Will the real blockchain please stand up?
Will the real blockchain please stand up?

Will the real blockchain please stand up?

Maybe businesses are incorrectly zeroing-in on the technology that powers it, or perhaps organizations are apprehensive.

Some reports show decreasing adoption or investment in blockchain and this can lead people to believe that blockchain is burning out or fading away. In reality, investment is up—in just the first half of 2018, blockchain investment in the United States exceeded the total investment seen in 2017.

The experimentation phase for blockchain is closing and now is the time for adoption. While blockchain has primarily been looked at from a financial services and insurance point of view to date, the reality is that blockchain opportunities are everywhere and can advance and provide competitive advantage to any number of U.S. and global businesses—healthcare and life sciences, telecom, real estate, retail and manufacturing, government, etc.

Is blockchain a tech play?

In short, no. Blockchain’s ability to integrate and penetrate into the heart of business systems and processes makes it an innovation catalyst, efficiency accelerator, and purveyor of trust and transparency—a highly coveted trait for both businesses and consumers alike.

Distilling away from all the hype and frenzy, the organizations and governments investing in blockchain realize the driving force for blockchain is not the technology, it is the unique way it can solve business problems across the front, middle, and back office.

Major enterprise resource planning (ERP) software vendors—SAP, Oracle, Microsoft—are all looking to blockchain as a way to add value to their current offerings. Businesses are exploring blockchain as a way to link ERPs to various internal and external systems where secure data sharing is required.

In the front office

Organizations are turning to blockchain to better track, quantify, and share the value associated with customer experience. Some front office undertakings with blockchain include analytics-based customer segmentation, increased advertising transparency and spend tracking abilities, predictive and geo marketing, stronger identity verification, and tightened security of personal info for consumers and businesses alike.

In the middle office

Blockchain platforms are elevating middle office functions from cost centers to profit enablers. Blockchain’s value-added transparency creates a holistic view of real-time business data that streamlines wide-ranging operations, supply chains, and procurement operations; improves transaction speed and thoroughness; and advances the ability of an enterprise to monitor and upgrade its operations.

In the back office

Businesses are under relentless pressure to drive down operating costs. In the back office, blockchain is optimizing finance, accounting processes, and human resources. This helps businesses resolve long-standing issues related to intra- and inter-company reconciliation—enabling faster time to close and reduced carrying costs quarter over quarter.

Blockchain is about enabling businesses to thrive in the digital world

With nonstop innovation and rising consumerism fueling simultaneous disruptions across every sector, businesses everywhere are looking for an edge—how can we innovate more, how do we challenge existing business models, how do we become more agile, are there new markets we can disrupt, should we explore new partnerships, how can we make a difference?

Blockchain projects focused as just a tech play are not going to succeed or scale because blockchain requires an integrated and business-focused approach. When explored through an enterprise-wide lens, the entire business can take the time to challenge existing models, understand the potential use cases for blockchain, and realize how it can be leveraged to deliver business value.

This is part of a larger trend of businesses democratizing information technology (IT) to promote innovation, empower employees, and ensure that digital transformation investments are holistically aligned with defined business goals. This requires CEOs, CFOs, and the entire C-suite to strategically come together and align around a “case for change,” enabled by blockchain, instead of focusing on funding a specific technology.

KPMG is working alongside finance, operational executives, and innovation teams—both within the business and in IT organizations—to lower the barrier to implement blockchain solutions. Our mutual objective is to enable transparency across the business without significant disruption to current operations.

We are assisting companies across sectors to realize blockchain’s promise of transformation—securely sharing transactional data in a multiparty system, improving process efficiency, and reducing costs to expand their reach, meet regulatory compliance, and continue to gain customer and partner trust in the era of global commerce.

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