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Knowledge Center: Blockchain - PULSE MAGAZINE
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Knowledge Center: Blockchain

– KNOWLEDGE CENTER –

Blockchain Will Transform Business Operations:

Start Preparing Now

By: Melanie Cutlan, Global Blockchain Lead at Accenture Operations

As any professional knows, businesses today are more collaborative and interdependent than at any time in history and organizations need to partner closely across their ecosystem to exploit market opportunities and maximize co-innovation.

 

The enterprise value chain is now a complex ecosystem of partners, which impacts nearly every part of an organization’s operations. Managing those partner relationships smartly and effectively has never been more important; even the slightest inefficiencies can trap value and hinder smooth enterprise operations – something today’s demanding customers won’t easily forgive. It’s here that blockchain will prove a significant advantage to organizations, providing them with a powerful new tool with which to manage value chain partners and unlock the full benefits of sophisticated technologies such as artificial intelligence and analytics.

 

Accelerating Business Processes

 

At present, most enterprises rely on outdated, manual processes to share information with their supply chain partners. These organizations include logistics companies, suppliers, certification providers, service providers and regulators. When these relationships were relatively few and simple, this approach sufficed. But in today’s exponentially more complex environment the traditional approach is too slow, overly effort-intensive and prone to error. In many cases, poor information sharing between partners is acting as a barrier to the realization of value.

 

Blockchain offers a new, more reliable method of sharing up-to-date, trusted information with value chain partners without compromising enterprise speed and security. It does so by the nature of being a distributed, decentralized digital network for sharing data with confidence. Whereas today each partner maintains their own source of data – an approach which often leads to data inconsistencies across partners’ myriad of copies – blockchain provides every partner controlled access to a shared copy of the same data. As a result, reconciliation processes are accelerated, costs are reduced, and additional values are unlocked.

Benefits of Blockchain

The range of value that blockchain will bring to partners in a value chain are manifold, but we have identified three key benefits:

How do these benefits translate to real-world business applications?

The technology will have a use in almost any instance where information needs to be shared between partners. For example:

  • Supply chain with greater transparency. The level of transparency blockchain enables can significantly improve key supply chain segments including “track & trace,” warranty and recalls.
  • Financial accounting with improved efficiencies. Blockchain could dramatically reduce the time and steps required to resolve an invoice dispute. It could even prevent discrepancies from happening in the first place.
  • Sourcing and category management with reduced vendor risk. Blockchain could be used to create a mutualized data source for vendor profiles. This approach would improve the quality of data on vendors and allow buyers to access the data instantly. In aggregate, the data could more robustly inform prospective buyers in areas like compliance or reputation, as well as improve the ease to stay apprised post-contract.

Blockchain Combined With Cutting-edge Technologies

 

The promise of blockchain is clear. The technology will provide a new mechanism for increasing trust and transparency and making business processes more efficient, creating a new type of value chain that is more streamlined, collaborative and effective.

 

However, blockchain will eventually do much more. By combining blockchain with analytics and cognitive capabilities, blockchain will provide opportunities for companies to further reduce the effort and complexity of doing business together. Companies of the future will be better able to automate repetitive, transactional tasks as well as supplement judgment-based activities using absolute data and embedded intelligent business logic, all while ensuring that the results propagate successfully to the rest of the ecosystem.

 

Blockchain and the Future

 

The future belongs to organizations that embrace blockchain. Blockchain is quickly emerging as a critical technology for businesses. The potential benefits are significant and will provide a huge advantage to early adopters of the technology. Our advice to business leaders is clear: Start planning and mobilizing now to determine how best to use this disruptive technology to unleash value trapped in key operational processes. To do this, we recommend organizations create a formal framework by which they can determine potential blockchain use cases, impacts and benefits. This framework will help businesses understand what they want to achieve with the technology and which partners they should collaborate with.

 

By acting now, enterprises can shape the future of this transformative technology instead of being disrupted by it.

 

For more information on Blockchain’s transformative power for business operations, download a new Accenture point of view on the topic.

About the Author: As the Technology Innovation Senior Principal within Accenture Operations Growth and Strategy, Melanie Cutlan leads the Blockchain Practice for Accenture Operations. She explores emerging technologies, applies them to the business and advises Accenture’s senior leaders on future implications due to blockchain technology.

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