insights

Smart Blockchain – the digital backbone of your business

February 3, 2019

Business transactions are becoming ever more complex, which together with increasing digital compliance requirements, means that organisations need to evolve their business processes – not only to ensure accountability, but also business efficiency.

As Blockchain matures in the enterprise setting, the need to integrate more and more artificial intelligence (AI) into the transaction will increase, and we will start to see the promise it holds – in particular, when it comes to Digital Business Process Management.

Technology teams therefore need to recognise the evolving potential of AI and Blockchain working together, or Smart Blockchain, to meet their business’ future needs whilst enabling truly smart contracts.

As technology goes, it could help to provide your business with the digital backbone necessary to transform your organisation for the better.

Not only this, when AI is married up with the other two cornerstones of Digital Business Process Management, namely workflow management and Robotic Process Automation or ‘Bots’, you start to create the key ingredients which, together, will truly transform your business into a digital native.

How: building the case for Smart Blockchain

When it comes to Smart Blockchain, it’s all about augmenting traditional business process management using AI and Blockchain to improve business efficiency.

This is done by creating more automated AI-based decisions as part of a business transaction flow, learning from use cases that are fed into the model to reduce the number of business process steps.

By doing this, you are also able to capture multiple simultaneous business decisions, which are then stored in a completely auditable Blockchain-based decision vault.

Why is this beneficial?

In a world of increasing digital compliance, this sort of ‘decision vault’ could prove vital should historic decisions ever need to be justified, especially in regulated industries such as Financial Services, Energy and Telecoms.

Not only this, Smart Blockchain helps you to monitor anomalies within business transactions which can protect against fraud and money laundering, amongst other things.

What is more, the reduced need for human intervention improves consistency, accountability and business efficiency, whilst freeing up human resources to be reinvested elsewhere within the business.

It’s a technology which, although young in its evolution, can be maintained and changed to create hybrid approaches to business transactional flows easily, whilst improving your ability to react quickly to the changing needs of your business.

As an early adopter of such nascent technologies, you also create the ideal platform to recruit and retain the best tech talent possible, as you elect to take on challenges that few are willing to deal with.

Speaking of challenges…

Given the evolving nature of Smart Blockchain, it won’t come without its challenges – but what tech solution doesn’t?Integrating Smart Blockchain won’t happen overnight. It’s an incremental process which will require internal buy-in to get your organisation culturally ready.And you can’t just rip and replace. The difficulty of integrating Smart Blockchain with legacy solutions should not be underestimated, but it is absolutely surmountable – with the right advice.

Given that there is still a need for business process management tools to be orchestrated and coordinated in conjunction with the final piece in the business process flow – the human element, it’s important to ensure you have the expertise to hook the Blockchain up and facilitate how transactions and counterparties interact.

We’re not at a point yet where the need for human integration has become obsolete, so humans need to be able to interact in the process flow too.

Indeed, parts of the technology stack are still evolving in enterprise terms, so the roadmap for rolling Smart Blockchain out has to weigh up the risks vs the benefits.

To help you on the journey towards improved Digital Business Process Management using Smart Blockchain, here are some top tips based on our experience.

  1. Get internal buy-in: This should be the first step in the process towards implementing any new technology within your organisation. Start at the top and tell senior management a compelling business transformation story.
  2. Plan for future success: Think about what success looks like in the future and set yourself up now for AI and Blockchain success in the not too distant future – this includes a realistic budget, strategy and roadmap.
  3. Make small changes now: Have a look at your legacy technology estate and see if there is a small change that you can make today that will enable you to leverage Smart Blockchain, such as API enabling your legacy technology and better labelling of the data you generate today.
  4. Review your data estate: Figure out what data is connected because when it comes to training the AI, the more data that you can feed into the model, the better the outcome.
  5. Train your machines: Make sure you have the operating model and technology stack that enables you to execute your machine and deep learning models. This will facilitate decisions which would be made within your Smart Blockchain solution. Without the ability to train models consistently, nothing will happen.
  6. Don’t do away with the business process layer: You need to reengineer the business process flow. So, don’t throw out your BPM tooling, think re-engineering and giving it more capabilities using Smart Blockchain.
  7. Ensure you know what your key and critical business transactions are: Get under the hood of the business and understand the business transaction needs you have. This will allow you to think in terms of integration and design for change.
  8. Plan for privacy: Start to think about the state that you want counterparties to see publicly and the state you want to manage privately.  Understand how you manage different parties to the business transactions carefully.
  9. Don’t let the challenges put you off: embrace the opportunity to do something innovative with huge potential to positively impact your business.
  10. Partner for success: find a great technology partner who will help you navigate emerging approaches and technologies -it will pay-off in the long term.

At 6point6 we have in-depth experience in helping clients with their Digital Business Process Management needs.

Our proven methods for understanding your AI requirements, coupled with feature engineering, machine and deep learning expertise, will ensure that the pathway towards integration of decision making within Smart Blockchain is both smooth and future-proofed.

To discuss this further, contact me:

Gary Richardson
MD, Emerging Technology
[email protected]