3 Common Use Cases for Digital Sealing

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Digital seals/signatures represent important benefits for organizations as explained in a previous blog post but may also demand significant investments to realize this step in digital transformation. Existing processes do not allow for the signing/sealing process and require systems to be adapted. You should therefore first consider the processes in your organization where the integration with such systems has a limited impact on your existing environments in combination with a quick ROI.

Digitalization of paper (inbound /archives)

The non-repudiation of a document sealed with a qualified certificate opens up new cost saving initiatives such as digital archives (these certificates can be proven valid over time) as well as the deletion of paper document versions and retiring of paper archives. Integrated immediately with your inbound scanning process, this provides a very strong solution to only work digitally without the need to keep the paper versions anymore.

This by itself is a key argument to start looking into digital sealing now for virtually all organizations, large and small, as everybody keeps some form of paper archive either in a dusty basement or neatly outsourced. You should seriously consider – if not to work away the past – then at least to put an end to the growing paper archive – and now with the assurance that the digitally sealed documents have the exact same legal status. So, a win-win situation between cost saving and compliance.

Drivers for this use case include:

– Integration of the digital sealing process during the scanning phase of the documents

– Only the digital document is included in the business processes

– Thanks to the equivalence, the paper version may be destroyed, often implemented with a few weeks’ delay

– Cease of growth of paper archives

– Possibility to decrease paper archives in favor of digital archives

– Cost efficiencies in storage, paper handling and archiving

– Risk reduction

The practical implementation of this process would include an additional process step, where the scanned document is digitally sealed as soon as possible, possibly after the quality control step in your scanning process. Docbyte would implement this as a call to DocShifter, which would create the digitally sealed version, possibly after first converting the document to PDF/A full text for example.

Invoice management

Additionally, working with digitally sealed documents instead of paper will increase the transparency, traceability and your overall process agility and performance. Indeed, with your invoices sent out and coming in digitally, your accountants will save time finding and processing these and your auditor will save time as he no longer needs to work through piles of paper invoices when on a TVA audit.

Similarly, the integration would be done for outgoing invoices as an additional process step handled by DocShifter, which would pick up the invoice (or generate it by itself) and return the qualified sealed version of it to the next process step, or store it somewhere directly on your IM archive.

Drivers for this use case include:

– Outgoing invoices are digitally sealed ensuring the authenticity, data integrity and timestamp

– Cost efficiencies in printing, paper handling, transportation and archiving

– Risk reduction

Legal documents

Invoices are basically one particular subset of documents that have legal value or in some way engage your organization. Examples of other such documents: account statements, payslips, product documentation versions, HR documents, commercial proposals…

A barrier for more digital exchange is also the lack of acceptance of working fully digitally from your partners and customers. This requires some change management and global adoption in the market. The European legislation gives a strong push towards this, as explained in this blog post, and it is expected that adoption will increase quickly over the second half of 2016 and mainly 2017.

Contact us for more advice on how to turn your paper archive into a digital archive and let us convince you that Digital Sealing will also benefit your organization!

More interesting reads about eIDAS and Digital Sealing can be found here or read this free whitepaper to discover the other benefits and drivers of digital sealing, and how to choose the right sealing solution.