Jean de Crane - CEO Isabel Group

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Will the corona crisis mark the breakthrough of the digital signature?

Sometimes a crisis pushes us to change our habits and behaviors faster.

The current corona crisis, for example, has put the concept of teleworking at the top of the agenda in one fell swoop. The same goes for digital signatures. Because even in this crisis, we are continuing to send out large amounts of documents. Inevitably, important documents require a signature once in a while. So it’s good to know that these days, you can simply sign them digitally, at a safe distance from each other, yet completely legally.

The corona crisis has forced many companies and their employees to make digital the new normal. Sensible business leaders are trying to make a virtue of this necessity by committing fully to digitization. Some are finally working on the planned or delayed digital transformation of their business processes. Others are trying to complete that transformation process faster.

Digital signature tool in the cloud

The introduction of digital, electronic or e-signatures is an important part of such digitization processes, and in many cases also final piece in the puzzle. The technology that allows for digital signatures has been available for some time and is becoming increasingly accessible, particularly now that we can also offer digital signatures as a cloud service. An example is our very own SignHere solution, which obviously makes life easier for teleworkers.

The many advantages of working with a digital signature are familiar enough by now, but let’s have another look at them. You might think that an ordinary handwritten signature is still the cheapest and easiest way to get a document signed. If you only consider the cost of pen and paper, you are probably right. However, you would be ignoring all the operational processes and document flows within your organisation that enable the use of such signatures, as well as the many hidden costs involved.

Legitimacy of (digital) signatures

What many people lose sight of for the sake of convenience, whether consciously or not, is that the authenticity of a handwritten signature is only legally guaranteed on paper. If you e-mail a client a contract to be signed, for example, asking them to print it out, sign it, scan it and e-mail it back to you, you could get in serious trouble should that client dispute their signature.

You should therefore always be able to present an original paper version of this document. And that is exactly why today, most companies use a postal service to send out documents that need to be signed. This involves postage costs and the entire postage process in itself is cumbersome and time-consuming. By working with digital signatures, the obligation to keep a paper version expires, without the signature losing its legal validity. This allows you not only to save unnecessary costs, but also valuable time.

Digital signatures are not more expensive

Predictably enough, the greatest savings can be achieved in staff costs. Our own calculations show that the cost of handwritten signatures can amount to approximately € 5.50 each (excluding postage costs). And that is a fairly conservative estimate. If you add about €2.40 for postage to these staff costs, the total is almost € 8 per signature.

By way of comparison, the cost of a digital signature in our starter package is a mere € 1.50. As you can see, there is clear scope for savings here.

Boost your company’s image

So the logical conclusion is that handwritten signatures are an expensive and time-consuming way of signing documents today. To top it all, besides saving you time and money, digital signatures also boost your image. They allow you to profile your company as a digital business, or at least a business that is hard at work on the digital transformation, towards your clients and partners, as well as to the potential new employees you want to attract as an employer.

After all, for young people entering the labor market today, digital has been the new normal for much longer. They increasingly expect an employer to fully embrace the digital future rather than going along reluctantly with the digitization process.

More homeworking in the future?

In any case, the many benefits of digital signatures are clear. Moreover, the technology behind them is also well-established today. With our own solution, SignHere, we aim to further increase the ease of use of this technology. For all those employees who are teleworking, this is certainly no unnecessary luxury.

Not only has the technology become well established, businesses are increasingly embracing it. Even before the start of the coronavirus crisis, many companies were already open to such solutions. But now that more and more companies are discovering the advantages of teleworking, along with those of digital signatures, the adoption of the latter also seems to be gaining momentum.

Discover how digital signatures can help your business grow.

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