From Digital Platform to Industry-Specific Applications: SAP Is Making Blockchain Actionable Across the Intelligent Enterprise

SAP today announced the expansion of its SAP Leonardo Blockchain technologies, which create immediate business value for customers.

SAP provides enterprise blockchain services to build and extend applications, allows management of blockchain-related data, infuses SAP manufacturing, supply chain and other products with blockchain capabilities, and plans to advance the technology with industry peers.

Recently, analyst firm Gartner published a study stating that “the enterprise shows little interest in blockchain.” Though the future is far more promising, the reasons mentioned for companies hesitating now are quite interesting. According to the survey, the challenges are:

  • A lack of skills to help in the implementation of blockchain projects
  • Accommodation of growth in resources as blockchain developments grow
  • Blockchain solutions require radical changes to the structure of IT departments

Companies do not need to fear any of these challenges with SAP as the partner of choice to conveniently explore, integrate, and scale blockchain.

SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain: Ready-to-Use Blockchain Services for Everyone

Today, we launched SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain for general availability, our Blockchain-as-a-Service, empowering every customer, partner, and developer to make blockchain actionable and benefit their business. With SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain, users can:

  • Extend existing solutions with enterprise blockchain capabilities
  • Build their own enterprise blockchain-based application according to their specific needs
  • Instantiate an enterprise blockchain network
  • Lay the foundation to participate in productive enterprise blockchain installations

What is unique to SAP’s offering is that we equip our customers with maximum flexibility by providing them both Hyperledger Fabric and MultiChain, two of the most advanced and enterprise-ready blockchain technologies. This means that customers can tailor their blockchain solutions to their specific business needs. And it is only a starting point: We deeply believe in a technology-agnostic approach and therefore plan to provide even more blockchain technologies on SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain in the future to ensure our offering always meets our customers’ changing requirements.

Easy Data Management and Analysis with SAP HANA Blockchain Service

With SAP, clients can embrace blockchain capabilities as an extension of their enterprise systems. The newly launched SAP HANA Blockchain service, which is part of the SAP HANA Data Management Suite, provides easy data management with a unified view on all transactional enterprise data — no matter if it resides in core systems or in the blockchain. Additionally, the service allows customers to run powerful analytics on the blockchain data to make quick and well prepared decisions.

This service also enables the creation of applications for decentralized architectures, such as blockchain, built on top of our leading database technology SAP HANA, without the need to cope with the underlying complexities of multiple blockchain-based systems and networks.

This comprehensive integration of blockchain into SAP’s digital platform clearly proves our objective to make blockchain actionable, affordable, and scalable to lay the foundation for customers to become an intelligent enterprise. At SAP, we have already started scaling blockchain across our portfolio.

Enabling the Intelligent Enterprise: Next to machine learning, IoT, or analytics, blockchain is part of our intelligent technologies. Blockchain is embedded in our digital platform and will be gradually infused into the applications of the intelligent suite.

Infusing SAP Solutions with Blockchain Capabilities: Co-Innovation and New Consortium

Blockchain unfolds its true value when the technology is integrated into specific use cases and business processes. We are working with customers and partners to embed blockchain into SAP manufacturing and supply chain products as well as other SAP solutions to simplify processes, provide greater transparency across the value chain, and promote collaboration beyond organizational boundaries. Since SAP initiated its blockchain co-innovation program, we have been working with more than 65 companies from multiple industries on blockchain use cases. We are now offering the following co-innovation initiatives for customers to participate in blockchain pilots utilizing existing SAP solutions augmented by blockchain capabilities:

  • Transportation management for all transportation modes and industries to simplify cross-border trade. Sellers, buyers, banks, and authorities share, review, and sign documents electronically, track process statuses, and hand over ownership of the e-bill of lading. A secure container release process is also being evaluated to reduce fraud and theft.
  • Global track and trace for unified, end-to-end tracking and reporting of objects and business processes across supply chain networks. Blockchain technology makes tracking information immutable and tamper-proof for product authenticity and provenance. In addition, information stored in the blockchain can be positively traced back to the author/customer/business entity, building the basis for fully automated payment and settlement processes.
  • Advanced track and trace for pharmaceuticals for enabling pharmaceutical supply chain members to comply with global anti-drug counterfeit regulations and to facilitate collaboration between supply chain partners in conjunction with SAP Information Collaboration Hub for Life Sciences.
  • Farm to consumer for food producers and retailers coming together to improve compliance and safeguard brand reputation by increasing confidence in food safety both as an effective remedy to product counterfeiting and a way to boost supply chain integrity and efficiency.
  • Payment fraud prevention to combat fraud in treasury by creating a simple, auditable, and shared source of truth for verifying supplier account information. Buyers and suppliers sit on a common repository, which empowers significant improvement of the supplier master data update process while guaranteeing auditability and preservation of business relationships.

What Customers Say

SAP is working with customers and co-innovators on extending existing SAP applications but also on entirely new projects to tackle emerging business challenges. Here’s what our customers say:

“The core promises of blockchain, such as data security and connectivity, are becoming crucial in today’s telecommunications business. As mobile devices carry a person’s digital identity, the loss of a device can entail the risk of identity fraud, affecting both private persons and enterprises. Blockchain could be a solution for this challenge and a driver for further innovation for telecommunications in the near future. SAP can provide simple integration of blockchain into business processes and make those innovations available for enterprises.”

– Dr. Stephan Westermeyr, vice president, Order Management, Billing and BI, Deutsche Telekom IT

“As a customer and early adopter of SAP technologies, Johnsonville values SAP’s understanding of the unique challenges presented in the food and beverage industry. We are actively engaged with SAP on the development of blockchain-enabled solutions to enhance our capabilities in field to fork traceability.”

– Ron Gilson, CIO, Johnsonville

“Blockchain technology is an important part of the innovation agenda at Ericsson. Collaborating with SAP and ecosystem partners throughout the blockchain co-innovation journey was very useful. We see potential in creating real business value.”

– Bernd Efferz, head of Performance, Transformation and Compliance Office, Market Area Europe and Latin America, Ericsson

All co-innovation cases have a common pattern and prove that blockchain can be of tremendous value where multiple parties collaborate on a joint business process along complex value chains. Amplifying the logic of cross-company collaboration, SAP has initiated a global blockchain consortium to bring together the industry expertise of customers, partners, and other like-minded industry players. The following companies joined the consortium as founding members: A³ by Airbus,, Amkor, FLEX, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intel Corporation, UPS, and SAP.

Together, we aim to push for industry standards, drive open and technology-agnostic business networks, and lead the conversations on important topics like governance for data sharing and approaches for specific industries. We look forward to expanding this consortium, and invite SAP customers, partners, and IT industry peers to join and advance enterprise blockchain and promote blockchain-motivated business models.

We are convinced: Blockchain will change the (enterprise) world. With SAP, customers don’t need to worry about additional expertise and resources in their company. There are no radical changes for an organization’s IT infrastructure in sight. In fact, it could not be easier to use blockchain, embed it into business processes, and harness the benefits of cross-company collaboration. SAP might even take a bit of the hype out of blockchain, but we double down on its value for the intelligent enterprise.

We kindly invite you to engage with us via the SAP blockchain consortium, work on our co-innovation pilots, or by using SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain services.

Torsten Zube is head of Blockchain at SAP.
Gil Perez is head of Digital Customer Initiatives at SAP.