Recently, two organizations have developed substantial white papers that discuss the status of quantum computing and provide insights of how it can create value in the future. The IBM Institute of Business Value has produced a report titled The Quantum Decade and the Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) report is titled What Happens When ‘If” Turns to ‘When’ in Quantum Computing?

Both of these may be particularly helpful to corporate executives, data analysts and IT professionals who are wondering if, why, when, and how their organization should get involved with quantum computing. One topic of particular interest discussed in both white papers interest are the potential use cases for quantum computing which include some concrete examples.

The IBM paper contains a little more introductory material and includes some history of quantum computing developments, IBM quantum roadmap for the next few years, and questions to ask when determining a quantum strategy for your organization. It describes waves of quantum advantage and how it will help to transform industries and provides a prioritization framework to help executives evaluate different potential applications. They also present prioritization matrix that can help executive classify potential applications into Early Bloomer, Late Bloomer, Wild Care and Mature Industry categories. They have also outlined five steps in a path to chart business value for their quantum computing portfolio. The IBM document concludes by providing industry guides for five different industries including Airlines, Banking and Financial Markets, Chemicals and Petroleum, Healthcare, and Life Sciences.

The BCG paper takes a different approach that can provide additional perspective. The BCG team started by interviewing 100 people with an approximately equal mix of individuals representing both end users and quantum experts. They also reviewed other data available in industry reports and website analyses including those from the Quantum Computing Report. Their focus was a little more quantitative and they provide estimates of the amount of business value as measured by operating income that can accrue due the use of quantum computers over the next thirty years. They further broke down these value estimates in three different ways by providing the values according to Algorithm Class, Application, and Quantum Development stage.

A summary of their results shows they believe quantum computing can provide business value of $5-$10 Billion within the next 3-5 year period, $80-170 Billion within the next 10-20 years, and $450-$850 within the next 15-30 years. Of these amounts, they told us that roughly 1/2 was obtained through improvements in top line revenue with the remainder achieve with cost reduction and efficiency improvements. It is important to understand that most of these benefits will accrue to the end users of quantum computing rather than the suppliers. Based upon historical data from the classical computing industry, they estimate that the suppliers, which includes companies providing hardware, software, and services, will accrue about 20% of these benefits while the users will accrue about 80%.

The BCG report goes on to describe five major types of quantum computing hardware technologies that are being pursued. It also provides some advice on “How to Play” by providing steps that they recommend depending upon whether one is a Technology Provider, End User, or a Potential Investor.

Both white papers are well worth the read. But we continue to emphasize to our viewers that quantum computing is a marathon and not a sprint. One should not believe all the hype and expect to see dramatic results in the near term. It is a difficult technology and the improvements will come step by step. In addition, we think there will be some quantum efforts that turn into spectacular failures so choosing the right path and partners will be critical. But over the next several decades quantum computing should have a significant impact and you should think carefully about how you want to get involved over the longer term,

You can download the IBM white paper from their website here and you can download the BCG white paper from their website here.

July 24, 2021