Building a Best-in-Class Blockchain Production Application Webinar Recap

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September 9, 2021

For this webinar, PBWS had the pleasure to welcome Andrei Semenov, Director of Innovation/Supply Chain at CONA Services, LLC – The Coca-Cola System IT Services Company, Karen Ottoni, Director of Ecosystem for Hyperledger, Antoine Le Feuvre, CEO Digital Solutions for Citizens, Consumers and Companies at SUEZ, Smart and Environmental Solutions, and Arka Roychowdhury, Sr. Architect in Blockchain at Cognizant, who moderated the discussion.


Here’s a preview of some key takeaways: ‍

1. Enterprise Blockchain democratization is underway

2. Blockchain can help address environmental issues

3. Blockchain is practical and applicable at scale

4. Blockchain is part of the solution

1. Enterprise Blockchain democratization is underway  

According to Karen Ottoni, Director of Ecosystem for Hyperledger, blockchain ecosystem is now much more democratized (as it should be) with collaboration among both public and private blockchain networks.

Blockchain centers on open-source communities, making it available and affordable at scale. Developments have accelerated thanks to alliances such as Ethereum’s one with Hyperledger encouraged by Linux Foundation.  “The Ethereum community is very much a part of Hyperledger now,” rejoices Karen. Individuals and enterprises have gained experience, knowledge and access to information. This enables them to define what their specific business needs are and where blockchain can bring value. They have increased their scrutiny on scalability, interoperability, speed and privacy. We see this interest driving many projects in Hyperledger community.  

Looking back at the ICO boom in 2017, there used to be a lack of synergy among the blockchain players, people used to spend a significant amount of time focusing on their own projects and not looked at the network effect, but these days they have realized that it is essential to implement a collaborative (interoperable) strategy.  

Karen Ottoni reminded that collaboration is key to a fully operational and democratized blockchain. “You can’t really build standard networks, there are a lot of specifics to how certain industries operate,” she added. Relying on experts within an industry is the best option according to her to bring blockchain’s promise into practice. “Specialized knowledge is important; you have to start where it makes sense for you,” as she stressed. She concluded by explaining that the ecosystem is still in the early phase of development, and that players in the blockchain’s industry will gain real value by brainstorming and exchanging with each other.

2. Blockchain can help address environmental issues

Antoine Le Feuvre, CEO of Digital Solutions for Citizens, Consumers and Companies at SUEZ is at the forefront of ecological transition and believes that blockchain will be one of the key drivers to address environmental issues: “We already have some examples, where blockchain, helps us to do more with less.” If technology can enable to solve some environmental issues there will be no effective solution without collaboration. “We need to first foster collaboration with different actors”- private sectors, governments, and citizen in order to “increase the level of trust, and the sharing of information”.

He shared an implementation example of using Blockchain for monitoring and management of wastewater(sludge) life cycle. He is optimistic that this kind of solutions will be applicable for other types of waste as well.  

He also observed: “there is often a confusion between bitcoin and blockchain.” While Bitcoin is based on the blockchain technology, blockchain cannot be limited to bitcoin. This recurrent confusion of terms is giving the technology a bad reputation in terms of energy consumption, and environmental sustainability, although (as demonstrated during the discussion) the truth is that blockchain can play a crucial role in conservation and fight against climate change.

3. Blockchain is practical and applicable at scale

Andrei Semenov, Director of Innovation/Supply Chain at CONA Services, LLC – The Coca-ColaSystem IT Services Company, emphasized the practicality and effectiveness of blockchain technology in their supply chain. Blockchain is one of core technologies to build a trusted network among bottlers across North America. He also reflected that they are now operating a production network in Hyperledger ledger fabric for almost two years. He shared his blockchain adoption journey: he started with the business pain-point in mind, assessed the business opportunity of blockchain and presented it to business stakeholders before embarking the technology solution.

Vendors, suppliers, and customers exchange information and act on reliable shared information at any point in time; having a process and a supporting technical infrastructure in place that facilitates this information collaboration has tangible business value.
In the meantime, Andrei warned that the technology- no matter how efficient, will “not solve accuracy, or human error issues.”
He also acknowledged the need to incentivize parties (actors) to collaborate and agree upon information sharing.

CONA Services run their own network, and many companies may still wonder if they should join or create their own. He explained that some companies are worried that joining another network or a consortium will prevent them from scaling it in the long run.
He advised newcomers to stay connected with the ecosystem, experiment with PoC, and try to understand the business problem first.
Once the core blockchain system is synchronized radical new use cases will evolve.

4. Blockchain is part of the solution

Arka Roychowdhury, Sr. Architect in blockchain at Cognizant, who moderated the discussion emphasized the importance of taking a pragmatic approach to blockchain.

Technical expertise is crucial for successful blockchain implementation, but it is not sufficient - a business centric approach with a qualified problem needs to be blended in every endeavor. It is important to know what business challenges don’t need blockchain.
Blockchain is a foundational trust infrastructure for multilateral collaboration - critical for our trust economy.

Assessing where, how, when, and with whom to build a blockchain remains a complex challenge; and this is where a solution architect’s perspective with experience over a vast range of production-grade blockchain across the world can be a lever. Blockchain is part of a change equation involving your organization, processes, data, etc. With ecosystem partners who shares common vision and are willing to adapt and evolve with the changing business landscape, we must aim for a practical implementation approach focused on unlocking business value. This is how we get the best of enterprise blockchain.

Click here to watch the on-demand replay.

To learn more about Cognizant, click here.
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