What is blockchain?

Bitcoin has a mixed reputation. Yet its technological underpinnings have a transformational potential for businesses and governmental institutions. Deloitte is committed to this transformation. And we are committed to the enterprise in blockchain. Because it takes the best from open blockchain protocols and marries it with business’ need for privacy, speed and security.

Enterprise blockchain technology helps to achieve coherent, effective and secure ways of doing business. To appreciate the role of blockchain, think of the mess that is transactions in business today. Modern business is a world of siloed repositories for data (see video for an apt example). Each organization keeps a separate copy of their data because there is no collective trust. Not only does this place companies at a data security risk. It is severely wasteful.

When trying to lessen the effects of siloed data organizations look inwards. Data stewardship, master data management, security audits and standardization of data formats across the organization. These have been undertaken for years within organizations only to discover the dataflow is beyond the business itself. Data flows between businesses, suppliers, financieres, insurance companies, public entities, etc. and creates a mutual dependence.

Enterprise blockchain, in its essence, is a shared, trusted, record of information held to a group of companies and selected third parties to inspect, but which no central user controls. This system is collectively governed in a consortium where participants keep the information up-to-date so that each participant maintain a copy of the updated, immutable, database.

What is maintained in the database? Think of it simply as where transactions – any type of digital transaction – is written and saved, for each company in the consortium.

Blockchain changes the lens from the flow of data within ones one silo, towards cross-organizationally digitizing, automating and securing data. We speak of transforming more than a single company, to transforming entire sectors or supply chains. To see this operating in businesses today, see here an example from DNV GL, Maersk or Nasdaq.

We consult companies and public institutions who are ready to explore blockchain-infused and consortia-driven innovation. This page provides a peek into how we work and who we are, our blockchain projects at Deloitte Denmark, technical papers and published articles to date. I hope you enjoy the material.

Approach

  1. Discover

    Spot a big, ambitious, challenge or opportunity in your industry

    We start assessing whether a blockchain is even needed. Is there blockchain-fit? Blockchain-fit often lends itself to issues of (lack of) sharing, organizing and validating data between multiple parties.

    The goal is to find or validate a big, ambitious, challenge or opportunity that can achieve buy-in from multiple parties. For instance, undue stress of documentation and verification, complex international workflows, a dependency on intermediators between businesses, lengthy paper trails or general inefficiencies in the flow of goods and services. To aid the search we apply a structed problem methodology to uncover and validate the challenge at hand.

    2 - 4 weeks

  2. Design

    Make the value of shared blockchain solution tangible

    In this phase multiple workshops are undertaken with relevant actors – sometimes bringing critical suppliers, competitors and public institutions into the room. Together different ideas, rough sketches, prototypes are developed to envision the future solution. And the business value it brings. While collaborating on a shared beneficial solution, we help shape an emerging business consortium of participants.

    We evaluated the solution to ensure a positive business case drives the transformation forward. This includes rough cost estimations of the full technical implementation. In this phase it is evaluated once more if blockchain is the ideal technology choice or a traditional technology stack can be applied more effectively.

    2 - 6 weeks

  3. Build PoC

    Develop a rudimentary technical prototype to validate the solution

    At this point the business value of the blockchain solution is clear. On this basis the high-level technical specifications are developed, components in the technology stack are defined and overview of dataflow with existing legacy systems is documented.

    The purpose of the PoC is to ensure the technical blockchain infrastructure is viable and feasible for the identified solution. In this process multiple blockchain platforms are evaluated for best match with the requirements for the desired solution. Deloitte is blockchain technology agnostic. This means we are impartial technical advisors on the, now many, enterprise-ready blockchain platforms.

    4 - 6 weeks

  4. Expand ecosystem & Assess

    Agree on how to move forward, together

    When blockchain technology has been found to be the necessary technology choice, the business participants can focus on how the consortium shall be governed. The consortium should consist of a handful of organizations, ready to move forward and fund the solutions technical development.

    Before then, agreement should be reached on governance model, legal structure, intellectual property ownership, cost-sharing and decision-making, risk management, managing new entrants entering or exiting the platform, vendor selection process, etc. Deloitte can assist with wide expertise from all functions to this end.

    2 – 6 months

  5. Build & Commercialize

    Built, launch and reap the benefits

    Following the development and launch of the solution, the next steps involve monitoring and analyzing its value. Attain knowledge as to what end it makes sense to scale the solution horizontally, adding more competitors, similar with those already in the consortium. Or whether the solution can be scaled vertically by going deeper in the digitization of business processes and workflows in the sector by added new type of organizations to the consortium. This requires an understanding of how participants reap value from the newly digitized, standardized, processes and data that flows within the sector.

    4 – 12 months

  1. Discover
  2. Design
  3. Build PoC
  4. Expand ecosystem & Assess
  5. Build & Commercialize

Spot a big, ambitious, challenge or opportunity in your industry

We start assessing whether a blockchain is even needed. Is there blockchain-fit? Blockchain-fit often lends itself to issues of (lack of) sharing, organizing and validating data between multiple parties.

The goal is to find or validate a big, ambitious, challenge or opportunity that can achieve buy-in from multiple parties. For instance, undue stress of documentation and verification, complex international workflows, a dependency on intermediators between businesses, lengthy paper trails or general inefficiencies in the flow of goods and services. To aid the search we apply a structed problem methodology to uncover and validate the challenge at hand.

2 - 4 weeks

Make the value of shared blockchain solution tangible

In this phase multiple workshops are undertaken with relevant actors – sometimes bringing critical suppliers, competitors and public institutions into the room. Together different ideas, rough sketches, prototypes are developed to envision the future solution. And the business value it brings. While collaborating on a shared beneficial solution, we help shape an emerging business consortium of participants.

We evaluated the solution to ensure a positive business case drives the transformation forward. This includes rough cost estimations of the full technical implementation. In this phase it is evaluated once more if blockchain is the ideal technology choice or a traditional technology stack can be applied more effectively.

2 - 6 weeks

Develop a rudimentary technical prototype to validate the solution

At this point the business value of the blockchain solution is clear. On this basis the high-level technical specifications are developed, components in the technology stack are defined and overview of dataflow with existing legacy systems is documented.

The purpose of the PoC is to ensure the technical blockchain infrastructure is viable and feasible for the identified solution. In this process multiple blockchain platforms are evaluated for best match with the requirements for the desired solution. Deloitte is blockchain technology agnostic. This means we are impartial technical advisors on the, now many, enterprise-ready blockchain platforms.

4 - 6 weeks

Agree on how to move forward, together

When blockchain technology has been found to be the necessary technology choice, the business participants can focus on how the consortium shall be governed. The consortium should consist of a handful of organizations, ready to move forward and fund the solutions technical development.

Before then, agreement should be reached on governance model, legal structure, intellectual property ownership, cost-sharing and decision-making, risk management, managing new entrants entering or exiting the platform, vendor selection process, etc. Deloitte can assist with wide expertise from all functions to this end.

2 – 6 months

Built, launch and reap the benefits

Following the development and launch of the solution, the next steps involve monitoring and analyzing its value. Attain knowledge as to what end it makes sense to scale the solution horizontally, adding more competitors, similar with those already in the consortium. Or whether the solution can be scaled vertically by going deeper in the digitization of business processes and workflows in the sector by added new type of organizations to the consortium. This requires an understanding of how participants reap value from the newly digitized, standardized, processes and data that flows within the sector.

4 – 12 months

Cases

Thought leadership & podcasts feat. NextGen

The NextGen Team