Digital Document Transformation – An Age Old Problem

By Stephen Wagstaff, Regional Manager – EMEA

30 years ago I started a career in IT – it was a nice start. Operations, or as I was otherwise referred to ‘A Tape Monkey’. For anyone under the age of 35 –  A tape monkey used to put up storage tapes (Size of Large Fridge) as the discs(Size of a Washing Machine) couldn’t handle the data. Whilst the operation was successful, the general consensus in the IT department was ‘Why have we just replaced a poor Paper Manual System, and computerised it?’ And that’s all these systems really did – It processed data, churned out Pallet loads of reports which nobody read or understood.

So why am I still seeing the same approach all these years later? For example, the way that we sign and exchange documents, even internally, we select the document, sign with a graphics based or just character based ‘Signature’, send to the cloud, then someone else and repeat. Or worst still just manually perform this process by printing it, pen sign, scan and email.

The eIDAS Regulation (Now EU Law) defines three types of electronic signature – electronic signature as a ‘type of signature‘, ‘advanced‘ and ‘qualified electronic signatures’:

In 2018, it was estimated by multiple sources that 95% of document ‘Signings’ are done in the most basic way. There has also been well documented court cases of these not standing up in Court as a written contract would.  In addition, the document could be from anybody, sent in clear text over the internet (GDPR), tampered with or similar. I’d like to know how many lawyers would confirm this is legally binding. Not many I guess?

I think the real challenge is an old one – Most of the users of these solutions are Not IT folks, they are lawyers, doctors, Janitors, delivery drivers. So setting up and using the solution has to be as smooth as possible or the Business slows and stops. Even a small company may have 20 suppliers -100 Clients and sometimes more. So its really tough to setup your own Trust infrastructure – Maybe that’s why not many have done it?

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