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ZirconTech Top Developers Clutch Argentina 2021

 

As found in the latest studies, global blockchain technology spendings are expected to climb to as high as $11.7 billion by 2023. Compared to other dominant development markets, blockchain is relatively smaller but its growth is undeniable — because, by 2024, the number is set to jump to around $20 billion.

 

Here at ZirconTech, we want to help you transform your business through bleeding-edge technologies like blockchain development. Located in Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Montevideo (Uruguay), our team works with companies all over the world, bringing efficient and cost-effective solutions for their unique needs.

 

In honor of our team’s hard work, it’s a massive honor for us to be highlighted as a Clutch Leader! In the most recent Clutch Awards, ZirconTech was given the title of Argentina’s leading blockchain development company for 2021!

 

Clutch is an established B2B market research and review company that helps businesses connect with the right service providers. Every year, the site ranks the leading firms from their respective industries during their awards cycle.

 

The entire ZirconTech team would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to each and everyone who made this possible. We sincerely dedicate this win to our clients, most especially to those who graciously endorsed and reviewed us on Clutch.

 

Moving forward, we want to see what else we can achieve. The future is filled with unknowns but together with our clients, we can continue growing and conquering hurdles.

 

Work with a trusted technology partner! Work with ZirconTech to build your digital transformation! Contact us today and we’re excited to hear from you.

 

Since the advent of civilizations, trust has been the driving force of every interaction, and the invention of currency paved the way to manage this and enabled organized finance. But probably the greatest revolution in this field since the Romans introduced banking is Blockchain a technology that automates trust.


Initially started as an alternative currency, Blockchain soon proved that it’s much more than that, an ecosystem that supports all sorts of human and machine interactions and transactions, being a distributive network-based technology, it makes trust a collective term, and responsibility an objective value.


Today, Blockchain is not just a buzzword or a coin token, but a practical feature of many mainstream industries, ranging from economics, legal contracts, healthcare, anti-counterfeiting, art and media, video games, and many more.


So let’s dwell a little deeper into blockchain uses and how our current world is affected by it.


Blockchain Applications in Financial Services


Evolution of currency from the Barter system of the Bronze age, metal coins of the Iron Age, and paper currency of the pre-modern era, we moved to Digital transactions. Then in 2009, A whitepaper was published, which in upcoming years changed the perspective of the general populace on the currency. It was this whitepaper that later emerged as Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, and marked the beginning of the era of Blockchain. Since then, there have been numerous applications of blockchain for businesses and finance implemented all across the globe.


Cryptocurrency exchanges (Trading)


Cryptocurrencies, often abbreviated as Crypto, are digital tokens, a digital representation of these tokens and an ownership identification is needed, this was solved by the use of virtual accounts called Wallets, analogous to a bank account, and just like in a traditional pocket wallet one pushes banknotes, here, one can convert fiat money to cryptocurrency and push it into a crypto-wallet, and this conversion is managed by a Crypto-Exchange.


Similar to how we have a plethora of banks, with numerous ways of banking, we have a wide array of such Cryptocurrency exchanges, and a gazillion ways to trade with this money, all backed by the trust of Decentralized Blockchain.


Some of the most common Cryptocurrency exchanges are – Binance, Coinbase, Kraken, Bithumb.


Such exchanges allow common users to switch and experiment with Blockchain, provide many more features above simple coin ownership, this includes – User-friendly interfaces, reliability, lower risk factors, and extend the functionality of Blockchain.


There are even Decentralized exchanges (DEX) that use blockchain for its proper functioning, this further adds a feature of better privacy and security.


Money laundering protection


Cryptocurrencies transactions being completely anonymous are often linked with ungoverned and possibly illegal money movements, and declaring it to be a false claim would be a complete lie. But just like how diamonds cut diamonds, the best tool for detecting and preventing dirty money to enter finance is also Blockchain. Blockchain for businesses can solve this problem by automating/hardcoding the ue-case of a certain allotment of an asset.


Anonymity in Cryptocurrency is not an invisibility cloak, Blockchain being practically unhackable makes it immutable, a perfect unalterable record, that can never be erased, thus every transaction can be verified, and traced with complete trust, a trust which even conventional banking systems cannot fathom.


Blockchain transactions are stone-etched, with rigid identification and uniqueness, thus completely removing any possibility of ambiguity and loopholes once such a detection is made, and can be quickly and easily legally confirmed.


Such an Anti-Money Laundering technology based on Blockchain can detect and confirm any “dirty” money movement and can help monitor any form of such immoral acts using CryptoCurrency.


Insurance


Blockchain provides a seamless coordination system, and any system which demands a smooth coupling between multiple agents can be implemented using this technology, and that too with improvement beyond traditional methodologies.


Insurance is one such business, which foresees an ever-increasing use of Blockchain-based applications.



  1. Verification and Risk Mitigation – Insurance claims are sensitive matters and often involve legal entities, fake claims cost up to 40 billion dollars each year, and bottlenecks flow of the economy, Blockchain offering permanent ledger records and granular cooperation among insurers and their customers, thus helps in verifying suspicious transactions and mitigate fake claims.

  2. Property Insurance – Anything can be a property, from real estate to a car, or even an original piece of art, this increasing heterogeneity makes defining and valuing more and more complex, but blockchain offers something called Smart Contracts. Smart Contracts are equivalent to any paper contract but are much easier to manage, maintain, and process, making insurance claims automated and much more trustworthy.

  3. Reinsurance – Reinsurance in simple terms means insurance for insurance companies, useful especially in situations of some nation or global level catastrophe as we all witnessed in the form of COVID-19, and this being a transaction between two business entities requires a lot of legal paperwork and other overheads, Blockchain, and smart contracts are so efficient in performing the same task, that the issue can be made non-existent.


P2P & Cross-border transaction


Any sort of international transaction involves a great number of overheads, both financial and temporal, thus a verifiable, intangible, and quick way of such transfer of money, securities, and various sorts of funds, can bring the world much closer and prevent the need for questionable modes of such transactions.


Blockchain for businesses is such a solution, and probably the best one currently present. It’s the only candidate that can serve as the implementation of a truly global currency.


Crypto-Currencies and Smart Contracts, a combination of these two technologies has already made it true, and now even governments worldwide are slowly recognizing the authenticity of Cryptocurrency and its growth potential.


Paying a seller on the other end of the globe is now as easy as paying your neighbor next door. A huge number of Cryptocurrencies have flooded the market and the transaction is completely anonymous and private, Point-to-Point, some of the most popular ones are – Bitcoin, Etherum, Steller, Cardano, Uniswap, Dogecoin, etc.


Crowdfunding


Crowdfunding is one of the miracles of the Internet along with Blockchain because it enables a democratic way to raise funds, run charities, and get donations. Crowdfunding has been successful in powering many startups, helping underprivileged people, and making the world more human.


But, most crowdfunding sources are centralized, which turns this into a business. While this approach has its own merits and demerits, Blockchain offers quite a different prospect to look at this problem.


There are majorly 2 ways Blockchain and specifically, Cryptocurrency can be used for crowdfunding.


  • A simple upgrade over the current approach is to simply switch from classical currencies to Cryptocurrency for getting the funds, it’s simple, it’s point-to-point and it automatically removes the need for centralization except for marketing.

  • Another slight radical approach, but being proven successful now a couple of times is using ICO for fundraising, ICO stands for Initial Coin Offering and is a parallel of Public offering in terms of shares, in very simple terms – an organization or even an individual can host it’s own CryptoCurrency and provide an Initial Coin Offering, and interested parties can directly invest in the coin, providing a completely independent way of crowdfunding.


Borrowing + Lending services


CryptoCurrencies encourage fluidity in an economy by enabling transactions as freely as legally possible. A conventional fluid market is backed up by securities and actual physical entities like real estate, and these come into playfield through loans and mortgages. 


But a market that involves Cryptocurrencies has something more to offer, with the possibility of immutable ledger records and flexible transactions there are essentially two additions.


  • Smart Contracts for Securities – Security trading becomes much smoother, even international trade of securities can be made true.
  • Digital assets –  Blockchain makes Digital assets possible since now even a piece of digital art is as “real” as a physical painting. An innovative approach popularized in recent days is Non Fungible Tokens or NFTs these are Digital assets completely backed up by Blockchain for authenticity and can be traded just like physical entities in a marketplace

With the involvement of both these methods, a completely digital economy running on Cryptocurrency, backed by cryptic digital assets, and that as well supports the classical ways and is capable of incorporating a diversity of resources and funds is what Blockchain is capable of creating.


Blockchain applications in Healthcare


The year 2020 Marked the beginning of an era of revelation, a revelation about how important health is, and how much our seems-to-be-perfect society is lagging, but it also lit up the path to incorporate an alternative lifestyle that can be much better.


While technology has changed our lifestyle drastically, it also has the potential to improve it and in this interconnected world, apart from obvious things discussed before like insurances, the medical industry, as well as individuals both, can take advantage of various contributions of blockchain and smart contracts.


Secure Medical records


Every individual has a unique body, a running breathing chemistry lab, and has a unique medical history ranging from genes, allergies, anatomical features to chronic diseases and exposure to other external factors.


But this information being so important also makes it a huge privacy risk, because it can be used against a group or individual very easily. Medical records are often used by scammers to target gullible selves, for marketing purposes and even personal harm.


If the medical history gets stored in a decentralized and secure manner, such as a Blockchain ledger – it can provide a very easy and flexible way for patients and medical workers to keep track, update and utilize this information to improve the life of a patient. Even simple things such as Blood groups or possible allergies are very important information, which we cannot leave vulnerable.


In cases of emergency, due information about medical history can be life-saving. Like if information regarding someone’s blood group is readily available, in case of an accident, the blood transfusion can be started instantly.


Blockchain offers a simple way to implement this. Each medical test, every visit to the hospital, and every piece of information can be uploaded to a secure, immutable blockchain, which can thus provide a securely updatable way to verify this information anytime anywhere.


Fake Medicine detection


Fake and Adulterated Pharmaceuticals, substandard medical equipment, and production of low-quality raw materials, all these activities are not only illegal but also immoral and inhumane. And unfortunately, this still is a lingering truth.


Blockchain with its trust factor and flexibility can be used to tackle this.


A recent approach to this is being slowly implemented by various industries – A simple unique identification for each product or object can be used to view, verify and confirm the qualitative and quantitative parameters of the product provided, such as a QR code.


Companies can upload all the relevant information on a blockchain ledger, a data structure designed to store temporal but rigid information, and a simple scan of the QR code provided with the product can help one get this information readily.


BlockVerify is one such tool – it’s an anti-counterfeit tool that can be used with any sort of supply chain, at any level of the supply chain, vendors, and consumers everyone can use it.


The medical industry is one of the most vulnerable sectors to fake products and dirty tactics, and with huge requirements in recent times has been quickly trying to adopt such a model, while BlockVerify is a general-purpose tool, its use in medicine can be a strong strike to break stereotypes and increase trust within the industry.


Blockchain uses for Government


Efficient governments are designed to provide smoother work and life environments and accommodate diversity, rather than hindering performance and homogenizing the society. Governments run on trust, trust on the one running the institutions, trust among the real participants, and on the people of a jurisdiction. And the best solution for ensuring trust is blockchain. Blockchain maintains the legitimacy and authenticity of information and can be used to back everything ranging from money to policies and legal matters.


Blockchain can simplify governance and bring society closer.


Blockchain Voting


Voting is a process that requires huge amounts of resources, manpower, and time. An election is a costly periodic task that includes so many factors associated with risk at a scale that is unimaginable for any other system.


But it is the fuel of Democracy, it drives a country and directs those in power.


An alternative approach that is not only fast and resource-efficient but can be proved secure and fail-safe is not an improvement but a need of the hour. Blockchain has been viewed ever since its inauguration in the form of Bitcoin as the perfect choice for this.


Each vote is a transaction, thus it’s easy to implement and scale using Blockchain, or as some have suggested direct use of current Cryptocurrency chains for the same like Etherium.


It prevents the possibility of fraud, fake votes provide ease of access, and voting from the comfort of home is also made possible.


Blockchain-based Identification


Uniquely identifying individuals is an important task for governance, for safety and security of the public, and running welfare schemes as well, but it carries a privacy and security risk at a scale no other application has. Since its effects can encompass populations of a whole country.


Centralized servers, even with the best securities cannot be considered invulnerable


But a blockchain spanning the population of a whole country can be secure enough to solve this issue, this is because it’s decentralized, encrypted, and can only be hacked if resources equivalent to at least 51% of the included systems are used, which is not possible at anything in millions.


Blockchain can put a globally unique identifier to each individual, and this information can be stored on its immutable ledger, individual identity and all sorts of associations can be implemented in a blockchain-based application, which can be used by the government for implementing its schemes, without having the user compromise its privacy.


Digital Will and Inheritance


Legal issues related to inheritance and will are some of the most common problems caused mainly due to ambiguity in information. This ambiguity could arise due to various involved sources of information and no way to verify authenticity unless rigorous legal consultancy is performed. And the core of this problem is because individual identification and assignment of ownership is a difficult process.


Blockchain solves both problems of individual identification and ownership that pertains to inheritance and will. Immutable ledger makes sure the possibility of information mismatch and ambiguity is reduced, also not just allows to store data related to will which can be legally verified, it can also be implemented to automate the whole process without the need of much intervention. Hence saving time on the court as well.


Transparent blockchain-based budgeting


Budgeting is a big deal for every government because it reduces resource wastage and promotes the right investments. Take, for example, the New York City Council. The mayor has given a budget of $89 billion and the city council has requested a thorough investigation into the request.


Needless to say, the mayor was unable to provide suitable land and there was plenty of space. This is not a completely new scene. In addition to this, every year, governments lose money due to corruption and poor management. Moreover, it becomes too late for people to realize where their taxes are going. And so when there is a lot of waste in the government, blockchain for such systems can shine in this case. Blockchain for government use cases will provide transparent budgeting where citizens can see where their money is going.


The budget designing process itself can be benefited from blockchain as well, since prevention of policies from external factors to prevent any sort of biases is required in this process, and blockchain has the potential to provide such a service.


Furthermore, it will also increase overall efficiency and, not to mention, reduce waste and corruption. Before accepting any budget request, authorities can know exactly when and where they plan to spend the money.


Registry of land ownership


Another major blockchain initiative is the digitization of the real estate sector that can simplify the sale of land. The advent of smart contracts in blockchain platforms now allows assets like real estate to be tokenized and traded like cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether.


Legal advisors, investors, lawyers, agents, and customers, everyone has a say in this ecosystem of real estate. However, according to a report from Deloitte, blockchains could soon usher in a shift in their role and involvement in real estate transactions.


New platforms could eventually take on functions such as listings, payments, and legal documents. By cutting out the middlemen, buyers and sellers get the most out of their money by saving on the commissions and fees charged by these middlemen. It also makes the process much faster because the back and forth between these intermediaries are cut down. 


One of the prime examples of blockchain uses in this domain includes the case of the Dubai Land Registry. They’ve implemented blockchain into their infrastructure and their government will soon transform the way people buy and sell real estate.


Traceability: Blockchain-based tracking in Supply Chains


NFC-enabled tagging solutions are used in different products. Through a simple tap on the product label through a smartphone, you can read about products traceability, exclusive content, videos, stories, tasting notes, origin, and personalized messages. Today, consumers are increasingly concerned about where the product they purchase comes from. The conscious consumer expects brands to be more transparent and products to be sourced ethically and sustainably. 


An immutable ledger of transactions throughout companies’ supply chains, a blockchain solution, allows stakeholders to prove their claims of authenticity, legality, and sustainability. Other applications include digital platforms aimed at speeding the flow of data and goods and data in ocean transportation. 


Agreements in the shipping sector are required aimed at connecting cargo owners, vessel operators, ports, and logistics companies through digital platforms that use blockchain technology. Blockchain allows trusted participants to share information as goods move through supply chains. The system promises to reduce the cost of administering shipped goods, cut down on paperwork and speed the flow of goods by letting companies transmit information quickly and reliably. The Electronic Bill of Ladings (eBLs) aims to replicate the essential functions of a paper Bill.


The International Group approved Global Share S.A. edoxOnline platform (“edoxOnline”) on 11 June 2019, WAVE on 23 December 2019, and CargoX Smart B/L™ (“CargoX”) on 11 February 2020. As with Bolero, essDOCS, and e-Title™, the legal frameworks for this new generation of eBL providers’ systems were scrutinized by the IG to ensure that eBLs created on them are capable of performing the three functions of a bill of lading, namely as a receipt, a document of title and a contract of carriage. Liabilities arising in respect of the carriage of cargo under eBLs created on these systems are now covered by the IG Clubs as if the bills of lading had been issued in traditional paper form.


The key difference with these second-generation eBL systems is their reliance on blockchain technology. Unlike three years ago, blockchain is today no longer just a buzzword but has many real applications.


A blockchain may be a public or a private digital network used for recording transactional events in encrypted form, storing the same in a distributed ledger (i.e. the computers). A private blockchain network can feature a level of centralization. Access is limited by a governing body to a number of participants only. Public blockchain networks however run on thousands of computers and do not have a ‘central administrator’. It is not possible to shut down, block or limit access to a public blockchain network. edoxOnline’s, Wave’s, and CargoX’s products are based on the Ethereum blockchain; the best known public blockchain which also enables the use of smart contracts. The publicly distributed ledger contains a permanent record of all transactions, providing transparency and enabling auditability of all events. Without a central registry, there is no central point of attack for hackers. edoxOnline is the first eBL system created implementing blockchain technology. The company was set up in 2007 by a group of international trade experts to provide the industry with a collaborative digital platform to streamline the issuance of shipping and commercial documents. On edoxOnline’s system, all the participants trade from shippers.


Conclusion


Blockchain has proved itself as a revolutionary technology in the last decade and established itself as the new driving force of the world of security, credibility, and trust. Blockchain-based applications often called DApps or Distributed Applications, are used in many industries and have successfully upgraded and improved many existing workflows.


The domain of its usability knows no bounds. Every major industry in every significant sector has benefited from this or is going through a phase of change to accept Blockchain as a part of the ecosystem.


And we’re proud to say that we, at ZirconTech, have helped such industries in setting up and utilizing this amazing technology.


One of the most recent examples is – Development of an E2E solution for automotive insurance based on using blockchain.


We all know, there is a high distrust in the insurance industry because of the existing conflict of interests. Since the companies’ profits increase if less is paid to the users, or it is possible to charge them more money. This solution allows transparency to the scoring calculation that defines the policy’s value for this particular case. We used Hyperledger Fabric as a Blockchain platform.


It is developed following these chain codes:- Information tracking (to track vehicle information and store it in the blockchain) and Scoring (calculation of scoring from data received from vehicles). As part of the project, the development of two APIs, three SPAs, and one mobile application had been done. And all the products were designed keeping both factors in mind, user-friendliness & functional completeness. Our aim was, and still is, to provide the best quality service to the customers and users possible.


Brum Costa Abogados

Smart Contracts and Smart Legal Contracts

 

Dr. Agustina Pérez Comenale spoke with Dr. Gustavo Gauthier and Dr. Nicolás Gómez, leaders in the application of blockchain technology in digital contracting and other use cases in the legal field.

 

Dr. Gustavo Gauthier is Attorney-at-law, partner at Brum Costa Abogados, Magister in Labor and Social Security Law, Adjunct Professor of Labor and Social Security Law at the Law School of UDELAR (Universidad de la República), and Professor of the Postgraduate Course in Applied Labor Law at the University of Montevideo.

 

Dr. Nicolás Gómez is Attorney-at-law, a member of the Litigation Department of Brum Costa Abogados, a Dr. in Law and Social Sciences, and a Postgraduate degree in Applied Procedural Law.

 

Introduction: Digital Contracts, Smart Contracts and Smart Legal Contracts.

 

Dr. Agustina Pérez Comenale points out that “when we speak of digital contracting we refer to any contract that is drawn up through electronic tools. We are not talking about the IT contract itself, software contracts or the like, but about any type of contracts that involve IT or technological tools.

 

There is a new section of contracts or a new contract model that began to be used a few years ago, the famous CLM, Contract Lifecycle Management, the life cycle of the contract, which facilitates the preparation of contracts. Not only the pre-contractual part, but later in its execution.

 

Finally, what are the Smart Contracts, all the contracts or instructions that are made to the blockchain or chain of blocks. There are different blockchains, public and private, in which it can be programmed and there are programming languages, with loops, conditions, which it is very important to consider when selecting the platform that we are going to be operating.

 

Smart Contracts are instructions that we give the platform to operate and make certain instructions automatically without the need for human intervention.

 

Smart Legal Contract is the use of automatic execution for the conventions established between the parties. Here it implies a role for the legal professional who will be preparing the contract and will be putting it into practice, in the pre-contractual and clause stage, listing various issues such as the audit of the program among others.

 

It is important to understand the technology and the different types of contracts that we must see which is the best suited to a given situation. We must always bear in mind that we are using technology does not mean that it is good or profitable, but to understand it to see how to apply it in each circumstance”.

 

“The pre-contractual stage or the preparation of the contract is extremely important”, says Pérez Comenale, “being equipped with automatic execution, such as the Smart contract or the Smart legal contract, it is very important to be able to at least try to contemplate the different possible scenarios that may arise during the execution of the contract.

It is important in the pre-contractual stage to consider some clauses, such as the typical clauses of any contract because we stick to the legal nature of contracts, which is highly debatable even the concept of Smart Contracts, if we are dealing with related contracts, or contracts of adhesion or if it is simply a tool and we take the nature of the contract itself as its own nature”.

 

Implementing digital contracts at Brum Costa Abogados.

 

Dr. Nicolás Gómez and his team, on a practical level, have put together demos of different contracts, and then he will tell us about his experience and the challenges and benefits when using them.

 

Gómez points out that “in the second half of 2019 we started working on the development, either as a demo or a future project of smart contracts, with the ZirconTech team and especially with Martin Machin. We began to test and put into practice several situations that we understood that we could fit within these smart contracts. From the demos and this testing, we found several challenges that we were avoiding and that led us to the practical concepts that we are going to deal with”.

Brum Costa Abogados - Nicolas Gomez

 

Monax: A platform embedded in blockchain that already solves technical difficulties for legal professionals.

 

“In the first place, what we got around was the difficulty that we all think that these types of tools have, which is the practical difficulty that lawyers think that we have to sit down to program or do jobs that are outside of our professional training. But ultimately, the ZirconTech team presented us with a tool that is a platform that was already inserted in the blockchain ecosystem, where that task was already simplified. The idea was simply to diagram the contract flows and the different stages that were being raffled, and ultimately that first challenge was overcome very easily, and we did not have to think for hours and hours to see what to do, if we need a programmer, etc. We simply needed a multidisciplinary team like the one we created. From that moment on we started with certain demos as simple service lease contracts, then Dr. Gustavo Gauthier will talk about the employment contract. In short, what we saw was the testing in practice”.

 

“In principle, the tool presented has certain implementations that facilitated and that were even aligned with our law, because we were working within a blockchain where each step that we took within the contract was registered and within the traceability that even one can be downloaded. So, after we draw up a small contract we started with certain challenges. The first of them was to have the legal prose, the contract itself, we talked about the nature of the Smart Contract, we see it as a tool, the Smart Legal Contract that we work on, and what we saw is that we could already include the drafting of the contract and contrast it with the scheduling of the flow of the different stages that were to be derived from that contract.

Generating a more hybrid system where certain clauses are aligned to problem solving or skills. But that challenge was ready.”

 

“Surprisingly for us, then, already framing within the 18600 Law, we had electronic documents that were being generated on the platform with all the steps and each of the details of the smart contract. And the platform already had an electronic signature tool that was aligned with what our regulations understand as a common electronic signature. Generally, if both parties agree to use it, it was already included in the drafting of the contract within the tool, and it did not generate major difficulties”.

 

Advanced electronic signature integration.

 

“Exploring a little more we saw that the advanced electronic signature can be added to the tool, where the legal aspects are broader, and has the effectiveness of a private document certified by a notary public, and each of these stages can be done in the platform”.

 

Pérez Comenale points out regarding what Gómez mentions, “one of the great challenges is precisely the identity and the type of signature that we are using, that the persons signing are who they say they are, that is, it is a no small detail. But also at the interpretation level, because here we are first with an alphanumeric language and then we are with a programming language”.

“In practice there is a contest to see which one prevails, if first I go to program and then I see the contract written in a visible way so that anyone can understand it. How all that is managed, that is part of the contract cycle and see what platform they are going to use. If they are going to hire a programmer and are going to program the contract directly or use a market platform, which already incorporates this kind of interpretation or translation from alphanumeric language to programming language through the platform”.

 

Records in pre-contractual stages and during the execution of the contract.

 

Dr. Nicolás Gómez mentions as another element, “that the tool allows to have a record, not only of the progress of the contract stages but also of the pre-contractual stages, where the emails and all the documents that the parties exchanged can be included, if they signed a prior confidentiality agreement, also including it, which is useful for this later stage where there may be certain problems between the parties or a third party may have to be resorted to resolve some kind of difference ”.

 

Pérez Comenale says that “all this is very important in the pre-contractual stage and the typical conflict resolution clauses. Today there are several platforms such as Kleros that are already based on blockchain and offer the resolution of disputes in different types of contracts, then they can be foreseen, and also the automatic compensation clauses, thinking about the automatic execution that characterizes this type of contracts”.

 

“Another challenge that we see replicated in several articles when talking about Smart contracts is the enforceability it has, is that once it starts running, the parties cannot stop it and eventually things may happen that were not foreseen, if there are programming errors or there is a bad translation to the code. But it can be programmed in agreement with the parties and put a clause of forced detention so that a third party can resolve the dispute that may arise from it, as in the case of Kleros.

 

Integration with oracles and information from the outside world.

 

Gómez marks “also the connection from the decentralized world from the blockchain of contracts with the real world because many of the elements that we need are not within the contract and require connection with the outside world, and that is why we learned the existence of the oracles that communicate with the outside world. For simple tasks such as seeing the dollar price to make a payment or the payment gateways themselves to make a hold if it is an escrow or automatic payment system. For public organizations, if it is an agricultural traceability contract, and expand the useful framework that can be given to the tool”.

 

“It is essential that the oracles have reliable information, it is essential because in the face of this automation it is necessary to ensure the veracity of the information.”

 

Next, Dr. Gustavo Gauthier will comment on how all these contracts are applicable, what they are for, what benefit they can have by complicating it if it can be resolved on paper. What are the benefits beyond security, encryption, confidentiality, immutability, etc., what are the practical applications. Gauthier will talk about employment contracts and rental contracts among others.

Gauthier: “The smart contract is a crossroads between the technological and the legal”

 

“The issue of smart contracts like almost all technological issues puts us in front of a challenge of imagination at the present time,” says Gauthier. “The smart contract is a crossroads between the technological and the legal. And that crossroads inevitably crosses us with tech professionals as well. We cannot, from the law, only be able to advance in digital or smart contracts without having the support of engineers, programmers or analysts who know about the technology.

 

“The process that we did begins that way because the engineers consulted us to see what we thought about an idea of ​​some contracts that they were trying to program. And we, in turn, were thinking about how to make or realize a smart contract idea. And that first requires an analysis of the point of view of the contractual type that one tries to bring to a smart contract, because there may be a very simple contract and the logical evolution would indicate that it would be necessary to start with this type of contract. For example, a freelance service lease contract, or an international employment contract whose payment is made through cryptocurrencies. One can have a contract practically encapsulated in a blockchain and that can be executed 100% within the blockchain. Today it is already possible and much more than we think.

 

Functionality of the dogmatics of a legal contract with respect to a smart contract: employment contracts.

 

“Now when we think of more complex contracts, one must ask in each case if the urban lease contract or the work contract, if the dogmatics of those contracts are functional with respect to the smart contract. An analysis that we made of the employment contract, precisely the dogmatic fits quite well with an automatic execution. Because we all know that, with the fact of work, from the first day that a person begins to work, automatically a series of regulations are applied to him, which are already foreseen, which are mandatory, which are unavailable to the parties, that the parties they cannot modify, and they only must comply, apart from the fact that this does not operate at 100%. But perfectly an employment contract that is not too sophisticated can be fulfilled with what is already provided exclusively in the legislation. Both the legislation that has a heteronomous, legal source, decrees, resolutions, as well as that of an autonomous source such as collective agreements, an award of wages councils for referring to Uruguay”.

 

“From that perspective the contract could be executed more or less automatically.” And Gauthier says “more or less because the employment contract has some peculiarities, and that is that it varies over time. Normally the worker goes up in his career, his salary improves, he changes his category. But also, in the life of the employment contract, situations may appear where it is necessary to innovate certain conditions, where it is not clear whether there is a benefit or not, or if there is a benefit in exchange for a loss.

Here blockchain technology poses a challenge for us. Although we have the advantage of the immutability of the contract registered in the blockchain, that same immutability can be too strong, a corset for the necessary changes that allow the survival of the contract. This is a challenge in this matter”.

 

Communication of the Smart Contract with actors from the outside world.

 

“And also, being such a regulated contract, it is a challenge, how that contract is communicated with the outside world. Because necessarily the employment contract has a permanent dialogue with the outside. The worker must be registered in the State (government), in the BPS (Social Security Bank), in the MTSS (Employment and Social Security Ministry), he must make pension contributions and his taxes. Also, the contract then if it is not paid with cryptocurrencies, the contract will have to dialogue with the banking system. In the sense that the contract will have to send an order to a bank, and that bank will have to prepare, or it will have to accept receiving orders from a program or a contract and not from a person with a token to pay the salary”.

 

There is also the discussion of wallets, as well as once the salary is deposited, the contributions for social security are generated, which must also be prepared to receive not only the nominated statement of that worker, but also the contributions of that worker. that they will come from software, from a contract, and not from a person in the flesh, or from a traditional company.

 

They are all challenges, and the first dialogue that the contract must have is with the company’s salary settlement system, which in turn has to be connected to the time control system, in order to be able to repeat the cycle of the contract to consult if that person was attending, how many days did it and for having come those days what corresponds to be paid as salary.

 

There are several challenges that are posed in terms of that dialogue that the intelligent employment contract must have today with the outside world through oracles.

 

We can think of practical cases such as the employment contract that involves all these challenges. And tomorrow we can think of simpler contracts, returning to the smart contract per se, and not so much the Smart Legal Contract with all this mentioned scenario that has several challenges due to the clauses and all the information it handles.

 

Gauthier: “operating automatically through smart contracts would give speed and legal certainty”

 

Tomorrow, there are many acts, such as transfers of shares, communications to the Central Bank. If they could operate automatically through a smart contract, it would give speed and legal certainty, and we could see all the benefits that this type of contract entails.

 

What has been seen with all these demos is that in practice there is the great challenge of external information to the network.

 

Challenges and benefits: “communication auditable and accepted by the government”

 

“The challenge that this communication be auditable, but accepted by the State (government), by the different government agencies that have to do with contracts. Here one can talk about the benefits, because one can ask, and is all this complication worth it? What would be the benefit and for whom the benefits of having smart employment contracts.

The first benefit is certainty and legal security for the worker, for the employer, but also for the government. Because the worker with a smart contract is sure that the law will be respected because it is already included in the algorithm that was designed, and the contract will comply exactly with the law and will not take a step if the previous condition is not met. His contributions will be poured in a timely manner, there will be no deviations from the contributions. The employer, in turn, will notably reduce its time and payroll administration costs, and it will also avoid errors, which sometimes imply errors that can end in individual, collective or union disputes for paying a payroll wrong.

 

For the government there are also benefits, the benefit of ensuring that employers comply with the regulations, avoiding tax evasion. Teh team of labor inspectors instead of going to the companies to check if the regulations are complied with, is no longer necessary. These inspectors can be referred to control occupational health and safety conditions, which are things that must be checked more in the territory.

 

On the other hand, the government can have information in real time on the functioning of the labor market, and this is vital for labor policies, because having that information in real time means that the government can react faster to different labor policies than different governments want to carry out at a certain time.

 

Dr. Gustavo Gauthier concludes that “the benefits can far outweigh the challenges and problems that may be posed in the design or in putting this type of contract into practice.

 

Dr. Agustina Pérez Comenale closes and comments that with all this there would be a lot of speed and order, which is lacking in this branch of law, and is both a public and a private benefit. All this experience is essential to inspire others, tomorrow with the Brum Costa platform and another, to start managing contracts in this way and move forward, because the biggest barrier is cultural.

 

ZirconTech-Management-Team

In a post pandemic world with hybrid work environments, ZirconTech aims to consolidate the global expansion delivering nearshore solutions and services in blockchain technologies and integrating cloud computing, DevOps, data science and artificial intelligence.

 

New York, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Montevideo, September 27th, 2021. The Board of ZirconTech is pleased to announce today that Andres Zunino has been appointed CEO of the company. An experienced business leader, who will lead the company strategy and growth, in order to consolidate the global expansion and assume responsibilities on October 1st.


With a background in Civil Engineering and Business Administration, Andres has developed a career initially in infrastructure companies and then in the telecommunications company Ericsson in the operations in Latin America, where he oversaw the operations in several countries. Andres started investing in several startups in 2015 with interest in emerging technologies, and in 2016 co-founded ZirconTech in the blockchain space with the domain expert Alejandro Narancio, CEO of Infuy. Andres completed an MBA in IEEM (University of Montevideo) and has extensive experience in telecommunications, mobile networks deployment and operations, large project implementations and financial planning. Andres has been involved in Ericsson operations in Latin America working with the most important telecommunications operators in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Uruguay.
So far he has been leading the management of the operations while Alejandro Narancio advised and guided the team from a technical point of view. In this journey, with central offices in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, ZirconTech grew and expanded customers to Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Unites States, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Singapore and New Zealand, among others.

 

Andres Zunino CEO ZirconTech

Andres Zunino – CEO ZirconTech

 

In 2016 Andres and Alejandro founded the first professional services company focused on blockchain in Uruguay. Pioneering in the technology and with the support of ANII (National Agency for Innovation and Research of Uruguay), ZirconTech implemented a blockchain usage based insurance solution which in 2017 was shortlisted in the top ten applications in the Swiss Blockchain Competition organized by the Crypto Valley Venture Capital (CV VC).

 

While developing multiple blockchain projects involving different technologies, ZirconTech has been a pioneer in legal tech and a key partner of Monax, a UK and global leader in digital contracting using smart contracts; has developed a blockchain based notarization tool for many use cases and partnered with key blockchain platforms among other initiatives.

 

As part of this new organization restructure, Alejandro Narancio will serve in ZirconTech’s board as technology advisor while he continues leading the specialized nearshore company Infuy as Chief Executive Officer. Alejandro is a thought leader in blockchain technologies, international speaker, university professor, RSK Rootstock ambassador and RIF product owner. Before co-founding Infuy, Alejandro worked for Tata Consultancy Services for several United States financial services companies, spending extensive time at onsite operations in Minneapolis, Miami, Los Angeles and New York City.

 

Martin Machin, who had joined ZirconTech as board member by mid 2019, will focus his role on digital innovation, data science and artificial intelligence services. Martin is a mentor, investor and advisor to companies in information and emerging technologies, and previously was managing partner in Pyxis, the fastest growth IT company in Uruguay in the last decade, expanding to Latin America and North America. Before that, Martin led the Global Delivery Center of Tata Consultancy Services in Montevideo and was Head of the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance Area of the operation. He also worked at IBM, Conaprole, and Banco Comercial which was later acquired by Scotiabank, and was Artificial Intelligence professor in the Universidad Catolica del Uruguay.

 

Martin Liguori, Co-Founder of Infuy, has been working in ZirconTech supporting the service delivery and now will be promoted as Chief Operating Officer. Before co-founding Infuy, Martin worked in Tata Consultany Services delivering services to global customers. He has extensive experience in web application development and cloud infrastructure in mission critical operations.

 

Williams Olivera, a senior software and solution architect who has been leading several global projects in ZirconTech has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer and will guide the technology strategy. He has been involved in key global projects in ZirconTech and has performed a key role in the competency development in different blockchain technologies like the evolution of Ethereum into Quorum, Hyperledger, Hedera/Hashgraph, R3 Corda, etc. He was one of the first R3 Corda Certified Developers in Latin America. Williams is a Computer Science engineer who previously worked in the leading IT company from Uruguay Codigo del Sur.

 

In the context of the Blockchain world we have identified that in recent years it has been necessary to resolve certain common requirements as part of our global customers’ demands. As a response to the market ZirconTech is announcing the launch of its Notarizer seeking to use Blockchain technology as irrefutable proof of the existence of complex data types, such as documents, or in general any type of file.


Notarization plays an integral role in any legal transaction and negotiations. Notarized documents are an indication that the parties involved are genuine and can be trusted. In other words, the notary public provides a security level that prevents us from becoming victims of fraud.


With the emergence of technology in the business landscape, blockchain entered the picture to automate notarizations. The blockchain serves as storage for notarized records and documents. In this way, any unauthorized user will not be able to edit nor delete portions of the document.


Notarization blockchain technology ensures the integrity of data as soon as it enters the chain. It provides functionalities, including tampering-resistance, non-repudiation, and traceability.


In particular, a network like Ethereum’s is not suitable for handling large volumes of data or storing files, therefore a feasible solution is to calculate a hash that represents this file in a plain text format. that it can be stored as part of a block. Then, it will be the job of a centralized system to make sure to maintain the consistency that this hash saved in the blockchain corresponds to with its original file.


One of the main objectives, therefore, has been the implementation of a software product that provides the necessary functionalities to solve this problem, as well as other additional functionalities, in such a way that it is adaptable to multiple use cases.


What are the Benefits of Notarization with Blockchain?


ZirconTech Notarizer is a blockchain based product and brings a private, remote notary channel to address all your notary needs. This channel allows organizations to acquire notaries without having to step out of their homes or offices. Thus, ZirconTech Notarizer leverages notarization with blockchain to provide notary solutions to organizations across different industries. Notarization blockchain technology testifies to the documentation of proof of ownership to protect owners of their rights. Notarization via blockchain can also establish agreements across multiple parties. These documents can only be accessed and signed on the blockchain.


Notarizer main functionalities


The product offers a set of services and scales to add additional layers of integration.


Smart Contract and API Rest


Considering that the objective of this product is to achieve the notarization of documents in Blockchain, a series of Smart Contracts have been developed capable of processing the references to the documents together with their owner and other eventual additional information. ZirconTech offers a solution on the Ethereum network that can be extended to other Blockchains. On the other hand, the public functions of this Smart Contract are not accessed directly, and has been built an additional logical layer that interacts with these contracts and offers access to them in the form of REST services as well as other complementary functionalities that facilitate the data usability. Users must register in the system to use the functionalities. Communication with the API services can be authenticated through the use of API KEYS that the user will obtain after registering.


A web interface allows users to register and use the product, prioritized by registering files and viewing that they have been notarized. 


User sign-up


As an anonymous user you can register a new account in the system using an email and password. For this, there is a REST endpoint that allows the registration of new users. It is also possible to egister in the web interface.


The system persists this information in the database and creates an API KEY / API SECRET pair for the new user. The key pair is required in each request made to interact with the system.


The Notarizer also associates a new data set in the Smart Contract for this new API KEY, that is, the data is federated by user.


Account configuration


Users could access through a web interface to configure the following options:


Signature type: it can be Centralized, where the backend uses its own Wallet to sign all its notarizations on behalf of the user, or Client-side, where the users could connect their wallets using Metamask and other options to be defined and must sign and authorize the documents to be processed.


A maximum gas price limit that you are willing to pay for your transactions (help texts are displayed to the user).


A switch to persist the files, in which case it is decided if the files that are uploaded for notarization should be stored by the system and made available to the user or if, on the contrary, the file is not stored and simply its hash is calculated.


Optionally, it is allowed to enter an email address where you will be notified when a new document has been registered. It is also possible to granulate these types of notifications in greater detail.


Document Notification


As an existing user, you could “notify” a new document or file, that is, to create a record in the Blockchain of its existence.


The Notarizer provides an endpoint that allows users to receive a file and from it create a hash that will be entered into the blockchain for this user. At the same time, this mapping is also entered in the database for easy access.


The response to the user is the hash of the transaction that contains the information that represents the original file, and optionally, the user can send additional data to identify the document that will also be added to the block as part of the transaction.


This functionality is available through the web interface.


Getting my notifications


A user can access the list of their previously created notifications. The configuration section shows information about the processed documents and a link to view them in the Blockchain explorer and, if they have been persisted, download them.


Additionally, a summary of the ETH expenses of the transactions is shown. The Notarizer provides an endpoint to access this information-


Document validation


The Notarizer offers an endpoint in its API to validate that a document exists in the Blockchain as well as a web interface that allows uploading the file and visualizing if it exists in the blockchain. The Notarizer receives the file, calculate its hash and search for the corresponding record in the Blockchain.  The answer is an error if it does not exist or the transaction if the document is valid and exists.


Payment of transactions


Since the insertions in the Blockchain network have an associated cost, it is assumed this cost in one of two ways:



  • If the user has selected the option for the system to centralize the notarizations, the associated expenses are calculated and accumulated in the user’s account. This involves integration with a payment system, also accepting cryptocurrencies as a form of payment. Users must select a cost control so as not to generate excessive consumption outside of what was planned. The Notarizer incorporates a cost optimization mechanism.



  • Alternatively, users bear the costs associated with signing client-side notarizations using an electronic wallet such as Metamask or similar, or even an HSM device.


How does notarization with blockchain help businesses flourish?


Notarization with blockchain has several benefits to organizations, but here are key points on how they helped businesses flourish:


Secured Storage of Notarized Documents


The primary goal of notarization is to certify the authenticity of any document. Notarization blockchain technology leverages various automated tools to carry out this goal seamlessly and quickly. On top of that, users can secure the storage of notarized documents on the blockchain. This organized and infinite storage process allows them to retrieve the agreement when needed and detect any changes made through the timestamps attached to every document.


Encrypted Documents Providing Users With Private Access


A majority of notary services require user information for creating an account and proof of ownership. This security measure happens on their system database for your notarization needs. The transaction ID and the user account information in the database often reside outside the blockchain. This measure gives security to the users considering that most authentication services happen on the blockchain system. They would only take a hash of the document to verify the proof of ownership of the user to notarize documents.


Moreover, the transaction ID integrates encryption to documents for easy retrieval. User account information helps perform cross-checks of the document’s ownership before its release.


Transfer Document Ownership Seamlessly


With notarization service blockchain, organizations can transfer ownership of documents seamlessly. The system would first verify the ownership of a specific form through the user account that acted. Blockchain technology locates the certificate authority system that confirms the blockchain’s bounded blocks’ data.


Users can quickly transfer document ownership by following these steps:



  • Like modifying any legal record, the system identifies the user through the previously recorded transactions used for verification.

  • The transaction identification verification will then create a signature for the user in the data field.

  • Notarization blockchain technology prompts the hash verification and signature storage on the duration of deploying the contract.


Case studies


Global Share 


Global Share is a company dedicated to the continuous improvement of business processes, providing innovative solutions to companies to add up value and competitive advantage by improving their processes productivity. As a major milestone in Global Share/edoxOnline history, the company launched a service for the preparation, issuance, signing, transmission, negotiation and presentation of the electronic Bill of Lading (e-BL). Zircon Tech has been a key partner implementing blockchain technology in the solution architecture.


Zircon Tech helped Global Share in the implementation of the solution that tracks the changes in the documentation over time and ensures tamper proof and no possibility of modifying the information of the same. Zircon Tech proposed to identify the documents through hashes (SHA256) and then leave the same “notarized” in the Ethereum blockchain using a document ID and the mentioned hash. Each change in the document is registered using the corresponding ID and hash update. For this project a smart contract was developed using Solidity and an API using Node JS.


Global Share’s edoxOnline electronic Bill of Lading (e-BL) meets its customers’ expectations and business needs, going paperless and efficient. Particularly, in the midst of the complications that the coronavirus has presented for the trade of products linked to agriculture, these Argentine’s developments facilitated the electronic transmission of documents through the digitization of processes representing a great advantage, and has been used by firms like Cargill, Bunge and Dreyfus. In COVID-19 times, this application helped a lot to avoid obstacles to the agricultural trade.


Prova Technology 


Prova Technology is a US technology company working with universities in the process of certification of diplomas. Prova Technology has partnered with ZirconTech to implement the notarization services to start engaging with United States universities to issue diploma certifications for the graduated students.


ZirconTech


ZirconTech has developed a Notarizer version based on Hedera Hashgraph (https://hedera.com/), a proof-of-stake public network, powered by hashgraph consensus.


More information:

Throughout the evolution of technology, we, by the nature of our being, have always challenged the existing system. At the core, we are problem solvers who never rest until we are done with our issues. Blockchain can also be understood as a great solution for an entire spectrum of predicaments. It is an open, decentralized ledger that can efficiently and permanently record transactions between two parties. The fundamental need to initiate and complete a transaction gave birth to the concept of a public key and a private key per user. 


This course of action gives way to the thought that since we are doing a transaction, and we are also using two cryptographic keys, “Is there a way to keep all this metadata secure and ready to use at a moment’s notice?”


Indeed. It is called a blockchain wallet.


What is Blockchain Wallet? 


Necessity is the mother of invention. In this case, slow centralized traditional banking systems gave way to blockchain technology. Earlier systems used to have a central point of failure which made the data susceptible to manipulation and corruption. This is where blockchain wallets come to the rescue. It is very convenient to set up and use. Just like how you use a PayPal wallet to transfer money, a blockchain wallet deals in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, etc. 


You name it, they have it. 


It provides a hassle-free interface that works on both web and mobile interfaces. The redeeming quality of this system is transaction security and privacy. Both of these points are enforced via cryptographically generated keys, namely a public key and a private key. 


Trends and Stats


Blockchain.com started offering blockchain wallets in November 2011 and now has reached an all-time high of 75.9 million wallets.


(Source: blockchain.com)


At the advent of blockchain, there were not a lot of providers offering blockchain wallets. During that time blockchain.com was one of the first to offer systematic blockchain wallets. Over the last 10 years, it has observed an exponential growth rate as the user base increased.


In January 2021, Coinbase achieved the highest ever daily active users (600,000)  in the US. This was 10 times more than blockchain.com


(Source: Statistica)


Coinbase is one of the most popular providers in the industry. At the end of 2020 and early 2021, there has been a substantial increase in the crypto user base. This has caused the daily active users of most platforms to essentially double.


Coinbasereceived VC funding of $251M between 2014 and 2017


(Source: Statista)


Blockchain figures can sometimes reach hundreds of millions of dollars. Coinbase received venture capital funding of more than 250 million dollars between 2014 and 2017. During these three years, they successfully transformed huge investments into a trading market used by millions of people around the world.


Blockchain market value in South Korea started from around $20.1B  in 2016 and will reach approximately $356.2B by 2022.


(Source: Statista)


Blockchain’s growth was always predicted to be huge, but no one could have predicted that the market will grow by more than 150 billion US dollars in just two years, only in South Korea. Even more surprising is that this market is expected to double in just four years to 356.2 billion U.S. dollars.


How does a Blockchain Wallet work?


The best part about blockchain wallets is, they are easy to use. As discussed earlier, the blockchain wallet works around the concept of public keys and private keys. These are akin to the credentials that you may use at a social media site or on your mail. Your public key is analogous to your username while your private key is your wallet’s password. Unless you have both of them, you can’t access or transfer your possessions. Whereas, for receiving funds, the sender only needs the recipient’s public key. Both the public and private keys are generated when you create your blockchain wallet and this wallet is persistent regardless of whether the user can or can not access it. The most important thing to remember is that the private key is supposed to be treated as a top secret. Anybody with access to your public key and private key can easily access your wallet and in layman terms, results in depleted deposits.


Why should you go for a Blockchain Wallet?


Now that we have a fundamental understanding of how a blockchain wallet works, let’s dive deeper to understand why you should go for it. A Blockchain wallet functions similarly to any other piece of software or wallet you use for day-to-day transactions. It’s simply a matter of safeguarding your private key. 



  • It allows for cross-border transactions to be completed instantly. 

  • They are also barrier-free, with no middlemen.

  • Transaction fees are kept to a minimum. 

  • The cost of transferring funds is significantly lower than it is with traditional banks.

  • It allows for the exchange of multiple cryptocurrencies. 

  • It also enables you to perform basic currency conversions.


Another thing to take a mental note of is that your wallet is a gateway to your assets. It doesn’t contain your assets. In case you lose your private key, you will lose access to your wallet and by extension to all your assets.


Types of Blockchain Wallet


Inherently, blockchain wallets can be classified into two types: hot wallets and cold wallets. Hot wallets are like normal wallets that we carry for day-to-day transactions, and these wallets are user-friendly. Whereas, Cold wallets are similar to a vault; they store cryptocurrencies with a high level of security.


Hot wallets are the most commonly used blockchain wallets simply due to the virtue of being easy to set up and easy to go. They are dynamic in nature and are meant for your everyday cryptocurrency users who regularly deal in crypto. Hot wallets are connected to the internet and are conveniently accessible through web and mobile interfaces. As such, the private keys are stored over the cloud for swift access. The only chink in their armor is that of security. Storing large amounts of digital assets in a hot wallet is not recommended as it is left vulnerable to potential cyber security breaches. There are a plethora of hot wallets available in the market, each providing the baseline service along with their additional quirks. 


A user must understand the terms properly before selecting a wallet suitable for their needs. Examples of hot wallets are Coinbase and Binance.


A cold wallet is an offline digital wallet that is homologous to vault storage. In this methodology, the transactions are signed offline and it needs to connect to the internet to disclose them. High security and reliability are the perks of maintaining the wallet offline. Some popular categories of cold wallets are hardware wallets and paper wallets. The essence of security provided by cold wallets lies simply in the fact that they are inaccessible over the internet due to their physical nature. Their only flaw is that due to the cumbersome transfer process, this type of wallet is not suitable for daily crypto exchanges. Some examples of cold wallets are Trezor and Ledger.


Hot vs Cold Wallet


Hot and cold wallets form the yin and yang of the blockchain wallets. Both of them have their unique features but they simultaneously represent the best practices available to us. 



  • Hot wallets are dynamic in nature whereas cold wallets are static. 

  • Hot wallets are suitable for regular and daily trade but cold wallets function more as a safe vault. 

  • Due to high availability, hot wallets are at greater security risk than cold wallets which are simply isolated to external connections for a majority of the time.


The user has the liberty to choose between either of the wallets. A simple question that can help one to select the right wallet is, “What is my purpose in getting a blockchain wallet?”. For everyday trading, the user would find a hot wallet more convenient and a cold one for scenarios that favor security and low-frequency trading.


Custodial vs Non-custodial wallets


Once one enters the realm of crypto trading, they have to decide on which type of wallet they need, i.e. either custodial or non-custodial. In the case of a non-custodial wallet, the users are the overseer of their private keys. They are in charge of managing their private keys and by extension, their cryptocurrency portfolio. There are no third parties involved and they need to take precautions towards protecting their own keys and funds. 


A custodial wallet, on the other hand, requires a trusted third party who will manage your private key. Most of the web-based crypto wallets are custodial wallets and your first crypto purchase will likely end up in a custodial exchange crypto wallet. It is imperative to have a trusted and reputable custodial wallet where the majority of customer funds are stored with high security in cold storage hardware wallets. While a custodial wallet may be considered less secure, at the same time it waives the customer’s share of responsibility in managing the key and funds. Not only that, the exchange may provide sufficient support in case you lose your password. Contrary to this, for non-custodial wallets, losing your password or the private key might have a catastrophic effect. 


Software Wallets (Hot)


Software wallets are generally web, mobile applications, or desktop software, downloadable on a device that can be accessed through the internet. Software wallets are inherently hot in nature, i.e. they are dynamic, can be used anytime, and are always connected to the internet. Some of the popular software wallets are Exodus, Jaxx, Copay, etc. Software wallets can be further categorized into 3 types:



  • Mobile Wallet: Mobile wallets come in the form of smartphone applications that are easily installed and easy to use. These wallets are geared towards accessibility. Since accessing and using a mobile device is more convenient, these wallets are gaining widespread popularity. One major drawback is that mobile devices are usually more vulnerable to malware, viruses or simply getting lost. This could prove very detrimental in many cases, hence additional caution is required. Example – Mycelium.



  • Desktop Wallet: Desktop wallets are software that stores cryptocurrency metadata on a personal computer. It is only accessible to the owner of the PC and private keys are stored on the desktop only. Desktops are usually protected by a denser layer of security which makes them a secure device option to use as a wallet, at the cost of reduced mobility. Having a decent firewall, antivirus, and antimalware are some of the crucial requisites which must be met. Example – Electrum.



  • Online/Cloud Wallet: These are the hot wallets that run on the internet and are accessible from a wide range of devices, including mobile, desktop, tablets, etc. Your private keys are stored over the cloud and are managed by a third party. This facilitates password recovery in case it is lost. The security of the wallet is managed by a trusted third party and hence it is one of the most popular choices. Example – GreenAddress.


Hardware Wallet (Cold)


A hardware wallet is a type of cold wallet that employs an independent and encrypted hardware device, like a USB thumb drive, hard disk, etc… to store the user’s private key. The most important aspect of Hardware wallets lies in their plug-and-play utility. These devices can be attached to any desktop and in some mobile devices to access the wallet and perform the desired transaction. Due to the isolated nature of the hardware, the probability of the wallet being corrupted by malware is greatly diminished. One must practice caution against buying a second-hand hardware wallet. Some of the popular hardware wallets are Trezor and Keepkey.


Paper Wallet (Cold)


The only data which cannot be hacked by cyber means is the data that doesn’t exist digitally. This could be considered as the key philosophy behind a paper wallet. A paper wallet is an offline process of printing the public and private key on paper and removing any digital traces of the same. In this way, there is only a printed copy of keys left which can be used to access the wallet by either directly entering the keys or by converting them into a QR code to scan. It is very popular among users who deal with large quantities of cryptocurrency over the long term. The only drawback is that additional precautions need to be placed in preserving the paper. Some of the popular paper wallets are BitCoin paper wallet and MyEtherWallet.


Conclusion


Blockchain wallets provide an expedient and pragmatic way to deal with cryptocurrency. There is an entire pantheon worth of wallet providers, each providing something extra than others. Even after that, the key point remains that every person’s objective to use a blockchain wallet may be different, hence proper study is an essential prerequisite before entering the crypto market. We have covered all the major blockchain wallet types, along with their pros, cons, and how they fare relatively amongst them. A user should consider all these options as an exquisite buffet and derive a tailor-made solution that works in their favor. 


Finally, security is the key to any transaction. However secure a system may be, the user must exercise caution from their end. This is especially applicable for blockchain wallets. 


Come and be a part of the alluring future of Blockchain. 


Happy Trading!


The world has become a global village that offers a variety of opportunities for companies to experiment, execute, explore and grow. In a capitalistic market, it becomes really important for any company or service provider to stay and compete well. For most of us, 2020 has been uncertain, and it reduced the chances for individuals to learn and grow. The business processes saw a major setback in terms of development, collaborations, partnerships, and providers.


Nearshoring is a type of outsourcing that requires businesses to appoint certain processes, such as development and testing, to make them efficient and reduce costs. Companies based closer to the same time zones will share similar working hours and similar cultures. By being geographically nearer, a foreign company or a service provider can offer a reliable and stable connection to the parent company.  


Cost measures have always been really important and with the delegation of major activities to neighboring countries, companies can shift their focus on other business activities and turn the table towards exponential growth.


What is Nearshore Outsourcing


Nearshore Outsourcing is a practice to get the work completed using a set of services provided by the neighboring countries and not the organization’s native country. For example, any North American company would move some of its operations to Mexico or Uruguay for getting access to a wider pool of talent, cultural similarities, skills, and lower salary costs. Factors like lower language barrier, time zone compatibility, and mutual cultural understanding would enhance productivity. And this adds up to the company’s profile and offers amazing new opportunities.


The Rising Trend in the Global Market



Outsourcing follows the logic and economic principles of Adam Smith who changed the horizons by studying the divisions around labor. When we chunk a set of complex tasks into specific skills and assign them to individual workers, they specialize in that particular area and become more productive. Adam Smith with his productivity and economic theories turned out to become ‘The Father of Capitalism’.


The recent global pandemic forced several people to build their companies in-house and realize the importance of outsourcing, specifically nearshore outsourcing. The future of work is digital and the bots are automating most of our daily tasks. Social Media management would grow leaps and bounds, and according to a report generated by Forrester, it would experience a hike of at least forty percent. The current global situation demands the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) partners and IT partners to possess hybrid capabilities. 


“What organizations are looking for now is a flexible partner,” said Barbara Hodge, principal analyst and global digital editor at Shared Services and Outsourcing Network (SSON), a professional network. “Critically, that means the ability to move seamlessly from traditional office environments to work-from-home (WFH).”


There would be some key points that nearshore clients and providers would look after which would add up to the future trends and charts. Let’s have a quick look into them:-



  • Company’s Culture and Diversity


Culture defines the ambiance that any company would carry. The more cross-culture/similar-culture diversion exists, the more openness it generates. Nearshore clients should actively engage with the outsourced teams to build an interactive cross-funcional objective towards a shared mission. It paves the path for the creation of better communities and safer workspaces that cherish both, the culture and work together. 



  • Regular Benchmarking


Cost-reduction strategies and price benchmarking should be the primary goal for nearshore clients in the upcoming years. Everyone is shifting towards automation and artificial intelligence nowadays. All the BPO and IT services have shifted to automation mostly. Machine Learning and Data science have made the market more cost-effective and super reliable. Regular benchmarking provides a platform for nearshore outsourcers to explain their value to clients and build significant relationships.



  • Distributed Computing and Secured Solutions


Freedom from the location is the ultimate goal for the nearshore providers, and they have started investing in cloud technologies to achieve that. The exponential trend would be a decentralized framework with multi-cloud technologies. Nearshore providers are looking for a decentralized data model, instead of central data providers, that are moving towards a less network congested area, with a potential towards apt data clients. 


Enhanced cybersecurity in the nearshore would help in data security and business management at an outreaching scale as well. These technical advancements and approaches would help the nearshore outsourcers to achieve the maximum nearshoring benefits and profits.


Nearshoring Services



Software outsourcing has proven to improve quality and increase focus and reduce costs within the company. Most successful companies in the world used the principle of outsourcing to excel, whether that be a data service or web development. The top companies that are competing extremely well are doing so simply because of nearshoring.


Let’s look at some examples:-



  • Google


The ubiquitous search engine earned a revenue of $26 Billion from 2016 to 2018, however, most people don’t realize that the foundation of their outrageous profit margin is outsourcing. In 2014 the company was outsourcing most of its nonessential IT functions to various countries. Google used a strategy to utilize resources from abroad via the method of outsourcing. This helped Google to achieve maximum developers output in its team and attain the highest potential of itself as a company. 



  • Github


Millions of users use Github as a collaborative tool to share codes and build products. Microsoft acquired Github for $7.5 Billion in stock because they used the maximum benefits of outsourcing to create their network. They conducted this IT outsourcing to achieve the highest talented potential. They filled their company’s skill gaps by hiring experienced professionals who built their entire backbone.



  • Whatsapp


Whatsapp relied heavily on outsourcing software for its core development. The office maintenance was done in the United States but the complete app development was outsourced. They hired a whole team for iOS development via outsourcing to enhance the existing skillset. iOS app development helped the app cross milestones and it contributed to the company’s success as a whole. 



  • Slack


It is a popular communication app used by maximum workspaces when a task like app-designing is outsourced. By nearshore software outsourcing their logo creation and marketing design, the company streamlined its imperial product.  Slack was able to establish a brand because of outsourcing of the app and web design. It helped them raise a $250 million round of investment with a valuation of $5 billion. 


There are several examples like Opera, Alibaba, Skype, and many more who used the power of nearshore software outsourcing to upscale their company. They realized the execution of the principle which added a crest to their company valuation in the long run and helped them become a gigantic name in the industry.


Difference between Nearshore, Offshore, and Onshore


Nearshoring


Nearshoring simply means outsourcing business processes to nearby nations. Business development needs smart solutions and nearshoring helps them to create a better pool of services using global talent. In contrast to offshore development, crucial nearshoring benefits are – seamless communication, better deals, and fewer cultural differences.


For example, USA-based companies would prefer nearshoring with Latin American countries such as Uruguay, Costa Rica, and Colombia. It is less expensive and provides effective working relationships. You can visit your team from time to time to those places and ensure whether the process is being taken care of in an organized manner or not. 


Offshoring


The operational activities are transferred to another country via offshoring. It has two types: 



  • Nearshoring (in the nearby countries) and

  • Farshoring (to distant countries)


Reducing personnel costs is the primary goal of offshoring. Technical barriers such as poor internet connection present a major challenge in these types of situations. It is vital to note that the contractors’ location is a major difference between nearshoring and offshoring.


Offshore software development yields successful businesses over time since it is located on another side of the globe, which is cheaper. Companies can hire an expert team at lower costs and access a global pool of talent. The right offshore company can assure you a wider range of services and deliverables provided under stricter deadlines. 


Onshoring


Onshoring is the process used to relocate any business to a new place inside its nations’ borders. It results in the quickest possible services and improves agility and cost structure within the organization. Product management becomes a flexible process, from manufacturing to supplying.  For instance, a company located in California will onshore to New Jersey. Here, the states are different but the country is the same. Communication, language, timezones would fall in one place, however, if you plan to reduce the development budget, then this won’t help.


Nearshoring Benefits




  • Easy traveling due to close distance


The close proximity of the country makes it more feasible for the teams to meet, which helps in building business relations, improving coordination, and creating social bonds. Also, these kinds of collaborations help businesses to build good relationships with neighboring countries and governments.



  • Cultural Similarities 


The cultural similarity is the key to nearshore development and partnerships. Because having almost the same lifestyle and spoken language enhances the belongingness within business teams. Instead of having teams with various cultural beliefs and language barriers, companies can opt for nearshoring to similar countries to theirs. In addition to that, this also creates a sense of trust between both the parties in their partnership.



  • Reduced Operational Cost 


Nearshoring reduces operational costs as we hire resources at low charges but with the same skillset and work efficiency. This eventually leads to maximization of the profitability of the business instead of having business with a country that is far away from your current location. To some countries, the traveling cost is high as the distance is larger, but in the nearshoring, the distance is less, which leads to lower cost of traveling, considering we’re paying lower wages for the same work, which leads to maximization of profit.



  • Time Zone compatibility 


Having close proximity with the neighboring country makes it easier because of lesser or no difference in time zones. In the case of offshoring, the time difference makes the work less efficient and creates a difference of almost 12-24 hours. However, with the neighboring country, it is easier to communicate and work accordingly because of similar working hours.



  • Improved Code Quality 


Nearshoring helps in improving code quality as you are hiring a professional and high-quality development team with comparatively less price, which is very hard to find in your native place, due to the developed economy. 



  • Saves Time and Energy 


When you hire a nearshore development team, they start working within days, sometimes hours, which helps you to save your time, money, and energy instead of recruiting candidates natively. In Nearshore development, teamwork with professionals is smooth and it gives better quality results because they were hired for that specific task. This helps in scaling up the product quality and improving the overall productivity of the team.



  • Compensation of staff shortage


Whenever any company faces a staff shortage, Nearshore development teams are the best option available to fill the requirement. It takes lesser time, lower cost, and more proficient work delivery to the clients. This leads to the upliftment of the company and helps in the shorter run to grow fast.



  • Improving company efficiency


Nearshoring helps in improving efficiency and saving time for in-house employees and helps them deliver the projects faster. An outsourced team can take care of the mundane tasks while the core team can focus on the bigger picture and improving product quality. This enhances the efficiency of the company because the outsourcing team plays a vital role in software development which helps in distributing the large projects.



  • Access to global talent


Nearshoring means access to global talent and skills. When you hire a nearshore development team, you get to know their previous work and achievements. Connecting with them creates a bond that helps you to grow your network worldwide. Directly or indirectly, it helps you and your company to see things differently and find new and creative solutions to your problems.


Conclusion



Management and consistency are the keys to nearshore software outsourcing. A poorly managed outsourced resource would not be beneficial to the company, instead, it would add towards a higher risk of job loss within the organization. The organizational trust would be at risk if the employees feel that their jobs are threatened because of outsourcing.


Transparency should be kept intact while outsourcing – whether it be nearshore or offshore. 


Nearshore outsourcing can offer at least 30% of growth to markets by the end of 2022. It has broken European charts with a fine curve and reaching substantially larger audiences. The Nearshore development service market has enhanced standards in terms of quality and quantity. Companies can now involve themselves in innovations and build across strategic partners and teams.


Smart contract; digital contract

SUSCRIBO-Contratos Digitales y ZirconTech anuncian alianza estratégica para trabajar en el desarrollo de soluciones de contratos inteligentes en Latinoamérica.

SUSCRIBO-Contratos Digitales es una compañía formada en el año 2019 por inversores de diferentes países de Latinoamérica con el objetivo de prestar servicios de digitalización de contratos, firma electrónica y automatización de flujos de negocio utilizando tecnología de smart contracts basados en blockchain.

En marzo de 2020 SUSCRIBO emprendió la búsqueda de un proveedor y socio de tecnología orientado a la especialización en contratos inteligentes para actuar como representante y distribuidor de servicios en la región latinoamericana (LATAM). Durante este proceso de búsqueda, SUSCRIBO optó por ZirconTech como aliado de trabajo en todo lo referente a identificar, evaluar, seleccionar y poner en marcha un servicio de Software as a Service (SaaS) de contratos inteligentes para personas jurídicas y naturales, de naturaleza pública y privada.

ZirconTech es una compañía que ofrece servicios de tecnologías de la información, conformada mayormente por un equipo de profesionales latinoamericanos con más de dos décadas de experiencia en desarrollo de sistemas, soporte e implementación de tecnología; ZirconTech es especialista en blockchain, internet de las cosas, computación en la nube, aplicaciones web y móviles, big data e inteligencia artificial.

Toño Rumbea y Martin Machin, representantes de SUSCRIBO y ZirconTech coincidieron en expresar que “Tras la pandemia de COVID-19, es probable que solo sobrevivan las instituciones que logren digitalizar y automatizar lo antes posible sus procesos y sus archivos contractuales de papel, incorporando la gestión de obligaciones contractuales con otros sistemas empresariales de firma digital, gestión, facturación, cobros y analítica”.

A partir de esta alianza estratégica, los integrantes de SUSCRIBO y ZirconTech llevan a cabo acciones de investigación, ensayo y desarrollo. Actualmente, los especialistas han unido de manera exitosa flujos contractuales inteligentes con CRMs y ERPs de clientes; a la vez que ejecutan proyectos de integración con APIS bancarias transaccionales, con bases de datos tipo buró de crédito e índice de precios, y finalmente actividades con sistemas de firma y certificado electrónico según jurisdicciones. Ambas compañías trabajan también en la estructuración de un componente de soporte técnico en back office para clientes en América Latina.

Más información sobre nosotros en www.zircon.tech

Más información sobre SUSCRIBO-Contratos Digitales en www.suscribo.com

Strategic IT cost optimization. Couple working on cost optimization.

When CIOs face cost optimization on IT companies they need to make a healthy balance between common IT spend, and investments in business innovation. The best strategies are those that pursue innovation while reducing unnecessary costs. According to Cognizant, Strategic IT Cost Optimization techniques are the right path to follow when CIOs want to prepare their organizations to grow. Always looking for the right balance between reducing IT spend on one hand, and increasing investments in innovation and IT improvement initiatives on the other. 

Strategic IT cost optimization process

IT cost optimization cannot be a one-time initiative, They should rather be a continuous process and a guiding principle for managing IT most efficiently. Although organizations can achieve an effective cost savings program, business uncertainty will continue to impact IT organizations. To overcome these situations, a CIO requires a strategic IT cost optimization program to:

  • Generate process efficiencies.
  • Improve the quality of service.
  • Build a stronger value chain.
  • Improve skill management.
  • Increase customer satisfaction.

Now we will focus on the benefits of a strategic cost optimization program. For this, we will follow a process to adapt IT cost optimization to organization goals. This process can help CIOs prioritize cost optimization initiatives by considering the potential cost savings and other benefits such as:

  • Time requirements.
  • Degree of organizational and technical risk.
  • Impact on customers
  • Investment required.
The Definitive Guide to IT Cost Optimization

IT & Business Alignment

Although this article is directed mainly to IT Companies, the concept of IT & Business alignment is an important goal that is not always easy to achieve. The IT & Business alignment integrates IT to the strategy and goals of the organization. To achieve this alignment organizations need to meet some key characteristics:

  • The organization must value its own IT resources as an instrument to enhance the business.
  • Must hold customer service, both externally and internally, at the highest importance.
  • It’s also important to rotate both IT and not IT business professionals across different departments and job functions. 
  • The organization has to provide clear and specific objectives to both the IT and  not IT business sectors. 
  • The organization needs also to create an inclusive business culture to unify the company as a whole.

IT Investment Optimization is the base stone in which lays IT & Business alignment. The following are the most important key point to achieve IT Investment Optimization:

  • Avoid declining IT budgets. 
  • Define new IT investment optimization goals
  • Identify investment opportunities.
  • Prioritize investment portfolio.
  • Develops ongoing governance.

Opportunity Identification

To identify IT cost optimization opportunities, a company should make an IT cost assessment. This practice can help find solutions to the business challenges identified through the merger or acquisition. It can also help generate increased utilization of IT resources and assets.

Alternate sourcing 

This can be an excellent practice when a company looks for a way to optimize IT costs. Every company needs to think about how many people it requires at its offices and how many it can have as outsourced. When thinking about the best outsourcing method, Offshoring can help to optimize cost by relocating activities into another country.

Nevertheless, Nearshoring might be the best option for IT companies that demand the best-qualified employees abroad, and that are linguistically and technically focused. Nearshoring allows IT companies to improve business efficiency but reduce the barriers of traditional offshoring because they outsource their processes to nearby countries. 

Get the ultimate offshore software development guide for CEOs. Download my ebook.

Cutting costs by renegotiating

IT companies can also seek out ways to save money through renegotiation with their vendors. And it can be a very productive practice because many vendors are in the position to negotiate. But it may be not an easy task, so it’s better to follow some important steps to renegotiating with vendors:

  • Consider the market data to support what is requested.
  • Don’t forget that you are trying to rebuild a pre-existing relationship. 
  • Take care of its long-term viability as well as achieving a reduction in costs.
  • Transmit to the vendor that your better financial health will probably translate into higher future orders.
  • Exchange a more favorable rate for a longer contract term.
  • Also, find out how you can help your vendor for saving money.

Standardization 

According to Gartner, rationalizing and standardizing enterprise applications is one of the best techniques to help CIOs turn to strategic IT cost optimization. It can reduce the application portfolio that always represents a large part of an IT budget. CIOs who standardize and rationalize their application portfolios can reduce and control costs. Savings can range between 15% and 25% of the application budget.

To adopt a standardized infrastructure can help keep in control the cost and enhance working quality. But always take care of how you are investing your organization’s money. It is important to do it with cost optimization in mind, to be sure that you are spending your business capital in the right way. 

Integrating, updating, and modernizing devices and applications were usually the core of every IT-specific cost-cutting in the past. But today new Cloud infrastructure solutions can help reduce complexities and simplify software administration. 

Realization of Benefits

The Realization of Benefits process will let you identify and measure your company’s benefits, enabling your business projects to be implemented with a clear vision of the delivery of outputs. To obtain a proper IT cost optimization you need to apply Realization of Benefits in areas such as software, hosting, networks, end-user computing, and IT overhead management. The following practices can help you with this task:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Infrastructure Rationalization

Gartner recommends that it’s a better plan to first simplify your existing systems, before spending large amounts of money to replace all your existing systems. To achieve this you need to identify existing assets. It’s a good practice to make an inventory of all servers and hardware currently in use and maintain it monthly. Then, you need to identify assets from that inventory list to be rationalized and consolidated. You can get advantages of this knowledge and make Infrastructure rationalization with the following actions:

  • Remove unnecessary assets.
  • Define common processes and tools.
  • Consolidate the number of physical locations where infrastructure is deployed.
  • Adopt virtualization to better utilize infrastructure assets.
  • Rationalize the variety of items in the infrastructure.

You are practicing consolidation when you reduce the number of physical servers, while you are practicing rationalization when you reduce the variety of different server types. Both practices can help you simplify your business IT infrastructure, but rationalization is often overlooked, even when most IT systems have underutilized or inappropriate systems. Consequently, consolidating without rationalizing will only perpetuate unnecessary functions in your infrastructure.

Global Sourcing

Your business can make use of practices such as Global Sourcing to obtain the highest levels of efficiency possible in goods and services from the global market. Many foreign suppliers offer their services at a competitive price, especially in low-cost regions. The main goal of this kind of practice is to improve service costs while maintaining the exacting quality standards required. But don’t forget that Nearshoring might be the best option for IT companies to obtain the best-qualified workers abroad. 

Application Portfolio Rationalization

Another good practice in the search for Realization of Benefits is the Application Portfolio Rationalization according to Apptio. It is the process of cataloging and eliminating duplicate software applications used across an organization. This rationalization practice can help you to improve efficiency by simplifying portfolio complexity. It can also help you to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) for your business application portfolio. 

When your business application portfolio is aligned to business outcomes, it is when Application rationalization initiatives tend to be more successful. You need to identify a defensible and repeatable process to get the best benefit from your Application Portfolio Rationalization. 

To execute the best plan of action, focus one by one on every activity to maximize success. You can create an application catalog, assign costs, create a point system to assign a score to each application. Last but not least, maintain this as a continuous process to sustain momentum.

About ZirconTech:
A trusted partner that helps organizations thrive in their digital transformations. Mobility, Internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and blockchain technologies.

IT Cost optimization every CEO should do

There are certain practices that every CEO inside IT companies should have in mind when it comes time to deal with IT costs. In this article, I want to talk about 7 key points related to the best practices for IT cost optimization every CEO should follow.   

The 7 key points of IT Cost Optimization:  

  1. IT cost optimization is a continuous discipline
  2. The role of CIO
  3. Improve price and terms with your suppliers
  4. Consolidate shared services
  5. Achieve a standardized infrastructure
  6. Improve data management
  7. IT cost optimization budgeting best practices

  Let’s go now to the topics.     

IT cost optimization is a continuous discipline

There are common questions about cost optimization in IT like: How important is it? Is it the same as resource optimization? Is it just a budget exercise to meet numbers? Like any other problems in the field of cost optimization, we can face it from different angles. According to Gartner cost optimization is a business-focused continuous discipline to drive spending and cost reduction while maximizing business value.   

This includes:  

  • Obtaining the best pricing and terms for all business and IT purchases.
  • Standardizing, simplifying, and rationalizing platforms, applications, processes, and services.
  • Automating and digitizing IT and business operations.

The role of CIO

The role of the CIOs (Chief Information Officer) has changed tremendously in the last 10 years. In the past, they were in charge of bringing technological innovation to the company. But today, they have lost that prominence, and it seems that their main role is just to do the systems work and make operational IT spending as cheap as possible.    Now, more functional areas like CMO, CFO, or logistics are running projects of eCommerce or business intelligence within most IT companies. In these difficult times of COVID-19, It could be a good idea to remind them what the CIOs have to do.    They have to return to manage new projects in the functional areas. And for it, CIOs need to count on strategic partners with the best capabilities, at a reasonable cost, in the most convenient time zone.    

Improve price and terms with your suppliers

IT companies are frequently focused only on getting the best price for requested purchases. But they need also to keep an eye on some key items to improve the cost optimization:  

Key Items:   

  • Implementation support
  • On-site representation
  • Marketing cooperation
  • Training credits
  • Classes on-site
  • Less tangible benefits and compensation
  • Terms help optimize costs too

 This kind of practice makes that every dollar spent worth more for the organization. You need also to be careful with your vendor’s conditions. Try to always avoid this kind of practices:  

  • Being lock-in through contracts with high exit costs
  • Extremely long terms contracts
  • Incur in contract violations by working with a competitor 

These are important points that could limit your company’s ability to try new alternatives, move to new technologies, and achieve important innovations.  On the other hand, you need to implement good practices as a CEO to achieve the best results on cost optimization.

It will always be profitable to:  

  • Establish win-win relationships with suppliers
  • Improve speed and accuracy
  • Minimize the risk of new implementations

Consolidate shared services

It will be better for people in charge of the administration of Storage, System, and Network, to work under the same team. This way your organization will minimize rework, reduce duplication of efforts, and achieve consistency in operations.   Try to avoid pair application and production support services exclusively with the product groups they support. Because this can limit those resources from adding more value to the organization as a whole. Although these groups are part of the IT staff, their priorities have to be defined to the whole business benefit.   While still being part of their original business groups, the IT staff can provide knowledge, information, and the flow of ideas when they are engaged with other organization’s groups. This kind of practice can also improve the better balance and sharing of the business workloads.    

The Definitive Guide to IT Cost Optimization

 

Achieve a standardized infrastructure

To adopt a standardized infrastructure can help keep in control the cost and enhance working quality. Cloud infrastructure helps workers to check through the data and work in a much faster way. Cloud infrastructure can also save time, speed up the work, and help lower the cost of different processes and systems.    But it doesn’t mean that you can invest your organization’s money without any judgments. It is essential to do it with cost optimization in mind, to be sure that you are spending your business capital in the right way. Always be secure that you are getting the best return out of it.    Integrating, updating, and modernizing devices and applications were usually the core of every IT-specific cost-cutting in the past. But today new Cloud infrastructure solutions can help reduce complexities and simplify software administration.   If you are in the point of upgrading to a Cloud environment, the next point can be very useful for you:  

  • Adopting a hybrid, multi-cloud architecture is a superb idea to speed up processes.
  • The process of your organization will be very much agile and convergent within a cloud infrastructure.
  • To centralize control and administration it is better to unify diverse systems.
  • Implementing a Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) can reduce the number of resources required to maintain all the elements of conventional “hardware-defined” systems by virtualizing them.
  • Although investing in HCI has high initial costs, it can significantly reduce overall data center footprint, maintenance, and support costs. 
  • HCI will add scalability, data efficiency, and faster deployment to your organization’s systems.

Improve data management

Data is undoubtedly a company’s most important asset. Therefore, it should be treated and managed accordingly. In addition to this, a survey by Harvard Business Review showed that cost efficiency is a significant benefit of a data-driven enterprise.   The important point is to give the right data to the right people at the right time. When organizations get strategic about data and analytics, they can introduce a data maturity framework that can save up to 25% of the company’s revenue.   The fact to achieve digitizing most of the repeatable internal processes can permit your organization to chase more business goals, maximize productivity, and improve ROI.   Gartner revealed that it is expected that two-thirds of customer experience projects will make use of IT by 2022, up from 50 percent in 2017. As most support questions are repeated, so these answers can be automated.    Customer support through chatbots, called virtual customer assistants (VCA), is becoming more common every day. Besides that, it is a more effective use of resources. This will make it possible that the support staff gives real attention to the customers with deeper issues.    Gartner’s study reported that organizations reduced up to 70% of call, chat, and email inquiries and a 33% cost-saving per voice engagement after implementing a VCA.      

IT cost optimization budgeting best practices

Budgets are a strategic tool: So it is better to spend to support certain goals and avoid spending in not essential areas.  

Manage your budget like it’s your money: Be responsible for what you want your team to accomplish. It’s a good practice to look at areas that you’ve fallen short in the past and analyze new strategies.   

Be transparent with your team: It is beneficial when your direct-reports know precisely what they can spend on new investing like new software or training. In the end, it will generate a more trusting relationship.  

Difference between cost optimization with cost-cutting: It is usual to confuse cost optimization with cost-cutting or reduction for some business managers, but they are very different concepts. Cost-cutting will aim to reduce the cost of every expense. On the other hand, cost optimization is more about spending the right cost at the right place.   

Regular Review and Monitoring: a regular audit of the entire system can help to understand the cost of the whole operation. It is a good practice to examine the methods used and the values they are adding to the workforce. This will serve to determine whether they are useful or not for the business.   

Nearshoring, Offshoring: You need a regular staff to manage your business offices. But hiring new employees requires a significant amount of investment. It is a good practice to think about how many people you require at your offices and how many you can have as outsourced. Then you have to think about the best outsourcing method.   With Offshoring, for example, the operating activities are relocated to another country. But Nearshoring might be the best option for IT companies that are linguistically and technically focused on highly qualified employees abroad.    With Nearshoring you outsource your business processes to companies in a nearby country. This method allows IT companies to maximize business efficiency but reduce the barriers of traditional offshoring. This way your regular staff will have easy communication with your outsource staff, due to the same spoken language, minor cultural differences, and within the same time zone.         

Final Words

To finalize let say that it is essential to get cost optimization, so you’ll know that you are spending the right amount at the right place, and getting a proper return out of it. Following the practices mentioned above can help make great IT cost optimization.    The global COVID-19 pandemic affected the economy remarkably. As a result, a growing number of businesses are looking into tactics that optimize IT costs. Be aware of the latest IT cost optimization initiatives with this guide: The Definitive Guide to IT Cost Optimization.

About ZirconTech:
A trusted partner that helps organizations thrive in their digital transformations. Mobility, Internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and blockchain technologies.