Authored by Ravi Sarathy (PGP 1968), Professor of International Business and Strategy at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University
How companies can gain strategic advantage by developing blockchain capabilities.
Blockchain is far more than cryptocurrency. Regarded for a decade as complex and with limited application, blockchain has now matured to be on the verge of fully realizing its disruptive potential. In Enterprise Strategy for Blockchain, business strategy expert Ravi Sarathy shows how companies can gain competitive advantage by developing and deploying blockchain capabilities. Sarathy explains what makes blockchain unique, including its capacities to eliminate intermediaries, guard against hackers, decentralize, and protect privacy. Presenting examples drawn from such sectors as finance, supply chains, computer services, consumer products, and entertainment, he describes how executives can strategically assess blockchain’s applicability to their business.
After outlining blockchain’s technological features – and its technological obstacles – Sarathy describes disruptive technologies already happening in the financial services market with the emergence of decentralized finance, or DeFi, arguing that a wave of innovation might be positioning DeFi as blockchain’s “killer app.” He also explores, among many other uses, a blockchain application that addresses chronic supply chain problems, pilot blockchain programs aimed at facilitating cross-border payments, and the use of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) that allow digital art to be collected and traded. And he outlines a path for organizations that includes establishing a business case for applying blockchain, evaluating enterprise cost-benefits, and preparing the organization to develop the requisite knowledge and people skills while overcoming resistance to change.
Business leaders should invest, explore and experiment with blockchain now, positioning their organizations to be first in their fields, ahead of both rising startups and late-to-the game incumbent peers.