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Integrating Blockchain with ERP
19th November 2018
Integrating Blockchain with ERP

Blockchain continues to expand beyond its use in cryptocurrency – which almost uniquely drove initial interest in the solution. ERP software is emerging as a particularly suitable application of the technology. As a highly secure and permanent record, the distributed ledger technology has applications across every function and process type, in an organization. Blockchain provides a dependable system of unimpeachable integrity that all stakeholders can trust, which is also a decentralized record. ERP systems can be considerably enhanced in their effectiveness by blockchain technology, through the creation of robust records of data being generated by enterprise systems, as well as the ability to exercise very specific control over access.

An immutable electronic ledger, blockchain can be shared between either public or private users – depending on the application and deployment – as a record of time stamped transactions that are linked sequentially. All updates and changes, along with each specific record entry, are thus verifiable in perpetuity. In one fell swoop, blockchain upgrades data access and sharing with an unprecedented confidence over veracity that does not depend on a central authority for certification.

Blockchain based enterprise interactions and networks are built around specified assets and participants, whose interactions are secured by verifiable transactions and registries. As a secure record of every individual transaction – that can never be erased and only be updated by the consensus of all stakeholders – blockchain essentially encourages energetic interactions between participants because of the dependable integrity it delivers.

Integrating blockchain with solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics 365/AX or CRM can help your enterprise ensure security and scalability within your business model – simultaneously enhancing agile functionality and the highest standards of data integrity.

Secure and decentralized blockchain systems empower interactions beyond the current paradigm

The vast majority of enterprise generated data globally, is currently siloed – placing limitations on optimal synergies, big data analytics, real time process control and avenues for a competitive advantage. A recent blockchain system developed in conjunction by IBM and Maersk – that manages and tracks millions of individual containers across the globe – has brought the benefits of securely digitizing supply chains into sharp focus. As an industry wide blockchain based trading platform, the efficiencies gained are translating into serious numbers and giving first mover advantage to early adopters. Drawing a highly enthusiastic response from industry, the system has already been subscribed to by almost a hundred corporate entities.

Blockchain’s capacity to transform and influence is constantly being upgraded with the emergence of new features and innovations. Along with these capabilities, the very nature of relationships that blockchain technology enables is the great game-changing drawcard. Public blockchains permit anyone with access enabled to transact and update the ledger, while private blockchains have a limited and pre-selected number of nodes with the authority to do so. This lack of centralized regulation also ensures that there’s no single point of failure. For enterprises, this introduces the theoretical capacity to access services and collaborations, without being locked into exclusive contracts. As open source platforms, blockchain based contracts will mature rapidly and with far greater standards of security than legacy models could provide.

ERP of the future will employ blockchain to transform access to data and insights

In a recent initiative, which was deployed with the technical assistance of IBM, Walmart and nine other companies – Nestlé SA, Dole Food Co., Driscoll’s Inc., Golden State Foods, Kroger Co., McCormick and Co., McLane Co., Tyson Foods Inc. and Unilever NV, have launched the Food Trust blockchain. The initiative will dramatically enhance the companies’ capacity to anticipate supply, disease outbreaks that affect produce and supply chain issues. In another instance, Sweden-based software company IFS has demonstrated the enhancements in ERP systems, that blockchain integration can generate, within the aviation industry.

Delivering a significant enhancement – that intuitively manages privacy and security while granting selective access – is key for such large projects that allow businesses the ability to integrate data and complementary processes at a scale that legacy systems simply cannot. Nor is integrating blockchain functionality with ERP systems likely to present major challenges. ERP systems have a well developed capacity for add-ons and integrated tools – as evidenced by the deployment of XML, EDI and analytics in the past. As these unprecedented advantages deliver inflated bottomlines and enhanced efficiencies, widespread adoption of the strategy appears inevitable.

Conclusion

As a complementary capability to ERP systems, blockchain radically amplifies and simplifies cohesion between multiple entities across numerous functions simultaneously – both within an organization and beyond. The ability to deliver optimal results through integration of complementary relationships – while concurrently reducing vulnerabilities and enhancing security – is an advantage that will transform the ability of enterprises to do business cohesively.

To understand how Microsoft Dynamics 365 can help your business operate to its optimum potential, please reach out to us at marketing@levtechconsulting.com.

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