GlobalData’s State of the Blockchain Platforms Market Deems IBM, Microsoft as Leaders

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • IBM and Microsoft are ranked as leaders for early innovations in a complex and slow-moving market.
  • Going forward, multi-cloud management support for blockchain platforms will be a key differentiator, helping ease vendor lock-in concerns.

GlobalData awards top rankings to IBM for its early investment and breadth of portfolio for supporting highly scalable and distributed blockchain networks and to Microsoft for its developer reach, solutions-ready approach, and Azure partnerships. This week, GlobalData is releasing the first in a two-part Advisory Report providing a comprehensive overview of the current state of the market for blockchain platforms and their providers including app platforms providers, IT service providers, and newer infrastructure incumbents.

Included among the general trends affecting most blockchain platforms providers is the industry’s gradual shift away from the proof-of-concept (PoC) phase and into one that demonstrates apps in production, illustrated through an uptick in use-case announcements. Advancements in OSS technology integrations, namely Kubernetes, support another mega trend whereby application platform providers are able to offer their blockchain platforms across cloud environments while continuing to address enterprise-grade security and governance issues. Finally, vendors are integrating blockchain capabilities into core technologies, including business apps, databases, and hybrid/multi-cloud offerings, to help further blockchain adoption and ease operational requirements within a more general move towards rapid operational provisioning as part of application modernization efforts.

Each of GlobalData’s collection of eight key blockchain participants approaches the market from different perspectives, but all are focused on blockchain platforms, frameworks, and technologies that aim to help enterprises enter this emerging space. Companies included in this report are: IBM, Microsoft, AWS, Oracle, HPE, Alibaba, Accenture, and Infosys.

In additional to providing descriptions and analysis of vendor offerings, the report offers recommendations to providers of blockchain solutions going forward. (For more, please see: Blockchain Watch: Blockchain State of the Market (Part I), Highlighting Effectiveness and Scoring on Eight Blockchain Leaders,” September 30, 2019.) Suggestions include:

  • Traditional application platform providers need to further integration capabilities to speed blockchain adoption. Vendors have been enabling integration capabilities at the API level to reduce developers’ coding requirements and invite business users to quickly create blockchain apps. More recently, blockchain capabilities are being integrated into core technologies, including database offerings and business apps.
  • While application platform providers identify the enterprise segment as their stronghold for cloud services and advanced technologies such as blockchain, they should watch out for competitors that are swiftly moving into this space. For example, Alibaba is one of the latest players to partner with VMware to host VMware Cloud Foundation software (vSphere, vCenter, vSAN, and NSX), a joint offering now available in China and Asia.
  • The jury’s still out on the necessity of low-code tools within blockchain platforms, but some key players are implementing low-code as part of their pre-assembled solutions, in order to extend their target audience to include business users. Next year’s release of a blockchain-enabled Lightning platform by Salesforce will challenge rivals to consider the benefits of supporting low-code versions of their blockchain platforms.
  • As many of the same vendors and service providers espousing blockchain for use cases such as validating financial transactions and ‘track and trace’ logistics also offer IoT platforms and services, they should consider tying them together more explicitly. If blockchain can be used for IoT security, transaction reliability and speed, and even environmental parameter guarantees, a combined blockchain and IoT solution set should resonate within the market.

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