Technology Should Help Knowledge Workers Not Hinder Them
In theory, digitization over the last 25 years has reduced the amount of time it takes for knowledge workers to perform their work. In reality, that’s not always the case. Let’s consider the history of information documentation and how technology, until now, has failed to measure up.
When I entered the practice of law in 1993, documentation was still mostly paper. Because litigation is tedious, fact-oriented work, the most important part of my job was to avoid discrepancies by creating a precisely organized documentation system. Every piece of evidence was chronicled in physical file folders, allowing anyone involved in the case to pick up the folder, read through it, and understand where the case stood and what had occurred up until the current point.
In 1999, I entered the private banking industry and was introduced to digital documentation processes. As a private client advisor at Bank of America, I used the bank’s compliance technology and other systems to manage more than 200 accounts.
One of the most problematic issues I faced regularly was caused directly by our compliance technology’s limitations.
The rigidly structured technology classified accounts with pre-defined variables and often misclassified anything out of the norm as an “exception, even when variables were regularly common. Some accounts utilized jurisdictional specific strategies, causing additional exceptions. Other accounts abide by complex tax strategies, that also landed in the “exception” bucket. This all required additional documentation explained why the account wasn’t an exception
Because of this technological limitation, far too many transactions ended up filtering inappropriately into the exception category. So, despite serving in a senior position, I spent much of my time doing clerical work—documenting exceptions for non-exceptions.
When I started my own private family wealth management practice, I decided I would find better technology—technology that reduced my workload, rather than added to it.
As it turned out, however, the better technology I was looking for didn’t exist. In searching for the digital system that would suit my needs, I came face-to-face with the reality of the situation: the bank I worked for wasn’t carelessly providing us with poor technology. Sadly, they were utilizing the best products that were available.
This problem applies to a huge variety of industries, not just banks or financial offices. In fact, I’ve found that there’s a considerable technological void when it comes to serving the needs of “knowledge workers,” a term to describe anyone, from lawyers to scientists to accountants, who works mainly with knowledge.
We have all this information to deal with, but rarely do we have a working system to effectively classify and organize it. Too often, the programs we use do the job to a point—but after that point, they break down. They require us to spend significant amounts of time manually locating, reclassifying, or documenting.
The only system I’ve found that actually solves this problem is a blockchain system. Which is exactly what our revolutionary product: iPaladin.
In 2009, when this was all starting, blockchain was a technological frontier. I didn’t know we were setting out to do something truly revolutionary.
As a knowledge worker, blockchain’s capabilities simply made sense for what I was trying to achieve. Because family offices manage a large library of legal and financial documents, privacy was of the utmost importance. Additionally, since the laws on data privacy are still evolving, we needed to be ready to adapt our system if and when those laws changed.
To meet these criteria, we created iPaladin as a private blockchain, as opposed to a public one like Bitcoin or Ethereum, which anyone can participate in. Then we decided that we would use no third-party plugins or open source code—that was nonnegotiable. We wanted to control every aspect of iPaladin’s architecture, so we could change or evolve it if the regulatory environment shifted.
By taking this approach, we were able to build a system that not only implemented unrivaled security protocols but also complex-yet-user-friendly information systems with well-organized documentation features.
When I look back on it, I realize that those seemingly simple, multi-section folders were actually fairly sophisticated. They were color-coded. Protocols could be observed among the collaborative business team. There were multiple sections for classifying information so that you could quickly find what you needed. And, when necessary someone new could read it cover to cover to comprehensively understand a client relationship.
It was a fully functional classification and organizational system—and the beginning of private blockchain technology solution I had always imagined.
Learn more Discover how iPaladin’s private blockchain is the next evolution of technology, bringing centuries-old archival standards into digital form.