Can you see beyond the hype?
Some people are getting carried away by the excitement and hype surrounding blockchain. If you believe the news, there is nothing it can’t do, but I think we should be realistic as well as imaginative in our approach. Blockchain technology is still relatively young and many aspects of its concept and application will have to be considered, tried, tested and improved before it expands further into the business world.
Bear in mind that blockchain brings challenges as well as solutions – and some of them are currently very far from being overcome.
For example, how can we achieve a tamper-proof link between a physical object and its digital identifier? This is a key issue for logistics, where it ultimately means a break in the chain. Aside from such practical issues, making use of blockchain technology will also require a significant cultural shift. For instance, businesses will have to override their instinct to keep all data strictly within their own walls, and instead be prepared to share it – albeit securely – within a network. And what will become of our relationships with the banks and other institutions on which transactions have depended until now? While there is a threat of disintermediation, it is likely that these institutions will still be necessary, although their roles and business models will need to be redefined.
Are you ready for the revolution?
To succeed in this new world, logistics and supply chain businesses need to be working today to create a culture of collaboration. As well as building up your own blockchain knowledge and capabilities, you should be engaging with your partners and stakeholders.
Make sure that they, too, know how to identify opportunities across their operating models for gaining value through blockchain. Empower them with the time, tools and resources that will help them become effective contributors to a blockchain project. Think of the business landscape as a complete ecosystem, in which your interactions with blockchain consortiums, technology players, implementation partners and associations will affect everyone’s results – including your own.
I would love to hear your thoughts on blockchain. Are you excited by the opportunities, concerned about the challenges, or curious about its potential and how it might affect your industry? Do please comment below.
DHL and Accenture will soon be jointly publishing an important Trend Report on blockchain in logistics. It will help you separate the facts from the hype and explore how blockchain can unlock hidden value in logistics. Stay tuned for more updates.
As originally published on LinkedIn.
Is Blockchain The New Internet? Find the DHL Trendpaper here.
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Published: February 2018