Driven by internal demand for real-time data across apps and systems, corporate finance is opening its doors to ERP — and is poised to engage with the potential offered by blockchain.
Blockchain provides companies in several industries with a shared data ledger, including other parties to a transaction.
Blockchain has evolved to give companies a high degree of security in the way they process their data. Companies also prize visibility and the ability to view transactions in real time.
According to a recent Oracle report on new technology trends, blockchain is among the leading technologies set to transform supply chains, reporting, and the ways that businesses work. Blockchain has initially been built for financial tasks but could potentially end up automating routine transaction processing, eliminating manual tasks and the likelihood of errors.
Oracle estimates that roughly 40 percent of leaders are already exploring blockchain and other technologies set to revolutionize the way businesses work in the 21st century.
“Transactions recorded via blockchain are designed to be secure, trusted, immutable and completely transparent to all stakeholders worldwide,” explains Sarosh Khan, Associate Partner at IBM. “These attributes help you streamline the expensive, inefficient processes currently found in your ERP environment with a new approach that can save time for all parties involved, lower costs throughout your business network, and significantly reduce risk.”
IBM is working with Oracle to integrate its blockchain solutions with the Oracle ERP cloud and take advantage of the open network that it provides. Its blockchain for ERP solutions are built around a company’s network of suppliers, the digitization of critical business processes, and a single shared ledger that can be accessed securely by all parties in a network.
SAP has also been investing in blockchain applications for ERP. The company believes blockchain is perfect for manufacturing as it allows companies to have various types of information present within the same chain, from the specifications and the history of iterations to data about the exact machine that made a product.
SAP says it has been experimenting with blockchain in if/then operational threads, 3D printing, and digital manufacturing. Many of the SAP trials are currently focused on supply chain management and provenance checking.
Some key US industries, including pharmaceuticals and food, demand high levels of data transparency to meet demanding regulatory criteria. Both sectors are already major users of ERP platforms.
Regulators may even force blockchain adoption on some companies — for example, real time oversight solutions are being sought for the financial services market. It may still take other industries longer to adopt the technology, but when they do, we will frequently see this happening within their ERP systems.