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Ernst & Young Releases New Ethereum-Based Platform

Ernst & Young released a new Ethereum-based platform over the weekend. The solution, which has been designed to streamline enterprise resource planning (ERP), is called the OpsChain Network Procurement platform and allows companies to conduct private end-to-end procurement activities. 

The platform converts procurement agreements into digital smart contracts, automates calculation of volume discounts and rebates. With the Ethereum-based platform, buyers and sellers interact as a network, track volumes and funds, as well as agree to terms and pricing. The platform also moves ERP business processes to a shared platform blockchain-based smart contracts.

EY built the ERP solution with the help of the Microsoft-backed, Ethereum-based Baseline Protocol, which combines cryptography, messaging, and blockchain for secure and private business processes and uses the public Ethereum Mainnet not as a distributed database but more as a middleware. Corporations can use the Baseline Protocol as a common ledger between different record keeping systems. 

The Baseline Protocol was developed by Paul Brody, blockchain lead at EY, and John Wolpert of ConsenSys. It is a part of the OASIS open-source project with the stated goal of developing standards for blockchain. Baseline uses Ethereum like a middleware for hashing and ordering events. Enterprise blockchains generally run data on-chain as a main database. Wolpert, however, says this is a misuse of the technology.

According to Wolpert, the Baseline Protocol has grown since March 2020 at a clip of 20 or more companies a week joining the more than 600 firms now using Baseline, including Coca-Cola bottling group Coke One North America recently joining.

The Baseline Protocol’s value proposition revolves around reducing capital expenses and other overhead, while increasing operational integrity of automatic business processes across multiple companies. 

Proofs-of-concept have been demonstrated by SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Google Sheets have showcased the platform. Baseline’s technical steering committee includes EY, Microsoft, ConsenSys, Splunk, MakerDAO, Duke University, Chainlink, Unibright, Envision Blockchain, Neocova, Core Convergence, Provide and W3BCloud. 

EY global blockchain lead Paul Brody highlighted the fact that companies don’t have to join a “costly, closed proprietary network” in order to use the new procurement system, which reportedly lowers ERP cycle times by over 90% and reduces costs by up to 40%. Companies can today integrate EY’s beta platform with their own ERP systems via APIs.

As companies increasingly work as part of global business networks, network-level agreements have become difficult to track with a single enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The solution allows buyers and sellers to operate as networks, automatically keeping track of total volumes and spend, and using globally agreed terms and pricing.

“Competition is increasing between networks of companies, their partners and suppliers,” says Paul Brody, EY Global Blockchain Leader. “The ability to work as a network, above the level of any single ERP system, is crucial.  Doing so on a public blockchain means not having to persuade a company or supplier to join a costly, closed proprietary network.”

The solution is available at a public network built on open source along with absolute freedom to change solutions and vendors.