2016-04-27

Will the right use of #blockchain make the records management obsolete?

It is well know that records management is mandatory and not trivial enterprise-wide capability. Its implementation is a daunting task.

Some documents, database snapshots, copies of external sources, etc. must be carefully classified, secured at the very serious level of confidence, stored for many years and, fortunately, never used for legal matters!

Considering that all information become available digitally, is it possible to simplify the records management with the use of some modern technologies? What can be those technologies?

Let us try to imagine.

The first key technology is the one-way hash function which generates a short and unique set of bits (digital signature) for any digital entity. Thus by making the hash of a document (or hash) available publicly (e.g. published in a popular newspaper), an enterprise can proof that their digital entity (e.g. a document) has not been altered. For example, a contract that was signed by two partiers can't be altered by any of these parties.

The second key technology is the blockchain ( see http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2016/01/entarch-view-on-blockchain.html ). It allows to store some information with the guarantee that no one can alter any piece of information. This guarantee is based on the encryption technique that uses the previously collected information. Typically, hashes are stored in the blockchain.

The third key technology is a distributed storage for digital entities. A digital entity is decomposed into smaller chunks which are encrypted and stored in different and independent storages. Thus no single storage can reproduce a complete digital entity and try to decrypt it.

The fourth key technology is BPM (Business Process Management) which tags and classifies all the digital entities as they are used in various business processes.

Thus, the big picture can be the following:

1. Any  digital entity is stored in a distributed storage with required level of confidentiality.

2. A hash of any important business digital entity is stored in the blockchain with the required level of integrity.

3. The context of any business entity is provided by business process instances in which this entity was used. Corporate's business rules define the importance of the business entities.

4. The storage duration may be illimited (with a small annual fee) or time-bound (can be paid in advance) with the required level of availability.

5. All above can be fully automated and its OPEX cost is constantly diminishing.

It seems that the "mechanical part" of the record management can be fully "absorbed" by a proper combination of the modern technologies (actually, by commodity services built on those technologies).

So, the records management will become a creative profession - finding, mining, enriching and disseminating information which is important for the business.

Thanks,
AS


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