Is blockchain just a buzzword making the rounds across industries, or is it a reality? In the process of arriving at the right conclusion, many industries have spent time and effort in studying the feasibility of its adoption. The primary motive for enterprises to adopt blockchain is the bouquet of features it brings to the table, like traceability, transparency, consensus, smart contracts, distributed ledgers, cryptography, and immutability.
Technology evolution in the integration space with APIs, WebServices, advanced communication protocols, encryption capabilities, etc., are pushing the B2B integration landscape to evolve from enabling just electronic Data Interchange (EDI) data transformation to providing security and visibility capabilities as well for trading partners. This resonates in the case of the supply chain, which is one of the earliest business functions to adopt traditional EDI.
Currently, most EDI products offer visibility as part of its base feature. However, the need of the hour is:
a. Visibility of real-time transaction details and actionable insights
b. Ease of building a track and trace framework within every enterprise
c. Better credibility of an enterprise’s EDI reports (For e.g.transaction status, reconciliation, success rate, partner utilization, volume metric reports)among its trading partners
Can blockchain bring the above capabilities in an EDI supply chain system?
Transactions through EDI (typically involving a buyer, a seller, 3PLs, vendors, others) hinge upon one-way, point-to-point communication, meaning that two out of the three parties can exchange messages with one another but the third party is left out. Since blockchain is a shared ledger, all parties can view the transactions in real-time, putting a brake to disputes or repudiation around the transactions. This ensures“a single pane of glass” view for all users making information sharing more efficient and secure.
Being a centralized, third-party network with the ability to accurately track and record data, it can be the right choice to have a blockchain-complemented B2B system and add more reliability, efficiency and credibility between the partners.