Emerging Technology Solutions
July 30, 2019
By Barbara Ping
Blockchain and robotics are emerging technological solutions that could be leveraged to transform the way businesses operate today. At the EisnerAmper’s recent Process Risk and Technology Solutions (PRTS) Summit Adapting to Change in a World of Evolving Technology, panelists including Ernest Anunciacion; director of product management with Workiva; Steven Palomino, senior manager in EisnerAmper’s PRTS; Ryan Ippolito, group controller for Terumo Medical Corporation; and Jay Pilster, manager of strategic partnerships with Blackline Inc. shared their perspective on these two topics.
Blockchain has gained a tremendous amount of attention and has introduced a revolutionary way data can be stored and disseminated. A blockchain is a decentralized digital database that is managed by a cluster of computers on a peer-to peer-network. The sheer volume of transactions predisposes the data to being incorruptible and makes it almost impossible to compromise the network. Blockchain provides transparency of data while maintaining a high level of security; thus companies have seen enormous potential and are looking for ways to reap the benefits. The Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) was passed in 2013 and increased requirements to identify and trace certain prescription drugs. Recently, the Food & Drug Administration has partnered with IBM, Walmart and Merck to launch a blockchain pilot program that spearheads efforts to address the additional regulatory requirements. These partnerships will utilize blockchain technology to optimize the supply chain of pharmaceutical products by identifying, tracking, and tracing pharma products.
Robotics builds on the concept of standardizing, normalizing, and streamlining processes. As a result, tasks can be automated and many bottlenecks eliminated. The first step is to recognize and identify the need for change. There has been speculation on whether robotics will eliminate jobs; however, a key point during this discussion was that the purpose is not to eliminate positions, but to repurpose people. Bots can be built internally to automate various processes to increase efficiency and reduce risk for the company. An example of a process that could benefit greatly from bots are complex intercompany transactions. Intercompany transactions are repetitive and high-risk areas because they involve multiple divisions, are time-consuming, and the processes are error-prone. The value proposition in automating the matching process is that it removes various data touchpoints by eliminating the need for manual ticking and tying of thousands of transactions. Ultimately, bots can save hundreds of hours on matching transactions and eventually provide an opportunity to repurpose employees and help them develop more analytical and judgement-based tasks.
There are a lot of technological advances happening today and companies need to be cognizant of all the changes. There could be great potential benefits as long as companies are willing to utilize the technological resources.
Process Risk and Technology Solutions Summit Blog Series