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Most supply chain blockchain initiatives to remain pilots until at least 2022, warns Gartner

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The latest study from analyst firm Gartner argues that 80% of supply chain blockchain projects will remain either proof of concepts (POC) or pilots through 2022.

The study, titled “Leverage Blockchain Developments as Catalysts for Strategic Technology Planning Across the Supply Chain”, notes that early blockchain pilots for supply chain pursued technology-oriented models that have been successful in other sectors, such as banking and insurance, is the main reason for the development.

Andrew Stevens, senior director analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice, said: “Modern supply chains are very complex and require digital connectivity and agility across participants. Many organisations believed that blockchain could help navigate this complexity and pushed to create robust use cases for the supply chain. However, most of these use cases were inspired by pilots from the banking and insurance sector and didn’t work well in a supply chain environment.”

Last May, Gartner reported that 90% of these initiatives would suffer a ‘blockchain fatigue’ by 2023 owing to a lack of strong use cases. According to Gartner, the present landscape has more than a passing similarity to the cloud landscape of several years ago. Stakeholders were dipping their toes in conversations converged around public, private or hybrid as the best strategy, before consensus emerged and, through multi-cloud, becoming a core part of the economy.

In September, Gartner noted three primary industries as key to the long-term growth of blockchain technologies. Banking and investment was a straightforward choice, as was retail, with particular regard to ‘track and trace’ and provenance on the supply chain. Gaming was a more left-field choice. According to Christophe Uzureau, Gartner research vice president: “Gaming start-ups 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.”

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