You’ve had another hectic day maintaining the legacy ERP systems in your I.T. department. What’s worrying you more is the plan you must prepare for your CEO. He wants to use blockchain technology for your supply chain.
One of your biggest headaches as CIO is implementing new technology. Your legacy systems can’t keep up with what you’ve already got. Operations are running at capacity as are production, ordering, inventory and supply chain.
Everyone in your company wants the latest technology but your I.T. budget keeps shrinking. As you look for a blockchain solution you wonder how other CIOs with legacy systems are managing digital transformation.
If this sounds like your I.T. department, you should know that integrating blockchain into your supply chain does not have to be challenging or costly. “You can have visibility and traceability through blockchain and IoT without adding considerable cost,” explained Jon Trask, CEO of Blockchain Guru.
Trask’s blockchain integration services enable the success of large supply chains. “Even if a company has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on legacy ERP they can still use the latest blockchain technology.”
Growing Interest in Blockchain for Supply Chain
Trask starting out as a programmer with an interest in cryptography. He then built up a supply chain consulting business subcontracting to firms like Deloitte, PwC and CGI. “My clients recently began expressing interest in how blockchain can improve their supply chain,” he said.
He read everything he could on blockchain and took training at Oxford University. Trask launched Blockchain Guru in early 2018 and now has 21 employees. His firm provides blockchain training and consulting across Canada.
Blockchain Guru educates companies on how to use blockchain, IoT and AI to deliver value but “we also act as a systems integrator,” he said. “We serve as a bridge between blockchain software developers and large firms who want a custom solution.”
Updating Legacy ERP with Cutting Edge Technology
An example of the kind of clients Blockchain Guru helps is an industrial company who came to them to improve their supply chain. They move full railcars and truckloads of material and wanted to buy and sell through smart contracts.
Trask and his team assessed over 20 blockchain solutions and compared them to their client’s needs. They selected a software called Morpheus Network that will function as ERP middleware. Their client gets a blockchain solution that’s IoT enabled with machine learning.
Trask added, “Companies don’t have to throw away their ERP. They can integrate our tool and get the functionality of the latest digital technologies.” Trask recommends you take three preparatory steps before embarking on a blockchain solution.
1. Learn the Basics of Blockchain
If you don’t know anything about blockchain then learn the basics by taking a course. He pointed out that, “if your first step is contacting a consulting firm you must realize their goal is to put you into their product. But their product may not be right for you because there are different blockchain protocols.”
Further, you should learn how blockchain works and why you need it. If you know the basics then start looking at blockchain in your industry. Read case studies on how companies like yours have used the technology.
He added “you might look at how a logistics company like Maersk is processing shipping documents for containers.” Then determine how their solution compares to your needs and what benefits are most important to you.
2. Get Help from an Expert
Trask said, “Implementing blockchain is not as far fetched as you might think.” But he advises, “there’s a lot of misinformation in the media about blockchain because of cryptocurrency.” If you don’t have a blockchain specialist on staff you should bring in an expert to filter it out.
Get advice on how blockchain applies to your business. Trask said, “I’d recommend calling somebody who’s protocol agnostic.” You should assess your needs based on what’s right for you. Don’t try to fit your business into a specific protocol right at the start.
3. Get Your Whole Team Involved
Sometimes it’s hard to get everybody on the same page with a new technology initiative. There may be a lot of excitement, but if you move too fast there are risks.
Trask gave the example of a client who launched a technology initiative without the involvement of finance. Eight months later issues emerged around financial controls. Upon review parts of the design may need to be modified and costs could increase.
Trask recommends holding a two or three day on-site workshop with a cross-functional team and a blockchain expert guiding the discussion. “This can reveal the true value of blockchain for your company so you can form a business case.” It’s important for large firms to address what he calls “the big rocks” early on.
Improve Your Supply Chain with Blockchain
If you’re like many other I.T. leaders you face pressure to add the latest technology to your ERP. Blockchain is a game-changing technology you can use to improve your supply chain. But you may be on a tight budget and not have a blockchain expert on staff.
The availability of new blockchain solutions for legacy ERP means you don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater. A systems integrator can help you find the best blockchain solution. With the right training and support can get cutting edge technology within your budget. Learn more about Blockchain Guru.