July 8, 2020 By Naren Krishnan
Ram Viswanathan
3 min read

Technologies like blockchain, IoT, AI and automation, play a key role in the transformation of organizations to a cognitive enterprise. Interaction with its stakeholder ecosystem is foundational to any enterprise and blockchain solutions make these interactions efficient by optimizing these touchpoints.

As we discussed in our previous post, blockchain technology brings trust in transactions by ensuring collaboration among all members and recording consensus of every transaction. Blockchain also ensures the data is tamperproof or cannot be modified in any manner. This aspect ensures non-repudiation and provides provenance of the assets exchanged in the network.

Blockchain-based business networks not only play a pivotal role optimizing business transactions between enterprises, it also enables access to large volumes of trusted data of extended business processes. This in turn can help enterprises develop optimize-extended business interactions and develop newer insights.

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Intelligent workflows

To a large extent, enterprises have optimized internal business processes via various custom and package software solutions. However, when it comes to interactions with its extended ecosystem (stakeholders like suppliers, buyers, bankers, shippers, transporters, insurers and regulators), enterprises rely largely on a patchwork of systems with duplicative data. Also, additional processing and manual interventions are required for verification of information provided. All these take precious resources and time impacting operational efficiency and increasing transaction overhead.

Enterprises spend close to 75 percent of their revenue in procurement of goods and services on a regular basis. Optimizing extended business transactions with blockchain-enabled intelligent workflow solutions can greatly help reduce friction in these interactions.

Blockchain-based solutions can help optimize these extended business processes by enabling intelligent workflows via smart contracts and increase trust data exchanged via consensus, replication and non-repudiation mechanisms.

Visibility of data and clear understanding of consensus mechanisms among parties will go a long way towards enabling intelligent workflows and increase trust in transactions. This, in turn will help improve the bottom line and increase customer satisfaction.

Newer business insights

Every organization has a treasure trove of internally trusted data. Additionally, organizations procure market data that is generic in nature to develop market insights. With blockchain-based solutions, organizations have access to large volumes of trusted data of interactions within their own ecosystem. The value of insights harvested from this data would be very valuable — for example, top suppliers who are providing on-time, top suppliers of parts with fewer defects.

It is important to note that companies do attempt to generate these insights using the existing centralized systems and externally procured cleansed market data. Such insights are not dispute-free and reliable to the extent that they can be trusted by all parties in the network. The insights generated using data generated by blockchain solutions is trusted by all participants within the network via a consensus mechanism. With reliable insights derived from data generated by blockchain solutions, businesses can now offer new products and services and conduct newer ways of handling campaigns, procurement and more.

Further, additional insights could be developed by applying analytics and AI on the trusted data generated by a blockchain network. The trusted data in a blockchain network also brings the provenance of the assets being handled. Since every major step in the lifecycle of the asset is being recorded in a blockchain, the network can determine the trusted history of the asset. The provenance in turn increases customer confidence in the origin of the product and helps meet industry regulations.

For example, IBM Food Trust creates a secure, shared, and permissioned record of journey of food from farm to fork. This enables unprecedented visibility during each step of the food supply chain and increases consumer trust.

Trusted marketplace

Marketplaces where stakeholders compete for access to larger audiences, is already par for the course in consumer industries. From the ecommerce sites where we shop, to the taxis we travel in, hotels, and even our music apps, we are saturated daily with marketplaces. Organizations thus far has been reluctant to embrace the marketplace concept due data ownership and competitive fears.

Blockchain-based networks can help build trusted marketplaces for enterprises providing data security while broadening the ecosystem of all participants enabling access to larger groups of buyers, sellers, shippers, bankers and insurers across the supply chain ecosystem.

Blockchain-based solutions can be a key enabler for businesses to become cognitive organizations. The journey to become a cognitive enterprise is greatly accelerated by blockchain technology providing better process automation, by providing access to large volumes of trusted data, by enabling application of AI to obtain newer business insights and by providing access to a larger ecosystem of relevant stakeholders.

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