Digital transformation strategy was a trending topic well before the pandemic, but COVID-19 turned it into an imperative overnight.

Organizations such as Zoom and Amazon naturally reaped the benefits of the transition to life under quarantine, but the less obvious winners were almost exclusively the companies with a broad digital footprint — think Etsy, Grubhub, Starbucks, and Pinterest. For these businesses, cloud capabilities made the difference between surviving and thriving when the pandemic struck, and early digital investments put them in a position to capitalize on key technology investments.

There are many technologies that effectively complement digital transformation efforts, but according to research from KPMG, artificial intelligence stands out to both 88% of small business leaders and 80% of those at the helm of larger organizations. And though AI is often thought of as an innovation of the future, it’s far from science fiction. In fact, the benefits of AI for business are well established, and the technology is already firmly entrenched in our daily lives, powering our cars, feeding us entertainment recommendations, making product suggestions, and curating our social media news feeds. In the right setting, AI initiatives are a cost-effective means to propel digital transformation, helping companies collect data, clean it, and mine it for game-changing insights.

Clearing the AIr

AI is often used interchangeably with “machine learning” and “automation,” but there are distinct differences between the three terms. To make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s quickly break down what we mean when we refer to each:

AI, machine learning, and automation might be three distinct terms, but that’s not to say there can’t be overlap between them. In addition, each of these tools can add value to a digital transformation initiative if implemented in the right place.

AI in Action

AI has exciting potential. And although it’s being touted as a possible solution for all kinds of problems, it’s often easiest to see the benefits of artificial intelligence in existing use cases. In this section, we’ll examine three uses cases in which AI is empowering the switch to digital and generating incredible value for the companies relying on it.

Use Case 1: Supply Chain Verification

Trust Your Supplier is a blockchain network Chainyard built on the IBM Blockchain Platform to help manufacturers combat counterfeit products and build networks of trustworthy suppliers. At its core, TYS offers three valuable capabilities, each powered by a type of artificial intelligence:

Use Case 2: Qualifying Loan Applicants

A mortgage is often the most significant investment a person makes in his or her lifetime, which is why Home Lending Pal: Intelligent Mortgage Advisor is designed to help buyers find the right mortgage product for them. By analyzing thousands of data points using machine learning — including existing debt, credit scores, income, and expenses — Home Lending Pal points buyers toward properties they can actually afford and suggests lenders that will be willing to loan them the money they need. Home Lending Pal is also improving loan access for customers with no credit history who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for a loan.

Although AI is certainly helping connect buyers with mortgages, it’s also being used to help banks predict how likely customers are to repay their personal loans. Upstart is one such tool, and the lending platform works with banks to augment limited credit scores (or replace them if credit scores aren’t available) using factors such as education and employment status. With AI predicting repayment, banks are less likely to lend to customers that will default on their payments.

What does adoption look like across the industry, though? A 2018 survey by Fannie Mae found that only one-third of mortgage lenders were utilizing AI, and about half of them were merely experimenting with the technology. That number is on the rise, however, and the same survey found that just 2% of lenders wouldn’t be willing to use the technology at all.

Lastly, the mortgage and lending process is just one potential application of artificial intelligence, and McKinsey’s Global AI Survey found that almost 60% of respondents in the financial services sector have adopted at least one AI capability. Robotic process automation is the most common, followed by chatbots or virtual assistants for customer service teams and machine learning tools to spot fraud and augment human underwriting teams. Although many financial-services organizations are still adopting AI in response to a specific problem, a growing number are seeking to implement it more broadly throughout their organizations.

Use Case 3: Digital Workers

A digital worker is a kind of software solution powered by various applications of artificial intelligence, ranging from natural language processing to machine learning to computer vision. Instead of supplanting human workers, digital workers perform tasks alongside them with speed, efficiency, and even advanced decision-making capabilities.

Digital workers have the capacity to transform the workforce in two key ways:

Digital workers are already having an impact in a number of industries, and their influence will only grow. According to research from IDC, digital workers will contribute 50% more to the global workforce from 2019 to the end of this year, with a 28% increase in instances of technology evaluating information and an 18% growth in reasoning and decision-making implementations.

Building AI and Machine Learning Into Your Digital Transformation

Artificial intelligence as an idea has existed for decades, but the amount of high-quality data available and steady advancements in processing power have made AI a burgeoning field full of exciting possibilities.

1. Educate yourself.

Before you can get an accurate picture of AI’s potential impact on your organization, you need to understand the different types of cognitive computing, how they’re deployed, and

how they’re applicable to your business. Robotic process automation, for example, involves the automation of both digital and physical tasks; it’s the least expensive option and can offer the quickest payback period of any artificial intelligence technology solution. On the other hand, cognitive insight, which uses machine learning to detect patterns in vast volumes of data, can offer incredibly valuable insights — but the payoff isn’t guaranteed.

2. Look for inspiration in your industry.

Whether it’s through a robotic investing advisor, a drug discovery tool, or a customer service chatbot, AI implementations are often specific to industries — and you can skip a lengthy discovery process by looking at the benefits of AI for businesses in your sector. Examine how your competitors are applying machine learning to business problems for inspiration, and look for standout examples of business process automation tools and other automated business systems.

3. Address pain points with the biggest impact.

With each passing day, it seems there are fewer limits to what AI can accomplish, but that doesn’t mean your first implementation should address the most complex issues in your organization. Look for obvious pain points where the technology can unlock the biggest benefit; this is usually done by eliminating an existing bottleneck or automating a manual process to allow your organization to scale. For example, if your business is ready to serve new customers but can’t seem to find sufficient suitable prospects, a tool to comb lead databases and support your sales team might be the best investment. If you already have plenty of customers but satisfaction rates are suffering, a chatbot can help address many of the most common queries and ease the burden on your service personnel.

4. Launch pilot projects.

Cognitive applications should always start with a pilot project that allows you to learn about the technology, understand how it will be integrated into your environment, and evaluate the capabilities of your staff. Develop a center of excellence around new technologies to help your organization scale a solution across multiple departments. If you notice that you’re missing certain capabilities internally, you’ll need to bolster your team by relying on third-party vendors.

Identifying a Promising Partner

AI implementations are complex undertakings, which is why it’s common for companies to partner with vendors who can bring advanced skillsets and a wealth of experience. Not all vendors are created equal, however, and because a capable partner can make or break an implementation, it’s important to keep a few things in mind when choosing a third-party provider:

1. Viability.

You don’t want a new vendor that’s going to use your company as a learning opportunity. Look for a partner that has been around for more than five years and has a track record of success. These companies will have the fiscal security and corporate maturity to be dependable not just now, but also for years down the road.

2. Support.

An AI implementation is a journey and not a destination, so don’t expect a project to operate on autopilot once the implementation process is complete. Look for a vendor you can return to for help with ongoing needs, and one that can fit you in for future projects as well.

3. Flexibility.

When choosing the right AI solution, the decision should be based entirely on your needs and not on the preferences of a potential partner. If vendors only advocate for the specific flavor of AI they specialize in, it’s safe to assume they’re more interested in their own success than in yours. Along those lines, look for a vendor that embraces open source over pushing the proprietary technologies it sells.

4. Adaptability.

Your organization’s goals should be at the forefront of any vendor’s work. Although vendors should have their own proven processes, they should be willing to adapt their techniques and procedures to your team and your organization’s style, culture, and mission. If they’re not willing to be flexible, the partnership is unlikely to be a productive one.

Incorporating AI and machine learning in business should be a part of any digital transformation strategy. The benefits of AI for business are well documented, and unlocking these benefits in your own organization is simply a matter of understanding the technology, identifying its most promising applications, and assembling the capabilities necessary for a successful implementation.

For more information about how AI in digital transformation could impact your organization, contact Chainyard to consult on how we can work together.

Event Date : June 8 – 10, 2021

Hyperledger Global Forum 2021 will offer the opportunity for users and contributors of Hyperledger projects from across the globe to connect, network and collaborate virtually. Social networking for the community to bond, and hacking activities will also be front and center at this annual event.

Join Chainyard throughout Hyperledger Global Forum for sessions that explore governance, interoperability, implementation, and inclusion. Participate in the following Chainyard led sessions:

Hyperledger Global Forum will be the premier virtual enterprise blockchain event of 2021.  Haven’t registered for the event yet?  Register here

This past year was unprecedented in many ways. The global fallout from COVID-19 strained governments, shutdown businesses, closed schools and impacted our population like the world has not experienced in over 100 years. The turmoil created stress and confusion for governments. The healthcare systems around the world, and corresponding readiness for a pandemic, were tested to capacity. Supply chains around the globe were upended. Due to executive orders to quarantine and the closing of businesses, unemployment numbers soared.

While many, even most industries struggled in 2020, the growth in some select industries is unrivaled. The growth was fueled by government stimulus, dovish federal reserve policy, new vaccines, and faith in the future. However, the more prominent actions that accelerated the growth in these industries, but also the shift to a more digital, virtual world. Specifically, the shift in how the workforce is functioning, consumers are spending, and even how services are being delivered. The shift has created a “new norm” where everybody accepts the changes. Many of these changes are here to stay.

As noted, not all industries, nor even all companies within these industries, benefited. The key differentiator between the companies that survived and the companies that accelerated was the depth of their digital footprint. While some companies naturally benefited, such as Zoom Communication due to remote work, others were able to pivot and leverage their previous digital transformation efforts to garner additional market share. Some of these companies have always been digital, while others invested in past strategic initiatives that allowed them to be better prepared. It is clear that companies with a significant digital footprint – Amazon, Grub Hub, Target, Chick-Fil-A, and many others – are the winners. Past digital transformation efforts allowed these companies to pivot more quickly, demonstrating an agility to adapt to the situation.

“The key differentiator between the companies that survived and the companies that accelerated was the depth of their digital footprint.” “Past digital transformation efforts allowed these companies to pivot more quickly, demonstrating an agility to adapt to the situation.”

These observations are readily apparent and are influencing other companies to make similar digital transformation investments. In the 2021 Technology Outlook from Deloitte, the key differentiators for companies are:

1. doubling down on their digital transformation efforts,

2. reorienting and reskilling their workforce, and

3. re-examining where and how manufacturing happens.

These are all strategic activities due to COVID-19. Furthermore, these activities will help companies to adapt, survive, and thrive in the future. With the 100% increase in digital transformation projects across enterprises, now is the right time to consider having maturing emerging technologies as part of your roadmap.

Most specifically, Blockchain, IoT, Cloud, and Artificial Intelligence should all be considered, both independently and together. Independently based on your specific use cases and together because each compliments the other in some way. Blockchain helps secure data and bring trust to transactions, real-time and immediate nature of smart contracts can leverage decisions made by AI bots to automate processes, and IoT can be used to bring large amounts of data into the ecosystem, helping the AI bots to make better decisions using trusted data. The positive impact of deploying these technologies strategically is bringing value to all industries.

“Now is the right time to consider having maturing emerging technologies as part of your roadmap. Most specifically, Blockchain, IoT, Cloud, and Artificial Intelligence should all be considered.”

In Retail, the University of Auburn’s Chain Integration Project (CHIP) has worked with over 20 brands to prove the viability of blockchain as a common platform for supply chain data sharing, using real data provided by some of the brands. Blockchain allows all parties to have control over what data they share and with whom. The research, focused on solving a $181 billion industry problem, leveraged over 200,000 products across 12 different supply chain nodes. The results were positive, and the participants are now focused on economics of making this a new reality for the industry.

Another example of emerging technology, specifically Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence working to improve a cross-industry challenge is Trust Your Supplier. Trust Your Supplier is a global business network focused on digitizing the relationship between Buyers (e.g., Procurement Organizations) and Suppliers (e.g., vendors, partners). This network is focused on facilitating the Supplier On-boarding process, including collection of critical data to help the Buyer evaluate the Supplier in terms of risk to the organization and its supply chain.

The Trust Your Supplier network helps companies to transform this process, which today is still often email, text documents and spreadsheets. Additionally, the deployment of Artificial Intelligence and other tools help to automate evaluation and qualification, focusing efforts where risk is identified instead of on mundane, non-critical information. This network is bringing trusted, secured, and verified data into the transactions between these companies providing significant benefit to all participants.

Today, the Trust Your Supplier network has over three dozen global Buyers and thousands of Suppliers representing over 70 countries and the numbers are growing daily. The benefits of a larger ecosystem are critical in this network. With an increasing number of relationships within Trust Your Supplier, the greater the benefits are across the ecosystem for all participants.

The biggest question for leaders is how can a blockchain-based digital transformation improve your procurement team’s day-to-day operations, increase trust in the quality of your products, strengthen your supply chain, and reduce risk in your organization. Learn more about blockchain’s array of use cases in digital transformation here, or reach out to Chainyard to discuss how it could fit in to your own strategy.

Chainyard, a digital transformation consulting specialist, has deep experience with blockchain consulting, cloud migration consulting, DevOps consulting, artificial intelligence consulting, machine learning consulting, user experience consulting, cybersecurity consulting, web portal development, mobile application development, and IT operations management.

Digital Transformation with IoTA smart & connected meeting room solution built with a variety of digital technologies. 

Our client, as part of various digital transformation solution initiatives, embarked on creating a collaborative and productivity-enhancing workspace solutions with IoT devices, cloud and data which will significantly transform workspaces across different office campuses. The primary challenge that the client wanted to address was “underutilization of meeting rooms and conference halls”. Chainyard, as a development partner, helped the client in developing a hardware-driven IoT and cloud-based meeting rooms management solution that provides a centralized & connected hub device in each meeting room. 

The transformation solution maximized the utilization of meeting rooms, optimized the size & number of rooms, and enabled increased collaboration & communication between teams. 

Co-developed a transformational PC configuration and management solution for a global PC manufacturer. 

Consumers of our client were facing multiple challenges with their on-board PC configuration management interface. The interface was considered to be a legacy model whereas the expectations were to have a modern browser-based interface experience. Besides, multitude of settings were complex to change and lacked clear guidance to manage configurations. Chainyard, as a development partner to the client, built a one-stop native Universal Windows Platform (UWP) application that enables users to easily manage PC settings and preferences.  

The new UWP application enhanced customer experience while also increasing individual productivity and maximizing PC longevity. Besides, the new interface helped our client to up-sell & cross-sell related products and services. 

After the COVID-19 pandemic, companies will rely on technology and data like never before. However, there’s a caveat to this: Digital transformation is certainly critical for adapting to the new normal, but it has an unfortunate side effect — an increase in cyber risk.

Companies should be excited about digital transformation, of course, but they also need to be on guard. In a 2020 survey, 82% of respondents blamed at least one cybersecurity incident in the last year on their digital transformation efforts. In 55% of the cases, a third party was involved, which highlights another risk created by an expanding digital footprint. Similarly, ransomware attacks are expected to hit companies this year at a pace of one every 11 seconds, and by the end of 2021, ransomware will steal around $20 billion.

All in all, 2020 was the year when attitudes around new technology reached a tipping point, and companies decided to finally commit to widespread digitization. Nevertheless, the last year has also highlighted the chasms between adopting promising technologies and laying the extra groundwork necessary for security.

How Digital Transformation Creates Security Weak Spots

We can tie these mounting threats back to digital transformation. After all, more technology means more targets for hackers, but many companies are rushing to complete their digital transformation without making a proportional effort to boost their digital defenses.

As companies become increasingly reliant on technology, ransomware has more ways to infect an organization. Even worse, when technology “drives” a company, ransomware attacks that prohibit access to apps and data have devastating consequences that companies will pay almost any sum to stop. In that way, hackers are using digital transformation against companies — and technology becomes an immense vulnerability rather than a strength.

Although cybersecurity concerns might make digital transformation more complicated, they don’t doom it to failure. In fact, blockchain’s many use cases help ensure a company transforms into something more secure than it was before.

Use Cases for Blockchain That Boost Cybersecurity

Blockchain’s use cases already factor into a significant number of digital transformation plans, but not typically for the purposes of cybersecurity. That oversight could be costly because blockchain fits naturally into enterprise cybersecurity architecture — and it could be fundamental to digital transformation in the process.

Blockchain is a good approach to improve data security due to its decentralized nature, high level of encryption, and ability to ensure data remains private as necessary. However, it’s also

important to note that while blockchain creates another level of security, it does not eliminate or reduce other best practices around security. In other words, it’s an integral building block in your quest toward organizational safety.

We could spend pages highlighting all the ways in which cybersecurity and blockchain intersect. To get a broad sense of how blockchain use cases boost digital protections, however, consider these examples:

IoT

Massive numbers of connected devices will start supplying companies with data from different parts of their operations — from the most important to the most opaque. Of course, this broadens the number of potential targets available to nefarious actors.

Among the business use cases for blockchain is using distributed ledgers to authorize and transact with IoT devices at the edge. Because this data can only be amended (and not altered or deleted), it’s much more secure. Blockchains can also apply IoT data to smart contracts and automatically administer the contract details according to the data coming in (think the release of a payment once IoT registers the arrival of a shipment). This demonstrates how blockchain’s use cases can serve as an alternative approach to keeping a company running — even when other aspects of IT might falter because of an accident or attack.

Healthcare

The healthcare industry is extremely vulnerable to cyberattacks because it relies on an extensive number of siloed technologies (many with weak security) and produces highly valuable data (including both medical and financial records). This combination of factors makes it a prime target for hackers.

Blockchain shuts these hackers down by placing sensitive data into a system with asymmetrical encryption, making it nearly impossible to steal. For this reason, the presence of blockchain is enough to deter many hackers who would prefer to chase low-hanging fruit.

In the context of cybersecurity, the business use case for blockchain is highly compelling: It’s effective against numerous attacks and beneficial for other aspects of digital transformation, offensive and defensive factors alike. Put differently, blockchain should be considered in every digital transformation effort, including yours. Now, it’s time to identify some use cases of your own. Visit our services page to learn more, or contact Chainyard here.

A blockchain technology solution connecting the transportation ecosystem 

Our client, a roads and transport authority of a country in the middle east, had to address the challenges of using a legacy system by the police department that caused delays in reporting rental activities data to the rest of national security authorities. Besides there were multiple systems operating in silos resulting in duplication of data. Chainyard, as a prime partner for blockchain solution implementation, developed a de-centralized repository for every rental activity across cities. 

The new blockchain-enabled solution is expected to improve revenue collection, enable & empower agencies, and more importantly increase customer trust significantly. 

Exciting news from The Linux Foundation and Hyperledger with the announcement of the openIDL project. This open source project is a collaboration of some of the largest insurance companies to streamline regulatory reporting. Chainyard is proud to be a member of the project and looks forward to contributing to this effort that will improve data, enable insurers and regulators to operate more efficiently, and enable them to make better decisions.

openIDL (open Insurance Data Link) is an open blockchain network that streamlines regulatory reporting and provides new insights for insurers, while enhancing timeliness, accuracy, and value for regulators. openIDL is the first open blockchain platform that enables the efficient, secure, and permissioned-based collection and sharing of statistical data.

Read more about openIDL in the Press Release.

Event Date : April 28, 2021

Trust Your Supplier is a production Hyperledger Fabric blockchain network, running on the IBM Blockchain Platform, that provides suppliers with a trusted digital passport to streamline on-boarding with their customers. This presentation will provide an overview of the network, discuss the business value to the participants, and highlight why blockchain and the selected governance approach makes this solution better for all the participants (buyers, suppliers, third party validators, and business networks). Please get more details from https://www.trustyoursupplier.com/

Did you hear about the 10-second video clip that sold for $6.6 million despite being free to watch on YouTube? This is just one of many examples of asset tokenization, a trend attracting huge sums of money, attention, and optimism surrounding the future of capital management and creation. 

Tokenization involves linking an asset — a piece of art, a baseball card, a commercial property, anything of value — to a digital asset represented as a token. The token can then be bought, sold, or logically divided into pieces (i.e., fractionalized). 

Blockchain makes the entire process work by tokenizing the asset (representing the asset as a token on the blockchain, thus embedding ownership, rights, and other property within the system). Tokenization takes something of value and makes it simpler to buy and sell since the transfer can be automated through a smart contract. Yes, it’s really that basic. 

It’s also worth noting that blockchain is used to administer the underlying details of tokenization to facilitate business and create trust in these transactions. This might be a novel concept, and it might rely on blockchain use cases that feel too technical and inaccessible. But in reality, asset tokenization is something anyone can take advantage of, whether they’re an owner or investor. 

Forward-thinking companies are already using tokenization, and in the process, they’re positioning themselves at the head of the pack to earn an oversized share of the opportunity. 

Tokenization as a Startup Strategy 

Asset tokenization will factor into more and more business strategies, especially with startups driving innovation across industries. After all, young companies have a mandate to innovate: disrupt industries, raise capital, and operate lean. To that end, tokenization can assist across the board. 

For one, asset tokenization will give rise to entirely new business models that will let investors put up small stakes of ownership in larger assets (such as art, commercial properties, sports cards, precious metals, cars, or industrial machines), which helps level the playing field for smaller investors across the world. 

A resulting wave of new startups will challenge our assumptions in every industry as they experiment with ways to tokenize assets and employ new business models. Likewise, tokens will also streamline how companies raise capital to fuel growth. Historically, funding has moved slowly because of due diligence, paperwork, and investor uncertainty. 

When blockchain is backing up the exchange of private equity, though, the details surrounding deals are completely secure, transparent, and automated. It accelerates raises by issuing security tokens and eliminating the middleman. With private equity (as with all other assets), turning items into asset tokens makes it simpler than ever to exchange value among trusted parties — increasing the liquidity of the underlying assets. 

Companies can also rethink how they allocate capital when tokens are an option. For example, if a company needed an excavator, it could purchase tokens to own a percentage of the equipment and pay rent to use it whenever necessary. As an owner, the company would then earn back some of its excavation expenditures through rent money, making this option more economical and flexible than buying or leasing equipment and improving cash flow. 

For startups trying to make the most of limited resources, tokens truly maximize the value of every asset and investment. 

Is Tokenization Right for You? 

There’s a lot to love when it comes to tokenized assets, but that doesn’t mean all assets should become tokens or that all investments should go toward tokens. Keep these considerations in mind before diving in: 

  1. The investment strategy: Some companies see amazing results with their existing investment strategy. Others, however, feel limited by the options at their disposal. Tokens give investors a way to diversify their portfolio and spread risk across different types of asset classes, including classes that might have been inaccessible otherwise. At the very least, every investment strategy deserves a close look to see where and how asset tokens might fit in.
  2. The alternative financing options: Venture capital or an initial public offering are two ways to raise capital, but they’re also slow, expensive, and restrictive. Companies that need other avenues should consider selling security tokens. Token sales are simple to set up, bring capital into the company more quickly, eliminate underwriters, and potentially broaden the investment base (opening the door to more investors).
  3. The compliance risk: Regulations apply to all aspects of tokenized assets (e.g.,what you can tokenize, who can invest, how the token sales work). With this, learn about all applicable regulations before tokenizing anything — especially if foreign investors will be involved. Fortunately, blockchain makes compliance with regulations easier because it can prevent noncompliant actions, and it keeps a highly visible and immutable record of everything that happens.
  4. The token choices you have: There are many types of tokens available for interested parties to choose from, and each one is designed for a specific business use case. Some of the most popular options include:

It’s tempting to say that asset tokenization changes everything. However, it’s more accurate to say it changes very little but improves upon a lot. Imagine if assets could be transacted automatically — without delay, confusion, or unnecessary friction — with a global reach. That’s the future that asset tokenization offers, and everyone should be excited about the possibilities. 

If you’re ready to map out your own asset tokenization framework, reach out to the experts at Chainyard 

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