What is Deloitte's new Blockchain in a Box?
Back in 2016, the global blockchain market was worth $212.12mn. That figure is expected to grow to exceed $8.68bn by the close of 2024, which represents a CAGR of over 59%, and highlights the technology’s potential as one of the most lucrative innovation frontiers in the world.
According to a survey conducted earlier this year by finance and technology professional services and consulting firm Deloitte, 83% of survey respondents said their organisations see compelling use cases for blockchain, and more than half (53%) reported that blockchain technology has become a critical priority for their organization this year — a 10% increase over last year.
However, while the report notes that blockchain is reaching a tipping point between “a capable yet underdeveloped technology” and “a more refined and mature solution poised to deliver on its initial promise to disrupt”, many companies are struggling to know where to start. Executives that recognise the potential of blockchain as a driving force behind the evolution of business systems are, according to Deloitte, still prone to misunderstanding the technology and which of its applications are possible, plausible and practical.
In order to normalise blockchain as an enterprise technology and provide “intuitive, tangible blockchain demonstrations and experimentations,” Deloitte today released its latest offering: "Blockchain in a Box".
A mobile, self-contained technology platform capable of hosting blockchain-based solutions across four small-form-factor compute nodes and three video displays, as well as networking components that enable integration with external services, such as traditional cloud technologies, “Blockchain in a Box" is packed to the brim with demo solutions designed to give companies better insight into how to make blockchain work for them.
"Deloitte custom built this solution based on client interest in understanding blockchain capabilities in live interactions," said Linda Pawczuk, principal, Deloitte Consulting. "What's often misunderstood about blockchain is that it is an entirety of a technology solution — when in reality, it's a technology component that enables larger business applications and approaches. Our mobile demonstration is practical, tactical and most importantly, tangible to clients."
With its emphasis on easy interaction and tangible results, the “Blockchain in a Box” provides developers with the tools to easily create and share blockchain-powered digital apps, while placing minimum demands on their enterprise’s own hardware.
The solution was demonstrated in May of this year at Consensus 2019, an annual consortium of the world’s leading cryptocurrency and blockchain technology players.
"Each time we use the ‘Blockchain in a Box’ to facilitate exploration, the reaction is that of curiosity and excitement where the audience leaves with a deeper understanding of blockchain and how the use cases are implemented," said Chih-Wei Yi, principal at Deloitte & Touche. "It helps to demystify blockchain and is a refreshing and well-grounded approach versus traditional slideware-based demonstrations."
Deloitte’s attempt to clarify the practical applications of blockchain could be a vital step towards introducing the technology to new industries and companies in a way that creates value and promotes understanding.
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.