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The quest for interconnectedness in business systems


While you may be familiar with the term “IoT” or the “Internet of Things” (devices connected to each other via the Internet), you might not have heard about its supply chain counterpart: the “Industrial Internet of Things” (IIoT). In fact, a new study by the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network found that a majority of business executives expect IIoT to dramatically impact business performance and competitiveness over the next three years. It stands to reason that there will be many economic benefits for businesses that become globally interconnected with their customers through the adoption of various technologies like IIoT.

Similarly, another emerging business technology—“blockchain”—promises to revolutionize the concept of “digital trust” between parties involved in digital transactions. In essence, blockchain is a globally distributed database running on millions of devices and open to anyone, where anything of value can be moved, stored and exchanged securely and privately. With blockchain, trust in the system is established, not by intermediaries like banks, governments and technology companies, but through mass collaboration and sophisticated computer code.

By lowering the cost and complexity of financial transactions, blockchain is enabling the development of innovative applications like native payment systems that can exist and thrive without banks (and their associated fees). Experts even envision blockchain allowing buyers to “track shipments with ease, down to the individual component level, or executing a contract with a vendor without the need for an intermediary auditor.”

However, many companies are still lagging far behind when it comes to IIoT and blockchain readiness. Business leaders, who know that they need to move toward the inevitability of interconnected systems, simply don’t know where to start on that journey.

One strategy is to begin implementing interoperability and interconnectedness in smaller systems first, and to move on to other organizational systems later. That way, it’s easier to identify and overcome smaller points of friction than to tackle a global business transition all at once.

For example, converting your invoicing system to a digital e-invoicing platform will make it much easier to share billing and payment data with all of the stakeholders in your supply chain. Tungsten Network is well-positioned to help make your transition to a digitally interconnected invoicing system as frictionless as possible.

As you get better at tracking the flow of goods and payments between your organization and your buyers and suppliers, these efficiencies can help improve your bottom line immediately. As one point of friction in your organization is overcome, it makes it easier to adopt additional friction-reducing systems such as IIoT and blockchain. The momentum of these transitions can be used to move you closer to your overall goal of complete organizational interconnectedness with the business world at large.


About the author

Kevin Wilbur

Kevin has more than 20 years’ experience of inspiring teams within fast paced, high growth, global technology and financial services companies. He has strong insight into the power of electronic invoicing and procurement analytics to transform supply chains. As SVP of AP Automation, Kevin is leading the expansion of digital invoicing, workflow and analytics capabilities across Tungsten’s global customer base, helping more finance and procurement departments to become automated and increasing connections on the network.


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