What is Blockchain?
To begin, blockchain is a digital database shared between networks that stores information in groups, or blocks, which are permanently linked together. Unlike a traditional database, a blockchain stores its information using a cryptographic protocol in virtual blocks that have a limit on their capacity. When a block is full, a new block is generated and linked to the former block, which is then locked. Moreover, when information is written into a block, it is immediately timestamped. This is extremely useful for security and transparency.
Blockchain process documentation is the technical document with which blockchain can be efficiently and effectively integrated into your business.
Often when people think of blockchain, they think of cryptocurrency. With its automatic time and date stamp, blockchain is a useful form of recording activity of a cryptocurrency. They can even track the currency, should it be misappropriated. However, in this article, we will focus on other uses of blockchain.
Other Uses of Blockchain
Blockchain is also used to:
- store legal documents
- help people vote securely
- track and trace products in the supply chain
First, attorneys use blockchain technology with scripted text, smart contracts, and automated contract management. Contracts can be digitally signed and unalterably stored.
Additionally, Alaska could be the first state to use blockchain technology to help people vote in their elections, should a recent proposal pass.
Blockchain for the Supply Chain
In the same vein, supply chains use blockchain. In supply chains, it is important to know where your product is now, has been, and when it will arrive at its destination. Using a blockchain to track products is a clear solution to this problem, especially when combined with radio frequency identification tags (RFID) or the Internet of Things.
RFID tags generate data about where a product is, whether it’s been scanned, placed on a shelf, or sold. According to IBM, the Internet of Things is “the concept of connecting any device (so long as it has an on/off switch) to the Internet and to other connected devices […] all of which collect and share data about the way they are used and about the environment around them.”
For example, whether they use RFID tags or the Internet of Things, supply chain managers can use the blockchain to trace products. Both methods record the time a product is in each place it is. Amazon Web Services has just one of the track and trace programs that many companies use. This is useful for normal operations, customer service, and emergencies, like product recalls.
Do you remember the recent romaine lettuce recall? To know which brands were affected, the producers needed to know where the lettuce came from, and which stores it went to. Walmart did not need to worry about this since they deployed blockchain back in 2018. Hence, they were able to track the origin of all their lettuce easily through the blockchain and remove any affected romaine from the shelves immediately. They were even able to tell the public which lot numbers were affected that had already been sold.
In addition to tracing recalled food, blockchain keeps compliance records. Moreover, the immutable inventory records keep products from being wasted and counterfeit products from being introduced into the supply chain. This method of verifying ethical supply chain practices can also be used to trace organic food from the source to its retailer. At any of these points in the blockchain process, your company may want to use a technical writer to compile and clarify the data.
Another company that uses blockchain technology well is De Beers. Their Tracr program assures provenance, traceability, and authenticity of their diamonds.
Furthermore, one of the best parts of blockchain in the supply chain is that it facilitates more rapid and cost-effective delivery. UPS and FedEx are just two of the companies using it in this manner. Blockchain is how you can track your package from the moment you ordered it, through every point of its journey, to its arrival on your doorstep.
Blockchain Process Documentation
After reading this, you may be thinking of deploying blockchain in your business. If so, you will need training materials for your staff, most importantly, blockchain process documentation. While implementing blockchain, you may wish to have someone document the processes you use. Essential Data Corporation can connect you to someone experienced in process documentation. Your IT staff may not stay with you forever, so you may wish to develop a knowledge transfer plan, so that future staff is not left floundering while trying to use your blockchain.
Finally, whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data Corporation, the quality of our work is guaranteed. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or email@example.com
Written by Heidi Ripplinger