MUMBAI: Clients of IBM, TCS and Wipro are starting to use blockchain solutions of these big technology firms in live projects, in a shift away from using them for proof of concept or pilot projects.
These technology leaders have patented and developed blockchain services for the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), telecom and energy verticals, in a bid to capture a share of the increased spending in blockchain technology.
The shift to live blockchain projects comes after clients realised blockchain technology’s capability. “Organisations have matured in their understanding of blockchain through education and experimenting with PoCs (proofs of concept) …There is a change in culture where organisations want to move on from PoCs to working pilots,” said Jitan Chandanani, blockchain offerings and engagement leader at IBM India/South Asia.
IBM has seen success in projects heading up to large-scale production. Up to 20% of IBM’s blockchain initiatives are in the PoC stage in areas where use cases are new and require vetting by the industry, and about 80% comes from a mix of pilot/production projects and advisory projects, Chandanani said.
The company has, for instance, deployed blockchain solutions for the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) and Bharti Airtel to help curb spam calls.
Wipro has also built a portfolio of patents in distributed ledger technology, which is at the heart of blockchain. “The maturity on the client side has gone up,” said Krishnakumar N Menon, vice-president - service transformation and blockchain theme leader, Wipro. “Many of the deals, which are in a pilot stage, are planned to go into production compared to a year or two back where we would have done a PoC and discarded it and gotten into another PoC.”
Wipro’s clients have realised the value in its blockchain offerings, and this is happening in the energy utility, manufacturing and consumer sectors, he said.
In the BFSI sector, many clients engage in PoCs or pilot projects, but hesitate to move towards large-scale production, Menon said.
TCS is also seeing success in making projects go live. “Interoperability of blockchain solutions is important, integration with existing systems is important – our solutions address all these aspects… Still, people out there are struggling in ‘how do I make things live’ and we have the best track record of making blockchain solutions live,” N Ganapathy Subramaniam, the chief operating officer of TCS, told ET. “So, I feel there is a bigger opportunity, but we will move at the pace our customers want us to move in this area.”
Analysts, however, believe it is too early to project for revenue visibility from blockchain solutions.
There is a rush to create IPs and productised solutions in blockchain technology because security is one of the key requirements it can solve, said Mrinal Rai, principal analyst at ISG, a global technology research and advisory firm. “I'm sure companies have some headway in the technology, however, it is early to predict if it would have impact on revenue visibility because many projects are still in development,” he said.
A chunk of spending by clients on emerging technology would be around cloud and AI services, said Apurva Prasad, analyst at HDFC Securities, adding blockchain would only form a small part of that. “I think blockchain will be the smaller segment… I still don’t think it’s large enough to really move the ticker.”