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In a recent piece at Harvard Business Review, Michael J. Casey and Pindar Wong observe that blockchain - an online globally distributed general ledger that keeps track of transactions via online "smart contracts" - will produce "dynamic demand chains in place of rigid supply chains, resulting in more efficient resource use for all." They observe that a number of startups are springing up around blockchain-enabled supply chains, and companies such as Wal-Mart, IBM and BHP Billiton are launching efforts to better track the movement of goods and information.
Blockchain — enhanced by electronic tracking technology — can only help speed up supply chains, while adding greater intelligence along the way, they argue. "It could be especially powerful when combined with smart contracts, in which contractual rights and obligations, including the terms for payment and delivery of goods and services, can be automatically executed by an autonomous system that’s trusted by all signatories."
A panel discussion held at the recent 2017 SAP Ariba LIVE conference in Las Vegas grew more animated when the subject of blockchain came up. The panelists, tech leaders at SAP Ariba, explored the potential of advanced cloud services in helping to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to a range of business supply chain processes. Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, moderated.
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