Adobe Digital Dialogue

E-signatures are driving the digital transformation agenda

The recent pas­sage of the Elec­tron­ic Trans­ac­tions Leg­is­la­tion Amend­ment (Gov­ern­ment Trans­ac­tions) Bill 2017 in NSW Par­lia­ment is proof e-sig­na­tures are fast becom­ing a key dri­ver in the way Aus­tralian cit­i­zens inter­act with both gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor.

Our lives are gov­erned by sig­na­tures, forms and con­tracts. It’s esti­mat­ed that about 85 per cent of trans­ac­tions with gov­ern­ment depart­ments involve a form of some kind. From prop­er­ty appli­ca­tions to dri­vers’ licens­es, sig­na­tures infil­trate every area of our lives.

Today, most of those doc­u­ments — and doc­u­ments deal­ing with the pri­vate sec­tor — end in a wet sig­na­ture, often fol­lowed by scan­ning and fil­ing. Before this leg­is­la­tion passed, you might be sur­prised to learn that many doc­u­ments in NSW were required to be served ‘per­son­al­ly or by post’.

The NSW Par­lia­ment recent­ly took a very wel­come step in the right direc­tion. The Elec­tron­ic Trans­ac­tions bill may have gone unno­ticed by many cit­i­zens, how­ev­er it has the poten­tial for sig­nif­i­cant improve­ments in how we all inter­act with gov­ern­ment and busi­ness­es by remov­ing unnec­es­sary pro­hi­bi­tions on dig­i­tal trans­ac­tions. The new law aims to reduce the almost 16 mil­lion trans­ac­tions cur­rent­ly con­duct­ed in non-dig­i­tal chan­nels by 20 per­cent in 10 years. This is in a state where res­i­dents and busi­ness­es con­duct more than 40 mil­lion trans­ac­tions each year.

Finance Min­is­ter Vic­tor Dominel­lo right­ly point­ed out dur­ing con­sid­er­a­tion of that leg­is­la­tion in Par­lia­ment that “gov­ern­ment trans­ac­tions and process­es should be fit for pur­pose in a dig­i­tal age, sim­ple and easy to apply in a dig­i­tal con­text.” In oth­er words, mod­ernising gov­ern­ment ser­vices ben­e­fits the cit­i­zens that use them.

One way to imple­ment the new law’s vision is to replace paper forms with dig­i­tal doc­u­ments and e-sig­na­tures.

In fact, Aus­tralians are going to rapid­ly adopt e-sig­na­tures in the fore­see­able future. A recent study  by For­rester pro­ject­ed almost 100 mil­lion trans­ac­tions will be processed via e-sig­na­tures by 2020. This rapid adop­tion will be fueled by busi­ness­es swift­ly imple­ment­ing e-sig­na­tures into their process­es. In fact, the study also showed that 99% of busi­ness­es sur­veyed will do so with­in the next 12–24 months.

The Elec­tron­ic Trans­ac­tions Leg­is­la­tion Amend­ment (Gov­ern­ment Trans­ac­tions) Bill 2017 is effec­tive­ly designed to mod­ernise NSW laws in line with exist­ing and new dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies. The crit­i­cal aspect of the amend­ment is set­ting a prece­dent for both gov­ern­ment and busi­ness, because where the gov­ern­ment goes, busi­ness fol­lows.

E-sig­na­tures have only achieved 20 per cent mar­ket pen­e­tra­tion to date. How­ev­er, the major­i­ty of com­pa­nies are look­ing to imple­ment an e-sig­na­tures solu­tion with­in the next one to two years, accord­ing to the For­rester study.

Affecting productivity

With the cur­rent out­look for gov­ern­ment and busi­ness e-sig­na­ture imple­men­ta­tion with­in the two-year range, there’s clear scope for busi­ness process­es to improve and costs to come down.

An e-sig­na­tures solu­tion can save up to 15 per cent of oper­at­ing costs fol­low­ing its imple­men­ta­tion, and this does not account for any indi­rect sav­ings such as faster pro­cess­ing times. Sev­en­ty three per cent of the busi­ness­es sur­veyed for the For­rester report (209 Aus­tralian organ­i­sa­tions), indi­cat­ed that busi­ness process man­age­ment and improve­ment was their num­ber one moti­va­tion.

This will sure­ly lead to changes in con­sumer habits. When expe­ri­ences are digi­tised, the divide between con­duct­ing busi­ness online and offline is elim­i­nat­ed, and so ecom­merce, trans­ac­tions in the work­place and even things like sim­ply pay­ing a bill become eas­i­er.

Workflow visibility

Adobe Sign allows gov­ern­ment and enter­prise to stream­line their trans­ac­tions with oth­er enti­ties and the pub­lic. This sign-on-glass or oth­er elec­tron­ic device solu­tion is ful­ly inte­grat­ed with Adobe’s Doc­u­ment Cloud.

The Adobe Sign solu­tion also pro­vides for ful­ly vis­i­ble work­flows, from the ini­tial gen­er­a­tion of the doc­u­ment, to its tran­sit from sign­er to signee, and back to the provider when the doc­u­ment is signed. Reports can be gen­er­at­ed based on when and where the doc­u­ment is opened, and can noti­fy the provider if the recip­i­ent has failed to look at or open the doc­u­ment.

As an expe­ri­ence, this is much bet­ter for the indi­vid­ual, the enter­prise and the gov­ern­ment depart­ment. Adobe Sign ensures that process­es are com­plet­ed quick­ly, with­out error and secure­ly, while ensur­ing your infor­ma­tion remains on-shore.

As Aus­tralian gov­ern­ments get on board, it’s time for all busi­ness­es across the Asia Pacif­ic region to think dig­i­tal first and make e-sig­na­tures part of their trans­for­ma­tion agen­das.

Digital Government, Document Management

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