Blockchain and The Global CIO – How Distributed Ledger Technology Will Transform Enterprise Architecture and the CIO Role
This white paper, brought to you by the Brightline Initiative and the Blockchain Research Institute, explores the blockchain’s impact on enterprise IT architecture and the role of the Chief Information Officer, and how the convergence of emerging technologies – artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, and Internet of Things – will help catalyze distributed “business models based on decentralized structures and disintermediated transactions”.
Idea in brief
By now, few in the enterprise IT space have not heard of blockchain. Yet many questions remain about the possibilities, risks, and implications of this new technology.
In this paper, we examine blockchain technology in the enterprise context through the eyes of the chief information officer (CIO). We first dig into the technology itself. Like the Internet before it, blockchain has potential to disrupt or transform long-established business models and create all-new ones.
As in previous periods of technological innovation, most of the early work has revolved around blockchain use cases— “low-hanging fruit” where processes are ripe for change, volumes are predictably low, and the potential rewards are large.
We look at these use cases first and then turn to blockchain technology’s impact on enterprise IT architecture. We then examine the role that blockchain will play in the coming convergence of emerging technologies and how it will lead to the development of new, broad-based ecosystems. These, in turn, will catalyze brand-new business models based on decentralized structures and disintermediated transactions.
In the second half of the paper, we look at the changing role and responsibilities of the chief information officer (CIO) in this new environment, both generally and with respect to blockchain.
In the coming fourth industrial revolution, technology will play a far more central and transformative role in business and, ultimately, society. The CIO role will expand beyond helping a business to implement its strategy and realize its ambitions; the CIO will help to define that strategy and those ambitions.
The new possibilities that technology provides will not only result in new roles for the CIO; it will also require a broad range of abilities such as “seeing the future” and “communicating the vision” in terms that non-technologists can understand.
Perhaps the most important role for the CIO remains that of ensuring that the right technology is built and deployed at the right time. The CIO will need to be able to orchestrate innovation; find, develop, and retain the necessary talent; and manage the great cultural transformations that are sure to occur both within and outside the enterprise.
We end with a short conclusion and a number of recommendations— our advice for CIOs looking to navigate this transformation successfully and master the new age of blockchain.