A TCS BaNCS official details a case study that helped it win the Best Blockchain Breakthrough of the Year award for 2019.
(Editor’s note: TCS BaNCS won the 2019 Best Blockchain Breakthrough of the Year award for its Quartz Blockchain solution set, which consists of four product lines: Smart Solutions, the DevKit, Gateway and Command Center. FTF News got time with R. Vivekanand, vice-president and co-head for TCS Financial Solutions at Tata Consultancy Services. For his role, Vivekanand oversees the realization of strategic initiatives encompassing cloud, digital and Blockchain technologies. He is also responsible for business development and market penetration of the TCS BaNCS suite of products, including sales and marketing functions. He oversees key relationships in the capital markets line of business.)
Q: Why did TCS BaNCS embrace Blockchain technology?
A: Blockchain has the power to bring organizations together by creating ecosystems that amplify the value delivered by each one on a standalone basis. Such ecosystems have the potential to drive transformation across industries and in the intersection between them.
TCS believes that Blockchain can help organizations harness the power of Business 4.0, a TCS framework designed to help TCS’s customers create exponential value, and leverage the power of ecosystems.
TCS invested in Blockchain quite early and has been closely studying developments in this technology, and refining our strategy on a continual basis in order to support customers in adopting blockchain technology. Quartz, TCS’s blockchain solution, was the next logical step in helping our customers and other organizations create connected industry networks and ecosystems.
Q: What is included in Quartz Blockchain Solutions and the BaNCS Network?
A: Quartz’s design keeps in mind principles of co-existence, integration and interoperability, and can redefine how organizations collaborate, leverage their collective strengths and create strong business value for end customers across multiple domains.
The Quartz Blockchain solutions are comprised of:
- Quartz Smart Solutions — A set of “Designed for Blockchain” business solutions catering to multiple industries;
- Quartz DevKit — A Smart contract development kit for high quality code for different Blockchain technologies, delivering solutions over an enterprise class set of components called the Quartz Foundation;
- Quartz Gateway — Easily integrate existing applications with Blockchain ecosystems/networks, facilitating interoperability between other blockchain and messaging networks;
- Quartz Command Center — Administers and monitors the blockchain ecosystem
The BaNCS Network is a private permissioned network powered by Quartz Blockchian technology, conceived as a strategic solution for TCS BaNCS customers operating worldwide to explore and embrace ecosystems.
It provides a robust platform that facilitates collaboration between TCS BaNCS customers, opening up access to new markets/customer segments, services and potentially new revenue streams.
Q: How did the pilot with Standard Bank, the Central Securities Clearing System and the Central Securities Depository (CSD) of Nigeria come together last year?
A: Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc., the Central Securities Depository (CSD) of Nigeria, and Standard Bank, a leading custodian in Africa, are existing TCS BaNCS customers.
Standard Bank is a customer of CSCS and processes the corporate events information received from the depository to service its customers. There was an opportunity to facilitate a real-time seamless exchange of corporate event information across both the organizations by leveraging cutting-edge blockchain technology.
TCS brought them together on the BaNCS Network powered by Quartz, to exchange information and experience the benefits of the technology. This led to the successful completion of the pilot for information dissemination across the countries, which was a pioneering effort in the region.
Q: Was this pilot a way to help with corporate actions processing?
A: Yes, this initiative was to facilitate the exchange of corporate event information for equities and fixed income instruments from CSCS Nigeria to Standard Bank using the BaNCS Network, which is powered by Quartz and co-exists with the TCS BaNCS solution installed at both the organizations.
This pilot enabled Standard Bank to receive accurate event information from CSCS on a real-time basis and process it in TCS BaNCS.
Q: What aspects of the Quartz Blockchain offerings and the BaNCS Network were being tested by the pilot?
A: This pilot has validated the readiness of the technology in terms of its ability to provide access to accurate, real-time information leveraging consensus mechanisms and to maintain a comprehensive audit trail on the blockchain. The pilot also proved the benefits of the technology such as transparency, immutability and data privacy for information exchange over the distributed ledger.
The Quartz Gateway enabled the coexistence of prevailing systems with blockchain by allowing TCS BaNCS customers to readily connect and use the BaNCS Network for information exchange through our Quartz Smart solution, in this case, Quartz Announcements.
Q: What was learned from the pilot?
A: A significant lesson was the ability to leverage blockchain technology to effectively share information on a real-time basis in a manner that eliminates duplication, frequent messaging and reconciliations.
This also reduces operational and resource costs for the participating entities, since high quality data can be accessed in real-time from the ledger. This approach can be further be expanded to similar business processes, such as eVoting, distribution of prices, rates, etc.
The solution’s co-existence approach, wherein only the relevant and blockchain friendly processes are moved and integrated with existing systems, is a risk-free, easier way of adoption. This pilot was completed in a very short span of four weeks, validating the unique co-existence and integration approach. It facilitated the seamless adoption of blockchain as it ensured that minimal changes were made to existing systems even while allowing the technology to be leveraged for the targeted business processes.
Q: What happened after the pilot ended?
A: The pilot was a success and has been acknowledged and appreciated by the stakeholders.
TCS has made this capability available as part of the BaNCS Network which can be availed by other TCS BaNCS customers, in addition to other Smart solutions, including reference data publishing, settlements, KYC and so on.
TCS has recently successfully rolled out a cross-border settlement platform using the BaNCS Network for Maroclear, the CSD of Morocco and Kuwait Clearing Company, the CSD of Kuwait.
Q: How has the pilot impacted future versions of the Quartz Blockchain and the BaNCS Network offerings?
A: The success of this pilot has further validated our strategy and the investments made in creating this unique and strategic offering for our BaNCS customers. It demonstrates the ability of our customers to collaborate with each other in an ecosystem model that can in turn amplify the benefits delivered to their end customers while also future proofing their business.
TCS is working on a number of business solutions on Quartz blockchain for other industries, such as insurance, banking, supply chain, medical and life sciences, telecommunications, government, utilities, among others, where we are adopting our learning from this pilot project.