Yesterday at its TrailheaDX developer conference, Salesforce unveiled the Salesforce Blockchain. First revealed at last year’s event, the solution enables the use of blockchain through clicks rather than needing to write code. One of the first customers to use the platform is S&P Global Ratings.
“We help companies build for the future by making breakthrough technology accessible and easy to use — today we are doing just that with Salesforce Blockchain,” said Bret Taylor, President and Chief Product Officer, Salesforce.
An opportunity for Salesforce to extend its reach?
A key challenge with implementing blockchain solutions is the lack of skills and knowledge within enterprises. So making it a clickable process is a big step forward. The downside is that companies need to trust that Salesforce is dealing with all the complexity securely. But if a company is an existing Salesforce customer, it must already have confidence in Salesforce’s ability to manage sensitive data.
Some of the first partner use cases are not for applications that one would typically associate with Salesforce. Is blockchain a tool for Salesforce to significantly extend its reach into other parts of the enterprise?
Currently, businesses need to share a lot of data with partners. This is often done via APIs which creates inefficiencies because many API integrations need to be implemented. Plus APIs often connect silos of data which still need to be reconciled. The alternative is to share the data via a blockchain. Blockchain also addresses issues of trust because data is saved, traced and authenticated by partners on the network.
The company outlines use cases to include asset tracking, credentialing and verification of goods.
A key advantage of the Salesforce solution is the integration with existing Salesforce data. For example, the data can be incorporated into sales forecasts. Plus a company can have its own Salesforce Blockchain and integrate data from partners, distributors and intermediaries.
The technology is a highly customized version of Hyperledger Sawtooth, the protocol contributed to Hyperledger by Intel.
Three early clients were unveiled, S&P Global Ratings, IQVIA a life sciences technology company, and Arizona State University. The solution is currently only available to design partners and will be accessible to all clients in 2020.
In the case of S&P Global Ratings, the company is using the Salesforce Blockchain for know-your-customer (KYC) compliance for opening business bank accounts. A significant benefit is creating a transparent and auditable review process.
“The KYC reviews and approval process is very time consuming and requires multiple parties to ensure each business is evaluated accurately and completely,” said Chris Heusler, Global Chief Commercial Officer, S&P Global Ratings.
“Leveraging Salesforce Blockchain, S&P Global Ratings has created a trusted network of reviewers, where everyone can work from a shared, transparent and auditable review process—completely reinventing and expediting how we do KYC reviews for our customers.”