Blockchain: Transforming Business as We Know It

November 5, 2018 Pratap Sarker

Pratap Sarker is Conduent's Group Chief Executive for the Financial Services and Healthcare business unit. This blog is co-authored by Nikhil Nayab, Conduent's Global Head for Blockchain.

Right now, there is a tectonic shift going on in terms of what consumers demand from the businesses that serve them. Everyone is looking for more instant media, faster deliveries and real-time satisfaction from companies with which they interact.

However, many industries continue to operate on metaphorical “rails” or systems that are broken.

These rails carry information from one organization to another, but they lack the ability to let businesses interact in the most efficient ways. We believe that blockchain holds incredible promise to change this dynamic and transform business as we know it.

First, a look back

In 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto first discussed blockchain as a technology concept on a crypto mailing list, at a time when many had lost faith in the security of our financial system. From there, blockchain protocols were being created and users exploded across a range of crypto currencies.

Over time, early adopters realized the enormous potential of blockchain to transform businesses, and groups of organizations and people got down to the task of creating standards and consortia to drive cross-industry transformation. Today there are 80+ meaningful consortia across the globe in industries spanning every conceivable segment.

Right now, we are celebrating the dawn of the 4th industrial revolution and blockchain is at the heart of it.

Blockchain’s power to transform

Getting back to the example of fragmented data rails, blockchain is the technology that will drive the tectonic shift required in transferring value by moving cash, securities and other digital assets in near real-time and with settlement finality. It will do so by not only transferring the asset itself but also all the meta-data related to the asset transfer.

 

 

It’s important to note that blockchain has far-reaching applications beyond the financial services industry. Below are just a few of the use cases we’ve been working on that prove this technology has a much wider play and impact across industries and functions:

  • Source to Pay and Order to Cash process orchestration and management
  • Healthcare claims processing, integrated eligibility and enrollment
  • Legal and compliance services for contract management
  • Making human services programs accessible via a blockchain powered network within the public sector
  • Streamlining supply chain processes for the automotive industry

The dark cloud of pessimism lingers

Notwithstanding blockchain’s promise, many popular media headlines would lead some to think that blockchain has already failed. We at Conduent are actually encouraged by these headlines. Here’s why.

In our opinion, the naysaying headlines point to the fact that the technology is close to reaching an inflection point. A point where it’s not as much about whether blockchain will become mainstream or not. It’s more about when technology will allow transactions to be conducted at massive scale, tipping the balance in favor of blockchain.

The pessimists talk about scalability considerations, privacy considerations and the lack of standardization. But technology has proven time and again that if there is demand, technology is going to satisfy it.

We’re optimistic on blockchain – here’s why

We believe the future for blockchain technology and all of its applications is very promising. Over the past three years, we’ve seen and participated in an industry transformation where rules and standards have come together through many strategic partnerships and broad technology conversations.

As more businesses from many different industries have realized blockchain’s potential, they recognized the need to upgrade underlying technology systems. We are now at a point where businesses have realized that for them to get unique value from the technology, they need to participate in the creation of standards and viable ecosystems.

At Conduent, we believe that the promise of blockchain is not just about the technology — it’s about creating new and better ways of conducting business. To that end, we’ve created and adopted a strategy around blockchain that we believe is differentiated and unique, both at a technology platform level and at a functional business level too. With a deep understanding of a wide array of our client and industry use cases, we’re building platforms that will help our customers conduct digital interactions at scale and open new lines of revenue through the power of blockchain.

The key imperative for businesses now – get involved in setting standards

Our advice for any businesses today that wants to realize the value of blockchain is to get involved. Right now, the technology is at a stage where enterprises can actually conduct business in a secure and a confidential manner with each other, using the new data rails of blockchain. If organizations choose not to participate in the process, they run the risk of losing their ability to influence the standards over which future business will be conducted.  That will further lead to a competitive disadvantage when the technology reaches full maturity.

Blockchain technology promises to bring positive transformation to businesses across the globe. Companies need to participate in it right now to ensure they are able to take advantage of the new revenue opportunities and business efficiencies made possible by this exciting technology.

About the Author

Group Chief Executive – Financial Services & Healthcare, Conduent

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