Since its introduction as the technology powering Bitcoin, Blockchain continues to inspire game-changing ideas across all industries. Yet, as companies begin their journey with Blockchain, they are realizing the barriers that must first be overcome.
A Playbook for Blockchain in the Enterprise, Part 1
This is the first blog in a playbook that will cover several aspects of using Blockchain for business, from getting started and brainstorming ideas, to integrating and securing Blockchain in a production environment.
Planning for Innovation
Businesses are seeing the potential of Blockchain and are experimenting with proofs of concept to incubate their ideas. Yet only a small percentage of these are expected to graduate to production. It can be easy to get caught up in the hype surrounding Blockchain without first mapping a path to success. How can organizations choose the right use case from the start to maximize their investment and participate in the Blockchain Revolution? It first requires understanding the benefits of Blockchain, and then playing to its strengths.
The Value of Trust
We’ll assume you have at least a vague idea of how the technology behind Blockchain works. However, you don’t have to be an expert on the technical aspects to begin considering the possibilities.
We at CA specialize in software and tools to establish Digital Trust. You could also say this is the primary objective of Blockchain.
Today, processes operate according to a lack of trust. We rely on intermediaries such as banks to ensure that we can trust other parties. We depend on disparate, inefficient systems of record that are vulnerable to compromise. We still require paper trails and human intervention to facilitate the exchange of high-value items.
Blockchain helps us overcome these challenges by increasing trust and providing new ways of conducting business.
Putting It into Practice
Now that you’re more familiar with the benefits of Blockchain, a simple fill-in-the-blank question can be used to identify opportunities for your business:
When transacting with outside parties, where does my business lack _________________? (e.g. Trust, Efficiency, Transparency, etc.)
You can see this in action today through the many companies already using Blockchain:
- Walmart has created a proof of concept that uses Blockchain to track the shipment of pork into the U.S. from China. Now, in the case of a food safety recall, Walmart can pinpoint where it is in the supply chain (transparency) and reduce the resolution time down from days to minutes (efficiency, cost savings)[i].
- Global financial firm Citi has teamed with the Nasdaq stock exchange to develop a payments system to overcome liquidity issues with private equity payments (trust) and streamline the settlement of shares (efficiency, cost savings)[ii].
- A new startup called Everledger provides a global registry for diamonds that uses Blockchain technology to track the provenance of stones to avoid fraud (trust) and diamonds sourced from war zones (transparency)[iii].
Key Questions for Blockchain Adoption
There are several aspects to consider when starting a Blockchain. We created the Decision Tree Diagram below to assist our customers when beginning their journey.
Getting Started with Open Source Tools
The best way to learn about Blockchain is to dive into today’s open-source platforms and begin experimenting. Two primary Blockchain initiatives have emerged to support both private and public implementations of Blockchain.
- Hyperledger was started in 2015 by the Linux Foundation to support blockchain-based enterprise solutions using open protocols and standards. It includes leaders in finance, banking, Internet of Things, supply chains, manufacturing and technology. CA Technologies joined the Hyperledger consortium in November 2016.
- Ethereum is an open-source public platform based on blockchain technology that enables developers to build and deploy smart contracts (a way to automate complex exchanges) within decentralized applications. It is supported by the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, a group of Fortune 500 companies committed to advancing the technology.
How CA Can Help
We are working with customers to identify their most pressing needs related to Blockchain, whether starting POCs or launching production-scale implementations on the mainframe. What we have learned is that each milestone in the journey with Blockchain presents its own challenges, and we hope to engage with our customers as they evolve from ideation to implementation.
If you are interested in discussing your experience with Blockchain, or would like to learn more about the Blockchain solutions that CA is exploring, please send us an email.