With growing interest in decentralized identity and verifiable credentials, it’s easy to think that they are something only big business or nation states can use. But even the smallest businesses can benefit from this technology. So the question we will answer: What can verifiable credentials do for you if, say, you have a small business?

By Sam Curren

Let’s start with a few of the problems that all businesses face: employee and access management, engaging customers, and payroll. While larger organizations can have entire teams dedicated to each of these tasks, leaner businesses — such as a single location — might have a small number of people trying to manage everything; this is where verifiable credentials can make all the difference.

Let’s break down exactly how for each business problem.

Employee and Access Management

Employees at any business need to be allowed access to certain things to do their job properly, such as  interacting with the suppliers to procure ingredients, or a manager or team lead may need to set the schedule and hours for other employees. By providing everyone a credential it becomes easy to grant these permissions, and for the employees to be able to share that they are authorized by their employer to act on their behalf.

Creating these different levels of access is super easy to set up, it can be as simple as checkboxes — employee X can access suppliers, while employee Z is new, and can only access the time clock to clock in and out. Should an employee leave, removing their access, business-wide, is as simple as revoking their credential: no more need for changing passwords or getting their keys back.

All of this can be coordinated without the complexity and expense of creating direct integrations with external databases. Some of this vision is far reaching (such as lock access via credentials), but some of this (such as employee software access via credentials) is quite real today.

Engaging Customers

Customers are the lifeforce for any business; so, you need to do your best to keep them.This means building relationships, online and in person — and this is where verifiable credentials shine. They enable you to create a trusted digital relationship that enhances the customer’s experience.

Verifiable credentials allow you to build a trusted relationship by enabling direct, semantically described, privacy-preserving, and secure communication with your customers. This is not the same as sending your customer an email or text message and he or she sending one back. This is direct communication that is solely between you and your customer, by consent, and managed through a digital wallet.

  • Secure verification
    • Customers can verify they are dealing with a business representative and workers can verify customers. This would be critical for any home medical provider.
    • The Agent software can detect when a customer is approaching and verify the customer and their order.
  • Secure messaging
    • A customer can ask business or restaurant for today’s business hours, and where exactly it is, the special offers (if any), and the method of payments they accept.
    • The restaurant can alert a customer that their order is ready, the customer doesn’t need to stay within earshot or sight, and the business saves the cost of a specialized solution. This also prevents the need to share private data, such as a phone number, to receive the notification.
  • Enhanced data handling
    • The business can save customer order history on the customer’s device with the customer’s permission, allowing the customer to share their preferences on a subsequent visit if they want to order their “usual.”
    • Data is saved on the customer side, so there is no need for the business to store customer data and manage data privacy compliance.
  • Balanced power
    • Customers have full control over the connection with the business; they don’t need to unsubscribe or ask to be taken off a list.
    • Businesses benefit via simple customer relationships that are both powerful and regulation compliant.

The customer can interact with the business knowing that their personal data is not being stored or their behavior tracked, and they have consent over how they engage with the business. Loyalty programs built with this technology contain significant advantages over traditional solutions.

Payroll and Timekeeping

Tracking hours and payroll  is a huge part of running any business. Verifiable credentials provide a secure way for everyone to clock in and out  and automated payroll. By using an employee credential, no one else will be able to clock in for another employee if they are running late, or be able to see when anyone else clocked in unless they have access to that data, providing the business with a more accurate look at employee hours.

Easier than you think

Finally, if you take nothing else away from this article, we hope that you understand that none of this has to be complicated or particularly expensive. Whether you see your business as big or small, verifiable credentials offer a way to streamline several different aspects of your operations and make your life easier. If you want to learn more, or have specific questions you can contact our team of experts and they’d be happy to answer any questions or help you get started.