Why Blockchain Can Transform Your Family Office
Blockchain’s greatest benefit isn’t the power of the technology itself, but rather, the power it gives to the people who use it. While the technological capabilities of blockchain are certainly vast, the real advantages are the efficiencies it brings to each participant, from the boardroom to the mailroom; blockchain effectively empowers everyone using it to focus on higher-level work.
And, as I’ve realized through developing and using our blockchain-based family office platform iPaladin, it stands to benefit not only senior-level staff but those serving in critical administrative positions, as well.
In short, the problem is that our information is fractured and siloed.
In the family office industry, we’re managing generational family wealth. On a daily basis, we deal with a large number of documents, actions, analytics, and approvals. Family office professionals need to be able to seamlessly switch gears between communications, records and work processes to understand the big picture of their strategic work. With information stored in one of several locations, it must first be located, then pieced together for understanding and next steps.
A blockchain system can drastically increase the accessibility of information as knowledge.
The key advantage of blockchain, particularly one in which knowledge management is the main product, like a family office, is that it gives internal and external constituents the ability to create and work from a single digitally distributed record.
Traditionally, a centralized intermediary—a senior team member—would be involved in every single transaction. Person A, the intermediary, hands off to Person B, then Person B gives the document back to Person A, then Person A sends off the document to Person C, then Person PC returns it back to Person A to look over and give to Person D, and so on.
With blockchain, Person A retains governance control over the work without becoming an intermediary between all parties in order to maintain control over the quality of the work.
Instead, Person A can hand off to Person B, Person B can send it along to Person C, and Person C can send it to Person D. Person A can monitor the progression, if needed, but she doesn’t have to touch it again until it’s ready for sign-off.
This is because the blockchain supports a system of distributed records that allows for transactions to be broken down and decentralized among the permissioned team.
Everyone’s actions are together on one record, so reviewers can actually see how every step was addressed with their communications, source documents, and work product. When it’s time for sign-off, all information is contextually organized with time stamps, as knowledge, making it easy to review and freeing up our mental space, as well as our time, for more complex tasks. And that goes for every worker, at any level of any office.
I’ve realized that every level of any office can benefit from what blockchain offers.
I started developing iPaladin 10 years ago. For a long time, I felt that our platform’s greatest value was what it offered to senior-level knowledge workers—advisors, lawyers, executive staff. But now, I’ve realized that, when administrative staff is able to see all the steps required of them as soon as they log in, they can work much more efficiently and with greater autonomy.
I’ve seen this with one of my own employees, a former Marine and highly experienced administrator with the military police. At any given time, he’s researching a slate of around 15 client relationships. Without iPaladin, much of his time and energy would be spent “getting up to speed”—locating and tracking documents, and deciphering where a given document or contract was within a specific process. With a knowledge blockchain, he’s able to see all of that information at a glance and is set up for success which, in turn, allows our office to be positioned to make a greater impact for our clients.
This is why the power behind our blockchain platform, whether it’s being used in a family office or a private business, doesn’t lie in what it does. It’s about what it empowers your people to do.