind, it’s easy to wonder whether blockchain adoption, especially for enterprise use, has been overhyped. David Furlonger, the vice president at Gartner, had this to say:

This year’s Gartner CIO Survey provides factual evidence about the massively hyped state of blockchain adoption and deployment. 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.

The study also revealed that there’s a widely held apprehension that stems from organizations not being able to accommodate the change in the operating and business models that is brought about by the implementation of blockchain technology. In this regard, Furlonger added:

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

He further warned organizations against rushing into deploying blockchains, as such a decision could prove quite costly. Deploying a blockchain in most instances means a complete overhaul, or at the very least, carries great ramifications concerning control of the networks and the economics.

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

This is one of the most thorough blockchain adoption surveys to date, and will offer a point of reference against which we can gauge future advancements in enterprise blockchains.