Digital Signatures: Everything you want to know

By Larry Kluger posted 11-21-2013 03:28

  

fountain penWhy a blog on digital signatures? Because you asked!

Or to be more precise, because for years, AIIM members have turned out in large numbers to learn about digital signatures from AIIM webinars, seminars, and reports. Six hundred people registered for the last AIIM digital signature webinar in September—that’s big. And that followed another six hundred from the May webinar.

My goal in this blog series is to cover a wide range of topics and issues relating to digital signatures. –Including posts on using digital signatures with SharePoint and other DM/ECM systems.

I've been working in the software industry for more than two decades as a developer and marketer. So I'll use my engineering skills to help us crack the digital signature puzzles, and my marketing skills to bring you the information in a clear and systematic way.  I do work at CoSign, a leading vendor of digital signature software and hardware. But my focus will be on digital signature technology itself. My thanks to Bryant Duhon, our AIIM Editor and Community Manager, for his help in nurturing the AIIM blogging community.

Let's get started by discussing a basic question about digital signatures: Why is there so much interest by AIIM members in the subject?

Interest in digital signatures has been percolating for a while now as a result of several trends.

First, content creation has been on-line for many years now. (When was the last time you saw a typewriter in the office?)

Second, content storage and search have also migrated on-line from the filing cabinet. And the lower costs of computing coupled with the rise of SharePoint and other ECM systems, as well as the expertise of AIIM members, have all played important parts in this digital transformation.

But a key step, the wet signature—which came into wide-spread use during the Renaissance, with its rise in literacy—has often remained the same. We know there is a better way, and we want to know more about it. The result: on-going and rising interest in digital signatures.

The good news is that switching to digital signatures has never been easier or more of a financial imperative than it is now. What’s more, your competitors are often making the switch, so if you don’t make the move yourself, you could be left behind.

As AIIM reported in its 2013 survey of digital signature practices,  81 percent of the digital signature projects achieved ROI (return on investment) in 12 months or less. And 25 percent of the projects achieved ROI in 3 months or less. That’s huge! Savings came from faster processes due to eliminating the steps needed to sign and file documents, using less paper, postage, fewer courier services, and more.

There are many “soft benefits” in addition to the dollars and cents savings of digital signatures: people like the technology. Your employees, customers, and clients will appreciate the benefits of signing on-line. No more printing, no more scanning, faster searches.

I'll sign off now. But please use the comments to let me know your digital signature-related questions and comments.

Photo by Sebastien Wiertz

3 comments
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Tag

  • digital signature
  • electronic signature
  • esignature
  • SharePoint
  • signature

Comments

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12-15-2013 01:56

Hi Mohamed,
Thank you for your comment and suggestion. I agree about digital signatures and SharePoint and will work on that. Here's a follow-up question: what document/data types do you think need to be most often signed on SharePoint? PDF? Word/Excel? InfoPath forms? SharePoint List items?
Thanks,
Larry

12-11-2013 09:58

great post! could you possibly share some knowledge around implementing the Digital Signature technology in SharePoint 2010 or 2013, what tools need to be integrated and how much effort required? thanks