The main goal of NorthChain is to solve the problems related to controlling business processes by using blockchain technology. Blockchains have a huge potential to allow companies to come to grips with complex and changing business processes. Blockchain technology is extremely disruptive. This technology not only forces you to rethink the ways you deal with data and processes, but also to analyze your current organization: are my business processes structured in the best possible way?
Many organizations experience difficulties with employees and clients failing to adhere to the defined business processes. Typically, there is no way to force users to adhere to a business process and that poses risk to the organization. Often, this leads to non-conclusive administration with regards to compliance issues.
NorthChain aims to improve the efficiency of organizations by analyzing their business processes and determining where best to employ automation. We employ state-of-the-art methods and technologies to reach our goals. We have developed our own, unique, innovative languages, methods, and tools. Our OLE language can structure and handle many of the problems dealing with compliance and risk, on a high level of conceptualization, allowing for validation at the actual level of the business content. OLE (standing for Objects, Logic, and English) is a structured natural language, in which one can describe business processes along with associated data, in an extremely precise and complete manner, such that a domain expert without IT-knowledge can validate a blockchain-driven business process. Once an OLE-specification is validated, our OLE-compiler will generate the associated blockchain solution.
Learn more about why we chose blockchain as our technology of choice and what benefits it can offer your company.
Ultimately, we are a tech company, but we are also a company that adheres to strict principles of business management. Our first concern is to get the content of the business process correctly validated, before we move to implementation in terms of technology - also in the case of blockchain technology. Blockchain technology, like any technology, is mostly agnostic when it comes to the actual content to be placed on it. If you wish to implement a wrong or undesirable business process using a blockchain, then the blockchain will simply serve you like a slave. It’s the old garbage-in/garbage-out discussion. How can we make sure that we do not get the wrong content on the blockchain?
In the first place, we make a model of your business process. In this model we will describe explicitly what the goal of the process is, along with all associated stakeholders and critical success factors. This model will then be subjected to a cyclic process of validation, ending when all stakeholders have given their approval. After achieving this approval, we start moving towards implementation in terms of blockchain technology. This is our way of arriving at error-free blockchain solutions: validated business process models are passed on to our OLE intermediate conceptual language, to be compiled to blockchain code.
A blockchain is a database of transactions, replicated over all participating parties in a business process. Each process step in a business process is a transaction, which, once it is found to be correct, is placed as a block on the blockchain. This way you can start directing a business process by executing so-called smart contracts: a smart contract first checks whether all the conditions of a process step are satisfied (the so-called pre-conditions), and should that be the case, the contract is automatically executed. In this manner, the business process is executed in exactly the same way as the initial business process model dictates. All parties within the business process are now forced to only work as agreed upon from the outset. These agreements are recorded in a business process model, which dictates the order in which a process is executed and under which conditions: this is how you can realize control and grip on your business process.
Blockchain databases are completely transparent, non-mutable, safe, and the history of all transactions is fully traceable.
NorthChain builds private blockchains, meaning blockchains that are meant for a closed group of users forming a consortium with its own business process.
Writing correct blockchain code is difficult. The big problem is that blockchain code is written by programmers, who usually get an assignment from a domain expert with little or no IT knowledge, for example a lawyer or an accountant. Once the programmer has finished writing the blockchain code the domain expert (who gave the assignment) cannot validate whether the resulting blockchain program is correct, simply because the domain expert cannot read blockchain code. In short, this represents a huge potential for getting incorrect smart contracts on the blockchain. Let’s face it, programmers are not lawyers, and lawyers are not programmers.
NorthChain has developed a language called OLE to overcome this problem. OLE (Objects, Logic, and English) lets domain experts with little or no IT-knowledge read and write blockchain specifications as if they were written in plain English. OLE lets you read and write blockchain specifications on a high level of conceptualization, enabling domain experts with little IT-knowledge to validate the correctness of those specifications. Such high-level specifications in terms of a language like OLE, are called semantic blockchains.
Our OLE compiler takes a semantic blockchain written in OLE as input, and then generates blockchain code as output (code that otherwise would have to be written by hand). NorthChain researchers have devoted many years of hard work to develop the OLE language and the OLE compiler. By employing a special mix of mathematics, formal language theory, databases and business science, NorthChain has developed the OLE-language and tooling. OLE is unique in the world and offers parties the possibility to build blockchains in a fraction of the time normally encountered in practice.
We build blockchains. We always start by trying to grasp the existing business process within an organization. This is done using business process models. Together with the client, we map out the business process, to investigate which parts of the process cause concern for the organization, and how we can overcome those concerns and optimize the process. The resulting process model serves as the basis for writing blockchain specifications in the OLE-language. After validation, these specifications are passed on to our compiler technology to generate a working, and error-free, blockchain. NorthChain clients get three things: a validated business process model of their own organization, a working and error-free blockchain, and a maintenance contract with NorthChain, handling future changes to the business process (for example, due to changes in rules and regulations) by generating an adjusted blockchain solution.