Blockchain in the test of digital transformation
While 25,000 Blockchain projects were identified worldwide in 2017 according to a CNBC report, this innovation, which creates value, particularly in logistics, continues to arouse a mixed feeling among decision-makers.
However, any digital transformation requires an adaptation effort and inevitably drains its share of enthusiasts and refractories. Deploying this technology within your organization will be no exception.
This is why, beyond the "blockchain" buzzword, its deployment on your logistics networks must be part of a long-term strategic thinking and provide support and awareness to all stakeholders to be successful.
A revolutionary technology in terms of interpersonal and complex trust, the blockchain is slowly but surely beginning to be adopted by many companies, so why not you?
Here is how to achieve this great upheaval without a hitch and transform your logistics networks in a sustainable way.
1- Audit and strategic reflection: a blockchain huh... but for what?
Before starting your process, remember that the blockchain only exists if your activity or sector of activity suffers from a lack of trust.
Start by seeing if your organization is confronted with large daily information flows and a very large number of independent individuals with diverging interests (suppliers, service providers, third-party companies, etc.).
First of all, it is necessary to ensure that blockchain can become a facilitator for your organization (fluidification of exchanges, securing the information system, data certification, process simplification, etc.) while offering greater reliability than traditional technologies.
Start by carrying out a situation audit (type/size/frequency of interpersonal transactions, information entry system and therefore assessment of information reliability), before defining your needs (level of security of the data exchanged, type of governance desired...), all in a test and learn approach.
In terms of need, it is necessary to aim for a positive externality beyond the simple storage of information as a simple database would allow.
Finally, despite the difficulty that some highly centralized and hierarchical organizations have in dealing with the loss of control it implies, it is strongly recommended to opt for a functionality designed for the decentralized open blockchain.
During the previous Blockchain Paris exhibition, Anne Taudin, Head of Marketing France at Cognizant Event, proposed a framework for choosing the appropriate blockchain:
- the framework (smart contract...)
- architecture (private/public/public/open/permissionned)
- strategic application
After this first difficulty, you will have to face a major obstacle with a barbaric name: scalability.
2- Scalability and blockchain organizational integration
"Very difficult to falsify, the blockchain allows transactions to be validated in real time without going through a trusted third party."
We often forget it, but it is up to the blockchain to adapt to your activity and not the other way around.
Thus, this ability to adapt to the company's business and its evolution, also known as scalability, is one of the two major obstacles to the large-scale deployment of technology.
Blockchain must be integrated into your company's strategy and meet one of its challenges: digitalization, transparency/traceability, security/certification of goods or data.
To verify the project scalability, it is advisable to solicit organizations specialized in digital transformation and even more so in the blockchain as Blockchain Partner or Cosensys.
All that remains is to find the Blockchain expert(s), enthusiastic from the beginning, present within your company or outside and able to convince all the staff of the merits of the technology within the company.
3- Understanding and sensitizing stakeholders
In addition to decision-makers convinced of its usefulness for their activity, the term "blockchain" and its use is enough to discourage many. After all, it is a decentralized technology that tackles a world that is still very centralized...
Don't panic, however: blockchain, however complex it may be, is above all a digital transformation: it thus generates technical modifications, technological changes, even complete process redesigns.
However, for Benoît Lafontaine, technical director of the IT consulting firm Octo Technology, at the USI conference dedicated to digital transformation in June 2017, "the mistake would be to see the blockchain as only one way to reduce costs or optimize processes. Blockchain is not just a tool, it must be seen as a new space to be conquered, as was the Internet."
Thus, to be understood and accepted, the willingness to adopt blockchain must come from the top management to hopefully embark all stakeholders. The latter will have to support the deployment throughout the project. It cannot come from a simple isolated spontaneous intention.
This is often forgotten, but any change requires support from all stakeholders.
Among the main obstacles identified in the digital transformation are the employees' impression of loss of control, uncertain future feeling, as well as the feeling that everything will be different tomorrow. A relevant and effective communication plan, driven by a clear strategic vision, explaining the choices made and the aims, will reduce uncertainties.
Indeed, a PMI study found that 28% of strategic initiatives supervised by project managers are considered failures. Among the issues raised, 70% mentioned the deployment of uses, 55% cultural transformation, 44% process change.
It may be useful to rely on a "key user" or a "sponsor" linked to the Crypto or blockchain business ecosystem. It is up to him to involve the teams and to teach them in order to spread the new uses.
In addition, finding such a profile will significantly help in the recruitment of specialized developers to implement a blockchain. This saves precious time if we consider the recent nature of the technology, and therefore the scarcity of (real) skills. Finding technical profiles sharp enough to implement POCs (Proof of concept) is far from obvious. Especially since blockchain technology has not yet reached maturity and is still in the R&D phase.
In short, to succeed in your digital transformation, you will need all of the following 5 fundamentals:
- a vision
- resources / means
- a clear roadmap
In many developed countries, more than half of companies say they will adopt the blockchain in less than four years, according to a World Economic Forum study.
"Proof that the blockchain acts on the operational side: it is the logistics and supply chain managers who come to us to improve UX or support them in their digital transformation and not the innovation managers."
- Clément Bergé-Lefranc at SITL 2019
At Ownest we believe that any deployment of a blockchain solution within your company must be supported by a clear and precise vision. Like our current customers, Carrefour, Orange and Cdiscount, ask us to accompany your change management. Thus you will no longer see the implementation of a blockchain as an a priori incomprehensible tool but as a technology capable of supporting your digital transformation and presenting an obvious ROI.