There are three major challenges associated with working with Blockchain. These are tools, processes and culture. In order to succeed, the technology needs to be supported all the way up to the executive level. This means ensuring there is more than enough resources for proper implementation. If the integration is not carried with passion then it is a lost cause.
Tools, processes and culture
One of the major issues in working with this technology can be finding the right level of talent. Even if you do find the perfect person, that level of skill in this field often comes with a premium price-tag. Blockchain is the technology that everyone wants a piece of and you are going to be competing with other businesses until the talent pool grows but by then it may be too late.
As a process, it is also still relatively new. This means that good design processes and standards have yet to form. No-one is quite sure what the best process framework is yet and what the different roles involved actually are. This general lack of expertise among organisations when it comes to the application stack and the environment means it is difficult to monitor progress against any given metrics since there are no standard measures of efficiency or performance to serve as a baseline.
Not only are the processes not yet in place but there is still a major absence in development tools. Tools do exist right now but they are still unreliable. There needs to be a proper integrated development environment with all of the usual features. This means a build tool and a compiler, documentation, a deployment tool, testing and debugging tools, logging tool and much more. These things do exist in a basic form but they are not yet up to the task of meeting the needs of the Blockchain developers.
Remember, it may have its basis in open source technology but that does not make it free. You are going to need decent hardware and networking bandwidth to keep track of transactions, not to mention the price of electricity. Any transactions that are made must be processed on every node of the network. As the network grows this gets harder and costs go up. This is going to create a barrier to entry for small businesses.
Blockchain and DevOps
For all the obstacles it faces, this technology is still ready to change the fundamental ways in which business is conducted. This is of course due to its promise of providing secure peer-to-peer networks that are totally decentralised and completely trustworthy.
With these advantages comes a whole range of considerations to applications that make for even greater challenges when testing. With significant changes to technology comes significant and necessary changes to business processes. Any applications based on this technology are going to require specialised testing in addition to all of the standard application tests.
Any organisation which needs to be centred on its customers while focusing on innovation is going to benefit greatly from DevOps practices. DevOps will provide everything an organisation needs to be able to utilise the new technology to its fullest.
When implementing the technology, the principals found in DevSecOps are going to be useful. This is because one of the core principles is to enable any individual within a team to take responsibility for a whole task instead of only a subset of tasks.
The key to integrating the technology in a successful development environment is to have a system that is capable of supporting and rewarding teams who come together to address problems. One of the major keys to success is creativity and individuals need to be able to work beyond boundaries to come up with innovative solutions that best utilise the technology.
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