Thought Leadership

Reinvent your ERP processes with blockchain

IBM Blockchain is helping clients across industries cut costs, increase efficiency and reduce risk

These days, there’s a lot of interest surrounding blockchain, but mostly in the context of cryptocurrency. However, the power of the blockchain can extend far beyond its roots in the financial world. It can also enable a new approach to enterprise resource management across industries.

IBM is working with our clients to develop new business applications for blockchain. Along with our extensive blockchain research and our support for open source initiatives like Hyperledger, this work has helped make us the top-ranked blockchain technology leader, according to Juniper Research.

In the past, truth in the business world was subjective: each organization had their own version of the truth, based on their own specific set of records. This contributed to miscommunication and a lack of trust between business partners, and generally made it harder for business transactions to take place.

By contrast, IBM Blockchain solutions help create an objective truth that can be shared among all organizations in a business network. This can create important benefits, particularly when used to support Oracle ERP Cloud applications.

IBM Blockchain solutions are built with four core principles in mind:

  • Shared ledger: This append-only system of record is available to all members of a business network.
  • Smart contracts: Business terms are built into transactions automatically.
  • Privacy: Transactions are only visible to those with valid reasons to access them.
  • Proof: Transactions are endorsed by all involved participants.

The blockchain approach to ERP

IBM’s Oracle Enterprise applications team is working to integrate our blockchain solutions with Oracle ERP cloud, to take advantage of the open network it provides. Our blockchain for ERP solutions are built around three characteristics:

  • A network of suppliers, customers, bankers, logistics providers and other business partners who are willing to participate in the process.
  • Digitization of business processes involved in the transfer of goods, services and other assets.
  • A single shared ledger that can be accessed securely by all parties in the network.

The problem with existing ERP solutions is that they often perform transactions that are inefficient, expensive and vulnerable. The transactions are also very costly to maintain and audit, and difficult to track. Until recently, this was a problem without a solution — that is, until blockchain came on to the scene.

Transactions recorded via blockchain are designed to be secure, trusted, immutable and completely transparent to all stakeholders worldwide. These attributes help you streamline the expensive, inefficient processes currently found in your ERP environment with a new approach that can save time for all parties involved, lower costs throughout your business network and significantly reduce risk. In addition, blockchain helps you build trust with your business partners, which can streamline future transactions.

Blockchain for ERP use cases

As blockchain matures, adoption is growing. IBM is investing a great deal of resources to help make it available and useful to as many of our clients as possible. Here are just a few examples of use cases for IBM Blockchain with Oracle ERP:

  • In manufacturing, a shared ledger can provide complete provenance details for each individual component of a product, accessible to all parties involved within the supply chain.
  • In finance, blockchain applications can collect transactional data from multiple financial systems, creating a simplified audit trail.
  • In law, blockchain can create a shared repository of legal documents along with their approval history.
  • In food services, organizations can create more secure documentation of raw materials, with real-time visibility into the food supply chain.

We believe the blockchain can extend the boundaries of the enterprise. The process takes information that would have previously been stored in the ERP silos of just one company and makes it available in a trusted system of record across disparate companies. When you apply this new capability to reinventing your ERP processes, the possibilities are practically endless. Pairing IBM Blockchain solutions with Oracle ERP applications can provide greater visibility into a wide range of processes, including order capture, shipping manifests, supply chains, equipment maintenance and dispute-resolution systems.

At IBM, we are working hard to translate the potential of blockchain into real business value, and our partnership with Oracle plays a key role in this effort. To learn more about ways you can improve your business using blockchain, visit IBM Blockchain today.

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The actions described in this post build on each other to help organizations succeed and grow in a world where industry incumbents driving disruption is increasingly the norm.

IBM is one of the world’s largest Oracle partners. Our expertise across systems integration, application management, software and infrastructure is unparalleled. IBM is helping incumbents deploy Oracle Cloud solutions — pairing them with proprietary IBM assets when appropriate — to become the new disrupters.

As the first step, the IBM Oracle Cloud Impact Assessment can help you determine the optimal path forward to becoming a disrupter. Sign up today to find out how the assessment can help you on your journey. Learn more about the IBM and Oracle partnership at ibm.com/oracle.

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Associate Partner, Oracle ERP & SCM Cloud Leader

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