Every integration is established with the purpose to make data flow easier from A to B. This goes for integrations within a company’s application landscape as well as integrations from one company to another company. The context for this improved data flow is almost always that it benefits an organisation’s processes, therefore saving time and money.
Blockchain integration is in that sense not much different, but instead of improving an internal business process or a process with one counterparty, you are doing this for an entire business network, at once! Therefore, we sometimes like to say that blockchain really brings forward a next wave of digital transformation, by allowing business to interact with greater ease with each other, at scale.
Our advise for companies that want to start applying blockchain technology to the way they interact with other organisations in their business network is to find the right use case first. An important element of the use case is which stakeholders are involved and what is their potential benefit to participate in the data exchange. Once you know which stakeholders you need and which bits and pieces of data you need to exchange via the blockchain network, it’s time to start looking at integration. The first step is mapping the different source applications, based on the documents and data they generate and process. Then we start looking at which protocols these applications prefer to use within your application landscape. With this information we can start opening up your business data for use in a blockchain network by using the Blockchain Gateway. The Blockchain Gateway would connect to your existing application landscape using the protocol that you are already using, this can be, for instance, an enterprise service bus, a message queue or an API. Lastly, we would look at transforming the data format to transaction data that the blockchain solution expects. More often than not, this means that only a small number of fields will be extracted and transformed into the appropriate message the network expects.
Next to sending data to the network, the Blockchain Gateway can also be used to receive events from the blockchain network. A practical example can be a new financing request coming in on a supply chain financing blockchain solution. This event can easily be translated into a new message being put on your enterprise service bus or message queue, or even an email being send to your inbox.
At unchain.io we can help you with this journey from start to finish: from use case generation to a running and well-integrated blockchain solution that benefits your business.
This post focuses on blockchain use cases that have a cost-saving nature, because they make interactions between companies more structured and quicker. However, there is a whole other category of very exciting use cases that focuses on new business models that blockchain technology make possible.