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Lenovo Data Center Group thinks blockchain can improve its customer support

Written by Mon 29 Apr 2019

Recent reports claim poor customer service is costing businesses more than $75 billion (£58 billion) a year, so why not throw blockchain at the problem?

Blockchain gets a lot of flack and for good reason. For a lot of overzealous startups, it has proven the perfect marketing tool to sell overcomplicated, cumbersome solutions to enterprise problems.

Which is not to say the blockchain game it’s all chaff and no wheat. Enterprise IT veteran IBM does appear to be forging ahead with serious blockchain applications, despite the technology’s declining public image.

Now Big Blue is helping longtime partner Lenovo Data Center Group to improve customer support with blockchain and cognitive (e.g. AI) technologies. It’s not exactly surprising that Lenovo Data Center Group looking to bring these sorts of innovations in: The group is exercising an aggressive innovation and go-to-market strategy and Lenovo has previously filed blockchain patents. But can blockchain really help its customer support staff?

Dissecting the press release it appears the majority of aid will come from the cognitive side of things, with a little bit of blockchain thrown in:

A virtual assistant will use natural language processing to personalise conversations and reorder relevant information to assist in speedy retrieval, and a client insight portal will use analytics to help customer care staff visualise problem areas and automate root cause logic.

As for blockchain, it appears to be another classic supply chain piece. IBM says it will be used to “help create a more secure and transparent environment to process and monitor the purchase and distribution of critical hardware and software equipment.”

Such a solution requires implementing new blockchain systems throughout Lenovo’s data centre supply chain. Staff will also have to be retrained in more efficient and accurate data entry, as blockchain networks are susceptible to being clogged with too much data and inaccuracies create problems for subsequent chains.

After all this effort, could a blockchain network actually provide Lenovo’s customer support staff with substantially more insight into the whereabouts of its data centre equipment compared to its present system? I’m not sure. Similarly, it’s not obvious why you need blockchain (rather than say 2FA) to improve the security of an internal system used to track products.

Notwithstanding these question marks, given IBM’s blockchain pedigree, we’ll give them and Lenovo the benefit of the doubt that there’s something to be gained from facelifting Lenovo’s data centre equipment tracker.

Written by Mon 29 Apr 2019

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data center IBM Lenovo
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