A Model For Blockchain-Based Enterprise Resource Planning

In the ever-expanding global environment, business workflows are increasingly complex. Successfully leading organizations to accomplish their financial goals requires coordination and cooperation between members across departments and leadership levels.

As businesses grow, this becomes more difficult as different departments, regardless of their organizational structure, need to communicate effectively to drive business insights and innovation. To solve the communication and coordination challenges, companies turn to Enterprise Resource Planning systems, also known as ERPs, to improve the flow of information across their organization. The inclusion of a blockchain-based ERP system can protect privacy, secure data and its proof, and automate any workflow process in an efficient and sustainable way. Let's take a look at Enterprise Resource Planning and how blockchain can be used to address some of the challenges seen with traditional ERP systems. 

What is Enterprise Resource Planning?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is the process of integrating and streamlining the different functions of a business into one cohesive system. ERP software incorporates the many systems used across a business into a single source so that all members of the organization can access data.

How are ERP systems used? 

Enterprise Resource Planning systems are commonly split into different modules based on the function using the system. For example, the logistics and finance departments would have their own modules within the wider ERP system to be used by all departments across the entire business.

These systems are also built to interact with third-party departmental software. Many departments have specialized software that is built for their business and produces data that would otherwise remain siloed if not integrated with the ERP system. The ERP software quickly aggregates data across the company and packages it in a way that any department can see.

The use of an ERP system is an effective way to streamline a business's organization. However, a traditional ERP system allows access to vast amounts of data, needlessly, and can create undue risk for employees, the business, and its customers. Offering up proof of relevant events across departments while keeping data segregated can help to mitigate the risk of unintended data breaches and exposures.

Dragonchain's Blockchain-Based ERP Model

On its face, the ability for any departmental employee to have access to any information within an organization may seem like it would lead to an efficient workflow. However, interdepartmental communication does not need to include sensitive data. It is possible to prove an event took place in one department and use that proof in a workflow process occurring in another department.

Each unique business ERP system can include one or more permissioned blockchains. These blockchains can connect to any traditional - already in use - system to record data. All business data is private and protected unless explicitly permissioned otherwise allowing the business to select any specific data for distribution to other departments. Proof of the transactions is then sent for decentralized verification across thousands of nodes including Bitcoin and Ethereum.

This segregation of data allows for the distribution of the proof that an event took place without exposing the data behind that event and allows businesses to adhere to GDPR/CCPA and other regulatory requirements such as HIPAA.

Who uses Enterprise Resource Planning software?

Enterprise Resource Planning software is used across all types of industries and within businesses of all sizes. When small businesses seek to move their data from isolated spreadsheets, they often turn to cloud-based ERP software that integrates their business functions. As they grow, they move to ERP systems that include advanced analytics that aid as their scaling initiative. The desire to incorporate an ERP system usually stems from uncontrolled business processes and wasted time manually manipulating data.

Comprehensive ERP systems are most often seen in large, multi-functional organizations. These companies usually use several different types of dated third-party software and integrating them requires specialized knowledge from large expensive ERP providers. These specialized teams are expensive and unfamiliar with the business's team and culture. A business's ERP system should consider best practices for the organization and be implemented in an efficient way.

Not only can businesses streamline their workflows with an ERP system but with Dragonchain's smart contracts businesses can automate the entire process to ensure data integrity. Like the Dragonchain platform itself, our smart contracts are hybrid in nature to maintain privacy and proprietary data where needed. Our smart contracts are flexible and can be written in any language so an organization can use its existing IT team to quickly automate and change any process.

Dragonchain's ERP integration is the same whether the business is a small startup or a large organization. Interoperability with any third-party system is achieved via a simple RESTful API connection without any specialized training and expenses. Additionally, once data is on-chain, a business has access to any amount of reporting it would need and the same analytics currently only accessible by the bigger organizations are available to any business no matter its size.

Benefits of ERP Systems

If implemented correctly, an ERP system can greatly enhance the productivity of a business:

  • Standardized Processes - Consistent formats can enhance understanding and input of data so it can be leveraged for business insights across departments

  • Improved Communication - Easier access to company-wide data reduces the amount of communication needed between departments and ensures wide availability of data

  • IT Savings - Unified databases necessitate fewer overhead costs associated with maintaining multiple systems

  • Enhanced Business Decisions - With a single source of truth for key performance indicators and financial information, decision-makers can spend time using the new insights to execute strategy instead of gathering data

Enterprise Resource Planning System Resistance

While ERP systems can bring many benefits, the complexity of integrating a traditional ERP system can come with complications. For some organizations, switching to a new ERP software is met with resistance from the team. Since it takes time to implement the systems, the benefits are not always immediately apparent and workers can be reluctant to switch after growing frustrated with the length of implementation.

For instance, in some cases, a hospital will build out the user interface for a new electronic health records system while in production. Although this is great in that employees can customize data points for their workflow, until the system is completed (sometimes months later) employees grow frustrated with the difficulty of using the system.

While ERP systems can be used in all industries, they are often difficult to adopt in large organizations. Typically specialized ERP implementation teams are used to effectively convey the benefits of advanced analytics and communication to key stakeholders throughout the entire organization. However, this approach falls short as workers can be reluctant to make a switch and revert to traditional manual workflows.

Dragonchain's patented behavioral system can be used to analyze the productivity of employees, identify areas for improvement, and guide the decision-making process. Businesses can use this system to motivate employees to follow new and unfamiliar workflows as changes occur within the organization.

Choosing an ERP System

When looking for Enterprise Resource Planning software, a company must consider whether the software can automate many of the processes currently done manually by an organization. The system should be flexible and scalable for the future growth of the organization. The privacy and security of the business's organization, as well as its customers, should be integrated into the software. Further, software should be adaptable and compatible with the essential third-party software that already exists within the company.

Dragonchain understands that some businesses may be hesitant to add blockchain to their ERP system. There is still much to be learned about the novel technology. That is why we specifically set out to remove the roadblocks standing in the way of businesses capitalizing on the powerful benefits that blockchain has to offer. We built a platform of capabilities to address industry-agnostic pain points to help businesses solve their most crucial challenges.

Regardless of whether blockchain is used in an ERP software system, a business will only have a successful implementation if all the siloed systems are interoperable. Dragonchain's patented interoperable architecture can connect any blockchain or traditional system including any IoT devices or AI/ML technology. This allows employees to use trusted departmental software and removes the need for specialized teams when implementing an ERP system into a traditional business environment.

Scalability 

Unlike other blockchain systems, each Dragonchain ERP system is independently scalable. This allows the ERP system to grow with the business without accruing unexpected infrastructure costs.

Our operational network Dragon Net has demonstrated that it can scale beyond the volume of the worldwide Visa payments platform for an extended period of time. Additionally, any increase in data does not affect network speeds. This mitigates the surprise change in fees and bogged down networks that affect operations.

Secure ERP systems

The Dragonchain EPS system includes several advanced security features, including multiple levels of network consensus to prevent common blockchain-specific attacks. We segregate the data and leverage the combined power of multiple networks to provide customers with unprecedented measurable security. We routinely advocate for decentralization and the mirroring of systems to protect business data but in the event an organization wants additional protection, quantum-safe encryption and signing capabilities are possible.

Sustainable architecture to meet your environmental initiatives.

Due to the well-designed architecture businesses can use the Dragonchain platform and be energy efficient. Not only is our platform infrastructure (including managed nodes), by default, hosted in carbon-neutral facilities, but our verification platform, Dragon Net, operates at just 0.02 Watts of energy per transaction. Businesses can now use blockchain technology efficiently and responsibly while elevating their Environmental, Social, and Governance scores.

Adding Blockchain to an ERP System

Using a blockchain-based ERP system will also include the many benefits stated above. But, blockchain, and more specifically, Dragonchain, includes additional benefits.

  • Privacy and Security - Segregated data and selective transparency mitigate access points to sensitive information. Leverages multiple blockchains for measurable security. Quantum encryption and signing capabilities. 

  • Interoperability and Scalability - Patented technology to connect any system. Quick integration through RESTful APIs. Architecturally and economically scalable. 

  • Automation and Analytics - Programmable smart contracts to automate any process. On-chain data points to improve workflows. 

  • Behavior modification through incentivization - Motivate employees and partners to adhere to tasks to achieve a common goal.

Within any organization, advocating for the use of Enterprise Resource Planning software will be driven by leaders who recognize that they may be missing out on business opportunities. However, choosing the right ERP system is a critical choice and can make all the difference for any organization. Businesses should not shy away from using blockchain when implementing an ERP solution as the technology addresses many of the downfalls currently seen with traditional ERP software.

Contact us to get your new ERP system up and running today!