Business integration is the use of system architectural principles, software architecture and implementation to integrate a set of enterprise computer applications. It means the integration, automation and optimization of IT based business processes within and beyond the walls of a company’s organization. In short, it is asking the question how enterprises can add blockchain solutions into their existing ecosystems.” The purpose of business integration may be data integration, abstraction from specific vendor systems (to ensure independence and integrity), or providing common front-ends and standardized queries on available data.
In demarcation of related terms, we understand business integration as one motivation to define (distributed) business processes and implement (distributed) business workflows on top of them.
There are commonly agreed challenges to business integration to be considered.
  • Message Exchange: Within a business workflow, various parties need to exchange messages
  • Notifications: When a message is sent, the sender wants to make sure the message arrived. The recipient may need to inform the sender on missing information
  • State Management: Parties have to keep track of already sent messages and notifications
  • Control Flow: Workflows have to be enabled to react on different parameters changing, by defining control flow with elements like decisions, choices, loops or exceptions
  • Changing Requirements: Existing workflows have to be updated. Parties have to be added, system components may be changed and changes in established control flows may be introduced.
  • Data Integrity: Different message formats on different parties need mappings to ensure content integrity
  • Technical Integrity: Different channels, protocols and messages have to be orchestrated to keep all parties connected to the business integration process
  • Security: It has to be assured that the desired partner is reached, data holding information needs encryption and validation
With blockchain technology being just one addition to the already diverse landscape of enterprise information technology, it is essential to integrate into existing systems. This holds true for “just” the technical connection of blockchain with traditional off-chain ERP and legacy systems.
More complex is the domain of business processes. Established and envisioned business processes using blockchain need to be designed and modelled by domain experts, which are rarely blockchain experts. Enterprises need tools that allow them to stay in the environment (the “domain”) in which they have expertise and resources.
A complete vertical stack is needed, offering connectors to ERP Systems and usage of domain models that allow enterprise business process experts to stay in their domain.
Domain-specific APIs and tools that abstract from coding details and toolsets for distributing, deploying, running and monitoring ongoing business processes are needed. A high level of automation and abstraction enables a desired “integration maximum”, where companies do not see or feel that they are using a new technology.
To achieve enterprise blockchain adoption, it is vital that solutions can be integrated out-of-the-box into the existing off-chain world, meaning the 99%+ of non-blockchain systems and processes already in place by companies worldwide.

Due to the nature of blockchain networks, there are specific demands that need to be addressed for enterprise usage. One discovered adoption is the involvement of native cryptocurrencies as a payment model for transactions costs on specific networks (e.g. “gas costs” to be paid in Ether for the Ethereum Blockchain).
The usage of wallets, cryptocurrencies, and different blockchain ecosystems leads to a variety of sub-tasks, like key management, crypto value custody and compliant accounting.
As most blockchain networks implement a high level of pseudonymity, there is special attention to pay when identity management is needed or questions arise on data ownership, responsibility or permissions.
Identity management (i.e., being able to find out the identity of a participant if required by law enforcement) is the issue of Identity vs. Anonymity. Most often, the ability of users and operators of blockchain technology to stay pseudonymous is a core feature of the respective technology.
Nearly all blockchains have chosen extreme balances between user privacy and accountability. Some blockchains allow fully anonymous transactions without any accountability, making them vulnerable to illegal activity. Equally troubling is that while some blockchains do not provide true anonymity for transactions, allowing for transactions and accounts to be tracked, they offer no systematic way to discover the real-world identity of suspicious users.
Existing DLT solutions like Bitcoin and Ethereum significantly favor anonymity over known identity. With this design decision, these networks are in fact shying away from supporting the vast majority of corporate use cases. It is vital to point out that anonymity does not favor data protection or data privacy: not knowing who is processing what data is the opposite of data privacy and data protection.
However, for the majority of enterprise use cases, an anonymous environment may be undesirable for other reasons. Most business scenarios rely on knowledge of the involved parties. There should be a way for businesses to be able to verify the parties to a transaction to support legal enforcement of contracts. Data compliance frameworks like GDPR cannot work if data processors (node operators) can stay in total darkness.
When leveraging the privacy promises of blockchain technology into an enterprise grade environment, a phonebook-like registry concept is another key issue to be handled. Identifying the business partner for an enterprise relationship must be done in a way whereby this registry does not conflict with the key features of the solution itself.
Baseledger is built around the main enterprise requirements for service quality, data privacy and integration.
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