Toward absolute integrity

Editorial Type: Interview Date: 2020-01-01 Views: 1,052 Tags: Document, Archival, Blockchain, Awards, Compliance, Software, Joisto PDF Version:
DM Editor David Tyler caught up with Craig Prince of Joisto after their 'Compliance Product of the Year' win at the 2019 DM Awards, to discuss the future of archiving and the growing influence of blockchain

David Tyler: For many of our readers your recent win at the 2019 DM Awards might be the first time they've heard the Joisto Quertum name. Can you tell us a little about the company's history and where it now sits in terms of market positioning?
Craig Prince: Joisto is a long-established business, having been around for 20 years now, and was originally spun out of a large transactional/CCM business in Finland. What was at that time the 'archiving' part of that business had originally been developed for indexing and archiving PDF files - as was common at the time - but over the years it has been developed into a much more sophisticated tool. Joisto can now archive over a thousand different data types - it's no longer even a discussion around documents these days, it's all just data. This could mean a voice recording from a call centre environment, a video in an insurance claims department - it could be anything!

The shift away from a solely document-centric approach really came 10-12 years ago, with the growth in multi-channel/omni-channel communications. As those sophisticated tools were increasingly able to manipulate all kinds of data and output it via all multiple routes including personalised URLs as well as envelopes etc., so the need for a far more flexible approach to file-based archiving became apparent.

At the same time compliance was beginning to have far more influence over archiving and DM solutions, so around ten years ago our solution underwent a total rebuild to reflect those changes in how organisations were working. There was another major rebuild around 4 years ago, again to ensure our product offering is fit for purpose going into the future.

To bring us up to date, we are making one specific and very major announcement to kick off 2020: ours will be literally the first electronic archive for documents/data/files, that is blockchain-enabled. With our blockchain development there is what we describe as a real 'value vs. volume emphasis': when data/document has high value - such as legal, medical, financial - it needs to be irrefutably 'proofed'. Joisto is already known for being 'volume with integrity' but when something needs that 101% irrefutable evidence of its history/footprint then blockchain archive is the solution.

DT: What was the thinking behind the decision to go down the blockchain route?
CP: We could see that blockchain as a way of deciding matters irrefutably - whether in the financial or the legal space - is undoubtedly going to be a huge force for the future. Large banks, new 'challenger' financial institutions, even court cases, these will all be underpinned by blockchain.

In addition, with the implementation of GDPR and other legislative changes, people increasingly demand instant access to - and for that matter destruction of - all sorts of data types, especially again in the finance and legal spheres. For that reason it was clear to us that there was huge benefit in us being able to promote Joisto as 'the world's first blockchain-enabled multi-tenancy electronic archive and retrieval platform'.

We've been planning this development for over a year now, and we're starting to promote it right now to the market: currently we're still in the R&D phase, but we'll be in Beta in the summer, and we will have our first live customers by the end of the year. We are open right now to approaches from potential users and resellers who might be interested in piloting the white label multi-tenant product - especially in the UK or USA. We are focused on developing our market penetration in both countries through 2020 and beyond.

DT: Tell us a little more about how you go to market - is there a typical customer or target market? And will the new blockchain offering change that approach?
CP: As I mentioned, we've kind of grown up in that CCM world for around fifteen years now; we have a 'white label' product so most of our customers are third party users of their customers' data. That means large print companies, large transactional companies and the like. We do have some enterprise customers as well, including some large installations like Vodafone in Eastern Europe who are using Joisto on a daily basis to manage all their customer interaction data. But because Joisto is multi-tenancy - and white label - that means our approach suits the third party providers particularly well.

And going forward Joisto will always be Joisto - so for anyone who wants to securely archive and retrieve their documents etc., Joisto will continue to be a product that develops and grows. The blockchain offering will be in effect an additional layer we can add on to that. For maybe 90% of our current customers, the standard Joisto offering, with GDPR compliance, will be enough for the service they want to offer. At the same time, in the financial and legal sectors, while the data volumes might not be as high, the requirement for absolute integrity around transactional data will be key - when was a document written, who created it, when was it delivered, and so on - those elements will come much more to the forefront of their demands. So our blockchain-enabled offering will become a 'module' on top of Joisto itself, specifically addressing the needs of those users. As I mentioned, we are planning to have Beta testers by the summer, and in our initial discussions with existing customers about the prospect of a blockchain offering, we've been hugely encouraged by the fact that every single one we spoke to has been very keen to be kept informed of progress - that to me suggests that we're going down the right road.
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