Despite its transformative potential, blockchain for retail is still largely in its infancy. While major corporations like Walmart, Target and Starbucks have been early adopters, a relatively low percentage of brands and retailers have actually invested in the technology. Moreover, many of these projects are still in the proof-of-concept stage rather than full-blown enterprise implementations.
There are several major barriers to widespread blockchain adoption: time, cost, uncertainty and complexity. Most systems available in the market today involve lengthy development phases and deployment times, often upwards of 12 months. They also require substantial upfront costs for new infrastructure — an investment many businesses are wary of making. Overall, many are simply apprehensive about implementing, integrating and learning a radical new technology.
But even in the face of these roadblocks, blockchain adoption in the supply chain is projected to rise dramatically. In fact, the 2019 MHI Annual Industry Report predicted adoption will grow to 62% in the next five years.
With Blockchain-As-A-Service, Getting Started Is Simple
Driving this growth will be Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS), which will make it easier than ever for brands and retailers to get started with their own distributed ledger. Using the popular Software-as-a-Service model, BaaS-powered supply chain management platforms eliminate the need for complex on-premise systems, since all users need to connect is an Internet browser.
Businesses new to the technology and unsure where to begin should consider BaaS for the following benefits:
Rapid implementation: BaaS platforms streamline implementation and cut deployment time from months down to weeks. Instead of a new, large infrastructure, users simply need a device that can access the Internet. Setup and ongoing maintenance are handled by the technology vendor instead of placing the burden on in-house IT teams. In fact, an experienced vendor can plan, develop, test and launch a BaaS system in under 90 days.
Simple integration: Instead of eliminating established software, BaaS platforms can be layered seamlessly into a business’ technology stack. This includes virtually any existing system for supply chain management, accounting, inventory management, procurement, e-Commerce, product authentication and more.
Affordable payments: BaaS deployment is affordable through low, subscription-based payments. This makes blockchain affordable for any IT budget, since users can pay in monthly installments rather than large upfront sums. And any system updates are included in the subscription, so businesses don’t have to worry about their system becoming obsolete as blockchain technology evolves.
Ease of use: When implementing any new technology into operations, it can be a challenge to get internal teams on board with the change. BaaS offers user-friendly access through already familiar hardware (any computer, mobile device, tablet, etc.), which means a very minimal learning curve. Employees will feel comfortable and confident with the technology in no time, making for a much smoother transition.
Scalability for the future: With BaaS, you can start small and expand as needed. The technology is flexible enough to be deployed at a level that meets current needs, and then easily scaled up with business growth. A single system can solve the challenges of today and satisfy the demands of tomorrow.
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