Computers and modern technologies have played a pivotal role in shaping our daily lives and, with each new decade or so, new technologies come along that have the potential to transform a new industry or change business almost that entirely. More often than not, when newer technologies are introduced to the business world, they very quickly make their way into our personal lives. The same works the opposite way around.
If we take a moment to think about where technology is leading business in the future, we come to notice that each technology leap meant more accurate data available for decision making, thus generating better insights on running a company. Besides, technology allowed for the automation of many manual tasks making the data less error-prone, or in other terms, more accurate.
Personal Computers (1970s)
When personal computers start arriving at businesses in the 70's, it took a while for users to realize its potential. Soon enough, data was being processed in spreadsheets and used as a tool to analyze, manipulate, and present information. Process improvements (Sales, stock trading, planning) and increased speed of work are also key benefits. With the advent of the local network, data was then easily shared within the same company.
MRP (Materials Requirements Planning) & ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) (1980s)
Although personal computers helped to better process and analyse data, it also created rich silos of infomation, barely accesible outside the departments they were located. Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) helped consolidate data within an organization improving workflow processes resulting in increased visibility, improved planning and reporting, enhanced customer service and efficiency, higher data security and quality, and facilitated regulatory compliance.
The Internet (1990s)
Improved data exchange between partners, increased internal collaboration, closer customer-facing, and enhanced market reach. The internet has completely shaped the digital marketplaces that businesses have gravitated towards. From E-commerce, to lightning-quick data exchanges, cloud-data hosting, and even with digital home assistants; the internet continues to be a force for great change.
Multi-partner real-time collaboration, automated execution of contracts (i.e. Smart Contracts), real-time data analysis, and reduction of intermediaries, enhanced data security, and improved traceability.
A good analogy is that Blockchain technology is for a group of companies what Enterprise Resource Planning - or systems of record – is for one specific company. The same way enterprise wide systems of record brought transparency and efficiency to all level of the enterprise, blockchain will do the same for all the organizations that participate in the consortium. In other words, due to blockchain technology main characteristics (please read “Blockchain Features” under “What is blockchain technology?”) distinct companies can share the same repository of data in a highly secure way. Exchange of data amongst organizations is significantly minimized, and the data format is standardized. As data is in the same repository, every company shares the same information in real time; therefore not only are disputes almost non-existent, but also processes can be highly automated.
In conlusion, Enteprise Blockchain is the next transformative technology that will make data even more available amongst companies and in real time, allowing for unprecedented levels of automation, efficiencies and cost-savings.