Together with Accenture Procurement, an internal IT and blockchain team designed an innovative True Supplier Marketplace solution—a new model and process facilitated by a new, shared procurement platform. The platform brings buyer teams and suppliers together onto a single, shared blockchain network that is accessible by a distributed application with a streamlined user experience. Over the course of a year, the project team took the idea from proof of concept to minimum viable product development to deployment into production.
From source to settle, Accenture buyer teams rely on data veracity to operate. Traditional models force manual effort to facilitate constant cleansing, refreshing, and maintenance across siloed systems. With the new True Supplier Marketplace solution, blockchain technology creates a single source of truth, allowing each party to own, control, and access data where it resides, providing benefit to both buyers and suppliers and greatly reducing issues of data quality. One shared platform means data is only entered once and is then shared across all of Accenture’s systems and teams.
This shared single source of truth provides transparency of onboarding of suppliers, allowing Accenture buyer teams to quickly verify suppliers. Suppliers are given full visibility of all required steps and progress. In Accenture’s new model, suppliers create their own accounts and single profiles that are reusable across many buyer teams. Data entry forms dynamically adjust based on the information entered, asking for more or less information as needed to enhance efficiency. Communication between the supplier and buyer teams is done within the platform using real-time notifications on actions taken.
An important step in the onboarding journey is the inclusion of risk assessments for suppliers to complete. These embedded assessments essentially enforce compliance through the workflow design, confirming suppliers complete all required assessments before they are onboarded. The assessment results and any subsequent updates are stored and recorded to the blockchain ledger. This design greatly reduces supplier noncompliance risk to Accenture.
Suppliers are given digital identities they own, including a third-party check verifications and credibility scoring. Suppliers manage and maintain their own data, eliminating manual data entry by Accenture teams and helping supplier information to stay up to date because suppliers make updates in real time. In addition, every update generates a real-time track-and-trace audit trail.
Suppliers’ private data is shared only with their consent. Data permissions and privacy are built in so that parties are only able to access information that is relevant to them. Personal and private data is stored off-chain to address GDPR compliance but is attested on-chain for user identity authentication. Accenture buyers only have views of their own supplier relationships and consented data. A secure, shared identity data store is encrypted, pervasive, and persistent. Overall, a shared digital solution is demonstrating to be far more secure than disparate systems sharing information by phone or e-mail.