“Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
The quote by Lao Tzu, one of China’s influential philosophers is still relevant at this day and age. The quote is transcendent in the sense that its contextual meaning still holds true despite its origins from antiquity, where it survived dynastic succession one after another, through the revolutionary uprising and the modern China we know today.
In looking at the influence of technology in the development of business, the Information Technology age bought us connectivity to the internet, streamlined financial systems and business platforms such as ERP. With Blockchain fueling automation, we are seeing how technology is transforming businesses once more. The disruption comes from the pioneers who have gone ahead the curve to demonstrate its surface potential: highly streamlined information processing without the dependency on actors and the administration autonomy of systems without centralized governance.
In the business perspective, Blockchain’s governance of our information system eliminates trust as systems go trustless. When we say it eliminates trust, we are referring to the notion that trusting a governing system in place across vast transactions is a foregone conclusion. With Blockchain, a governance system is:
- Held in check by its administrative algorithm that authenticates all permissioned transactions, if it reflects across all transaction ledgers.
- A petition from a single transaction cannot override the system checks.
- All transactions are publicly stored across distributed ledgers for transparency.
- Indelible and Irreversible transactions.
- Administrative algorithm is programmed to recognize only its native functions and will not change behavior from the request of a single authority or a third party.
Hence, the “trustless” term was coined that depicts “trust” being a second-nature in Blockchain powered information systems. All transactions are public and the results of permissioned transactions are a result of all participants being unanimously voting in favor — if it matches all records.
Essence of Trust
More than governance and transparency, trust is a factor when leaders start an initiative with Blockchain. Like the many alliances, collaborative and consortia that are working to push their systems into a Blockchain enabled future, “trust” and mutual gains are the tenets that binds these band of allies together. Before, consortia such as HyperLedger are composed of competing entities. Today, the coalition of competitors of HyperLedger are focused in diversifying its Blockchain platforms across various industries of trade, insurance and finance.
By banding together and placing a product, the sheer volume of usage helps drive more companies into the Blockchain banner. This is an example of staging a mass adoption for technology where if the majority are experiencing the benefits of a successor platform, it helps convince onlookers to adopt the technology as it creates a trickle effect from large to medium to small business usage – therefore influencing the outcome of a technology’s rate of maturity.
The Journey of Trust
Now let’s take trust to a unit’s perspective. As a manager, department leader or an executive – do you trust in your leadership capacity to start your company’s journey into Blockchain migration? The journey will be long, full of obstacles and you are basically charting your own destination. It is a journey of discovery and disruption, where it takes you out of your comfort zone as you will be building the groundwork for a new model of operation.
Now let’s take in the perspective from Lao Tzu: “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” And you are currently in the situation before the first step was made. Before your journey, we’ll look on ahead based on the roadmap that others have taken.
Before the First Step
- Take a Blockchain Executive Course or a Blockchain Leadership seminar that will equip you with the knowledge about the technology.
- Attend Blockchain events to connect, engage and seek potential partners, suppliers, contractors and consultants on Blockchain that can help you in the journey.
The First Step
- Map your overall business operations that includes it challenges, its advantages and its dependencies.
- Time and Benchmark the time of completion for each transaction and information management routines.
- Once you have the current map and benchmark results, you will need to craft a Blockchain Business Case Study.
The Second Step
- Armed with a Blockchain Business Case Study, it will serve as your map and blueprint when it comes to the engineering of a Blockchain solution that augments or overhauls your business operations.
- Plot the resources and specialty skills required in creating the Blockchain solution.
- Seek out contractors, solutions providers or upskill your IT & Development team with Blockchain skills to develop the prototype.
The Succeeding Steps
- Once the Blockchain prototype is ready, conduct an extensive use case study if its concept lives up to the expectations by comparing the old process with the Blockchain enabled process.
- Fine tune and optimize your Blockchain use case to determine its advantages, its areas of improvement and how it must scale with other business demands.
- Launch and maintain your Blockchain.
- Where you take your Blockchain journey is now dependent on you and your team. We are now in unfamiliar territory.
- Like all systems, Blockchain require maintenance, constant support and development work for continuity and improvements.
- Pay close attention to the innovative use cases that other companies and corporations are using with Blockchain. These will give insight on how you can further improve your Blockchain solution.
As we laid out an example of a very simplified Blockchain journey, it is harder than it looks and there will be major challenges ahead and variables to consider. Much like the pioneers of Blockchain, they have since made the first step and showcased how Blockchain is transforming their respective industries.
Blockchain in China
Businesses are not the only ones who are experiencing and adopting the Blockchain disruption. China, a global economic giant and a country which has the reputation of adopting, building upon and innovating nascent technology, is actually at the world’s forefront when it comes to Blockchain use cases involving society, governance and ofcourse, business use. Consider the following:
- China is indirectly competing with the United States as a result of the job-growth demand on Blockchain careers according to the The Next Web.
- The Yuedong Village in the Wenzhou Zhejiang region revealed regional innovation as the village openly displayed its use, adoption and continued absorption of Blockchain & Cryptocurrency.
- The Bank of China, the China Construction Bank and others – which serves billions of clients daily – have started their Blockchain migration.
- The Chinese Intellectual Property sector is developing a platform built in Blockchain to streamline millions of IP requests for storage, verification and management.
- Alibaba Health Information Technology Ltd. Working with the government to place Health Information of billions into a patented Blockchain platform for universal ease of access.
- Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce global giant has launched two subsidiaries based on Blockchain: Ant Blockchain Technology and Ant Double Chain Technology.
In the process of Blockchain adoption and transformation, it is a journey that is taken by the entire company. The agenda may be initiated by the executive team but the project will require inputs, participation and insight from departments in creating the business case study. In the totality of Blockchain adoption, a very small percentage have developed a verifiable use case while much of the spectrum consists of companies in the planning stage, at the earliest phases of transition and the onlookers. For companies that are planning their journey or have yet to take the tiniest of steps, rushing the journey is not advisable. Your Blockchain journey is dependent on how far you take it and not how fast you gather everyone onboard.
As time brings about the changes with technology, Blockchain adoption still fits the nugget of wisdom from the venerable Lao Tzu: “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” It holds true to where Blockchain and the industry is: at its infancy but will soon experience rapid development and growth.
In the future, catching up with Blockchain technology will be easier but will hardly count as innovation – and will be counted only as an act of compliance. By then, majority of businesses will be using Blockchain and it becomes second-nature. For the late comers at that time when Blockchain has reached its first state of maturity, the innovation market has shrunk and the race has yielded many winners.
Overall, the business innovation rewards those who journey ahead, early and define that journey into an ideal business model that others will emulate.
About the author
Randy Knutson is former CIO and CTO executive, with over 35 years of experience, in looking for technology innovative solutions for business. Most recently he has started several Philippine specialized BPO companies, with a focus on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency in the fintech and healthcare service sectors.
DynaQuest Technology Services Inc (DQTSI) is an IT Solutions firm that utilizes both existing and emerging technologies to develop IT, systems and applications to businesses across the industries of Health Information management, Insurance, Finance and various small to medium enterprise markets. With Blockchain, the company is helping businesses achieve Blockchain and enable their transition with specialized services such as consulting, development, resource procurement and IT staff training.