After ten years of Blockchain evolution we are now approaching generation 5.0 and that generation is an interesting adoption point for HR.
This article describes a new HR technology architecture that takes advantage of both the current Cloud platform and the new Blockchain platform that takes advantage of Edge technology. The current generation of HR legacy systems cannot run at the Edge to take advantage of lower costs and greater efficiency, but new digital blockchain applications can run on the Cloud or at the Edge and the immediate solution for HR tech is a cross-platform, or hybrid architecture.
A Brief Background to Blockchain Maturity
Blockchain 1.0 first emerged around 2009 and was all about Bitcoin, crypto currencies and the promise of massive fortunes to be made by trading in the currencies using a rarely understood technology.
Blockchain 2.0 established a more business-oriented framework and allowed applications to be built on the Blockchain platform. The potential to change the global economic fabric was realised and public blockchains using the Ethereum product sprung up globally. Supply chain applications quickly took up the new technology to track product movement and make payments.
Blockchain 3.0 went in search of business problems the new technology could be used for. At the same time challenged earlier development and introduced technology variations including Merkle Trees and DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph) and private permissioned blockchains more suitable to the business community.
To this point Blockchain had been addressing teething problems associated with the new technology and, in hindsight, was just getting its act together for what was to come.
Blockchain 4.0 is roughly where we are at present and enterprises are able to build robust business applications on the platform and justify investment. The Blockchain features of trust, immutability and provenance have always appealed to HR because of the need to secure sensitive identifiable data, verify credentials, including education qualifications, background checks, licenses, passports, etc. and offer employees ownership of their own data. The return on investment for businesses went beyond process improvement to a new digital platform architecture to lay the groundwork for the next generation of HR technology.
Blockchain 5.0 is now about innovation and enabling new digital applications including AI (Artificial Intelligence) to become a reality for HR. But, Blockchain 5.0 has out-grown the Cloud and needs a new network infrastructure in order to deliver a distributed computing platform that supports decentralised data storage, processing closest to source and minimise latency (response time)
The new Edge computing platform requires a new network and Australia is expected to have a 5g network in place during 2020. Telstra has just announced they have picked out 500 host locations. At the same time advances are being made in affordable high speed satellite networks.
The Arrival of Edge Computing
Edge computing is sometimes referred to as Fog computing because it is one of many technologies in the haze around the edge of the network that manages remote devices (see the diagram below). But if you look closely at the architecture, it is doing exactly the same thing as early Client Server configurations did: It processes applications closest to source to reduce the flow of data across the network and gives an almost instant response locally. Not only do medical applications require zero latency but so does autonomous vehicles, mobile devices and a host of other applications.
Based a Network World article and diagram: — What is edge computing and how it’s changing the network: https://www.networkworld.com/article/3224893/what-is-edge-computing-and-how-it-s-changing-the-network.html
The Supporting Network Infrastructure
It is no surprise that the new generation of network infrastructure, such as 5G networks and satellite communications, are all designed to support Edge computing. Early predictions are that 5G networks will run up to 30 times faster than the NBN and 60 times faster than 4G. We can expect several hundred satellites to be deployed during 2020 to form a backbone in space for global business and deliver speeds of 20 millisecond-second latency networks.
HR’s Cross-Platform Architecture
At present, blockchain is NOT the right solution for ALL HR components (illustrated in the diagram below) but it is perfect for personal private data that belongs to the employee. Microservices and MXDP platforms complete the cross-platform architecture and can still run in the Cloud.
Blockchain Enables Better Data Management Practices
Blockchain enables better data management in line with global trends influenced by the European GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and current Australian legislation covering CDR (Consumer Data Right). Data sharing, the consent process and data ownership are now concerns for HR and blockchain features solve these potential problems.
Regarding employee data rights, HR have traditionally taken ownership of all employee data in the past simply because that was the only practical solution, but that arrangement is now challenged by blockchain and the its ability to give data ownership to the “data subject”, or the person who the data is about.
Advice to Companies wishing to Transition to a Digital Cross-Platform
Start the transition now and (1) move your employee data to the Blockchain ready to give data ownership to employees in 2020. Then (2) start to assemble HR applications on the Microservices or MXDP (Multi-Experience Development Platforms) platforms.