Mr. Bill McBeath

Chief Research Officer, ChainLink Research

Bill McBeath is co-founder and Chief Research Officer at ChainLink Research, a leading analyst firm in supply chain, Internet-of-Things, and blockchain. McBeath has conducted over 50 primary research projects, covering supply chain best practices, and use cases and business implications of technology across manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and logistics sectors.

ChainLink Research is a recognized leader in custom research and advisory services, with a focus on supply chain, Internet-of-Things, and blockchain. Founded in 2002, our emphasis from the start has been on inter-enterprise interactions and architectures (‘the links in the chain’). We have conducted over 75 primary research projects in which we interviewed and surveyed over 5,000 professionals. Much of our research focuses on industry-specific use cases, business cases and ROI, and drivers/inhibitors of technology adoption and business change. As a result, we have developed a deep, multi-industry practice, founded on real-world, validated, supply chain-wide, end-to-end perspectives that have helped our clients understand, plan, and succeed as they move into the future.


Off the Chain! Network SaaS Platforms and Blockchain: What Belongs On-Chain vs. Off-Chain

Blockchain’s have many characteristics that make them potentially useful for supply chain applications. However, using blockchain for data storage and execution can be thousands of time slower and more expensive than traditional computing resources. Furthermore, there are decades and hundreds of millions of person-hours invested in developing and refining existing supply chain systems and applications. The vast majority of blockchain applications for supply chain will thereby be comprised of a combination of blockchain integrated with other technologies, such as supply chain optimization and execution applications, network analytics, traditional databases, workflow, global trade services, and so forth.

In particular, Network SaaS platforms can achieve many of the same benefits as blockchains. A natural question is which functionality belongs in a Network SaaS platform and which belongs in the blockchain. We will explore the intersection of these two technologies, and how blockchain is/should be integrated with Network SaaS and other supply chain technologies.

In this talk you will hear about:

  • Network SaaS Architecture — What is a Network SaaS architecture, how does it differ from an Enterprise SaaS architecture, and what kinds of functionality does it bring?
  • Network SaaS platforms — Existing examples of Networked SaaS platforms for logistics, procurement, supply chain, and finance.
  • Blockchain + X — What existing supply chain technology is being combined with blockchain to create supply chain applications?
  • On-chain vs. Off-chain — How are decisions being made about which functionality and data belongs on the blockchain vs. off the blockchain?

We will look at specific use cases, such as produce freshness management, anti-counterfeiting, and supply chain optimization, as examples to see how this applies in real-world applications.