By: David Caspillo
For most, the dot-com era provided incredible opportunities for corporations to improve older, non-integrated, and less efficient business systems. The internet marked a significant change in how the world performed business transactions and functions. Businesses no longer had to solely rely on paper advertisement, tv ads, and other forms of networking to expand their products, goods, and services. The internet allowed organizations to move well beyond local markets and coordinate detailed instructions across continents to facilitate a global trade that would, in turn, increase the rate of returns.
Intercompany communications and collaboration also improved, which became necessary to match the pace of the evolving economy. The dot-com phase allowed research teams to share findings from external and internal institutions working on similar topics for better collaboration and form consensus around new insights. Working across vast networks and permitting theories to be proven or disproved at a pace unimaginable just years earlier.
Since the dot-com boom, we have rapidly developed technologies which have brought us closer to people and businesses around the globe, and which have made us more informed than we’ve been at any other time. The momentum of knowledge became imperative for many companies to ensure that the data they shared, both inside and outside of their organizations, was as transparent, trustworthy, and unchangeable until such time that all parties could come to a consensus on the new findings.
Enter the blockchain era. When you hear the word blockchain, you might immediately think “bitcoin” or “cryptocurrency.” While blockchain is the advanced technology that makes bitcoin possible, digital currency is just the beginning of the possibilities for this new platform. The blockchain concept is a distributed database that is highly secure, provides all users with a single version of the truth, and is unforgeable. Information shared on a blockchain platform can be thought of as a digital asset with individual DNA or origination markers. In this state, the information shared becomes immutable and any unauthorized changes would create a change in its DNA. In short, this would mean that it consequentially would no longer meet the consensus of the distributed ledger, thus changing its validity and ultimately being rejected by the network.
A document that is not a copy but rather a single version of the truth can be critical for many reasons. Knowing all the parties that last handled the data or asset increases accountability among those parties. Maintaining authenticated sensitive data by preserving the original content unless agreed upon, removing the necessity of intermediaries decreasing transaction times by days instead of seconds, and decentralizing the ledger of the data so it makes it highly unlikely for one entity to control the information are some of the most notable benefits of this system.
Consensus on a document can be very important for many reasons. For highly sensitive business cases, this could save money, increase trust in a process or transaction, and create greater efficiency by removing unnecessary intermediaries.
Below are a few of these business case considerations:
- Asset Traceability
- The accuracy of Medical Records
- Immutable Public documents
- Enterprise-to-enterprise secure yet transparent transactions
- Identity verification and privacy
Blockchain can offer a vast array and endless ways to revisit how we do business in the future. The key to the utilization of Blockchain is first to verify that your company business issue requires the principles that (only) blockchain can provide. Second, can the business challenge be solved with less costly technology? Third, will the solution add significant efficiencies and/or prepare you to better transact with current and future business partners? Blockchain can likely become the next transformative and disruptive technology, paving the way for an Intelligent Enterprise.
The question we at Comerit had to ask when reviewing our internal projects was, “how can our user base gain value from blockchain technology?” So, we extensively tested multiple Blockchain platforms for what they offer today and how it could change moving forward. In our review of SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain service, Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) appeared the obvious choice because we envision integrating more than token economics as a value proposition to our clients. The nature of our projects allows Comerit to add Machine Learning, Data Intelligence and Analytics, AI, and many IoT possibilities while creating a secure, trustworthy ecosystem which protects the privacy of our users and maintains the integrity of our new community. Many transactions required by our applications also demanded that the documentation be fully transparent, absolutely immutable, and fair.
SAP incorporated Hyperledger Fabric, a specific blockchain framework, has “plug-and-play” components that will allow us to code business rules into Smart Contracts on a private network. The SCP blockchain platform service ensures stability as we globally scale, and already has the ability to handle multiple transactions quickly. Hyperledger Fabric has the potential to manage thousands of transactions per second compared to hundreds per second on other platforms; a must have when handling the expected number of concurrent users. Engagement of our application could produce volumes of data to be analyzed for continued improvements for the users' experience while delivering increased insights that ultimately will lead to increase value and simplification future generations will expect.
Comerit expects to continue leveraging SAP's Cloud Platform Blockchain Services technology, integrated with Machine Learning, IoT, Geospatial Analytics, and AI, under a Leonardo Creative designed framework. As a technology leader, we must strive to bring the efficiencies and enjoyment of our daily personal and professional lives together into a more cohesive balance.
If you’re interested in learning more about the technical details behind building blockchain applications in the SAP Cloud Platform using Hyperledger Fabric and virtual machines, we highly recommend reading Arman Avetisyan's piece on this topic. This is a detailed, step-by-step look at how to:
- Run Python Django Web Applications in the SAP Cloud Platform VM
- Setup and run Hyperledger Fabric Service in the SAP Cloud Platform
- Manage wallet-to-wallet token transfers with Python
To get a direct download of Arman's entire guidebook on this topic, you can grab that here: