Artificial Intelligence. Artificial Intelligence has been a popular buzzword but has also proven its use to enhance customer engagement and allow businesses to deliver on customers’ growing expectations. The technology itself has been used in conjunction with many different technologies for predicting and resolving issues faster than ever before and pinpointing opportunities for new growth opportunities, including new product innovations and marketing solutions. Within the ARCKADL platform, we leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help understand networks and, at times, make decisions to ensure network data is used to the best extent possible without interrupting the experience of the user.
As part of our series about “How To Use Digital Transformation To Take Your Company To The Next Level”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ronen Cojocaru.
With over twenty years of experience in leadership roles in medium to large enterprises, Ronen has built variant sales teams and regional presence covering Asia-Pacific, Japan and China from his home base in Hong Kong. Recently Ronen relocated to USA Sunnyvale to continue developing the ARCKADL solution and overseeing cloud integration with large enterprises, service providers and key Blockchain, partners. He will continue working to bring the Cloud-based Blockchain Sessions Controller™ into the mainstream of key Financial, IoT and Service Providers solutions.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I established ARCKADL back in early 2020 after working for Aerohive Network, which was later acquired by Extreme Networks. At Aerohive Network, I was the APAC VP of Sales with the task of overseeing the entire ASIA market. After the need for a blockchain solution that allowed different networks to talk to each other in a simple cloud solution arose, the ideal of the ARCKADL platform and the Blockchain Session Controller™ was born. In today’s world, blockchain is gaining tremendous momentum, and digital transformation serves a considerable part of it. Many service providers and large enterprises are adopting the technology for the variant solution to support networking, finance, cryptocurrency, supply chains, manufacturing as just a few of the use cases.
ARCKADL began in Hong Kong in early 2020 and was later moved to the USA in July 2020, where it is now headquartered. The problem we are solving is that each Blockchain network works in a silo. It is super complicated to communicate with other Blockchain networks/protocols without heavy coding and massive integration between the variant networks. We started as the result of a specific request to solve this issue, which has now turned into a developed ARCKADL solution, currently making its way into the market and en route for widespread adoption. We already have a few mega large vendors using our solution while focusing on improvements and updates on the go for the massive market adaptation.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
Like many startups, mistakes will be inevitable. At first, making mistakes might seem unnatural since you are trying to do everything right for your business. It is important for entrepreneurs to remember that these mistakes are okay and important since they will help you and your business improve and continue to make better decisions for the next time.
I’m not too sure if it was funny, but a mistake, but when ARCKADL first started our hiring process, we found we were overwhelmed with the amount of CV’s we received. Due to the COVID19 pandemic, all the interviews we conducted were online. Naturally, we had a call with one candidate when I just so happened to have a CV of an entirely different candidate in front of me. It took me nearly 15 minutes to realize the guy in front of me was not the guy I was reading a cover letter for. I can only imagine how confused he was as I asked specifically about his previous job experiences, which he obviously didn’t have.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Indeed, you need lots of help when establishing a new company. I call it the “circle of love.” Luckily I have lots of friends in the industry that I have met over the years. I cannot pinpoint one person in particular since I feel as though that would be unfair to the contributions made by all the others to help our team get where we are today. The bottom line is, yes, you do need to have connections, which can be done by making yourself available to help others in your network, oftentimes doing so without asking, “what’s in it for me.” It is the genuine interest in others, their startups and their companies that can open doors to connections that will, in turn, provide you with help and support when you need it.
I truly believe there are many smart people in the world, and many of them are willing to help. I have had the honour of knowing many of these kind-hearted individuals that have since become some of my closest friends.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I grew up in Israel, moved to HK back in 2005 and 2021, relocated to the United States. During the years, I have read many books, mostly on global leaders, presidents, companies etc. One that I found particularly interesting and I strongly recommend for everyone to read is “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Harari. This book goes into detail about the history of the human species and why we are the way we are. Not only is this an interesting read, but it raises many questions about the world as we know it.
For me, one major takeaway from the book was that humans are a dominant species today for their ability to create myths and tell stories. Doing so helps us form connections with people outside our core group and build trust, a vital part of any entrepreneur’s journey. While we were once limited by a law of nature that suggested groups larger than 150 made it difficult for the human species to form these connections, sharing compelling stories has helped business leaders enlarge their network and find like-minded team members with similar motives. In my own experience, I found that taking the time to get to know those outside my core circle and sharing stories, whether business-related or not, helped me to build the valuable connections that are valuable to any entrepreneur. Many of these individuals ended up being of great help to ARCKADL’s success.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your company started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?
When ARCKADL first started in 2020, our vision was “to make blockchain technology available to all businesses in the pursuit of sustainable data management. To do so, our purpose was to provide the backend infrastructure in a packaged solution, so enterprises didn’t need to invest the capital in learning and to create a model from the ground up. Instead, enterprises and service providers could use the ARCKADL platform in a similar way to many of the other cloud services businesses today, such as a website hosting service. Now businesses can implement a blockchain system in their own business, spending more time focusing on the change management and cultural implications rather than the technology itself.
Are you working on any new, exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?
We are currently continuing to refine the Blockchain Session Controller, which we believe will reduce the amount of capital that enterprises need to deploy a blockchain of their own. By doing so, we believed we could empower businesses to leverage data with greater security, which has become of increasing concern in a data-driven world.
Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion about Digital Transformation. For the benefit of our readers, can you help explain what exactly Digital Transformation means? On a practical level what does it look like to engage in a Digital Transformation?
I would describe digital transformation as the process of using new digital technologies to modify previous business processes to adapt to the changing global economy and improve and accelerate the way businesses are done. Many businesses use a transformation as a change management strategy to improve the efficiency at which a business operates.
On a more practical level, two of the most common business transformations include:
- Unlocking additional value using technology
- Finding a technology that improves how things are done (think of a central employee portal that acts as a one-stop-shop so team members can access everything from one place)
In practice, a business might decide to use new technology such as a blockchain system to automate and store data that can be accessed by a variety of team members. With this tool, the business will be able to accelerate the manner in which data is found and used to make strategic level business decisions. Consider that businesses may have difficulty monitoring the data they currently have, which might be exactly what is holding them back from accelerated growth.
Which companies can most benefit from a Digital Transformation?
All businesses can benefit from a digital transformation since there is always room for optimization. That said, for enterprise-level clients, getting stuck in a certain method of doing things can blind the business to take necessary steps for continuous improvement. Businesses that are doing a pretty good job at what they do may never recognize the need for a transformation initiative until it is too late, and another business has eaten away at their competitive advantage.
Blockchain, as a method of digital transformation, can be used to modernize applications bringing the business into 2021. The technology itself can be scaled to provide large enterprises with the end-to-end transformation necessary to succeed in a constantly adapting environment. With the increased availability of blockchain technology in a cloud-based solution like ARCKADL, small and medium-sized businesses are believed to be able to follow shortly behind.
We’d love to hear about your experiences helping others with Digital Transformation. In your experience, how has Digital Transformation helped improve operations, processes and customer experiences? We’d love to hear some stories if possible.
The purpose of driving ARCKADL in regards to Digital Transformation is helping companies adopt new technology in more simple, fast and cost-effective ways. I have a few case studies where specific enterprises asked to use Blockchain for their supply chain but got stuck due to Blockchain complexity and high cost. Using the ARCKADL platform, these businesses managed to demo the solution to their customer in a much simpler and faster way and closed the deal. We are now working on their global rollout which is taking place these days.
Has integrating Digital Transformation been a challenging process for some companies? What are the challenges? How do you help resolve them?
One of the main challenges companies face is what technology they are going to implement. By the time businesses have identified that a business transformation is necessary, it is likely already too late as the company is already losing profits, team members and market share. The main issue is that businesses push off the idea of a digital transformation since they don’t have enough capital for the ideation phase of the project, which also happens to be the most time-sensitive. Right now, many businesses are investigating opportunities in blockchain technology. For businesses that need data management solutions, our team has developed a way to provide the infrastructure for them at a fraction of the cost. This way, there is no question of what the idea is and how much it will cost, and teams can now put the majority of their business transformation budget towards educational resources and inspiring team excitement around the project.
Ok. Thank you. Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are “Five Ways a Company Can Use Digital Transformation To Take It To The Next Level”? Please share a story or an example for each.
There are many examples; however, many recent trends that we leverage with the ARCKADL solution provide businesses with a good basis to bring digital transformation to the next level. We noticed that many businesses struggle in the ideation phase, once they have determined what their business problem is. To take your digital transformation to the next level, we wanted to suggest five areas that can help bolster the ideas and opportunities discussion within the business transformation journey.
- Artificial Intelligence. Artificial Intelligence has been a popular buzzword but has also proven its use to enhance customer engagement and allow businesses to deliver on customers’ growing expectations. The technology itself has been used in conjunction with many different technologies for predicting and resolving issues faster than ever before and pinpointing opportunities for new growth opportunities, including new product innovations and marketing solutions. Within the ARCKADL platform, we leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help understand networks and, at times, make decisions to ensure network data is used to the best extent possible without interrupting the experience of the user.
- Cloud Management. Another area is cloud management. Many businesses have already begun to explore the uses of cloud technology, which has helped to scale down hardware, servers, and IT support and maintenance required. That said, the cloud landscape can quickly become overwhelming, requiring the IT team to exercise greater control over public, private and hybrid clouds. Within the ARCKADL solution, a clever cloud management strategy has allowed for the management of different blockchain networks, including a public chain and a private sidechain for public and private data.
- Machine Learning. Digital transformation journeys can further be accelerated through machine learning (ML) capabilities to take vast amounts of data and make use of them to provide actionable insights and predictions, forcing organizations to be more agile and quick thinking. Taking advantage of this new technology, the ARCKADL solution uses machine learning to provide actions recommended to network owners for various steering solutions.
- Data Analytics. There is no correct way to do a business transformation. Instead, it is a matter of testing and comparing results. Data analytics technologies act as an enabler for business transformation and make organizations more agile for keeping pace with changing business trends and customer needs. Within the ARCKADL solution, data analytics are used to understand the traffic flow within the network and help to identify areas of optimization for a continuous cycle of improvement.
- Data Integrity. Gaps in data integrity will typically need the introduction of new systems that help to automate these processes to avoid being seen as a liability. Data must be seen as accurate and reliable for business leaders to avoid large penalties and other harmful violations. Embedding this standard of quality into your business is now viewed as a promising business transformation to tie core values to data integrity and providing transparency into problem detection. The ARCDAKL platform has leveraged data integrity as a part of its overall business transformation to ensure trust is attained between networks.
In your opinion, how can companies best create a “culture of innovation” in order to create new competitive advantages?
I believe companies can promote a culture of innovation by encouraging team members to share their ideas. With people being constantly bombarded with information throughout the day, the odd time something will come across their feed that will ignite something inside of that person. Rather than let that person keep it to themselves, it is important that management is open and ready to hear ideas from everyone. This way, when a decision is made to proceed with a technology that many are uncomfortable with, it can become an exciting project that everyone has a part in.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Do or Do Not, There is No Try”
For those who don’t already know, this quote is actually one of the most well-known statements from the character Yoda from Star Wars. The concept of stop trying, just do it can help any entrepreneur learn quickly and adapt to make the necessary decisions as a business leader. When entrepreneurs try, they may become hesitant and over analyze situations to the point they might not even do it. Committing to doing something, whether it is starting a new business, pitching to a new client or speaking at an event, commits you to tackle an objective head-on and avoids the half-willed attempt to “try.”
In my own experience, I found sometimes I had to step outside of my comfort zone and commit to something to push ARCKADL forward. Our team would have never been here today if I said, “I’m going to try and make blockchain easily attainable to all businesses.” There needed to be some commitment.
How can our readers further follow your work?
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Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!