During these days characterized by the Coronavirus emergency, many employees are experimenting with smart working. Can the blockchain be useful in this regard?
In reality, not everyone knows that in Italy, for example, the Municipality of Bari had already launched an experiment of this kind last year.
It was a pilot project for the development of a prototype based on blockchain that involved some employees of the municipality who would be allowed to do part of their work in a flexible way.
The project, promoted by Alessandro D’Adamo, Councillor for Budget of the Municipality of Bari, and Giuseppe Ninni, Director of Accounting, was carried out by the IT Fincons Group, with 35 years of experience in the international business consulting market.
It was a solution based on Ethereum and cryptographic techniques to guarantee the integrity, reliability and traceability of the information managed, as well as compliance with privacy regulations (GDPR).
The objective, in addition to allowing for remote work, was also to adapt the performance measurement and evaluation systems so as to be able to verify the impact of these new methods on the quality of services, on the effectiveness and efficiency of administrative action, on how to reconcile the life and work times of employees, on the security of organizational processes and workers, and on data protection.
The pilot phase was announced in March 2019, with the involvement of 5 employees from the General Accounting Department, while the second phase began in July 2019, with another 10 employees from other structures of the organization.
The test ended in September 2019, but the results were not made public.
Regardless of the premises, objectives and intentions, it is difficult to imagine that a technology like blockchain can really bring strategic advantages to smart working platforms, because its real strength, decentralization, is not particularly useful in managing the relationship, which is completely centralized, between companies and employees.
Sure, in the case of Public Administration, in theory, there might be an advantage, namely that of making information about smart working public, but this does not mean that blockchain can really help to manage smart working.
In addition, a totally public and clear record such as that of Ethereum poses major problems concerning privacy, especially for the employee, hence rather than being useful for the process of managing the work remotely, at most it could be useful to publicly certify the integrity of certain information.
In addition to this, developing on decentralized networks is often more difficult, and therefore slower and more expensive, compared to developing on centralized solutions, which means that blockchain may not only fail to bring any significant competitive advantage but may even bring disadvantages due to difficulties, slowness and production costs.
However, the idea of the Municipality of Bari suggests that, with regard to the official information that the Public Administration is required by law to make known and public, the use of a virtually immutable decentralized blockchain, such as that of Ethereum, could be useful, but this has nothing to do directly with the management or promotion of smart working.