If you’re familiar with digital currencies like bitcoin, you may have heard the term blockchain. At its most basic level, blockchain is a method of chaining data together so that each time the data are altered, a new chain is added; old chains cannot be removed. In this way, data gain complete traceability as they move from one place to another within a network. Because every instance of change is essentially recorded, the data are secure in a way that current security methods cannot accomplish.
To date, blockchain hasn’t been used outside the cryptocurrency industry, but it holds great promise for other industries, like customer relationship management (CRM). In an industry where security is paramount, you may be wondering if you should start looking toward blockchain as a solution as soon as it’s available. Before we get that far, let’s look at what blockchain can do for CRM.
Blockchain for CRM
According to a 2016 article from Harvard Business Review, blockchain is a technology that will change the next decade of business—not just CRM or payments or any other element, but the way companies do business. This is because blockchain changes the weight of trust in all transactions.
Rather than having to be given or verified, trust is completely unnecessary with blockchain. The complete traceability of any bit of data or transaction makes it possible for organizations and even individuals to share almost anything—intellectual property, financial payments, proprietary ideas, even personal information—without fear of someone intercepting whatever is shared.
For CRM, this technology has tremendous implications. Blockchain can help organizations see genuine, indisputable records pertaining to how consumers behave. It can enable completely transparent records of relationships, from first contact through transaction. It can also be an element in a variety of programs, such as loyalty solutions, that allow organizations to connect with consumers on deeper, more personal levels.
Is Now the Time?
Blockchain sounds like the solution that’s been missing. There’s only one problem: The technology is still in its infancy. Even though analysts are predicting that blockchain technology will change the future, the fact is, the future isn’t here. By some estimates, it could still be a decade or more before blockchain-enabled applications are readily available. Given that Microsoft has recently unveiled Blockchain as a Service as part of the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, it’s likely the technology will mature more quickly. Organizations with sensitive data that require more reliable security than what’s traditionally offered may already be using blockchain.
CRM, however, still has a journey before blockchain becomes readily available. When it does, should you jump on the bandwagon? If it appears that blockchain will be all that it’s predicted to be? Absolutely. Early adoption for that kind of advantage could be a game changer.
Are you familiar with blockchain? Are you planning to implement it as soon as it’s available? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
About the Author
Jerri Ledford has been writing about business technology for more than 20 years. Her articles, profiles, news stories, and reports have appeared in such venues as Intelligent Enterprise, Network World, Information Security Magazine, DCM Magazine, and CRM Magazine. She develops and teaches technology courses for enterprises such as Sony, HP, and CNET and is the author of 19 business technology books, including Google Analytics and The SEO Bible. Jerri is a Studio B analyst.
Source: SANS ISC SecNewsFeed @ May 2, 2017 at 05:15PM