Banking CIOs dismiss blockchain's potential in Gartner survey


Blockchain is not a priority for CIOs working in financial services, who ranked 19 technologies above it in Gartner's latest survey of industry IT leaders.

Despite vendor marketing hype around the transaction-tracking public ledger technology, which underpins Bitcoin, banks do not appear to view it as a business differentiator.

Oracle, IBM and Microsoft all have blockchain offerings, and many have talked up the tech's potential to speed up financial transactions by removing manual processing, and Gartner itself has predicted that a blockchain-based business would be worth $10 billion by 2022.

However, the 347 banking and investment services CIOs Gartner surveyed appear to view the technology rather differently, ranking it 20th in their list of differentiation priorities in Gartner's 2018 CIO Agenda Survey, with automation (ranked ninth), cloud services (ranked fifth) and AI (ranked fourth) deemed far more important.

"Despite the attention and visibility [of blockchain], it is not yet seen as a differentiating technology for banks. That may change in the near future," Gartner noted in its news release for the research, which collected responses from 3,160 CIOs across 98 countries.

Instead, banking CIOs are increasingly focused on BI and analytics to initiate digital transformation projects, with 26% of respondents calling it their top priority in differentiating their business.

Modernising legacy applications came sixth in banking CIOs' list of differentiation priorities.

"These priorities point to a continuing tension between two opposing forces," said Pete Redshaw, managing VP at Gartner. "On the one hand, there is a need to rapidly transform the business, while, on the other hand, there is the innate inertia that arises from a huge IT estate that supports a heavily regulated industry."

IT leaders in higher education also identified BI and analytics as their most-pressing priority to differentiate themselves, with 23% ranking it top, ahead of ERP and CRM, the last of which plays an important part in student enrolment and retention. Digital transformation came fifth, but in terms of spending priorities, digitalisation only ranked eighth.

"This may be because higher education is among the least digitised industries," said Jan-Martin Lowendahl, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "The average higher education institution has a large backlog of digital enablement before it can even can think about digital transformation."

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