Yesterday consulting firm EY unveiled a blockchain solution enabling companies to deal with supplier procurement on the public Ethereum blockchain securely. The EY OpsChain Network Procurement solution aims to turn complex supplier agreements into smart contracts. It’s part of EY’s OpsChain blockchain offerings that include traceability and contract management. Most of EY’s blockchain solutions are based on Ethereum, both the public and private versions.
EY describes the offering as enabling buyers and sellers to operate as a network to keep track of volumes and spend, as well as current terms and pricing. This is reminiscent of one of EY’s first publicized blockchain projects, a game developer royalties solution for Microsoft’s Xbox Live. EY claims that the initiative compressed cycle times by 90%+ and reduced costs by 40%.
Paul Brody, EY Global Blockchain Leader, is a strong proponent of public blockchain and Ethereum. “Competition is increasing between networks of companies, their partners and suppliers. The ability to work as a network, above the level of any single ERP system, is crucial. Doing so on a public blockchain means not having to persuade a company or supplier to join a costly, closed proprietary network,” said Brody.
The procurement offering integrates with ERP systems using application programming interfaces (APIs).
It also uses the Baseline Protocol, an open source set of middleware-style tools developed by EY with ConsenSys and others. Baseline aims to attract enterprises to get more comfortable using public Ethereum by adding layers of privacy, not just to data but also to smart contract logic.
The beta version of EY OpsChain Network Procurement is available for free to individuals.
Most corporate announcements claim to be a first. But in this case, we believe EY’s solution is probably the first public blockchain procurement offering from a major consulting firm. Accenture has its True Supplier Marketplace launched eight months ago. And Chainyard, with support from IBM, launched the Trust Your Supplier blockchain in August 2019. Both the Accenture and Chainyard offerings use enterprise blockchain Hyperledger Fabric.
Contract management firm Icertis also has a blockchain offering used by Mercedes.
However, some industries are exploring sector-specific solutions. For example, MediLedger is working on contracts for the pharmaceuticals sector, where its solution is based on an enterprise version of Ethereum.