Blockchain Is The Next Evolution Of Digital Record Keeping
In the realm of record-keeping, digitization has both helped and hindered the day-to-day lives of those of us who can broadly be described “knowledge workers,” or people who manage and develop knowledge for a living: Asset Managers, CPAs, lawyers, accountants, bankers, for example. Today, knowledge workers are dealing with information that’s scattered throughout multiple disparate systems.
The problem with a siloed approach to information architecture.
It’s not for lack of trying that we struggle to organize information and activities; we use everything from email flags and folders to workflow management systems such as spreadsheets, customer relationship management systems (CRMs) and document management systems.
Even though this approach has become the norm from small offices to major international corporations, it’s increasingly problematic and extremely inefficient. In fact, locating information can take up to 40% of the average knowledge worker’s day.
If you’re engaged in knowledge work, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of this lost time yourself. What we’ve gained in speed and ease, we’ve lost in organization and access. Throughout my career as a trust and estate lawyer, I embraced the convenience of computer documents, but was consistently disappointed in the unorganized, unreliable nature of digital filing.
Here’s why knowledge workers should strongly consider implementing blockchain technologies to change how they organize and manage information and work activities.
We so often emphasize how much better communication and information sharing have gotten, that we forget to ask, “Is my technology truly serving me?”
The answer today, more often than not, is no. The issue, however, lies with both the technology and the user.
Typical offices use five to seven different systems to organize and manage work activities. No single system contains the whole story and, over time, we have become careless about the random pieces of information. For example, a colleague recently complained about a minor issue that directly reflects the much larger one I’m referencing here: he explained that a company-wide email thread regarding the annual firm picnic was circulating between offices when someone brought up a complex, off-topic question regarding tax election. The responses are likely useful information to many people—but won’t be easily referenced as they exist in an email thread titled “Annual firm picnic.”
While the many digital tools we use are powerful and intuitive, we’re still left with a fractured whole. “Here’s a tool for this, here’s a program for that,” is how company technicians typically piece together incohesive digital frameworks. As a result, our information systems become a mess of disheveled mixture of data fragments.
We need systems that support knowledge work by creating digital knowledge.
We need systems that allow us to see the context of the whole story, so we can make inferences, not separate lists of documents, departments and activities. An ideal digital system allows knowledge workers to view all the information, see how it’s all connected, then draw meaning from it—without spending hours digging for each related piece. Most systems store information in lots of different places, then try to piece it back together (or require the user to).
I don’t want to spend 40% of my time searching for information.
This realization is what led me to develop iPaladin, a private blockchain-powered knowledge platform that allows offices to model communications, services, workflow, meetings and documents like paragraphs of a story. A complete history is preserved increasing accessible business intelligence and allowing current leaders to leave businesses in a better place than when they started.
One client of ours is a retired CEO who recently took a position managing a family office. He told us, “I feel like I’m drowning. I’m working 70 to 80 hours a week. I can’t find anything. I’ve never worked so hard in my life.” But he was an industry pro. It wasn’t an ability issue —it was an access issue.
This is a solvable problem. We don’t have to break up our information in multiple disparate systems, only to spend valuable time trying to put it back together again. We just need the right technology to solve that problem—and blockchain happens to be the most effective way to do so.