From Hype To Superpower: Blockchain Requires Deliberate Innovation

Balaji Gaddam

Part 3 of the “The Secret Behind the Intelligent Enterprise” series

The shared, distributed, and decentralized capabilities of blockchain are finding their way into the mainstream with great potential. Ambitious entrepreneurs and innovators are investing long hours and mind-boggling sums of money to rework anything from automating finance and restoring public trust in healthcare to feeding over 10 billion people by 2050 and providing disaster relief to remote villagers.

Consider the level of blockchain innovation at Naturipe to help their sustainability goals for their “vine to table” vision. Naturipe is one of the largest fresh produce suppliers and its “cultivate with care” promise is a commitment to operating their business in ways that minimize its impact on the environment. With blockchain technology, the company is better equipped to support local and global communities with efforts in, for example, conservation; ethical business practices; and the health, safety, and wellbeing of employees and community.

Like Naturipe, many businesses are finding new ways to use blockchain to create a future that is mutually beneficial for themselves and their customers. And when they do, the speed, trust, and efficiency of B2B and B2C commerce will never be the same.

It’s time to throw open the doors to intelligent innovation

As excitement over blockchain continues to build, the next step is choosing use cases that complement the company’s future direction and standardize the talent and platform needed to support it. Efficient access to the right people, tools, expertise, methodologies, and infrastructure gives businesses the support they need to innovate with blockchain and optimize the resulting solution effectively.

By bringing together technology experts, functional leadership, and IT professionals, businesses can realize value from blockchain. The innovation team can start with an initial discovery process to determine high-value use cases aligned with strategic value drivers and expected business outcomes. This process results in a prioritized, value-based innovation road map.

The team then identifies enablers and applications that best meet business requirements, implements the chosen use case, and measures performance with clearly defined metrics. By using cloud-based prototyping tools such as building block services from platform-as-a-service (PaaS) providers, existing solutions from software providers, model companies, and best practices, the team can accelerate the value of the new concept through agile development.

To scale the innovation beyond the prototype phase, businesses should incorporate processes into the existing IT landscape. This step requires close adherence to data, integration, and coding standards when testing the solution.

The technology is then verified for production with engineered services, such as integration validation. During this phase, the innovation team focuses on concerns such as data consistency, performance, and scalability. Plus, the move from innovation transition to operational adoption can be supported by designing and coupling end-to-end monitoring capabilities with the new solution. The result is an ongoing flow of innovation that follows a clear road map for successful digital transformation.

Building the foundation for next-generation of digital business models

As the list of use cases and proof of concepts grow, businesses should embrace the freedom of experimentation to bring the technology closer to their operations and industry segments. In fact, many software providers are providing innovative solutions already integrating blockchain into processes such as logistics and material traceability.

Leveraging solutions and services as accelerators opens the door to the time and commitment needed to achieve large-scale blockchain adoption. When their innovations are anchored in deliberate strategies, unique skillsets, and pioneering approaches, businesses can shake up the competitive landscape for years to come.

Balaji Gaddam

About Balaji Gaddam

Balaji Gaddam is Vice President and Head of the Center of Expertise for North America at SAP.