The thrill of launching a blockchain-enabled B2B platform

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From design to build and operate, the journey to a scalable B2B platform enabled by blockchain is a complex yet extremely fascinating collaborative journey.

From financial services to healthcare, energy to automotive, leveraging B2B platforms to digitize business networks is unlocking value across business ecosystems. Referred to as the “Platform Economy” by the World Economic Forum, this megatrend is estimated to deliver a staggering €10 trillion of social and economic value over the next 10 years.

At the heart of these digital B2B platforms lies one important factor – trust.

  • Trust in the identity of your business partners, supported by the now famous “KYC Process” (Know Your Customer) and other initiatives such as LEI (Legal Entity Identifier)
  • Trust in the digital infrastructures supporting the exchange of sensitive transactional data between partners conducting business
  • Trust in the digital processes themselves, following pre-agreed business rules that can be automated
  • Trust in the ability to audit and trace business interactions for regulatory or compliance purposes
  • Trust in the governance of B2B platforms to serve a common good that may address conflicts of interests between regions, stakeholders, and the size of businesses.

While blockchain technology promises to transform B2B platforms into “trusted business networks,” distributed ledger technology (DLT) protocols – such as Corda created by R3 – is set to play a major role in building these business networks across financial services’ and corporate ecosystems.

But let me remain very clear about this promise. There’s only so much technology can do. From design to build and operate, the journey to a scalable B2B platform enabled by blockchain is far more complex than a pure technology play.

To be successful, a B2B platform initiative needs to master the six following dimensions:

  • Understand the value of B2B platforms – implement operational efficiencies (horizon1) followed by new business model opportunities (horizon2) once the network is established and has reached scale.
  • Develop ecosystem intelligence – understand where the fear of disruption lies and focus on use cases that require collaboration or mutualization, such as KYC in banking.
  • Engage functional and “platform-thinking” experts – shift from a siloed/pipeline mindset to a collaborative platform-oriented mindset.
  • Master emerging technologies such as blockchain – re-design your business processes through a distributed and decentralized architecture, accepting that although you play an essential role, you are not at the center of the ecosystem. Blockchain requires strategic long-term vision and strong C-level support.
  • Foster collaboration across your ecosystem – collaborate on gathering pain-points and end-user requirements, and agree on roadmap and co-financing to unlock value at scale for the whole ecosystem and implicitly set new industry standards where needed. Being an “early-adopter” or “first-mover” has huge advantages – as some companies have well understood.
  • Develop a clear scale-up plan and leverage the right governance model – understand that the ultimate KPI of B2B platforms is “adoption at scale,” and the governance model of the business network will ultimately dictate the scale of the network.

As a first step of any B2B relationship, it is probably in the heavily regulated area of onboarding that the need for digital B2B platforms is the most pressing. The two main onboarding processes are Know Your Customer (KYC) for financial institutions and Know Your Supplier (KYS) for corporates. We are currently focusing on both of them to deliver value to our customers through a trusted data exchange platform.

To learn how Capgemini’s leverages blockchain to deliver secure and reliable B2B platforms for our clients, contact:

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.

Damien de Chillaz leads the development of blockchain and DLT business opportunities at Capgemini, with an objective to orchestrate the design, build, and run of a number of significant distributed platforms.

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