Awareness is no longer a barrier when it comes to blockchain technology. Moving beyond its knowledge to a clear understanding of its benefits (or perils) is the next challenge for the leaders. They want to be a leader in the space but don’t have a clear understanding and are waiting for the technology to mature before they jump to employ it in their business.
Irrespective of the leadership style —active or passive— when it comes to a modern technology like blockchain, asking a few critical questions would help before the start of the journey.
Centralization of trust
Despite the Internet being the largest decentralized network (no single entity owns it), the applications and services running on top of the network is heavily centralized. All it takes is to look around for examples in one’s own business—the cloud service provider hosting your servers and applications, the bank where your money is parked and the entities providing authentication of identities—are all owned and controlled by a single entity.
Point to ponder for leaders: Which are the areas in their own business, where trust is centralized—both internal and external?
Single point of failure
With the centralization of trust, comes the single point of failure (SPoF). History has proven repeatedly of the entities failures and the calamity following it. Single point of failure isn’t restricted to technology, but process and people too. Organizations go out of their way to address the problem of SPoF by building redundancies, additional controls and increasing vigilance.
Point to ponder for leaders: What are the weak links, the single point of failures that exists across their business, spanning technology, process and people?
Transparency in business
Many years ago, I remember reading, “Suppression of the truth is the root cause of all problems”. For the enterprises, I’m taking the liberty to stretch it to “versions of the truth are the root cause for their problems”. Today, enterprises are fragmented silos, both internally and externally. Each silo runs its private process, applications and programs. Each silo has its own “version of the truth”. When the time comes to collaborate and reconcile, it’s mayhem.
Point to ponder for leaders: Are there areas in the business that would benefit (commercially and non-commercially) from increased transparency?
In the past few weeks, many people got emails from two entities: Quora, the largest Q&A portal, and Starwood preferred guest, the loyalty program for flagship hotels like Marriott and Ritz Carlton. Both the emails were titled “Security incident” and the message was consistent— “an unauthorized access to the database, sensitive information stolen and we are investigating. We are sorry…”. In an information age, where data is the new oil (or gold), losing customers data and cutting a sorry face is the last thing the leaders want. For some, such incidents have been the last nail in the coffin.
Point to ponder for leaders: What are the areas in their business that would benefit through enhanced security?
Call it peer pressure, the need to stay ahead of the pack or a genuine interest in the technology—leaders are increasingly showing interest in the blockchain technology. The biggest challenge, facing the leaders who don’t comprehend the complex technology, is the clarity of the next step. Asking these four critical questions will help leaders find their purpose. Blockchain technology, as it stands today, may not have a solution to every problem, but it has the potential to take the leaders there.
This article was first published at Entrepreneur.com