The Crucial Role of Electronic Signatures in a Smart Digital Society

It is officially time to put electronic signatures on the agenda. Many organisations needed to embrace operating remotely overnight and they now recognise the importance of electronic signatures, even as lockdown measures are relaxed and lifted. As eSignatures have proven key to keeping businesses running during these uncertain times, a new appreciation has developed for the convenience, security, and reliability of electronic signatures – whether operating remotely or not.

On the 19th of May 2020, the global Cloud Signature Consortium (CSC) held its first ever virtual Member Roundtable. The CSC was originally founded to create a global standard for eSignatures. Its members comprise industry leaders and academics in the eSignature field. Its mission is to support web and mobile applications and comply with the most demanding electronic signature regulations in the world, suitable for uniform adoption in the global market.

The Roundtable was held as an online live session. It featured four experts in the electronic signature market from around the world, engaging on a global level to discuss the role of eSignatures in creating smart, digital societies. The purpose was to ensure globally relevant solutions are readily available, in response to the increased need for eSignature solutions. Speakers included John Jolliffe (Senior Manager, Strategic Development, Document Cloud, Adobe), Paola Monti (Marketing & Communications Director, Intesi Group), Warren Blackbeard (Head of Sales, Impression Signatures), and Ronald De Temmerman (Vice President of Strategic Sales EMEA, GlobalSign).

Representing Impression as the CSC’s first African member, Blackbeard confirmed that one of the most important factors when considering an electronic signature implementation is finding a trusted partner. “Lockdown made the eSignature discussion imperative. It brought to light the fact that although integration may be important, compliance, ease of use and fast deployment are even more critical right now. It’s clear that education is required – explaining not only what constitutes an eSignature but which standards should be used to test an eSignature platform too.”

The global economy is seeking more streamlined processes and secure solutions that offer instant access. Using a Lego block analogy, Blackbeard explained that companies had invested mostly in the business processes that assumed the physical presence of clients. “They had all the pieces but couldn’t get them to fit together without the parties being present. Most businesses had considered eSignatures in the past, but now it became the missing piece – it became a priority. With Impression as trusted advisors on board, businesses are reaping the immense efficiency benefits of eSignatures.”

Whether sending a document out for client’s signature, or seeking signatures for internal processes, the key to successful implementation and adoption is keeping it simple. With Impression eSignatures, the innovative dashboard is easy to use. “The party receiving the document for signature gets it as an email, so there’s no programme or app download required,” adds Blackbeard.

As a local solution being utilised across the globe, the Impression Dashboard offers unique USSD and video signing offerings and fits into the customer’s desired workflow. “We are determined to change the perception of what is possible from a local perspective. African solutions offer the highest standards, at affordable rates, and with excellent flexibility A client recently celebrated their dashboard go-live within a week of holding the initial meeting.”

Concluding his presentation at the CSC roundtable, Blackbeard remarked that the urgency of lockdown led to a two-phase implementation approach. “We are seeing businesses run in two speeds. While the long-term goal is to build an integrated eSignatures process, the immediate need is to provide access quickly to get documents signed. This is why deployment and ease of use are paramount while also ensuring the solution is legally compliant and thus can prove one’s identity and consent.”