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Can Blockchain Be Leveraged As NextGen BPM?

Posted by Hitarshi Buch

Business process re-engineering has always been the cornerstone of organizations looking to improve efficiency and gain competitive edge. BPM (Business Process Management) has been leveraged to orchestrate process activities and handle the complex workflows as well as various human and system touchpoints.

Enter Blockchain, which is a de-centralized, peer-to-peer network having the potential to disrupt how IT solutions have been built so far. Blockchain is perhaps best known as the technology underpinning bitcoin, but its potential applications go well beyond enabling digital currencies.

Blockchain platforms that support DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) and Smart Contracts are capable of hosting business data and the rules for managing the data. Each participant of Blockchain network:

  • can have an equal say in the process and rules of engagement
  • can perform business transactions which are validated and accepted only via consensus
  • can have access to an irrefutable, common version of process state and the related chain of events

Blockchain has the power and potential to introduce business process improvement because:

Blockchain provides:

Value Proposition:

Near-real time availability of relevant data on the shared ledger

Enhanced process efficiency: by removing bottlenecks and enabling educated decision making

Transparent collaboration of disparate parties in the business network

Improved quality of business processes

Smart contract enabled validation and business rules

Better flexibility and agility of the business process

Secured, shared, immutable registry that becomes a "source of truth" for the process state

Resolution of disputes and automatic reconciliation

Peer-to-peer model which integrates different enterprises over a common network

Increases outreach of business network

For example, a good application of using Blockchain could be to eliminate the process delays and deficiencies of an auto-accident claim process involving multiple parties such as drivers, insurance companies, body shops and motor vehicle department. The quality of the claim handling process can be improved with the use of blockchain technology, since it would provide means to prevent the use erroneous or out dated data within the process. Another example is of increasing efficiency in settlement processes for financial products by enabling financial agreements to be recorded once and thereby eliminating duplication of data to save time and costs as reconciliation processes become redundant.

Blockchain adoption will impact existing business processes and hence its comparison with BPM is inevitable. There are commonalities at a conceptual level because both technologies have the capability to maintain and manage the process state. BPM has evolved and matured over the years to provide business process design and implementation tools with advanced features such as workflow management, task delegation, escalation etc. But any BPM implementation is essentially owned, built and maintained by the entity having the largest stake in that particular value chain. Blockchain, on the other hand, creates a business network which can spans across enterprises, introduces disintermediation, distributes the ownership and the risks while enabling near-real time exchange of data that can help in making faster informed decisions.

Thus it can be safely concluded that Blockchain technology will positively impact a wide spectrum of business processes by inculcating betterment in aspects related to efficiency, quality, agility, compliance and networking of business processes. So organizations might as well be prepared for this new disruptive technology and embrace it as the NextGen BPM.

About Author

Hitarshi Buch- Senior Architect, Service Transformation, Wipro Ltd.

Hitarshi has 17 years of IT experience in architecture, consulting, design and implementation using API, SOA, BPM and Java/J2EE technologies. He has experience in IT transformation & modernization initiatives and has provided enterprise-wide SOA-based solutions. Hitarshi is currently working as a Senior Architect in Service Transformation at Wipro Technologies and is part of Blockchain practice. He is responsible for Blockchain CoE activities and supporting client engagements.

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Comments (1)

Pritam Dewan - May 31st, 2017

One of the top selling points for Blockchain is streamlining of a workflow of the participants in the chain, improve transparency and can help in view and audit of transaction eliminating a central owner.

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