IBM, the technology giant has recently completed the acquisition of Red Hat, another key technology player. IBM has already put Red Hat’s strength to good use in Sterling Supply Chain Suite, its new blockchain supply chain solution.
Given the potential of blockchain in supply chain management, the industry views new solutions in this field with considerable interest. If such a new solution includes features as a result of the collaboration between IBM and Red Hat, then it’s sure to make businesses sit up and notice.
IBM has clearly recognized the value that blockchain can bring to supply chain management. The company has already built a blockchain-powered supply chain platform, which makes supplier management easier.
IBM has reasons to be bullish on blockchain supply chain solutions. The supply chain management is a key function in all businesses, moreover, it’s complex. Inefficiency, lack of traceability, too much paperwork are some of the challenges plaguing it, however, blockchain can help.
Blockchain offers decentralization, a distributed ledger, security features, and immutability of data. Smart contracts can improve contract administration significantly, therefore, the market for blockchain solutions here is growing. An Allied Market Research report states that this market will likely grow to $9.852 billion in 2025, accompanied by a CAGR of 80.2%.
Not surprisingly, IBM has invested heavily in blockchain supply chain solutions. The company has worked with Maersk to improve shipping industry processes, moreover, it has improved the “Bill of Lading” (BoL) processes using blockchain. IBM has also worked on improving the supply chain assurance in the jewellery industry.
IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat is enabling it to add further value to its efforts.
IBM and Red Hat brings flexibility to blockchain supply chain
IBM already has significant blockchain and cloud capabilities. Red Hat is well-known for its focus on open-source and hybrid cloud capabilities, and the company is famous for its Red Hat Enterprise Linux. IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat positions IBM as a key provider in the hybrid cloud market.
This is what adds value to IBM’s blockchain offerings. Complex business processes aren’t always suitable for public cloud, moreover, confining it to private cloud could limit the value creation. More and more businesses are realizing the value of the hybrid cloud when it comes to complex business processes.
The supply chain is undoubtedly a complex business process, and businesses using supply chain solutions need flexibility. Enterprises need the ability to choose where they will run part of their workload, and hybrid cloud gives them this flexibility.
Sterling Supply Chain Suite, the new offering from IBM does exactly that. It incorporates the relevant IBM blockchain capabilities, moreover, the strengths of Red Hat enhances its open-architecture capabilities.
E.g., the new product includes the IBM Sterling Order Management containers for Red Hat OpenShift. Clients that buy the new Sterling Supply Chain Suite can run their processes on-premises, alternatively, they can use the cloud.
A new dawn for supply chain management?
The new Sterling Supply Chain Suite has both the capabilities of blockchain and the reach of the hybrid cloud. Will it usher a new dawn for supply chain management? Watch this space.