The blockchain is a fairly new technology and that too of a disruptive nature. Companies around the world are curiously probing the conceptual implementation of blockchain technology’s use cases for enhancing business capacity. The technology is theoretically capable at least of extending any company’s digital transformation beyond its four walls, and into the processes, it shares with suppliers, customers and partners.
The novel technology of blockchain has the potential to reduce costs along with curbing fraudulent activities, as evidenced by its proofs-of-concept for pilot projects around the world.
An extremely secure and transparent mechanism for tracking ownership of assets digitally and across trust boundaries, enterprises are increasingly investing in blockchain technology for numerous other advantageous opportunities. These include collaboration on shared business processes, opening up new frontiers for cross-organizational collaboration, and also for imaginative new business models.
A revolutionary technology capable of improving upon certain processes, the enterprise blockchain frameworks can assist greatly with advancing product and customer data tracking as well as security processes, augmenting product safety, and also reducing instances of fraud.
Enterprise blockchain frameworks and communities are the dominant way in which companies are using blockchain technology. Every aspect of blockchain technology is contributing to improvements in innovation and R&D. However, choosing an Enterprise Blockchain framework is a tricky affair, since there isn’t a one-size-fits-all blockchain solution. One must be thoroughly aware of the business variables and factors before, during and after implementing enterprise frameworks.
Blockchain Implementation Decisions for Enterprises
Any company pursuing enterprise blockchain framework solutions ought to be careful of the numerous strategic business priorities before deciding upon the framework of choice. The important business consideration for potentially adopting blockchain technology include –
- The levels of speed, scalability, security, and privacy required
- Whether to implement a private permissioned blockchain or a public permissionless blockchain
- The decision to employ an enterprise-grade blockchain platform
- The decision to join a blockchain framework consortium?
The dominant form of enterprise framework blockchain solutions implemented by companies are private networks, as these feature permissioned access rather than public access to the blockchain network.
The major advantage of private networks over public is these alleviate some of the concerns regarding data and transaction privacy. Having said that, a major trade-off with private networks is the assumption of a high level of trust residing amongst the participants.
The majority of public blockchains are ‘Byzantine fault tolerant,’ an atypical feature of distributed systems capable of defending against one-third of untrustworthy participants in the network. However, private blockchain’s consensus algorithm is weaker as compared to public networks, when it comes to preventing malicious or fraudulent network transactions. Private networks score more in terms of speed and privacy.
The Big Six: Enterprise Blockchain Frameworks
Different blockchain frameworks and development platforms bring with them varying benefits as well as differential learning curves. Given below are the leading enterprise frameworks for implementing blockchain solutions –
- Hyperledger – Supported by Linux Foundation and IBM, Hyperledger is an open source collaborative effort particularly useful for advancing cross-industry blockchain technologies. A global collaborative initiative, Hyperledger which includes industry leaders from banking, finance, manufacturing, supply chain, Internet of Things, and Technology.
- R3 Corda – An open source project allowing businesses to transact directly, Corda facilitates the creation of interoperable blockchain networks for transacting with utmost privacy and security. Basically a blockchain framework designed specifically for the BFSI industry.
- Ethereum – A private blockchain framework, Ethereum is an enormously powerful and decentralized global infrastructure supporting blockchain applications such as smart contracts. Capable of moving around value and representing the ownership of property, applications on custom built Ethereum function exactly as programmed to, without any possibilities of censorship, downtime, fraud or third-party interference.
- Monax – Previously known as Eris Industries, this is a low-cost blockchain implementation framework.
- Multichain – an open platform for building blockchains. helps organizations to build and deploy blockchain applications with speed.
- Openblockchain – an open blockchain fabric code framework.
How to Best Choose the Appropriate Enterprise Blockchain Framework
Choosing the most appropriate blockchain framework isn’t a straightforward approach. There’s no easy way in this, and professional assistance ought to be availed, as not everything that is open and available is for development. When it comes to enterprise grade applications, considering the overall impact of the shortlisted blockchain framework on the businesses with respect to future opportunities and constraints needs to be evaluated. Based on our experiences with enterprise blockchain frameworks, these are some of the factors, not necessarily in order of significance, that one should look out for whilst the choosing the same –
- First up is ‘License’. What is the framework licensed under? Does it comes with a package attached to it, or is it completely free to use?
- Next is the ‘Development Community’. How vibrant is the community? And is there a large enough community around the enterprise framework? Lastly, for outsourcing the proof-of-concept development, a major consideration is the ability of consulting companies to view and access the framework.
- Support model is also a very important aspect. A major consideration is whether the framework receiving any support from a large corporation or not? Accurately predicting the longevity of enterprise framework becomes much more plausible. Further, is the major contributor or creator holding some information that the community does not know?
- Enterprise Activity is another one. Basically, how often does the enterprise framework updates with features and functional patches?
- Enterprise Regulatory Compliance. Compatibility between the framework and the company’s standards of regulations is significant consideration. Further, is the framework flexible enough for integrating with the existing system?
- Next up is Roadmap. Is there a distinct roadmap for the enterprise framework, atleast for the near future? Also, is the roadmap of the framework clear to the entire community?
- Another is ‘Ease of programming’. Since blockchain is yet to see its mainstream adoption, an enterprise framework having next-generation capabilities though one which is extremely difficult to manage is the last thing anyone wants to further add to the technological complications associated with migration. Try and choose a relatively easy to use enterprise framework.
- Reliable Backing is the last on the list. If the framework is open source, does it have the backing from reliable companies? If no, would you be able to back the open source framework for a long time?
Attuned with advancements in AI, sensors and networks, as well as the general state of industrial infrastructure, Blockchain technology has the potential to usher the beginning of the revolutionary “Industry 4.0” paradigm of connected and interoperable machines, connected supply chains, information transparency, and more.