Blockchain’s coming of age in the world of enterprise

by NISH KOTECHA

Nish Kotecha
Nish Kotecha, chairman and co-founder of Finboot

AT THE recent Business Blockchain Summit in London, Dale Chrystie, FedEx’s blockchain strategist, invoked the words of FedEx founder Frederick W Smith: In business, there are no prizes for coming second.

Staying ahead requires innovation, and today, enterprises are flooded with cloud-based technology to replace increasingly obsolete legacy systems. Start-ups and technology giants are leading the charge with ideas built around AI, machine-learning, IoT and — of course — blockchain.

Welcome to industry 4.0, and the smart factory of the future.

(Click here to see stock prices for the companies mentioned in the article)

Blockchain graphicBlockchain is the bridge between the sensors that track the movement of products along manufacturing and supply chains (IoT) and analyse the resulting data. These are the data that will inform the manufacture and movement of products tomorrow. Data are the feed-stock of tomorrow’s factories; blockchain is the technology for data, the accuracy and security of which are crucial.

Most trading organisations are active in two supply chains: physical and financial. The financial supply chain has the advantage of being digital, while the physical one remains analogue and significantly slower. According to IBM and Maersk, 25 percent of containers, carrying about 80 percent of goods used by consumers each day, are on average late by one to three days.

The administration cost of moving goods around is about 20 percent of the cost. A majority of executives in large enterprises consider blockchain to be one of their key strategic opportunities in the next 12-24 months, particularly in their supply chain / sustainability.

Repsol’s investment in Finboot proves this point. As a customer, Repsol was well placed to see at first-hand the opportunities presented by blockchain. MARCO, Finboot’s flagship product, allows enterprises to access and use blockchain infrastructure technologies within their organisations through a “blockchain-agnostic” SaaS delivery model.

In blockchain it is important to take the lead. Its long-term value proposition rests on wide-scale adoption by all stakeholders, starting internally to improve workflows, then moving externally to bring on-board everyone from the smallest manufacturer to the largest distributor and the end customer.

Repsol’s integration of the MARCO platform followed these steps. First, into laboratories to track and trace the product through its lifecycle, changing characteristics to meet its customer requirements. The product enabled the integration at all touch points, and ROI can be identified. Repsol estimates that the improved implementation in internal workflows could save about €400k per annum.

Blockchain technology is coming of age in the enterprise world. Private blockchains to replace costly, complex and inefficient legacy systems seem set to continue to be a central theme of business transformation.

* Nish Kotecha is chairman and co-founder of Finboot.

 

Publicly traded companies in this story:

FedEx FDX 155.06 -5.46 -3.40%
IBM IBM 131.25 -4.54 -3.34%