by Tugrul Firatli

In today’s digital economy, superior operating models can only be achieved by optimally aligning innovative technology infrastructures with overarching business goals. Organizations are therefore in a perpetual search to simplify complex business processes with innovative technology and gain competitive advantage and flexibility. Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) represent a tectonic shift for global businesses, almost identical to the transformation driven by the Internet in the 90s.

The digital economy era’s business-to-business (B2B) relationships depend on sharing data and securing transactions in a complex world of global supply chains with numerous participants, services and integration points. However, despite the continuously evolving technology landscape since the Internet revolution, the B2B infrastructures have more or less been confined to the same first-generation core principles. Secure collaboration of business processes still requires complex application integration in an environment of multiple private siloes of data and manual interventions for reconciliation of information. Transparency, security and compliance remain key challenges while organizations are facing a data explosion and transaction volumes among a large number of untrusted parties during their digital transformation journey.

While enterprise business and IT executives recognize the enormous potential of Blockchain technology, they also need to rationalize and justify the benefits with minimum risk and business distraction. The most commonly cited hurdles for enterprise adoption according to recent surveys are:

  • Integration challenges with the existing IT infrastructure
  • Lack of internal Blockchain expertise and the associated cost of acquiring it
  • Concerns about current mainstream Blockchain platform dependencies and future interoperability issues
  • Uncertainty about scalability, governance of change and standards

But organizations cannot afford to miss out on the business opportunities that Blockchain technology opens up. Blockchain’s transformational nature sets the scene for new business models and relationships. As early movers capture the opportunity and the competitive advantage, followers will be seriously disadvantaged while they try to play catch-up.

According to a recent World Economic Forum/Accenture [1] report, 51% of survey respondents identified “missing out on developing new products/services” as the number-one concern if they do not invest in blockchain technology in the near future. The other two most common answers were “missing out on speed/efficiency gains” (23%) and “missing out on cost savings” (15%).

We at BCware perceive Blockchain/DLT as a foundational enabling technology that needs to be completely transparent to the end-user. Enterprise IT staff do not need to know the internal working details of a traditional SQL database in order to put it into use. The same should apply to Blockchain as a distributed ledger. BCware’s Blockchain-agnostic approach allows us to use best-of-breed platforms while keeping an open door for future platform innovations without risking customer deployments for interoperability. With BCware team’s strong background as pioneers of enterprise integration, we provide a platform that integrates seamlessly with the existing enterprise IT infrastructure with near-zero effort on behalf of the customer.

The Blockchain-powered BCware Multi-Party Integration Platform is an enterprise-grade and industry-vertical agnostic Blockchain PaaS (Platform as a Service) to deliver on the emerging needs of the digital enterprise. Two key design principles govern the BCware high level architecture:

  • Plug-and-play integration with the existing enterprise IT infrastructure through loosely-coupled APIs
  • Blockchain platform-agnostic architecture through a fully decoupled and abstracted access layer

BCware’s approach therefore empowers enterprises overcome the major barriers in DLT adoption through the BCware platform architectural principles as depicted below:

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Secure collaboration of business processes is at the heart of today’s very complex global supply chains. The management of these supply chains is a formidable challenge as the technology foundations of these systems have been stagnant around the same principles since the early Internet days. Blockchain offers an opportunity to solve the perennial issues that compromise supply chain effectiveness. A recent Capgemini [2] survey identified the highest priority traditional supply chain pain points as:

  • Lack of traceability
  • Risks involved with multiple stakeholders
  • Lack of responsiveness
  • Abundance of manual processing
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Reconciliation burden

According to the same Capgemini survey, the following industry verticals are aggressively pursuing adoption Blockchain technologies:

Manufacturing

  • Supplier contract management
  • Holistic view of assets
  • Production tracking
  • Recalled goods tracking

Consumer Products

  • Tracking provenance
  • Monitoring asset conditions
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Warranty management

Retail

  • Blockchain-enabled market places
  • Preventing counterfeit products
  • Tracking returned goods
  • Blockchain-enabled loyalty programs

The BCware platform has been designed and implemented with a vertical agnostic approach. We have also paid close attention to market business challenges that are likely to be early beneficiaries of Blockchain along with the early adopter industry verticals.

References:

[1] World Economic Forum & Accenture (2019): Building Value with BlockChain Technology: How to Evaluate Blockchain’s Benefits. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Building_Value_with_Blockchain.pdf

[2] Capgemini Research Institute (2019): Does blockchain hold the key to a new age of supply chain transparency and trust?

https://www.capgemini.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Digital-Blockchain-in-Supply-Chain-Report.pdf