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Blockchain – Are you really ready?

Blockchain, the cloud-based distributed ledger, is one of the hottest emerging business technologies and has clearly become one of the latest buzzwords. But how do you know whether you are ready to deploy it for your company?

Blockchains provide a shared, immutable, secure record of transactions across a business network, so embarking upon a blockchain project will require commitment to a process that goes beyond one’s own organization or business. It also means joining or creating an extended business network to improve the processes.

CargoSmart, a Hong Kong-based software solutions provider, has approached its business from that angle and has developed an application that cuts the complexity of documentation in global commerce. The solution speeds up the process of collecting and confirming data from parties along the supply chain by nearly two-thirds, e.g. reducing clearance at customs and time consuming inspections, while boosting data accuracy and helping to avoid costly disputes.

 

"Blockchain technology provides immutable records and a trusted network to offer secure and traceable documentation,” Steve Siu, CEO of CargoSmart, says.

After uncovering that bitter truth while producing a television show more than a decade ago, Dutch investigative journalist Teun “Tony” van de Keuken and two fellow journalists went on to found Tony’s Chocolonely, based on the principle of producing only “slave-free chocolate”—and influencing other chocolate makers to do the same.

The other question to answer is whether you need to verify or authenticate a digital or physical asset across the network or business chain. While the most obvious form of blockchain is in authenticating digital assets like music or digital wallets, it also applies to physical assets. Certified Origins, a Tuscany, Italy-based community of small family farms is producing extra virgin olive oil that is exported to the US. Following its motto "trust through traceability," the Tuscans are deploying blockchain to boost transparency across its supply chain. Consumers value brands like Belluci providing provenance "from the tree to the shelf," Andrea Biagianti, CIO of Certified Origins, says.

In this case, not only does the asset need to tracked at every point in the supply chain, it also means that there is faith and trust ultimately in all the suppliers involved in that chain.

Like many technologies, while blockchain will certainly bring efficiencies and transparency to any transactions, deploying blockchain effectively means breaking down siloes, both within the organisation and way beyond. The success of blockchain relies on leaders that think and reach out beyond their traditional perimeter and are willing paradoxically, to take a risk that will lead to a more trustworthy business environment.

To find out more about which technologies are leaving the other behind, please read on here.