My background is Finance in Retail and I am a qualified accountant, which means I have spent the majority of my career using two systems:
1) ERP – Enterprise resource planning tools
2) Excel – Spreadsheets
An ERP system is best known as the “back end” of the systems – this is the enterprise wide system which accounts for all the transactions, finance and other data. ERP is normally connected to the Supply chain systems, which looks after all the physical products within the supply chain of the enterprise.
Alongside ERP, most enterprises also have an HR system – to look after the employees within the business and CX systems (Customer experience or front end systems) such as ecommerce websites and mobile apps.
Together these back end systems and CX, make up the core of the business operating systems. These systems are often large, unwieldy, complex and old – often over 20 years old in large global enterprises.
Can Blockchain technology supercharge ERP?
The problem with existing ERP systems, is that they often perform transactions that are inefficient, expensive and vulnerable. The transactions are also very costly to maintain and audit, and difficult to track.
Blockchain can help enterprise users gain advantage from the old systems. Core to their business, these systems need to be updated regularly and need to be flexible to adapt to the fast changing customer world.
The current versions of ERP are based in the cloud which gives a number of advantages, of which the main two being: 1) Always on technology 2) Always the latest version of the ERP, and more importantly the latest updates to take into account changes in business, regulation and the general business environment.
Once a business is upgraded to the cloud with the back end systems, there is then a great potential to superpower this by adding the emerging technologies, including Blockchain technology.
What can Blockchain add to ERP?
There are a number of areas where Blockchain can add value to ERP systems – remember that Blockchain is great for complex, cross party transactions – the heart of the ERP is complex and cross party data and transactions
Blockchain technology can extend the boundaries of the enterprise – with Blockchain technology you can take information that would have previously been stored in the ERP silos of just one company and makes it available in a trusted system of record across different entities. When you apply this new capability to reinventing your ERP systems, the possibilities are practically endless.
Using ERP systems with Blockchain technology can provide greater visibility into a wide range of processes, including order capture, shipping, supply chains, equipment maintenance and dispute resolution systems.
Transactions recorded via Blockchain technology are designed to be secure, trusted, immutable and completely transparent to all parties within the enterprise network.
These are key to help you streamline the expensive, inefficient processes currently found in the ERP systems, with a new approach which can:
• save time for all parties involved
• lower costs throughout your network
• significantly reduce risk
• helps build trust with your business partners
• streamline future transactions.
ERP often works seamlessly with the supply chain and I talk about many of the great use cases within the supply chain later. There are also many use cases within Finance services which will also be based on Supercharging the ERP system