According to Accenture’s Intelligent Operations research, over 90 percent of enterprises feel they need to partner closely across the ecosystem to exploit market opportunities. But many players struggle to forge such close relationships due to data and process constraints that make it difficult to link their operations. Blockchain promises to change all that.

What is blockchain?

Most of you have probably heard the term “blockchain” by now. But many still don’t fully understand what it is, and prevailing misconceptions only further cloud the issue. At its essence, blockchain is a powerful new tool that enables traditionally independent players to work together to streamline and integrate processes. It overcomes the limitations of traditional database models, building trust into every transaction via attributes those traditional models don’t have. So all parties have controlled access to a single, shared copy of data, rather than relying on redundant, siloed systems. When deployed across a value chain, blockchain can deliver greater security, improved cost efficiency, more reliability, and optimized reconciliations—which can translate into hundreds of millions of dollars in gains for everyone involved.

In other words, blockchain is about new ways of sharing information together, rather than hoarding data at the center—distributing data across a network, putting you in control of where and how you interact with data that matters to you and your value chain partners. And it extends current efforts to automate key aspects of a company’s operations. Think of it this way: Streamlining operations is all about data, exceptions, and processing. That’s what automation does today. We operations professionals try to handle as many situations as possible with analytics, Robotic Process Automation, and other applied intelligence tools. What are we missing? Refining the process to be as straightforward and transparent as possible so we don’t have to automate things after the fact. That’s blockchain.

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By: Melanie Cutlan Technology Innovation Senior Principal, Accenture Operations

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