From supply chains to digital ecosystems, the pandemic revealed many break points in business ecosystem partnerships around the globe. The vast majority (94 percent) of the Fortune 1000 reported COVID-19 related supply chain disruptions in 2020, with 75 percent experiencing negative or strongly negative impacts to their ecosystem business model.
As covered in Accenture Technology Vision 2021: Experts at Change at a Moment of Truth, our annual forecast of the most important tech trends reshaping business, the path forward was to quickly build new, trustworthy partnerships to meet unprecedented customer needs.
In numerous industries, multiparty systems (MPS) filled the gap, providing solutions like contact tracing and frictionless payments through the uncertainty. Multiparty systems enable a shared data infrastructure between individuals and organizations that drive efficiency and build new business and revenue models. This emerging technology includes blockchain, distributed ledger, distributed database, tokenization and a variety of other technologies and capabilities.
In the Tech Vision trend, From Me to We, we explore how multiparty technology not only helped businesses adapt in the moment, but also will enable them to innovate and lead by changing the way they partner.
Cloud extends ecosystem opportunities
Despite the cuts companies had to make to maintain operations during COVID-19, many still increased their investment in multiparty systems out of necessity. This growing investment goes hand in hand with having a solid foundation in cloud, the technology needed to participate in the ecosystem economy.
The pandemic caused many enterprises to accelerate their journey to cloud. Subsequently, this transforms supply chains, enabling the ecosystem to confidentially share data and insights with new and existing partners. A collaborative data infrastructure facilitates a trusted foundation driving network effects and leading to new services, business models and value generation. (To explore this idea further as it relates to data sharing, see my Blockchain + Cloud article in Forbes.)
The value of a network is clear even to those with the most advanced technology operations. One example is Accenture’s work with Microsoft and eight of Microsoft’s biggest suppliers. This collaboration began by defining an initial, founder-led governance structure that is migrating to a future network consortium, based on Microsoft Azure. The ultimate goal is to transform supply chains from isolated data islands to advanced, secure data networks.
Accenture helped deliver on Microsoft’s vision to build a blockchain platform that is a best-in-class full-stack application on Azure for cloud scale. This blockchain-based solution provides mine-to-datacenter traceability, providing 360-value to the ecosystem parties, including cost efficiencies, operational agility, quality management, security and legitimacy with specific advancements including payment terms compliance, reduced manual work, improved inventory planning, serial level tracking and legal compliance. (To learn more about this project, read the Microsoft Industry blog post, “Improve supply chain resiliency, traceability, and predictability with blockchain.”)
Catalyzing trust for innovation
Beyond new growth opportunities, multiparty systems guarantee a trusted and secure common environment, generating equitable relationships among partners and lines of sight into previously masked areas of the value chain. This trust can create an environment that catalyzes innovation for all participants.
Consider how the slow pace of transactions impair the speed of business, especially when it comes to trade for globe-spanning enterprises. Companies need to share non-uniform data, repeatedly reconcile accounts, and transpose paper documentation. Multiparty systems offer solutions to these persistent problems.
TradeIX’s Marco Polo is a platform for payables financing, receivables discounting and payment commitment, built on R3 Corda distributed ledger technology. Partners install and integrate the network into ERP systems and gain access to an interoperable and collaborative environment where they can move capital and conduct business operations seamlessly with partners across the network. The ecosystem already hosts 30 banks, lenders and technology providers. It can help improve trade processing speeds by three to four times, increase working capital and liquidity by 20 percent, and decrease data entry and reconciliation by 80 percent. (See our related post explaining more about how the Marco Polo multiparty system works on the Accenture Blockchain blog.)
Examples like the Marco Polo Network show how multiparty systems will become the heart of a new kind of strategic ecosystem partnership—one that not only enables companies to address disruptions, but also creates new ways to approach a market and establish a leadership advantage in which enterprise success is inextricably tied to ecosystem success.
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