Blockchain is among the most disruptive technologies of the day. From banking and insurance to agriculture, energy, healthcare, and media, it is shaking-up entire industries and is about to transform global supply chains, thanks to SAP Ariba.
The company today unveiled plans to leverage blockchain across its cloud-based applications and business network to upend the way goods and services are traded.
“Twenty years ago, SAP Ariba bet big on a fringe technology called the Internet and pioneered a totally new model for buying and selling,” said Joe Fox, Senior Vice President, Business Development and Strategy, SAP Ariba. “True to our roots, we are again investing at the edge of technology to drive innovations in business-to-business collaboration that will change the game.”
At its core, blockchain is a digital ledger that can be used to drive business processes involving multiple parties. “One of the things blockchain does is facilitate greater visibility and trust,” Fox said. “In embedding it across our applications and network, we can enable supply chains that are smarter, faster and more transparent from sourcing all the way through settlement.”
Intelligent and Transparent
Among the first applications of blockchain to procurement and supply chains that SAP Ariba sees potential in involves the tracking and tracing of goods.
“One of the biggest issues that companies face right now is tracking and tracing goods before, during and after shipment,” said Dana Gardner, principal analyst, Interarbor Solutions. “All too often, a seller will ship something to a warehouse where it is swapped for a knock off without the buyer knowing. The distributed ledger capability of blockchain provides buyers and sellers with increased visibility and control from shipment to receipt, which ultimately reduces the risk of fraud.”
SAP Ariba intends to join forces with Everledger, a London-based Fintech company, to extend such capabilities to the Ariba® Network. Everledger securely captures the defining characteristics of valuable objects such as diamonds and creates a digital thumbprint of the asset that is stored on the blockchain. This information, including history, transport, events and ownership, is relied upon by multiple stakeholders across global supply chains to verify authenticity.
“By harnessing the best of disruptive technology, we’ve built a global platform of provenance by connecting records of authenticity to a physical object and its certification as it moves throughout the supply chain,” says Leanne Kemp, CEO and Founder of Everledger. “We know the impact this can have. Integrating our technology with SAP Ariba’s business network can not only lead to a reduction of risk and fraud for stakeholders, but additionally helps to re-shape a new era of global trade focused on the pillars of transparency, sustainability and ethics.”
According to Fox, such technology is a natural fit within SAP Ariba’s solutions. “If you can track and trace diamonds, you can track and trace anything,” he says.
Everledger is one of several companies leveraging emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning and the Internet of Things set to present at SAP Ariba Live, the premier business commerce conference being held this week at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.