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In early 2020 Competitive Edge Technology (CET), under the leadership of their Founder John Macy, approached the International Association for Human Resource Information Management (IHRIM) to form a partnership to implement a global workforce database to give ownership of personal data to employees and enable data portability as workers moved from one employee to another. HR technology had limitations due to the way it had evolved with all data associated with the employment event owned and managed by the employer using unsuitable centralized databases and monolithic designed systems. One single system could not scale to house a global database, there was no portability as employees moved around and education and other claims could not be verified once and remain as part of the person’s record.

The IHRIM Board of Directors, under the leadership of Mick Collins, trusted a fellow Board member, Nov Omana who shared the same technology vision as John Macy, to pursue the opportunity. Nov very quickly brought another IHRIM Board member, Dr. Dennis Hill into discussions. Dennis had a great depth of technical experience and understood the need to move HR technology to a decentralized model in order to survive in the digital era and embrace new network infrastructure that included 5g networks, Web 3.0, IoT, Edge Computing, microservices and blockchain as the right technology to deliver a sustainable HR technology platform.

Since 2017 CET had been working on a private/permissioned hyperledger fabric enterprise blockchain solution. The scalable and secure blockchain technology perfectly fitted into the microservices architecture that CET had been advocating for over a decade. By late 2019 CET had completed a proof of concept by building a blockchain and integrating data from a cloud platform to create an employee database in the blockchain environment.

Transitioning currently held HR data to the new blockchain environment was going to be a challenge. Although blockchain technology was evolving rapidly, and new and innovative features were emerging weekly, it soon became apparent that the technology was going to be the easy part to bring about the change needed to come off the centralized database systems. Hacking techniques had matured to the point that fundamental changes needed to be made very quickly: Identity theft and data breaches were a common problem with enormous financial consequences.

Private blockchains require strict governance rules to prevent a global workforce database becoming another Facebook or LinkedIn where anyone can be whoever they want to be without identity confirmation. The HR community were currently owners of employee data and they should be the logical backbone of a governance structure to ensure only genuine companies could be members of the blockchain and only verified genuine employees could be participants in the blockchain.

The formal partnership between CET and IHRIM brought together a proven technology platform with many decades of HR experience and an organization with technical expertise that represented the HR community. The entity that emerged to consolidate the partnership is a consortium branded DeHR.

Membership of the consortium is based on meeting the criteria being developed by committee members and ownership of the underlying blockchain is being reviewed to ensure no one or any single entity owns the blockchain. The infrastructure is owned by services providers and administered by CET. The data is owned by employees. It is a new technology ownership model and designed to ensure the data cannot be “highjacked” by a large technology company and turned into a commercial social media type operation. As the model evolves and trusteeship type models are explored to ensure continuity, CET is acting as a Node proxy to shield HR associations from the need to have technical involvement on day one: And as blockchain interoperability becomes common, CET is administering the gateway to protect the integrity and ownership of the data.

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