Business Challenges of a Globalized and Networked Business World
Data is increasingly becoming the backbone of our digital society and has changed to less of a by-product rather than a central component of data-based products and services. They are enablers of developments such as globalization, the Internet of Things and the platform and data economy which have the potential to fundamentally change entire industries, sectors and global value chains. In particular, this means that companies can no longer be regarded as self-contained entities. The ability to work with partners efficiently and trustfully and to coordinate them plays a decisive role and can be the key factor between success and failure.
In this age of the data economy, the availability of data across company boundaries and consistent data governance plays a crucial role. They form the basis for increasingly complex service offerings and new, digital business models and are often the link between companies, organizations, and services.
But there are several challenges that need to be considered when talking about cross-company collaboration and data exchange.
- Data silos & system diversity Interface problems in the exchange of requirements lead to poor data quality due to increasing system heterogeneity and increase the risk of information loss.
- Manual processes Non-efficient and error-prone collaboration due to lengthy and manual processes that are not sufficiently digitalized; a continuous workflow from OEM through the entire supply chain to the n-tier supplier is not possible.
- Non-transparent collaboration The fragmented system infrastructure and the resulting limited availability of current data, as well as the lack of traceability of changes, lead to an inconsistent database and prevent a uniform data view for all parties involved.
- Data security & sovereignty High risk for information security as well as the misuse of data and it’s compromising due to the lack of traceability, manual processes, and insufficient data sovereignty.
The customer requirements described in the following can be derived in particular from the challenges described. These can be divided into functional requirements and safety-relevant requirements.
- Efficient and selective exchange of relevant and high-quality data with external parties
- Consistent processes and audit-proof change management along the entire supply chain
- Access to internal and external up-to-date and reliable data in real-time
- Ensure a consistent database and uniform data view for all parties
- Fast and direct feedback based on a consistent database and uniform data view for all parties
- Flexible and easily adaptable usability for diverse use cases and the rapid adjustment to changes
- Maximum security, control, and traceability with regard to data storage and data handling
- Data sovereignty and consistent data governance
Cesonia technology platform
Cesonia offers a technology platform for efficient, secure and data-driven collaboration in cross-company development projects. Based on a decentralized peer-to-peer network, Cesonia offers all necessary functions for trustworthy cooperation without storing project data. Workspaces enable a “Single Point of Truth” by providing cross-company access to reliable data in real-time and supporting the sharing of this data across all levels of a supply chain within their scope. Through the combination of blockchain, state-of-the-art technologies in data integration, data management such as data virtualization as well as a uniform web interface, Cesonia allows digitalized and consistent workflows across all parties. A future application framework based on this will enable the development of tailor-made business applications and, together with versatile best-practice applications, will support almost any desired use case. This helps to securely redesign the interaction between independent and autonomous parties.
The Cesonia data virtualization solutions, which run on-premise at the customer’s premises, allow the connection of any IT system and data source. This always ensures continued local data storage and administration in the source systems and thus full data sovereignty and control for the data owner. Thanks to a central user administration and by connecting the individual data virtualization applications, Cesonia controls access to the distributed data as an intermediary. Thanks to blockchain integration, Cesonia also provides a legal framework for collaboration.
Components and Architecture of the Cesonia Technology Platform
The Cesonia Data Virtualization Application acts as a middle layer allowing the virtual integration of data. Coming from various types of data sources it enables authorized data consumers to access the entirety of an organization’s data from a single point of access. The Data Virtualization Application also enables access management since it allows the data owner to define who is able to access which data and who is not. By using the technology of data virtualization we manage to establish a Single Point of Truth for all the stakeholders and provide up-to-date data in the most cost-efficient manner possible.
The communication between the Cesonia Data Virtualization Application, individually operated by each company is based on the MQTT protocol, that is previously mainly used for machine to machine communication for IoT applications. However, this protocol allows secure, bidirectional communication. The protocol allows clients to subscribe to channels that can be used to propagate information to a specific topic. All clients that have subscribed to a channel are then guaranteed to receive a message that was sent to this channel, even if they are currently not available.
The revision proves audit-trail is based on Hyperledger Fabric, an open-source enterprise-grade permissioned distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform, designed for use in enterprise contexts. The audit trail stores the user activities on a private blockchain to keep them immutable, traceable, and more secure for the participating organizations of our platform. A governance model (such as a legal agreement or framework) is used to operate the network to build trust between the participants.
In the following, the elements of the perfect workflow to support an efficient and secure collaboration through the entire supply chain are described. They can be differentiated in the areas of data sharing and collaboration.
- Real-time data access: Real-time access to current and reliable data across company boundaries.
- Rights and role management: Decentralized roles and rights management for the administration of data access rights.
- Blockchain-based audit trail: Audit-proof and non-manipulable audit trail traceability of actions and transactions.
- Data lineage: Data lifecycle and traceability of the origin of the data across company boundaries.
- Onboarding of partners & authentication: Fast onboarding and integration of external partners to projects and workflows.
- Workflow engine: Digitize, automate, and synchronize business processes and workflows for greater efficiency.
- Workspaces: Define the project scope and organize collaboration on a single point of truth and a web interface.
- Applications & Services: Applications are part of a workspace and allow to view, collaborate, coordinate, edit and comment on data and information.
Even though the actual benefits depend on the use case and the respective application, some basic similarities and advantages can be identified.
Consistent workflows for direct and fast feedback
Due to the length of time, it takes and the susceptibility for errors, manual processes are one of the greatest challenges and risks in cross-company collaboration. A common web interface and seamless information flow – between IT systems and across company boundaries – allows direct and fast feedback based on a common data view.
High data quality and low costs
The direct access to the source systems, the abstraction of the data from the back-end systems and the associated system- and format-independent exchange of data between companies and systems increase the data quality and lowers the costs for all participants.
Up-to-date and flexible
The open architecture supports a wide range of applications. It allows any further use of the connected data by third-party applications as well as the synchronization of individual business processes. The networking of companies and their systems through our virtual data room in conjunction with flexible data management enables access to high-quality, up-to-date and reliable data in real-time as well as a consistent database and ultimately more transparency in collaboration.
Save and traceable
In combination with a non-manipulable audit trail, decentralized data storage ensures maximum security, sovereignty, and traceability for end-to-end data governance. This makes it possible to monitor which data has been exchanged with whom, over what period, and for what purpose
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