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Blockchain to the Supply Chain Rescue

Blog: The Tibco Blog

One of the most appealing use cases for blockchain is supply chain. Traditionally, supply chain processes are slow and disjointed. Fortunately, there are multiple benefits that a blockchain can provide to the complex supply chain world.

In an upcoming webinar “Blockchain to the Supply Chain Rescue”, we will outline the benefits that blockchain can give to a supply chain and how TIBCO can help you achieve a successful blockchain implementation.

Benefits of blockchain in a supply chain:

Better tracking: It’s nearly impossible to track goods and items from where they originate to where they end up in a supply chain. If everyone is using the same system/ledger, which they would be in a blockchain, then you can easily track end to end all of the goods in that supply chain.

Tamperproof: In a blockchain, everyone has the exact same copy of the ledger. Therefore, it’s extremely difficult to make changes without everyone knowing about it, making tampering almost impossible.

Increase customer and partner trust: Since all transactions are immutable, you are removing the trust needed between transaction partners which actually increases the trust between parties. You don’t have to trust the parties themselves, but you trust the system.

Improve inventory management: When you have a clear, traceable, ordered list of items from end to end, inventory management becomes a breeze. You know exactly how many of an item you have and how many you need at any given time.

Enhanced transparency: If parties in a supply chain can trace all of their items back to where they came from, that means more transparency between the different parties. This will improve relationships.

What blockchain options are there?

When it comes to blockchain options, one of the main decisions to be made is whether to join a permissionless (public) blockchain like Ethereum or join a permissioned (private) consortium blockchain using something like Hyperledger. There are tradeoffs with each of these two options and the differences are sometimes difficult to understand since it requires deep knowledge of the architectures. In this blog, we are outlining some of the benefits and challenges of joining an already formed consortium of business partners using a permissioned blockchain. In the upcoming webinar, we will take a deep dive into the differences between these two models as this could be one of the most misunderstood concepts in the blockchain space.

Why join a permissioned supply chain blockchain?

Joining a permissioned supply chain blockchain is much cheaper than creating a whole new blockchain from scratch. Because there is no infrastructure to build by yourself, as was the case with traditional systems, all you have to do is focus on adding your own business logic to the chain. In a permissioned supply chain blockchain, you can also share libraries and apps. Since you are all in the same line of business, much of the logic and technical resources will be the same. This saves you from having to create all of your own libraries and apps.

Challenges to joining a permissioned supply chain blockchain:

Be aware of false or wrongly entered data. The blockchain does have properties to minimize mistakes, but if you get hacked before you enter the data into the blockchain, things can get hairy. You need to set up your external processes to take care of that security before the data touches the blockchain.

Secure confidential info is still a challenge. One of the benefits of being on a blockchain is that you share all of your information, it’s traceable, and everyone sees the same thing. But, if you have confidential information that you only want two or three parties to see instead of everyone, you cannot do that. There are solutions being implemented to solve this, but it’s still a challenge.

Governance issues are an intrinsic problem of blockchains. Who owns the blockchain if everyone does? How are upgrades deployed? Who maintains it?

You have to know blockchain primitives. It is imperative that you have a deep understanding of how blockchain works. What you add to the blockchain can be seen and traced by everyone in the blockchain so your mistakes and errors become more important.

How can TIBCO® help with the integration into a permissioned supply chain blockchain?

Allow interaction between enterprise systems and blockchain using known, robust, and tested technologies

Add visibility to blockchain transactions and derive analytics as if it were another database via TIBCO Spotfire®.  This is very useful for validation, auditing, data mining, etc.

Reduce the friction of adopting blockchain and enhance your blockchain experience by allowing existing apps to call your blockchain nodes via TIBCO Cloud™ Integration.

Make your business processes talk to blockchains seamlessly with TIBCO Cloud™ Live apps.

Bring blockchain closer to your edge devices by integrating with TIBCO Flogo™ to listen to events on-chain that trigger off-chain computation in your IoT device.

We have discussed the benefits of blockchain in the supply chain industry, the requirements and challenges of joining a permissioned supply chain blockchain, and how TIBCO’s tools can help you with that transition. For a deeper dive and a live demo, please join our upcoming webinar.

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