It would have been really easy to fall into the trap of trying to apply blockchain to everything. Blockchain is not the cure for all ills. We’ve seen too many proofs of concept (POC) that have never even seen a production stage due to a lack of concrete business outcomes.
As with every new technology, blockchain requires a long and deep scoping phase to encapsulate every aspect of it – from business needs to technical design and IT integration. The key success factor is your ability to find the right balance between the real technology paradigm shift and necessary business-driven mindset.
Long story short – no matter what people say, nobody’s been in blockchain for 20 years, and to really crack a new technology, you actually have to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.
So, we did.
We started with a small group of technical experts, a couple of them deep inside the blockchain technology community, and a few others scattered across the globe, working openly with partners and customers. We spent time building trust and understanding both inside and outside the company. About three years ago, we started to see the convergence of distributed ledger technology (DLT) and platform economy with some real and exciting use cases.
The strategic focus of our blockchain projects was to define where Capgemini could add value within the ecosystem, and understand the value of other players in the space – whether they were potential partners or customers.
From a practical perspective, we had to start somewhere – a place where we had solid domain expertise and where we had a really good fit with key partners. We picked Europe, financial services, R3, and Hyperledger:
- R3 is an enterprise blockchain software firm working with a broad ecosystem across multiple private and public sector industries to develop an open-source blockchain platform called Corda
- Hyperledger is an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. It is a global collaboration, including leaders in finance, banking, IoT, supply chain, manufacturing, and technology.
It was a natural beginning given the origin of the technology, and our own business footprint and expertise. In this case, it meant focusing on the things that fit with our corporate DNA and core competencies. The points of convergence we saw were focused on know your customer (KYC), asset management, cross-border payments, structured finance, and insurer/broker platforms.
It turns out that blockchain is a really good tool for use cases with strong requirements in three areas – asset traceability, data certification and sharing, and smart automation. These are not requirements unique to financial services. They cover all sectors and all countries.
Capgemini’s business has always been about combining technology expertise, domain expertise, program management skills, and delivery capability to create value for our clients. The blockchain adventure represents a new, collaborative business model, which we’re building together with our partners and clients to have skin in the game. It means transforming the traditional supplier/customer relationship to embrace a co-innovative and multi-stakeholder approach.
This approach has been really successful. Just to give you a couple of examples:
- In the banking compliance sector, we are developing a blockchain platform, internally known as “Blue Catalyst,” to address data collection pain-points in the KYC field
- In the automotive sector, we’re implementing blockchain technology across the supply chain to deliver a “trusted car”
- In the food industry, the “farm-to-fork” project adds secure, end-to-end traceability through applying DLT to Australian lobsters
- In the public sector, we’re working on applications for digital identity, applying blockchain to diplomas and certification, as well as the exchange of research information between institutions.
In every instance, the key to success has been co-creation – getting the right people around the table and working together to build the solution, and continuing to learn by doing.
From apples, orchards grow
From humble beginnings and an internal community of just 10 people, today we have over 400 people working in blockchain across the globe, led by Sudhir Pai, Chief Technology & Innovation Officer for Capgemini’s Financial Services. While the leadership is based in Australia, France, and the US, we have SME teams across the globe and three dedicated centers of excellence for blockchain development in India. In addition, our capabilities cut right across our own organization within Capgemini Invent, and our Business Services and Financial Services global business lines.
To learn more about how Capgemini is creating value for its clients by leveraging blockchain technology from ideation to industrialization, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join Capgemini at R3’s annual conference – CordaCon 2019 – on October 23–24 in London, where we will be presenting our flagship blockchain product build on Corda that provides a trusted data exchange platform for KYC processes.
Read more about how blockchain is having far reaching implications across sectors
Jean Baptiste Meriem helps Capgemini’s clients accelerate their digital transformation by supporting them in taking advantage of new technology paradigms, such as blockchain. He advises client on how to build a Digital Factory that enables them to deliver better and faster digital products.