In the lead up to next week’s Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo in Cape Town, the research firm has been outlining some of the topics that will be up for discussion from its analysts, along with teasing some of the content that will be on offer.

One such topic is blockchain, which has been viewed as a truly disruptive technology, but yet to find its footing in as wide a number of industries as expected.

This, as Gartner explains, has to do a lot with the uncertainty surrounding the technology, how it can be implemented effectively and whether there is business value in it.

Despite this hesitancy though, the firm predicts that blockchain will have a transformational impact across a myriad industries in the next five to 10 years.

“Even though they are still uncertain of the impact blockchain will have on their businesses, 60% of CIOs in the Gartner 2019 CIO Agenda Survey said that they expected some level of adoption of blockchain technologies in the next three years,” David Furlonger, distinguished research VP at Gartner lays out.

“However, the existing digital infrastructure of organisations and the lack of clear blockchain governance are limiting CIOs from getting full value with blockchain,” he adds.

The research firm highlighted this specific insight in its Hype Cycle for Blockchain Business report, with it also providing an overview of how blockchain capabilities are evolving from a business perspective and maturity across different industries.

Industry applications

As for the industries showing interest in the technology, Gartner highlights banking and investment services as two in particular. Interestingly 18 percent of banking and investment services CIOs surveyed by Gartner note that they have or will adopt some form of blockchain within the next 12 months, while only 7.6 percent state that it is a game changing technology.

“We see blockchain in several key areas in banking and investments services, primarily focused on permissioned ledgers,” says Furlonger.

“We also expect continued developments in the creation and acceptance of digital tokens. However considerable work needs to be completed in nontechnology-related activities such as standards, regulatory frameworks and organisation structures for blockchain capabilities to reach the Plateau of Productivity – the point at which mainstream adoption takes off, in this industry,” he continues.

One of the intriguing areas where blockchain is being adopted freely is gaming. This especially in the esports arena as solutions are being launched that allow users to create their own tokens to support the design of competitions, as well as enabling the trade of virtual goods.

High user volumes and rapid innovation make the gaming sector a testing ground for innovative application of blockchain. It is the perfect place to monitor how users push the adaptability of the most critical components of blockchain: decentralisation and tokenisation,” notes Christophe Uzureau, research VP at Gartner.

“Gaming startups provide appealing alternatives to the ecosystem approaches of Amazon, Google or Apple, and serve as a model for companies in other industries to develop digital strategies,” he concludes. 

With these just two examples, Gartner believes that blockchain has the potential to transform business models across all industries, but these opportunities demand that organisations adopt complete blockchain ecosystems.

This is what the firm’s analysts aim to explore at next week’s Symposium.