INFOGRAPHIC: Intelligent Automation Primer

In the last 10 years, automation technologies have evolved dramatically to become what we know today as Intelligent Automation. Desktop Automation—software that supports human actions by automating repetitive tasks on a local machine— was the first iteration, later evolving to Robotic Process Automation (RPA)— software that mimics human actions by automating tasks performed by humans seamlessly across various applications and systems.

Today, Intelligent Automation, built on the foundation of its predecessors, leverages traditional RPA technology and combines it with digitization and artificial intelligence to augment human intelligence and expand the realm of possibility.

Intelligent Automation can be a difficult topic to wrap one’s head around, but like a lot of things, future success starts with solid fundamentals. And if you’re looking to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

INFOGRAPHIC: Intelligent Automation Primer

INFOGRAPHIC: Intelligent Automation Primer

INFOGRAPHIC: Demystifying Machine Learning

Machine Learning is the science of finding patterns in data and using those patterns to make predictions. It is the process by which, over time, machines (computers) are enabled without explicit programming, to learn, grow, and change autonomously through real-world interactions.  It is a subsect of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

AI refers to a computer system’s ability to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, communication, decision-making, planning, learning, and the ability to move and manipulate objects.

The infographic below explores the different applications of Machine Learning in a variety of industries, to learn more about AI and Machine Learning opportunities in your industry, please contact us for a free no-obligation discussion. We look forward to hearing from you.


INFOGRAPHIC: Demystifying Machine Learning

INFOGRAPHIC: Demystifying Machine Learning

INFOGRAPHIC: 22 Benefits of RPA

This infographic is a window into the world of Robotic Process Automation. If you are interested in exploring RPA opportunities in your industry or want to know more about implementing RPA in your organization, please contact us for a free no-obligation discussion. We look forward to hearing from you.

INFOGRAPHIC: 22 Benefits of RPA

INFOGRAPHIC: 22 Benefits of RPA

EDGEtalks: Executing on the Blockchain hype

EDGEtalks: Executing on the Blockchain hype  On January 15th, 2018, The Burnie Group hosted EDGEtalks: Executing on the Blockchain hype, the potential application of blockchain technology to business practices. The keynote was delivered by Don Tapscott (CEO, Tapscott Group; Executive Chairman and Co-founder, Blockchain Research Institute; Co-author, Blockchain Revolution). A panel discussion followed, moderated by Doug Heintzman (Head of the  Blockchain practice, The Burnie Group). Panelists included Dr. David Jaffray (EVP Technology and Innovation, University Health Network), Dr. Marek Laskowski (co-founder, Blockchain Lab; Professor, Information and Computing Technologies, York University), Dr. Atefeh Mashatan (Professor, Ted Rogers School of Information Management, Ryerson University), and Chris Owen (VP, Enterprise Shared Platforms–Blockchain, TD Bank).


Blockchain: Solving Problems for the Digital Economy

In 2008, a person, or group, known as Satoshi Nakamoto, published a paper describing the first blockchain database. Three months later, it was used by Nakamoto to launch the bitcoin cryptocurrency network. Since then, interest in cryptocurrency investment has exploded, but industry experts insist that crypto’s true value lies in its underlying technology: blockchain.

A blockchain is a distributed ledger technology. Its core value lies in its ability to provide a reliable common version of the truth to members of a business network. Digital records (transactions) receive a unique signature (hash) of a fixed length.  Transactions are then bundled and stored in time-stamped “blocks” that are “chained” to the blocks of previous transactions. This chain of blocks is synchronized across a network of distributed “nodes.” By comparing the last hash in a chain, nodes find consensus on the contents and integrity of the blockchain, making it virtually immutable.

This new technology was the first real solution to a problem that had plagued digital transactions since their inception: the double-spend problem. The issue being that a digital payment was merely a copy of a token of value. Tokens could be copied multiple times and spent in more than one location. With blockchain’s continuous validation and replication of transaction history, single-use for digital tokens can be guaranteed. This, in turn, positively affects the trust deficit.

Another valuable characteristic of the technology is “smart contracts,” which can be stored and executed on a blockchain. This coded feature enjoys the same immutability, and therefore trustworthiness, as the data it manipulates. It allows for the use of business logic with automated transaction attributes, solving, amongst other things, the renege problem. In this situation, a customer might leave a queue (reneging) for various reasons before completing a transaction. When a smart contract is introduced, the customer is no longer disengaged by redirection to a banking intermediary to complete the transaction. The smart contract easily completes the transaction by triggering and validating payment securely and independently.

These problem-solving characteristics are representative of blockchain’s many potential advantages. The following will explain how blockchain can generate value, enhance business efficiencies, and bring about the new era of the Internet.


The True Value of Trust and Data

Business networks are built on top of available infrastructure, which inherently contains deficiencies that can introduce friction into business activities. Many business networks, therefore, engage third-party intermediaries to mitigate deficiencies, such as trust deficits between parties.  These third parties can take many forms: banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, PayPal, Alibaba, auditors, and regulators. However, this centralized intermediary system is hackable, infamously slow, and costly.

Because a blockchain network addresses the trust deficit problem it allows for peer-to-peer transactions (P2P) completely independent of intermediaries. Individuals become owners of their own data, and that data an asset, protected on a blockchain from theft and fraud by immutable, time-stamped record keeping. In a blockchain-powered world, an individual’s medical records, financial records, academic degrees, voting history, professional history, and consumer history, can all be stored in encrypted transactions. A musician’s intellectual property might be stored on a blockchain, with smart contracts triggering automatic payments every time a song is featured in a film. A patient could allow a government temporary access to medical records to help identify and prevent possible outbreaks of disease.  The sharing of this information with specific people for a fixed duration is the choice of the individual, un-beholden to the delays, rules, privacy exposure, or costs associated with an intermediary.


Rethinking the Firm

According to Ronald Coase’s theory of the firm, companies only exist due to the high cost of transactions within markets. Traditionally, performing activities in-house has kept these costs low and companies strong. The Internet, created as a network of information, began the process of unbundling the firm. With the creation of blockchain as an entirely new network of information, these transaction costs are so greatly affected that companies have no choice but to evolve as the underlying rationale for their existence is altered.

Blockchain features, such as smart contracts and autonomous agents, can cut costs by enhancing business efficiencies through automation. The scale of this automation can alter the very concept of what constitutes a company; a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), for example, is a company run entirely through computer programs with next-to-no human participant. This model uses business logic and decision making embedded in smart contracts to automatically execute actions when triggered by pre-determined situational criteria. This new platform dramatically reduces business network friction, and eliminates nearly all traditional transaction costs, paving the way for distributed companies that resemble networks rather than centralized firms.


The Second Era of the Internet

Blockchain is a new paradigm that addresses the very purpose of computing: to automate business processes with the goal of reducing headcount and friction in business networks. It provides unprecedented peer-to-peer trust and can enhance business efficiencies in nearly any industry. When the existing Internet of Things—which is currently held back by the available software infrastructure and related trust deficits—is combined with blockchain’s new “ledger of things,” a partnership is formed. This partnership represents a second era of the Internet, in which discrete devices can confidently engage and contract each other to accomplish a goal. With widespread blockchain implementation, intermediary functions become redundant, companies more automated and decentralized, and the individual consumer more autonomous with improved privacy and increased control of their information assets.

Working with an experienced partner can help you harness the full potential of blockchain technology for your business. As a leading professional services enabler of blockchain strategy and implementation in North America, The Burnie Group will help you to identify areas where blockchain can increase your business’s security and efficiencies, set the right strategy and build the right foundation to substantively advance business goals.

Contact us to learn more about blockchain.


Key insights from the #EDGEtalks panel of speakers:


“This is nothing less than the second era of the Internet”

Don Tapscott, executive chairman and co-founder, Blockchain Research Institute


“This is not about bitcoin. It’s not even about crypto assets. It’s about something much bigger”

Don Tapscott, executive chairman and co-founder, Blockchain Research Institute


“What if there were not just an Internet of information. What if there were an Internet of value. Some kind of vast, global, distributed ledger where anything of value, from money to stock to votes to music could be managed, transacted, stored in a secure and private way.”

Don Tapscott, executive chairman and co-founder, Blockchain Research Institute


“I think this is a new paradigm, and a paradigm is a mental model. And they create boundaries around… assumptions we don’t even know that they’re there.”

-Don Tapscott, executive chairman and co-founder, Blockchain Research Institute


“the biggest problem for me…today, the net effect of all this digital on our economy is that we have growing wealth but declining prosperity. Our economies are growing but in most OECD countries the middle class is shrinking. We have a bipolarization [sic] of wealth”

-Don Tapscott, executive chairman and co-founder, Blockchain Research Institute


“For the first time in history, people have can now trust each other and transact peer to peer. And this is creating a great opportunity for… people in the middle to rethink their whole value proposition and the way that they operate, to deliver better value to customers at a lower rate.”

Don Tapscott, executive chairman and co-founder, Blockchain Research Institute


“Blockchain is no different than any other technology that preceded it. What happens with new technology is that people think about that, they digest it in the context of what they know and understand today. How can I take that technology… apply it to what I do today, and make it faster and cheaper?”

Don Tapscott, executive chairman and co-founder, Blockchain Research Institute


“It’s your data. It’s your history. You should own it, and you should grant permission and access to whoever you think of as an authorized user of that accumulated suite and wealth of data.”                                      – Chris Owen, VP, Enterprise Shared Platforms–Blockchain, TD Bank


“People need to roll up their sleeves and invest the time to understand it… They need to sit down and understand what is this, how does it work, and then how does it disrupt your industry and the way we manage data.”

Chris Owen, VP, Enterprise Shared Platforms–Blockchain, TD Bank


“Little by little, increment by increment, we’re going to migrate into a world where people are going to operate differently, and it’s going to be a weird and wonderful place.”

Chris Owen, VP, Enterprise Shared Platforms–Blockchain, TD Bank


“The promise of blockchain is a disruptive technology and disintermediary technology…These monolithic business models based on exploiting the data of their customers are going to have to change.”

Dr. Marek Laskowski, co-founder, Blockchain Lab


“I think that’s one of the biggest decisions that need to be made is which data can you share into this commons of data, and in what cases does it make economic sense to do so? And I think that where we discover those golden points where there’s economic sense and it’s feasible to share that data in a way that the entire ecosystem benefits, I think it’s a matter of finding those. It takes work.”

Dr. Marek Laskowski, co-founder, Blockchain Lab

EDGEtalks: Executing on the Blockchain hype

Your Blockchain Reading List

With blockchain grabbing headlines, people want to learn about this transformative technology. While a good first step is reading our primer, The Blockchain Disruption: Insight report on Blockchain, the following titles are a great place to start or deepen your understanding of this disruptive technology. Read on …

Your Blockchain Reading List  1. Blockchain Revolution – Don Tapscott & Alex Tapscott

Wikinomics author Don Tapscott and his son, Alex, explain blockchain, its applications, and provide a broad overview of changes that could be brought about. For those getting started in the space, Blockchain Revolution describes the technology as a simple but transformative protocol that enables financial transactions to be anonymous and secure through the decentralized ledger—a public, tamper-proof virtual ledger of value.


Your Blockchain Reading List  2. Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy – Melanie Swan

Melanie Swan is a technology theorist at Purdue University’s Philosophy Department and founder of The Institute for Blockchain Studies. She focuses on detailing the implications of decentralized ledger technology in an academic style. This book is a good next read after Tapscott and Tapscott’s Blockchain Revolution (above) and takes you beyond currency and smart contracts to explore blockchain as a new form of information technology and the possibility of how it can expand how we think in financial markets.


Your Blockchain Reading List  3. Mastering Bitcoin Programming the Open Blockchain – Andreas M. Antonopoulos

This guide is recommended for those looking for a deeper understanding of Bitcoin’s technical operation. Mastering Bitcoin describes its and other cryptocurrencies’ technical foundations, from cryptography basics (such as keys and addresses) to data structures, network protocols and the consensus mechanism mining that underpin Bitcoin. Each technical topic is explained with user stories, analogies and examples, and code snippets illustrating the key concepts.


Your Blockchain Reading List  4. The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet Technology – William Mougayar

William Mougayar is an angel investor who has been investigating cryptocurrency and broader distributed ledger ecosystem. His book explores how enterprises and organizations should look at distributed ledgers and specifically, blockchain.


Your Blockchain Reading List  5. Business Innovation Through Blockchain – Vincenzo Morabito

This book explores the main challenges and trends related to the use of blockchain technology for digital business innovation and provides stimulating insights and ideas. It explores topics in three broad sections: 1) Blockchain technology and management  (including impacts on value chains and systems, governance, and security issues) 2) The Bitcoin phenomenon and main technological trends in the use of blockchain, and 3) Examples of business innovation using blockchain that is drawn from across the globe.


Your Blockchain Reading List

By: Madison Wright, Senior Business Analyst

PRESS RELEASE: The Burnie Group hosts #EDGETalks: Executing on the Blockchain Hype

TORONTO, Jan. 09, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Burnie Group is pleased to announce #EDGETalks: Executing on the Blockchain Hype. Featuring a keynote address by Don Tapscott, Executive Chairman, Blockchain Research Institute, and Co-author Blockchain Revolution, this event will look at the dimensions of the Blockchain disruption and the business opportunities that it will create.

“This event is an opportunity to bring together industry leaders to share their diverse insights and use case experience on the ever-evolving blockchain industry,” said Doug Heintzman, Blockchain Practice Leader, The Burnie Group.

#EDGETalks: Executing on the Blockchain Hype will take place on the evening of Monday, January 15th 2018 at MaRS Discovery District Auditorium. Don Tapscott’s keynote address will be followed by a panel discussion led by industry thought leaders, academics and practitioners, including:

Dr. David Jaffary – EVP Technology & Innovation, University Health Network
Dr. Marek Laskowski – Blockchain Lab co-founder, Professor of Information & Computing Technologies, York University
Dr. Atefeh Mashatan – Professor, Ted Rodger school of Information Management, Ryerson University
Chris Owen – VP, Enterprise Shared Platforms – Blockchain, TD Canada Trust

Blockchain technology has been the subject of great interest and investment. The potential of universal distributed ledgers to dramatically reduce transaction costs and reconciliation times has been well understood for some time, but only very recently have we had the ability to embed trust into business networks at a technology level. This evening looks to answer questions about where Blockchain technology is today, what its impact potential is, and how businesses are beginning to invest and implement it.

For tickets visit:


About The Burnie Group –
The Burnie Group is a highly specialized operations consulting firm that helps clients improve their businesses through the application of innovative strategy, rigorous analysis, world-class technology, and top-tier domain expertise.  The Burnie Group specializes in Strategy, Operations, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Blockchain, and Workforce Management (WFM).

Media Contact:
Bruna Sofia Simoes, Marketing Manager


Source: The Burnie Group


INFOGRAPHIC: Kinds of Process Automation and how they differ

What are the key differences between the various types of process automation? Below is an overview of the different types of process automation and how RPA differs.?

INFOGRAPHIC: Kinds of Process Automation and how they differ


INFOGRAPHIC: Kinds of Process Automation and how they differ

INFOGRAPHIC: 4 Simple Ways to Avoid Burnout Before it Happens

Stress, the root cause of burnout, causes Canadian economy an estimated $33 billion a year in lost productivity each year. Over 6 in 10 highly stressed workers identified work as the main source of their stress.

Taking some simple measures to prevent burnout and reduce stress can go a long way towards keeping workers fitter, happier, more productive, and stress-free.

INFOGRAPHIC: 4 Simple Ways to Avoid Burnout Before it Happens


INFOGRAPHIC: 4 Simple Ways to Avoid Burnout Before it Happens

2017 Summer Reading List

It is a proven fact that reading can help reduce stress. However, many of us don’t find this to be true because we have so much “required” reading in our daily lives. But when we read for pleasure we know it’s an enjoyable and stress-relieving activity.

The simple act of reading can have considerable benefits, from improving our health and well-being—even six minutes can be enough to reduce stress levels by more than two-thirds—to enlarging our capacity for empathy and strategic decision making.

Naturally, we thought we’d ask our practice leaders about some of their favourite reads. And, well, they geeked out, offering us this list of  10 recommended books. Read on …

2017 Summer Reading List  1. The Power of One – Bryce Courtenay

Set in a world torn apart, where man enslaves his fellow man and freedom remains elusive, THE POWER OF ONE is the moving story of one young man’s search for the love that binds friends, the passion that binds lovers, and the realization that it takes only one to change the world. A weak and friendless boy growing up in South Africa during World War II, Peekay turns to two older men, one black and one white, to show him how to find the courage to dream, to succeed, to triumph over a world when all seems lost, and to inspire him to summon up the most irresistible force of all: the Power of One.


2017 Summer Reading List  2. The Innovators Dilemma – Clayton M. Christensen

Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen says outstanding companies can do everything right and still lose their market leadership — or worse, disappear completely. And he not only proves what he says, he tells others how to avoid a similar fate. Focusing on “disruptive technology” — the Honda Super Cub, Intel’s 8088 processor, or the hydraulic excavator, for example — Christensen shows why most companies miss “the next great wave.” Whether in electronics or retailing, a successful company with established products will get pushed aside unless managers know when to abandon traditional business practices. Using the lessons of successes and failures from leading companies, The Innovator’s Dilemma presents a set of rules for capitalizing on the phenomenon of disruptive innovation.


2017 Summer Reading List  3.  The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell

The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behaviour crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.



2017 Summer Reading List  4. This is Water – David Foster Wallace

“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”

A commencement speech turned book, David Foster Wallace’s This is Water explores how one keeps from going through their comfortable, prosperous adult life unconsciously? How do we get ourselves out of the foreground of our thoughts and achieve compassion? The speech captures Wallace’s electric intellect as well as his grace in attention to others.


2017 Summer Reading List  5. Outsmarting Google – Evan Bailyn

If you aren’t at or near the top of Google searches, you won’t be found. Your company might as well not exist. But many common Google “search optimization” techniques don’t work–or even make things worse. In Outsmarting Google, world-renowned search expert Evan Bailyn reveals real, gritty, up-to-the-minute tactics that helped him attract more than 50,000,000 visitors last year without spending a dime on advertising! You won’t find any unethical “black hat” tricks here: only proven techniques that reflect comprehensive testing and extraordinary insight into Google’s secret rules.


2017 Summer Reading List  6. Dear Leader: My Escape from North Korea – Jang Jin-sung

In this rare insider’s view into contemporary North Korea, a high-ranking counter-intelligence agent describes his life as a former poet laureate to Kim Jong-il and his breathtaking escape to freedom.

With in-depth insight into the workings of everyday life in North Korea, a society that is very closed-off from the rest of the world, this book can be difficult to read but will leave you with great appreciation for life in Canada.


2017 Summer Reading List  7. The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – But Some Don’t – Nate Silver

Nate Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data. Most predictions fail, often at great cost to society, because most of us have a poor understanding of probability and uncertainty. Both experts and laypeople mistake more confident predictions for more accurate ones. But overconfidence is often the reason for failure. If our appreciation of uncertainty improves, our predictions can get better too. This is the “prediction paradox”: The more humility we have about our ability to make predictions, the more successful we can be in planning for the future.

Nate Silver’s book provides a foundation for analyzing and asking questions about the statistical models and predictions that surround us.


2017 Summer Reading List  8. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done – Peter F. Drucker

What makes an effective executive? The measure of the executive, Peter F. Drucker reminds us, is the ability to “get the right things done.” This usually involves doing what other people have overlooked as well as avoiding what is unproductive. Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that mould them into results.

Drucker identifies five practices essential to business effectiveness that can, and must, be learned: Managing time Choosing what to contribute to the organization Knowing where and how to mobilize strength for best effect Setting the right priorities Knitting all of them together with effective decision-making.


2017 Summer Reading List  9. Start with Why – Simon Sinek

Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?

Simon Sinek’s book is a well-argued narrative that both people and companies should rethink their approach to work or to the marketplace.  Most of us start with ‘What do I want?’ and end with ‘How will I get there?”.  Rarely do we ask ‘Why?’.  Sinek challenges us to turn this around and begin with ‘Why do I work?’ or if a company, ‘Why do we exist?’.  Only once this has been answered, should we move on to ‘how’ and ‘what’.  Although more difficult than may first appear, understanding one’s “Why” can be a powerful lever in both personal career success as well as overall business success.


2017 Summer Reading List  10. Bossypants – Tina Fey

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.

From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon—from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.


2017 Summer Reading List



Preventing burnout before it begins

Preventing burnout before it begins  Burnout—exhaustion, lack of motivation, and feelings of ineffectiveness and frustration—is a growing concern for many Canadian companies. As workplace stress rises, the implications of disengaged, overworked, highly-stressed employees present some very real challenges for businesses.

Stats Canada recently reported that the majority of highly stressed workers (62%) identified work as the main source of their stress.  A separate 2013 survey by Kronos, found that 54 percent of employed Canadians admitted that they have called in sick to avoid going to work. And the majority of those (65%) said it was because they felt stressed or burned out.

It can be tough enough to manage your own stress. But how can you, as a manager, help the members of your team handle their feelings of stress, burnout, or disengagement? As a leader, you play a huge role in creating a work environment in which staff have the resources and support they need to be productive and effective and where they feel valued.

Although it’s unlikely that the pace or intensity of work will change anytime soon, there’s a growing body of research that suggests certain types of activities can effectively build personal capacity for resilience. Below we delve further into two tactics that we at The Burnie Group believe are effective in managing workplace stress before it becomes burnout.


Workforce Management

A key challenge that many of The Burnie Group’s clients face is having access to in-depth daily data from which to make operating decisions. They often do not know what was accomplished, what was left behind, and how to meet SLAs on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Without this data, managers and staff are often overwhelmed by workloads that appear to be beyond their daily capacity, which is one of the main culprits of burnout.

Workforce management allows an organization to optimize the productivity of its employees at the individual, team, and entity-wide levels. Managers are empowered with tools that help them develop an agile workforce and meet targets in a steady and stress-free manner. From matching employee skills to specific tasks over time, to quantifying the amount and types of labour needed to accomplish particular jobs on a day-to-day, or even hour-to-hour basis, effective workforce management has been proven to dramatically reduce workplace stress while enhancing staff engagement.


Investing in Wellness

Understanding and prioritizing activities that promote well-being for yourself and your team will not only contribute towards the prevention of burnout, it will also increase productivity and team engagement. Simple activities or tools that we have found to be effective include: mindfulness and resilience training; encouraging people to take time for exercise or other renewal activities, such as walking meetings; and building buffer time between key deliverables to help work at a manageable pace. These 5 Productivity Hacks are also great ways to help keep staff motivated and engaged.


The bottom line is that both personal development and effective team management can truly help reduce burnout, all the while enabling higher productivity and greater staff engagement. Doing well at work and encouraging people to feel well isn’t just possible — it’s the foundation of a high-performing team.


Preventing burnout before it begins