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SAP's chief strategy officer thinks blockchain is not a zero-sum game

  • Blockchain is not a 'zero-sum game,' according to SAP's chief strategy officer
  • SAP is focusing on innovations in new technologies including blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning and the so-called Internet of Things

Blockchain is not a zero-sum game and its implementation across various sectors is going to be an overall positive for businesses, German software company SAP's chief strategy officer said Wednesday.

Deepak Krishnamurthy spoke to CNBC on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum's annual June meeting in Dalian, where he said blockchain will complement SAP's supply chain business.

"We believe blockchain will complement our supply chain. We have the largest supply chain product in the enterprise software industry, so having blockchain supply chains connect with SAP supply chains is going to be value-creating for our customers," he said.

Earlier this year, SAP launched a Blockchain-as-a-Service offering as part of its Leonardo product line, which integrates and runs breakthrough technologies in the cloud.

Blockchain is a term for a distributed digital ledger that can record and store transactions securely on a peer-to-peer network. It eliminates the need for middlemen, which industry stakeholders say can potentially speed up processes and make them cheaper. It is also the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and Ethereum.

Krishnamurthy said the technology's adoption is going to benefit companies such as SAP by automating a lot of paper-based transactions.

"So letters of credit, contracts, smart contracts — all of these things will be automated and that's going to be net value creating for SAP and the customers," he said. "It's not a zero-sum game."

Technology companies, financial institutions and banks, for example, are looking into blockchain as a way to settle domestic and international payments, as well as facilitate global trade for small and medium-sized businesses.

Blockchain is not the only technology that SAP is focusing on. Krishnamurthy explained the company is also looking at internal innovations in other areas.

"The policy is to continue driving organic growth. We have innovations in artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, Internet of Things around the SAP Leonardo platform. That's what's going to be the focus," he said.