This Problem is Costing Knowledge Workers Considerable Time and Effort.

Over the past 25 years, the digitization of work processes has promised increased efficiency for knowledge workers, yet the reality often falls short.

The author's journey from practicing law with meticulous paper documentation to encountering digital processes in private banking highlights the limitations of existing technology. In the private banking sector, compliance systems frequently misclassified accounts as "exceptions," burdening advisors with unnecessary clerical work. Recognizing the widespread technological void in serving the needs of knowledge workers across various industries, the author embarked on developing a blockchain-based solution, iPaladin. This private blockchain system prioritizes privacy, adaptability to evolving data privacy laws, and control over its architecture. By embracing blockchain technology, the author aims to resurrect centuries-old archival standards in a digital era, offering a comprehensive and efficient solution for knowledge workers in various fields.

In theory, digitization over the last 25 years has reduced the amount of time it takes for knowledge workers to perform their work - but in reality, that’s not always the case. When I entered the practice of law in 1993, documentation was still mostly paper.

The most important part of my job was creating a precisely organized documentation system because litigation is tedious, fact-oriented work that allows no room for errors or discrepancies. Every piece of evidence was chronicled, in physical file folders, so that anyone who needed to get up to speed about the case could pick up the folder, read through it, and know 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 compliance system often misclassified the accounts as “exceptions.” This required additional documentation to explain why the account wasn’t an exception.

The rigidly structured technology classified accounts with pre-defined variables. Anything out of the norm was an exception - even when the variables were relatively common. Some accounts utilized jurisdictional-specific strategies, causing additional exceptions. Other accounts abide by complex tax strategies that also landed in the “exception” bucket. 

Because of this technological limitation, far too many transactions were filtered 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 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. 

As I was 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. They were simply 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 (anyone, from lawyers to scientists to accountants, who work mainly with knowledge). 

We have all this information to deal with, but we rarely have a working system to classify and organize it effectively. 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 time manually locating, reclassifying, or documenting. 

The only system I’ve found that actually solves this problem is a blockchain system, like the one my company has developed—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. 

To me, blockchain’s capabilities made sense for what I was trying to achieve.

Privacy was paramount because family offices manage a large library of legal and financial documents. 

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, in which anyone can participate in. Then we decided to use no third-party plugins or open-source code—that was a 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 built a system that not only implemented unrivaled security protocols but also complex-yet-user-friendly information systems and well-organized documentation features.

Looking back, I realize those seemingly simple, multi-section folders were fairly sophisticated. They were color-coded. Protocols could be observed among the collaborative business team. There were multiple sections for classifying information to find what you needed quickly.  And, when necessary, someone new could read it cover to cover to understand a client relationship comprehensively.   

It was a fully functional classification and organizational system. 

Blockchain is the next evolution of technology, bringing back centuries-old archival standards —in digital form. 

Credit - Jill Creager - President & CEO iPaladin

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