There is no escaping the new business world we find ourselves in, but the technology we have at our fingertips today can help companies flourish despite it.
The global business landscape has changed drastically, with no industry remaining untouched by the current pandemic. Government has introduced changes that have forced businesses to change how they operate, which has in many cases led to companies having to adopt new technology to effectively manage their strategies going forward.
As a case in point, most companies that are now using video meeting software such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to do contactless business, did not do so before the pandemic. Instead, business communication was largely carried out via email and face-to-face meetings. Current circumstances have steered businesspeople towards other means of doing business, and technologies that are proving to make business continuity not only possible – but effective.
With the future looking set to be a case of business unusual for some time to come, companies have no choice but to rely on the technologies that are fortunately at our fingertips today, to allow for business to carry on as seamlessly as possible.
Innovation that allows commercial activity to be carried out as effectively as pre-2020, but remotely, is not only now instrumental – it is essential – for keeping the wheels of business turning.
How technology can help your organisation
SigniFlow’s software has been helping businesses conclude contracts and deals, communicate on a legal and compliant basis and remain completely remote while doing so since before Government instituted stringent lockdown measures.
Under the manual paper-based way of doing things, for important legal documents and contracts to be signed, you as the business would have to bear the costs of printing, postage, courier – not to mention the most expensive commodity of all, time – to complete the process. On top of this, the lack of security and assurance that the signing party was who they claimed to be, has always been a sore point in terms of risk management.
SigniFlow’s compliant digital signature and workflow technology allows businesses to circumnavigate all these issues. Steeped in cryptography, our software takes the speed and convenience of ordinary electronic signatures (to read about the crucial difference between electronic and digital signatures, click HERE) and adds a layer of protection onto it.
To find out how we can help your organisation conduct business effectively, while safeguarding against fraud and being internationally compliant, visit our website (https://signiflow.co.uk/ ) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A lot of the trepidation around digital transformation comes from misnomers & misunderstandings around what it is. We shed some light & offer professional tips to help make the process more doable than daunting.
Whether it’s because you don’t feel ready for disruption, don’t know how worthwhile it is for your business, or you’ve actually tried digital transformation before and failed, you are not alone in your fear of it.
IT experts regard digital transformation (also referred to as DT or DX) as an absolute necessity, given the globalisation and mobility that underpins modern-day business.
But, despite digital transformation being a vital part of companies’ future, many are resistant to it. Change can be scary. Digitalisation is new, daunting and often not seen by businesses as a necessity – and so put on the backburner or pushed to the curb entirely.
Undoubtedly, much of this fear factor stems from misnomers, myths and misunderstandings around what digital transformation actually is, and what it entails.
To understand what digital transformation is, let’s first look at what it is not.
• DX is not an immediate change; it is a shift in how you conduct your business – in the long term and going forward. Think of it like a lifestyle change, rather than a crash diet – which it’s no secret, never works.
• DX is not an IT project; it is a fundamental and gradual paradigm shift that must be understood and taken on board by the entire crew. Businesses cannot designate DX to their IT departments and expect it to transform the way non-IT employees work. Maximum productivity and efficiency require maximum buy-in.
• DX is not about hanging on to processes because they have worked and been effective in the past, because – in today’s business world – the case is quite the contrary. The “tried and tested” methods of yesterday are outdated, ineffective and cumbersome. This has been proven.
DX is about how businesses use modern-day technology and processes, in conjunction with their resources, to optimise performance and deliver supreme value to the demanding and digital-savvy consumer of today.
US-based research company, International Data Corporation (IDC), describes DX as, “[The process of] applying new technologies to radically change processes, customer experience, and value.”
Echoing our earlier point that DX is not about solving new problems with old solutions, the company says, “DX allows organisations to become Digital Native Enterprises that support innovation and digital disruption rather than enhancing existing technologies and models.”
In one of SigniFlow’s previous articles, on customer satisfaction – which is one of the profit pinnacles of DX – we said, “Digital transformation is essentially the implementation of new technology and software tools, primarily reliant on cloud computing, to the end of solving problems and delivering solutions faster, with less operating inefficiencies and costs.”
“Organisations that have advanced to the ‘Digital Transformer’ stage are rapidly pulling away from the rest – creating the beginning of a rift that will ultimately leave organizations on either side of the thrivers or survivors.”
Now that we’ve covered the what of DX, here are some pointers on the part that has many businesses befuddled – the how.
Founder and executive director of SigniFlow, Leon van der Merwe, and SigniFlow Americas CEO, Laila Robak, share some tips on how businesses should think – and go – about digital transformation.
More than IT: It is important to bear in mind that DX is not an IT project; it affects the entire business. DX should not be perceived as uniquely an IT project. We have seen this a number of time with our customers – DX projects are actually led by other departments, such as HR, Legal and Sales, which require efficient and safe processes.
Total buy-in: You need to get buy-in from all stakeholders, from the get-go. Too often we see an IT or business department buying in to a digitisation project, only to find at a later stage that Legal, HR or Architecture were all affected by the project, yet knew nothing about it. This can cause major delays to the project, while implementation could have already started. Think about everyone who will be affected by the project and involve them from the start.
Fear not: Don’t be afraid to take some calculated risks. Any project comes with associated risks and, no matter how much time is spent defining requirements, no one can never be 100% accurate. Adopt an agile approach and use CI/CD practices to minimise the cost of being wrong, rather than spending weeks – or even months – on trying to be right.
The human element: Nothing changes overnight, especially not people. Good DX systems simply assist humans to work more efficiently. The idea with digitisation is not to get rid of humans, but rather to make them more effective and accurate in their work, so the business can cope with expansion. However, humans take time to adapt, to understand and to learn the new processes that have been edged into their everyday lives. Once a process is automated, give the employees time to catch up and understand how things should be done going forward. Give them training and let them see how technology can help them do things better and faster than ever before.
Digital nation: Instil a digital culture in the workplace. Ensure that a digital culture is promoted from the top, down. Put marketing material up against the office walls, promoting employees to “think digital”, even before digitisation starts. Most failed digitisation projects are as a result of employees and executive members not buying in. It is critical that everyone in the business sees the advantages of digitisation, and shares in the vision of the company.
Rome wasn’t built in a day: Do not try to digitise the entire business in one go. Pick a few processes that make sense to start with, and digitise only them. As soon as employees start experiencing the advantages of the new systems first-hand, they will want more and will assist and push to have the rest of the processes digitised.
Never-ending story: Digitisation is never done. Ever. Digitising processes takes time and – once this is done – improving on initial process designs is never-ending.
We have spread our wings and taken to international shores…introducing our new, fresh look.
As a South African technology team with a spirit of innovation at the heart of our being, change and growth are two things we at SignFlow prize very highly.
Which is why we are so excited to announce that SignFlow has spread its wings, recently journeying beyond the African continent, into Europe, the United Kingdom and the Americas.
As an embodiment of this globalisation, we have decided to consolidate our local and international branding, which goes hand in hand with a fresh new look – including an awesome new website and epic new logo…
The international offering of SignFlow (.co.za) is called SigniFlow (.com), which – as of May 2018 – is officially the successor to SignFlow.
While all old and existing marketing and training material and other content will still be branded as SignFlow – along with the old logo and look – it all remains 100% relevant.
SignFlow has been around for a few years, having made indelible footprints in cyber space, so the transition to SigniFlow is going to take some time. Our focus right now is on all of our branding going forward, so all new material and content will be branded SigniFlow.
What does this mean for you?
Well, to cite Coca-Cola, “Brand new look. Same great taste.”
SigniFlow, like SignFlow, is still the same world-class, local solution it has always been – just with a facelift. Think of it as a better looking version of the same great product.
SigniFlow is still Proudly South African. Nothing in terms of ownership of SignFlow has changed. SigniFlow – the new, fresh-faced SignFlow – is a 100% South African-owned product.
SigniFlow is also proudly protective of what matters most our customers: sensitive data. In terms of the storage of and access to your valuable files and data, fear not – this, too, remains unchanged. Your files are exactly where they were before, and still just as safe and secure as they have always been, in our South African data centres.
Finally, putting the cherry on top of this exciting transformation, the South African SigniFlow system is currently being revamped, and will be updated with the release of SigniFlow v4.0 during the third quarter of 2018.
Exciting times ahead, indeed. Onward and upward!
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or for more information on 010 300 4899 or email@example.com.
SignFlow has teamed up with Altech Card Solutions to offer Thales hardware security modules to its digital signature customers.
In a move that will see users’ private keys and personal digital certificates receiving a serious security boost, SignFlow has partnered with Altech Card Solutions (ACS), a division of Altron TMT, to offer Thales HSMs (hardware security modules) to digital signature customers.
Using SignFlow’s PKCS#11 cryptographic interface, SignFlow uses Thales NShield Connect HSMs to perform highly specialised cryptographic operations, and to fully manage and secure private keys and personal digital certificates.
Head of digital at SignFlow’s parent company PBSA, Leon can der Merwe, says the partnership with ACS sees SignFlow extending its integration reach to include the Thales NShield range of network attached, FIPS 140-2 Level 3 HSMs.
“Apart from deploying the NShield devices in the highly-secure SignFlow Cloud, we now also offer the NShield range to corporate customers who would like to localise and manage their SignFlow private keys in private data centres.”
The SignFlow HSMs are directly integrated with multiple local and global CA’s (Certificate Authorities) to offer stringent, legally compliant Advanced Electronic Signatures (AES), Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES) and Adobe Approved Trust List (AATL) certificates, which are applied to documents through its digital signature application.
A division of Altron TMT (Pty) Ltd, ACS was formed in 1993 and is today firmly established as a leading player in the secure electronic transactions market.
It is Thales’ established track record in the payments security space and global footprint in hardware and software encryption solutions that makes this partnership so advantageous, says ACS.
SignFlow, an enterprise-class digital signature and document workflow application, was born in a digital era that has seen new business opportunities emerging as paper-based systems are replaced by digital platforms.
SignFlow digital signatures are powered by robust public-key infrastructure (PKI) technology, which is recognised as best practice for ensuring digital accountability. SignFlow digital signatures offer an effective, secure and legally compliant method of providing accountability during electronic transactions.
“Our partnership with ACS will benefit customers across the spectrum – including consumers using SignFlow’s SignFREE to sign documents, businesses using the SignFlow Cloud to distribute documents and government and corporate institutions using SignFlow’s Enterprise Hybrid Servers and Private Network Servers to digitally sign and workflow documents for sign-offs,” says Van der Merwe.
In becoming the official operator of the South African National Lottery on 1 June 2015, Ithuba has employed a paperless system for inducting retailers who sell lottery tickets across SA through Ithuba lottery terminals.
The process, which involves on-boarding and credit-vetting thousands of retailers all over the country, would ordinarily require substantial paperwork per retailer, including manually filling out extensive formsand the signing, scanning and printing of numerous documents, explains Michael Springer, MD at Pitney Bowes SA, the customer communication technology provider responsible for Ithuba’s new paperless system.
The paperless system, built and implemented by Pitney Bowes’ e-business division, pbVerify, which specialises in digitising specific, paper-intensive business processes, aims to make Ithuba’s retailer induction process faster and less labour-intensive.
PbVerify’s solution uses a tablet-based system to auto-fill digital form fields using personal and business information drawn from data sources such as credit bureaus, the Department of Home Affairs, and the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission.
It also employs geolocation technology to capture the exact location of the retail site, even in remote areas, explains Leon van der Merwe, business development manager for Pitney Bowes SA.
“Once the information is captured, the retailers can sign the digital application form with an electronic signature. The back-office system at Ithuba then performs automated Companies and Intellectual Property checks, commercial credit checks and anti-fraud checks, digitising the entire vetting process,” Van der Merwe concludes.
Pitney Bowes South Africa, a leading provider of customer communication solutions, in partnership with ARX Cosign, the market leader in digital signature technology, has launched a powerful, integrated solution which streamlines and digitises document signing processes.
This new, ground-breaking technology – called ‘CoSign Click’ – is set to revolutionise how companies ‘on-board’ new customers. This is achieved through the elimination of the cumbersome and time-consuming manual process of printing out forms, signing in pen, scanning and uploading or emailing the document.
Leon van der Merwe, business development manager at Pitney Bowes South Africa, explains: “Co-Sign Click is a digital signature solution which enables a company’s customers to sign on-line documents and forms electronically without them requiring a digital signature or any hardware signing device.
“Until now, signing electronically with a digital signature was only available to licensed subscribers of digital signature applications. This new technology is great news for companies requiring customers to provide a once-off signature on a document or form.”
Pitney Bowes is the first company to introduce CoSign Click to South Africa, and is excited to introduce the numerous benefits of digital signature technology to local businesses.
“In South African law there are certain statutes that require a signature before a document can be considered valid. If this signature is to be applied electronically, the Electronic Communications and Transaction (ECT) Act of 2002 refers to an ‘Advanced’ Electronic Signature (AeS) and is the only type of electronic signature that is recognised as legally acceptable.
The partnership with ARX offers our customers a legally compliant solution for digitally signing documents which can then be seamlessly integrated with their Electronic Document Management system,” says Van der Merwe.
He explains how it works: “There are three areas in which the technology ensures compliance, which we refer to as the three ‘I’s’: intent (to sign), identity (of the signer) and integrity (of the document). After a person electronically signs a document the content of the document is protected. If changes are made to the signed document, the signature will no longer be valid.”
“Digital signatures have become increasingly necessary in today’s international and local business world, as companies strive to automate and streamline their systems.
These include local government and financial services businesses, one of which has been able to reduce their customer on-boarding process from a time-consuming paper-based system taking 5 to 7 days down to 40 minutes.
CoSign Click therefore provides a slick alternative to what has historically been a paper-intense and inefficient process. This requires no printing or scanning, does not waste time, and essentially provides an end-to-end solution which completely digitises the customer on-boarding process.
“Form-filling can be a very cumbersome process, for both companies and their customers. In the light of this, our collaboration with ARX offers South African businesses very real and tangible benefits. We offer companies a quick, safe and efficient system that we believe will transform the way in which many organisations interact with their customers – which in South Africa has historically been a very paper-based business culture.
“Pitney Bowes SA has helped companies for many years to enhance their customer communications capabilities. Part of Pitney Bowes Incorporated – the global business solutions provider – Pitney Bowes SA is at the leading edge of digital signature technology in this country,” Van der Merwe concludes.
Pitney Bowes South Africa, a leading provider of customer communication solutions, in partnership with ARXCosign, the market leader in digital signature technology, has launched a powerful, integrated solution which streamlines and digitises document signing processes. This new, ground-breaking technology – called ‘CoSign Click’ – is set to revolutionise how companies ‘on-board’ new customers. This is achieved through the elimination of the cumbersome and time-consuming manual process of printing out forms, signing in pen, scanning and uploading or emailing the document.
The partnership with ARX offers our customers a legally compliant solution for digitally signing documents which can then be seamlessly integrated with their Electronic Document Management system,” says van der Merwe. He explains how it works: “There are three areas in which the technology ensures compliance, which we refer to as the three ‘I’s’: intent (to sign), identity (of the signer) and integrity (of the document). After a person electronically signs a document the content of the document is protected. If changes are made to the signed document, the signature will no longer be valid.” “Digital signatures have become increasingly necessary in today’s international and local business world, as companies strive to automate and streamline their systems.
Customer on-boarding process: from 7 days to 40 minutes
These include local government and financial services businesses, one of which has been able to reduce their customer on-boarding process from a time-consuming paper-based system taking 5 to 7 days down to 40 minutes. CoSign Click therefore provides a slick alternative to what has historically been a paper-intense and inefficient process. This requires no printing or scanning, does not waste time, and essentially provides an end-to-end solution which completely digitises the customer on-boarding process. “Form-filling can be a very cumbersome process, for both companies and their customers. In the light of this, our collaboration with ARX offers South African businesses very real and tangible benefits. We offer companies a quick, safe and efficient system that we believe will transform the way in which many organisations interact with their customers – which in South Africa has historically been a very paper-based business culture.
Pitney Bowes SA has helped companies for many years to enhance their customer communications capabilities. Part of Pitney Bowes Incorporated – the global business solutions provider – Pitney Bowes SA is at the leading edge of digital signature technology in this country,” van der Merwe concludes.
A digital signature solution that enables your customers to sign your online documents and forms electronically without them already having a digital signature or any hardware signing device.
What’s all the excitement about?
Up until now, signing electronically with a digital signature was predominantly only available to licensed subscribers of digital signature applications and not to external customers whom are required to sign digital forms and documents, once-off. This is largely due to the cost associated with digital signatures and “on the fly” digital signatures not being available to a person that is not identified and linked to an established digital signature account.
With the new Cosign Collab service, you enable the customer to once-off sign the form or document electronically with a digital signature using the organisation’s license. The system establishes essential confidence and compliance in the signature with three key areas (the three I’s) when issuing the digital signature.
1. Intent to sign
Intent to sign is established through communication that requires action. Once the signer has opted by action to continue with the process, intent is established and the signing process is activated.
2. Identity of the signer
The Identity of the customer is established through various electronic communication methodologies. Existing account holders’ data can also be used in our identification methodologies. A combination of Email and mobile OTP (One time password) technologies are used to grant access to the document and digital signature.
3. Integrity of the document
After a user electronically signs the document with their issued digital signature, the content of the document is protected. If any changes are made to the signed document, the signature will no longer be valid. The validity of the digital signature and the integrity of the document can be verified by anyone using free Adobe PDF reader, no need for any additional software or licenses.
What does this mean for business?
Lets assume that you are a financial institution that requires a customer to fill out a form to apply for credit. There are generally three major processes that follows. The applicant fills out the form, prints a copy, signs it and scans it back before uploading or Emailing it. The organisation then processes the application and if successful a final agreement is drawn up that the applicant must sign. This is generally Emailed and the process of printing, signing, scanning and Emailing is repeated. In some instances the applicant is even expected to make his way into a branch to sign on paper.
With pbVerify’s CoSign Collab, this entire process is digitised. No paper, printing, signing and scanning of the document and no need for the document to be emailed or uploaded at any stage.
Pitney Bowes recently partnered with digital signature leader, ARX, in order to offer a powerful, integrated solution to assist South African organisations in improving efficiencies, lowering their operational risk and become POPI (Protection Of Personal Information Act) compliant.
The new partnership now gives SA companies the ability to modernise most of their legal signing processes.
Cumbersome, legal signing processes that are time consuming and face many geographical challenges are now as easy as 1-2-3. Legal signing processes like client on-boarding processes, minutes of board meetings, electronic contracting and many more can now be done with a legally accredited, high assurance Advanced Electronic Signature.
“Gone are the days of having to put pen to paper when signing legal documents” says Leon van der Merwe, Business development manager at Pitney Bowes SA
Not only have Advanced electronic Signatures (AeS) become increasingly popular in recent years as many organisations choose to digitise and automate their business systems, but in South Africa it has become a compliance necessity.
In the South African law there are certain statutes that require a signature before a document can be considered valid. If this signature is to be applied electronically, the Electronic Communications and Transaction (ECT) Act of 2002 refers to an ‘Advanced’ Electronic Signature (AeS) and is the only type of electronic signature that is recognised as legally acceptable.
“The partnership with ARX offers our customers a legally compliant solution for digitally signing documents which can then be seamlessly integrated with their Electronic Document Management system,” says van der Merwe.
“ARX are thrilled to be working with Pitney Bowes. As ECM experts who can advise on both strategy and implementation, they fully complete the services we currently offer our clients. By combining ECM solutions with workflow systems and digital signatures, organisations can dramatically improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their core business processes,” says Raanan Dahari, VP of Sales EMEA at ARX.
About CoSign by ARX
CoSign by ARX is the most widely used digital signature solution with millions of signers at security-minded businesses, governments and cloud services around the world. CoSign was recognised by Forrester Research as “the strongest digital signature solution” in the Forrester wave: E-Signatures, Q2 2013 report.
CoSign, which is available both on-premises and in the cloud, ca be used on any device to easily and securely sign documents in Word, Excel, PDF and many other file types. Its scalable engine can be seamlessly integrated into any document-related workflow, application or service, so that customers retain complete control over their IT/business environemtns.
Our customers use the flexible CoSign solution to quickly create highly efficient signature-dependent processes that considerably lower their paper-related costs. They also use it to ensure full compliance with strict industry regulations, country-specific legislation and exacting technical standards.