The varied use cases for blockchain technology have made it appealing to organizations that are looking for ways to take advantage of it. And with all the prominent applications for blockchain out there, who can blame them? Blockchain’s decentralized ledger has and will continue to solve the problems these organizations face on a daily basis. It’s no surprise, therefore, that in a survey of 600 executives, 84% of organizations said they have interest or involvement in blockchain, but only 15% are actively utilizing the technology. One of the reasons for this is the time it takes for successful blockchain implementation. So, when it comes to leveraging blockchain in your organization’s processes, how can you make sure you’re setting yourself up for success?
Blockchain Implementation: What Could Possibly Go Wrong!?
Blockchain implementation can go wrong; in the excitement of using blockchain to improve their processes, decision makers sometimes skip the assessment stage and jump straight to the implementation. It’s an unfortunate situation, and it can be a costly mistake to make. A 2019 Gartner report found that only 5% of proof of concepts make it to the production stage—then, 90% of those fail within the first 2 years. These numbers show just how important proper implementation is. So, without further ado, here is our five-step guide.
1. Establish What You Want to Achieve
The first guiding principle of blockchain implementation is to fully understand what you want to accomplish using blockchain. Chances are, no matter what your ambitions are, blockchain can help; but there are many blockchains out there, each designed by a different team for different purposes. Therefore, if you’re in the financial sector, a blockchain built for manufacturers probably won’t do what you need it to do.
To identify your use case, you need to study, clarify, and arrange your needs. In doing so, ask yourself three questions:
- Why do I need a blockchain?
- Why does my business need implementation?
- What are my targets, aims, and objectives?
2. Create a Proof of Concept
After you identify the options for your use case, next, create a proof of concept—or POC—a strategic procedure used to evaluate how realistic the blockchain implementation would be for your business. One of the most important objectives for the POC is to solidify and continue following the plan you established while developing the use case.
Within this step, there are four sub steps you should work through before moving on:
- Develop and follow a set of guidelines that explain the extent of your business project
- Create a prototype which includes any sketches, designs, codes, and architecture you need
- Test the prototype to ensure functionality
- Analyze your minimal viable product (MVP)
3. Select the Blockchain Carefully
As hinted at in the use case step, it’s important to be careful and deliberate when choosing which blockchain platform you’re using. When doing so, be sure to research thoroughly and consider any budgetary limitations you may have. There are hundreds of blockchain platforms and protocols, each with different rules and suited to different needs.
Let’s go back to the example from the use case step: imagine a scenario where a financial organization decides they want to use blockchain to streamline their processes, so they start building on Ethereum. Now, Ethereum is a great blockchain to build on, but it’s built for users to create decentralized applications (dApps). If the company doesn’t realize this and dives straight into developing on Ethereum, they’re likely to get to a point where they can’t do what they want to do on the blockchain; in this example, they will have wasted all the time and resources building on one blockchain, only to find out they need to tear it down and rebuild it on a different blockchain—or they may give up on their aspirations altogether.
For a financial company, a blockchain protocol like Quorum or Multichain may be a better fit—but it all depends on what they want to achieve with the project.
Successful blockchain implementation will put your project into the fast lane to success.
4. Building and Testing
Now that you’ve chosen which blockchain to use, it’s finally time to start building. Three points to consider here:
- The chosen blockchain’s infrastructure
- The quality of the technology—does it offer security and consensus? Is it compatible with private and/or public blockchains?
- Is the development compatible with multiple platforms?
One of the most important aspects of blockchain are smart contracts, which automate many complicated processes without third parties. Testing your blockchain implementation requires testing the apps.
5. Run it and Optimize
After a robust and thorough testing process, it’s finally time to activate! Doing so requires a prepared application server, so you would have to host each of your applications on the main blockchain. In instances of hybrid solutions—where applications that are both on- and off-chain entities—it's recommended that you initialize them on a cloud server.
The work isn’t done, though. The future of blockchain and blockchain regulations are still debated among legislators and different governing bodies are arriving at different conclusions, so it’s important to keep an eye on these issues and make revisions as needed.
SIMBA Guides Blockchain Implementation
Even though this is a truncated guide, you can doubtlessly see that blockchain implementation is a complicated process; if you don’t have the experience working with different blockchain platforms, this process is a time-consuming one that can exhaust a business’ patience, leading them to give up on using blockchain before they even get to enjoy all the benefits it brings with it. This is why outsourcing blockchain implementation and maintenance to a team of experts is sure to help you every step of the way. SIMBA is committed to your success and we will help you experience for yourself all the benefits blockchain has to offer you and your business.