Beyond the Technical: Undervalued Benefits of Blockchain

Blockchain is growing in interest and adoption within the enterprise, according to SAP’s State of Blockchain Study. Blockchain was certainly the talk of 2018 across industries, but many of the technology’s most important benefits have been overlooked.

While blockchain is believed to be a solution to many business problems, this is not necessarily the case. But, it is igniting new discussions that can help enterprises find the right solutions to some of their biggest challenges. In all the hype, people tend to focus on technical discussions and fail to realize the value in just how much this technology is transforming the way we think within the enterprise.

Let’s take a closer look at the vastly underrated benefits to better understand just how much value this technology brings—even if it is not the perfect solution to a specific problem.

Finding Value In Blockchain Without Using It

The opportunities of blockchain are abundant, but enterprises must consider how much value this technology will add before adopting it. Take the advice, Don’t replace a proven technology with a new one unless it offers significant added value.”

While blockchain is certainly not always the best solution for every business challenge, it does hold disruptive potential across industries because it forces CEOs and CTOs to think about processes differently and in new ways than they have before. By spurring valuable conversations about topics including data sharing, cross-company collaboration, transparency and real-time insights, blockchain is the catalyst many businesses require to move forward—even if they don’t use blockchain technology to get them there.

The key to achieving success is to remain realistic and have a clear understanding of the challenge that needs to be solved. Because blockchain inspires new communication about handling data, it has and will continue to spark a transformation. The emergence of blockchain is already elevating the outdated data exchange discussion to a conversation about true data sharing, and the technology can be helping organizations implement new business processes and models.

Eliminating Data Silos With Technology

In today’s world, enterprises are increasingly evaluating the latest and greatest technologies to make their business ready for the future. For example, sensors and IoT-enabled technologies are used to connect the real world to the virtual world. Meanwhile, machine learning can be used to automate manual processes and enterprise cloud use is growing to store data in a such a way that we can easily access and control it from any location and at any time. These technologies help make up our connected world.  

However, enterprises often take a centralized view and approach to data. Because this data is critical, there is a tendency to protect it—and rightfully so. Unfortunately, enterprises can easily become guilty of storing digital copies of this data in unconnected platforms, creating silos. While enterprises can integrate data and create a central source of digital truth for stakeholders across the organization to access all relevant information in real-time, this real-time data typically ends at one company’s border.

The good news is that blockchain discussions are increasingly encouraging companies to find solutions to overcome the data silo challenge and enable controlled access to all required information across the comprehensive value chain.

Blockchain’s Industry Potential

In specific industries, blockchain has already proved its worth. For example, there’s a blockchain pharma network comprised of pharmaceutical and life sciences companies including AmerisourceBergen and Boehringer-Ingelheim that works to verify product authentication and mitigate product counterfeiting. Blockchain technology is a commonality of these companies, providing a bridge that allows them to collaborate on their different interests and benefits—whether it be manufacturers, wholesalers, or consumers.

The open network does not have one dominant leader and allows all participants to freely examine the present and future potential of blockchain. Another blockchain co-innovation project aims to help agribusinesses, ingredient producers, food manufacturers, and retailers improve transparency, traceability, and compliance in the supply chain. Blockchain, or potentially another distributed ledger technology, can add value to these types of businesses especially in terms of customer trust. By ensuring the authenticity of their products, these companies are improving confidence in food safety and at the same time, strengthening their brand image.

As interest in blockchain continues to grow, enterprises should first look at the problems they are trying to solve and really ask themselves if blockchain is the right solution. Even if it’s not the technology required to accomplish their goals, it can still contribute to innovation and lead them on the path to solving exactly what they need.


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