PBSA unveils digital signature tech
PBSA, a provider of customer communication solutions, has introduced a digital signing and electronic workflow solution, in effort to boost paperless offices.
SignFlow is cloud-based software that reduces the need to print documents to obtain signatures, says PBSA (formerly Pitney Bowes SA). It utilises cryptographic technology to apply verifiable, personal digital signatures to documents, it says.
This comes three years after PBSA introduced digital signatures into South Africa with its CoSign digital signature solution.
But while the CoSign solution solved the problem of businesses having to print, scan and e-mail documents for signing, it did not solve the problem of documents having to be signed by multiple parties, says Leon van der Merwe, PBSA business development manager and SignFlow co- founder.
He says this is where SignFlow plugs the gap. It was designed for workflow documents that need multiple parties to sign or action a document.
According to Van der Merwe, the software product has now officially launched, following its beta release in October.
He says the solution is focused towards a paperless SA and solves one last important and complicated part of digitisation of documents - the signature.
He says the drive to go paperless in most businesses is hampered by the need to obtain a signature on the document.
"This, up to now, had far-reaching consequences as it is not so much just the cost of the paper, but rather the far-reaching costs and environmental impact of processing the paper."
Van der Merwe points out the amount of money and time businesses spend on getting documents approved and signed is staggering.
"Signflow bridges this gap by offering a secure digital signature workflow solution. It eliminates all the inefficient, costly processes relying on print, scan, fax, e-mail and courier completely."
According to The Paperless Project - a grassroots coalition of companies focused on transforming the way organisations work with paper and electronic content - the world produces over 300 million tons of paper each year.
BMI-TechKnowledge says printing on paper is costing the taxpayer around R2.3 billion per annum, says Van der Merwe.
This is largely due to paper-based processes or digital processes that still break out into paper at some point, he adds.
He believes SignFlow, together with a good culture to drive paperless initiatives in organisations, can reduce this cost with as much as 80%.
SA definitely seems to be taking longer to adapt to a truly paperless environment, says Van der Merwe. "Our culture to want to touch what we read is definitely still very much a part of doing everyday business - this needs to change."
Van der Merwe points out turning a paper-based process into a digital one requires commitment and buy-in from all stakeholders.
"It's truly only a change in culture that is the hardest challenge. We are so used to handling paper, it has become ingrained in our ways and we don't think about the consequences of using it."