EY IBM blockchain alliance
Technology

Driven by coronavirus, IBM and EY ally on blockchain

It’s hoped the ‘enhanced, multi-year alliance’ will help companies ‘reframe their future amidst an unpredictable and rapidly evolving environment’

EY and IBM have unveiled an “enhanced, global multi-year alliance” that is designed to help businesses accelerate their digital transformation and embrace emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.

“As organizations learn how to adapt to today’s new normal, leveraging the cloud, AI, analytics and other technologies have become increasingly important,” EY’s global chairman and CEO Carmine Di Sibio said in a statement.

While EY specializes in global business consulting, IBM brings the technology that makes change happen to the table. Among the groups that will be involved are Red Hat OpenShift’s hybrid cloud capabilities, as well as IBM Watson, IBM Blockchain, and IBM’s 5G and edge technologies.

Together, Di Sibio said the companies want to help clients “reframe their future amidst an unpredictable and rapidly evolving environment.”

Accelerated change

EY and IBM’s deepening partnership is an acknowledgement that many businesses have had their operations upended by the coronavirus—and in some cases, the sudden changes brought around by the pandemic will be permanent.

For other industries, particularly those in the food business, the pivot to blockchain reflects much-needed modernization of old-fashioned practices and supply chains. 

IBM has been extensively involved in developing traceability solutions that allow companies to monitor the journey of fresh produce from field to fork. Not only does this provide an extra level of reassurance for consumers, but it also makes it easier to isolate problematic items and reduce food waste through targeted recalls.

IBM’s CEO Arvind Krishna added: “Combining EY teams’ breadth of industry and regulatory knowledge, technology capabilities, and longstanding strategy and business consulting leadership, with IBM’s powerful technology and Red Hat OpenShift’s open hybrid cloud portfolio, will play a key role in accelerating our clients’ journeys to the cloud.”

Growing demand

As reported by Modern Consensus earlier this month, businesses are becoming increasingly apprehensive about the risk of losing competitive advantage by failing to jump on the blockchain bandwagon quickly.

At the time, Deloitte’s Linda Pawczuk said: “Blockchain is solidly entrenched in the strategic thinking of organizations across industries, sectors, and applications.”

Deloitte polled 1,488 senior executives and practitioners—all of whom had a broad understanding of blockchain and knowledge about their organization’s strategies. About 40% said their organizations have already incorporated this technology into production—a marked rise from the 23% reported a year earlier. Meanwhile, the number of respondents who described blockchain as a top strategic priority stood at 55%.

Companies are also starting to put their money where their mouth is, with 82% confirming they are hiring staff with blockchain expertise, or plan to do so by mid-2021. In last year’s report, this figure stood at 73%.

C Sephton is a journalist with an interest in cryptocurrencies, personal finance, and financial inclusion—as well as the challenges the crypto industry faces in achieving mainstream adoption. He owns cryptocurrencies.