Block Gemini: streamlining Vodafone's CCM
Christopher Fernandez was already a serial tech entrepreneur when he founded Block Gemini in 2016. Since then the Dubai-based company never looked back, meeting a growing demand for blockchain implementations particularly in the supply chain and fintech space. “The fact that we are now working with a company like Vodafone on a truly innovative blockchain project is testament to what we’ve been able to achieve in such a short span of time,” he says. Cryptocurrencies like Ether and Bitcoin may have been what got everyone talking about blockchain, but Block Gemini is bullish about its long term potential to disrupt many industries. Enterprises are waking up to this technology and its tremendous operational upside, as shown by Block Gemini's rapid expansion of its operations to Canada, India – and with the support of Tomorrow Street, a joint venture between Vodafone and Luxembourg's national incubator Technoport, to Luxembourg.
Any industry that deals with transactional ecosystems that are tracked and monitored digitally can be greatly improved through the use of blockchain technology. “The project we’re currently deploying for Vodafone, using blockchain and smart contracts to manage complex contractual agreements with their suppliers, is an example of the value that blockchain can create. Of course, managing procurement contracts is not specific to the telecoms industry, but there are many other areas specific to the telecoms industry that can benefit from the use of blockchain.”
In 2020 Block Gemini went into partnership with Vodafone Procurement Company (VPC) to tap distributed ledger technology (DLT) and help Vodafone transform into a digital procurement company. VPC manages a growing portfolio of some 50,000 contracts. Manual processes were time-consuming and vulnerable to human error. Another problem was that VPC and its suppliers maintain multiple versions of the same contracts during the negotiation and reconciliation processes, resulting in longer contract lead-time and value leakages. Block Gemini's solution gives Vodafone a blockchain-based CCM platform that ensures compliance and identifies value leakages in its contracts. It brings transparency and cuts contract lead-times from weeks to minutes.
Over the last two years the collaborative relationship between Block Gemini and Vodafone developed from identifying opportunities with blockchain, to establishing a proof-of-value, building a POC, then a MVP, and on to the pilot stage. “Block Gemini has been supporting the project from its conceptual stage all the way to the deployment and maintenance of the solution. From consulting and advisory to services, to design and development, every aspect of the project has been managed and delivered by our dedicated in-house team - I believe this has been the strongest driver for our continuing partnership with Vodafone on this project. Considering Vodafone’s long term strategy for fully digitising their procurement operation, the project is only in its initial stages and I see Block Gemini bringing a lot of value to the future growth and expansion of this solution across their internal procurement systems.”
Fernandez has a lively appreciation of Vodafone’s welcoming attitude towards a startup like Block Gemini. “They provided a lot of support during our initiation into their supplier ecosystem, and once we were in we were given the chance to prove our capability.” Looking forward, he sees plenty of opportunities for ongoing collaboration. Tomorrow Street will now help Block Gemini to bring its services and expertise to Vodafone's wider circle of enterprise customers.
Blockchain has the power to transform the global telecoms ecosystem, Chris Fernandez concludes: “Take the example of fixed-line leasing services - huge amounts of bandwidth are bought and sold across millions of customers worldwide. These transactions need to be negotiated and settled between many discrete telecoms service providers, and that's a very resource-intensive process. With blockchain, the entire manual settlement could be replaced by a smart contract settled instantaneously!”
JAGGAER: Advancing Procurement Technology in Healthcare
JAGGAER has revealed the latest technological advancements in its cutting-edge, ground-breaking system at this years Arab Health, hosted by Informa Markets, as the industry-leading all-in-one procurement platform provider continues to provide support for the global healthcare industry as it struggles to recover from a year and a half tainted by the novel Coronavirus, and the ongoing pressure that it is putting on hospitals and pharmaceuticals.
With new technology and innovation taking centre stage this year’s edition of Arab Health, JAGGAER announced the launch of its new ‘Digital Mind’ strategy. The strategy features a core set of advanced strategies, including embedded intelligence, predictive data analytics, and real-time user guidance that can all be used to support healthcare procurement teams with the necessary and oftentimes difficult strategic decision-making involved in the acquisition process. It’s set to better efficiency across the sector, reduce risk, and better customer service capabilities.
The Exponential Growth of IoMT
This development comes at a time when the Internet of Things (IoT) has started to infiltrate all industries in an elaborate way. In a report published by Deloitte, it has been suggested that the global market for the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is projected to exceed US$158bn by 2022, with the IoMT market specifically in the MENA region, expected to hit US$9bn.
Hany Mosbeh, Vice President of Sales Middle East & Africa, JAGGAER, said: ‘The healthcare sector is increasingly adopting disruptive technologies into the IoMT ecosystem including artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), and robotic process automation (RPA). From a procurement perspective, these technologies are also being utilised in our systems, having far-reaching benefits for the healthcare industry.’
JAGGAER’s Digital Mind
The new Digital Mind strategy incorporates JAGGAER Adopt, Assist and Advise. The latter of which enables users to be more proactive in recognising potential areas of improvement and mitigating challenging situations such as supplier risk. By leveraging a combination of advanced predictive analytics, machine learning, and customer-specific business rules, JAGGAER Advise empowers procurement professionals to identify steps that could improve performance or results and take corrective action on behalf of users.
The software also provides its users with data-driven actionable insights and recommends the next steps to mitigate the risk of supply disruptions, supplier qualification, performance issues, and underperforming sourcing events.
Speaking at one of the sessions during the event, Microsoft Research’s Chief Medical Scientist, Dr Junaid Bajwa, outlined the role of data in the healthcare sector, he said: ‘Today’s story is one of automation of processes, aggregation of data, moving to intelligent analysis and AI, and then repeating that cycle. If we get this right, it has the potential to reduce costs and support clinicians by unmasking occult disease types, generalising new associations and perhaps even generating new novel hypotheses and new mechanisms.’
Right now, JAGGAER supports over 120 healthcare organisations globally. They do so by modernising and transforming their procurement capabilities through digitalisation─an action that is propelling the industry forward at pace. To name just a small number of companies that JAGGAER services: Dubai Health Authority, Uniting Care, NHS England, HCA Healthcare, and Bright Horizons.
‘During Arab Health, we heard from a range of experts who highlighted the challenges directly linked to COVID-19, from developing enough vaccines to combat the infection to the flow of raw materials to make the vaccines. In an era of technological advancements in the healthcare industry that are saving lives, it is also important to utilise this technology from a business perspective so that we can identify future risk and improve performance’, Mosbeh added.