salim-ali-blockchainBusinesses are increasingly distributed and decentralized. The decentralized business networks that companies participate in demand heightened sharing between functions, data and value. These requirements necessitate greater trust within the network.

Meanwhile, as enterprises attempt to manage interactions across their ecosystems using traditional applications like ERP or CRM, or email, businesses continue to struggle with multiple challenges: inefficient processes; contract disputes; data leaks, IP theft, and limited governance across these globally distributed networks.

As EY points out, blockchain technologies can provide a solution to these challenges by revolutionizing the supply chain. A blockchain-based relationship network can track transactions, ownership of assets, and value securely in a distributed setting where all activities can be verified and updated by all participants. Contributing to the trustworthiness of a blockchain network is that once information has been entered into a blockchain network, it can never be erased, thus providing a permanent and unimpeachable record for transactions.

Loyakk's Vega Business Relationship Platform addresses these issues through a combination of blockchain technology and advanced enterprise relationship management capabilities. It provides for secure, decentralized and context-aware interactions and transactions between enterprises and business partners, vendors, channels, and customers.  

HMG Strategy recently caught up with Loyakk CEO and Co-Founder Salim Ali to gather his insights on the company and the opportunities for leveraging blockchain to transform how businesses manage globally distributed relationships

HMG Strategy: What are the business challenges you're looking to solve with the Vega Business Relationship platform?

Salim Ali: The top business challenges we're looking to solve are these: businesses don't go to market alone, they don't serve a customer alone. They always depend on an ecosystem or a network. As you share confidential data, it happens today on archaic, old-school applications and email. So, the sharing of confidential business and sales data beyond the enterprise can be completely transformed using the foundational principles of blockchain technology. 

To use a very simple business metaphor to help people understand what we're doing, let's consider what we are building as a digital FedEx network: one that will help businesses seamlessly and securely interact with partners across their business ecosystem and network. The Loyakk token in our blockchain-enabled platform is the equivalent of a FedEx envelope for you to enter and protect whatever you choose to send across to a partner/supplier/vendor across the country or globe.  We will enable businesses to easily orchestrate their private networks with all the potency and capabilities of blockchain built in.

When people think about blockchain, they start by thinking about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. This is not surprising given the noise and hype around Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. However, blockchain is much more than its most visible and hyperbolic manifestation - Bitcoin. We aim to apply the principles and capabilities of blockchain to protect business interactions and data.

How does Loyakk's Vega Business Relationship Platform interact with traditional enterprise applications like ERP or CRM or any other? 

SA: In a few different ways. If you look at any enterprise app stack, we have Systems of Transactions like ERP; Systems of Engagement like SharePoint, email etc., and Systems of Record such as a data warehouse. These systems can be completely transformed using blockchain so that all interactions with in the network can be truly reimagined.

Our initial focus is to rethink the Engagement and Record capabilities in a completely new way and anchor it around blockchain tenets for managing external relationships. Hence the name `Enterprise Relationship Management'.

Who are you trying to engage with? Supply-chain and procurement executives? General counsel? Other functional leaders?

SA: We want to engage with customer-facing or partner-facing functions: Chief Revenue Officers, heads of channels, heads of sales, etc. They are the ones galvanizing a network to serve an existing customer or acquire a new one, or engaging with a critical distributor or partner.

What are the primary ways that the Vega Business Relationship Platform can benefit participants? 

SA: The platform allows you to share confidential data across your business ecosystem with a full guarantee of provenance, security, and auditability. It allows for frictionless transactions on a global scale so that you can close more deals and better serve your valuable customers.  

It does take a village to serve a customer, and acquire new ones. 

Are there specific industries you're currently targeting? 

SA: Yes. Our primary focus are industries where the ecosystem is critical to the business. Ecosystems that span technology partners, service providers, channel partners, distributors and other participants in the value chain. Here are some examples: The high-tech industry with its ecosystem of tech, services, cloud and channel partners; manufacturing industries with distribution partners, materials and design partners; and insurance and wealth management with its vast array of service providers.  

Are you conducting beta testing with any particular companies you can name?

SA: Loyakk's customers include global brands such as SAP, Abbott Labs, Novartis, Infosys and Mphasis. These companies use the current Loyakk Vega Business Platform to manage high-value relationships with their customers and partners in a unified and high-touch manner, and are providing valuable input and insights into the function and impact of blockchain technology on distributed and decentralized business networks.  

Can you share some specific use cases for would-be users of the Vega Business Relationship platform?

SA: I can't name the company but a very large software vendor has a very big new opportunity with a customer and the need to respond to an RFP worth tens of millions of dollars. In this RFP, there is a section of consulting services that the software company is not equipped to deliver, so they want to bring in a partner to help. In the same RFP, there is a need to fulfill some SKUs that can only be delivered by a channel partner, and they now need to be brought into the loop as well. This selective but contextual and partitioned sharing of data and value can be handled seamlessly using the Loyakk Vega platform with full provenance, auditability and no data leakage.

We're also talking to the CIO of a very large automotive manufacturer that has a critical need that is conceptually simple but fiendishly difficult to orchestrate today. They share vehicle designs using tools like email and FTP. There's no easy platform to share these designs across their vast and diverse ecosystem easily. So, the Loyakk Vega platform may be very viable alternative for them.

What are some ways in which the Vega Business Relationship platform can create and deliver value for companies?

SA: If you're able to provide enterprises a new way to enable frictionless interactions with other businesses to serve existing customers and acquire new ones, then everyone wins.  

What are 'Value Webs' and how can they benefit companies?

SA: `Value Webs' are essentially blockchain-powered private business networks where data, information and value are exchanged in a very secure, partitioned and contained manner. It's the next evolution of the old and sequential value chain for the new interconnected decentralized world where seamless, secure and frictionless interaction is key. 

Do you have a target date for rolling out a production platform?

SA: We have a base platform being used by large companies. We are adding blockchain components that we plan to make available in late 2018.  

Salim Ali will be speaking at HMG Strategy's 2018 Global Innovation Summit in Menlo Park, CA on February 21, 2018. To learn more about Salim and other speakers at the summit, click here.