As our ways of doing business become more and more digital, paper document streams are increasingly unproductive and slow down the overall processes on which financial organizations spend lots of money optimizing. On the other hand, with increased digital document exchange, how can your clients really be sure that the invoice they received is indeed the correct one and hasn’t been victim to fraud? Or how can you prove that a contract was signed by you?
eIDAS Regulation: the way to a unified digital market
To answer these concerns regarding digital document exchange, Europe took initiative to unify the digital market with the eIDAS Regulation as of July 2016. Europe’s eIDAS Regulation aims to increase European cross border digital exchange of information and push governments to more digital exchange with citizens. For organizations, eIDAS provides a legal framework for website authentication, digital signature, digital sealing, qualified timestamping and more.
With the legal equivalence of qualified digitally signed/sealed/timestamped documents, organizations can realize significant wins in both cost reduction and increased efficiency. This allows to take the next step in the digital transformation of the organization and increasingly work paperless: from eliminating paper archives to fully digital workflows, where print-sign-scan steps are not necessary anymore. This results in faster process execution, less paper manipulation and thus reduced costs in paper handling and valuable resource time.
The eIDAS Regulation is a major step in moving towards a single valid digital signing/sealing and authentication market, where organizations and citizens can trust the services because they follow the restrictions laid out and are regularly audited. It has the potential to impact each organization in very quick ROI cost reduction of paper archives, printing & transporting and will further accelerate digital process optimizations.
More security with a qualified digital seal
Whereas for paper documents, we often readily accept that its content is untampered and its source the proclaimed one, even though fraud with paper documents remains quite problematic in finance and insurance, e.g. invoice fraud where bank numbers are changed and then resent to their original recipients.
As a waxed stamp set on old manuscripts ensures the origin and the integrity of paper documents, a “digital seal” can now make sure that an electronic document benefits from the same trust as would its waxed paper equivalent: the receiver of such a digitally sealed document can trust that the document has not been altered and that its source is identified.
The eIDAS Regulation stipulates that a qualified electronically sealed document has the presumption of non-repudiation, so integrity of the data and the correctness of the origin are assumed. And when such a document is created with a qualified certificate valid in one European Member State, it’s valid in all. This really allows trustworthy information exchange inside each European country and cross-border throughout Europe, for virtually all documents you can imagine.
The benefits of digital sealing for finance & insurance
The European eIDAS Regulation naturally has an impact on every sector: the possibility to maintain and send electronical documents while they aren’t legally questionable based on “being digital” in this framework, has a wide range of applications.
Specifically, for the finance and insurance sector there are many benefits to find in process optimization: today, a lot of processes do still have paper components, like the bi-directional delivery of information (work sheets, bank statements, supporting documents…) on one hand and the closing of agreements on the other hand, which are often still signed on paper. These steps tend to slow down the processing of loan requests, claims etc. and provide a poor customer experience in a world where customers are expecting answers within hours instead of days.
Working with digitally sealed documents instead of paper will increase the transparency, traceability and your overall process agility and performance. For example, with invoices coming in digitally, you will save time finding and processing these invoices.
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 ECM archive.
In the nearby future requests like loans, claims and discharges will clearly be handled more efficiently through processes that record the input from/to the client/third party fully digitally: ranging from sending out documents to the digital signing of contracts. Using digital sealing with qualified certificates, the receiver of such a digitally sealed document from his bank or insurance company can be legally confident that this is indeed coming from the alleged source and this information in turn can be used in own matters, so where no paper documents are exchanged anymore.
Choosing the right partner
When choosing your partner for a digital sealing solution, there are some considerations to keep in mind such as the ease of integration with your existing document generating applications, ECM archives or communication hubs, certification levels, high availability and scalability, capacity to extend the document transformation process in the same flow, confidentiality aspects with regards to information transit, multi format support, the possibility to manage signing and sealing through the same channels etc.
Building such solutions from beginning to end entirely in-house is not really an option, unless you want to become a qualified trust service provider for your own organization. The costs involved in setup, maintenance, (re)validations and paperwork are quite important, so that this will quickly become a non-viable solution when considering the bottom-line.
Docbyte’s answer to qualified digital sealing, signing and time stamping is called DocShifter. This platform offers a flexible and modular transformation of files, designed for integration with other systems. With the DocShifter solution and its qualified trusted third party service provider, Docbyte helps organizations deliver on the promise of quick return on investment through pragmatic solutions, straightforward integrations in existing environments and overall assistance on content related process optimizations.
As still massive amounts of paper are printed within financial institutions, the eIDAS Regulation is a quick win on both cost reduction, digital transformation and increased speed of business. Through digital sealing, digital documents are recognized as meeting the same legal requirements of their paper equivalents and existing paper archives can be turned into digital archives while benefiting from cost-reduction in storage and transport on the one side. The decreasing incoming paper stream is digitalized through digital sealing upon entry in the organization, resulting in reduced paper archives and operators being able to process cases fully digital.
The integration of the sealing component in existing mailroom operations can be done smoothly using DocShifter, which can be integrated in the capture process directly. Additionally, DocShifter facilitates the setup of format transformation, watermarking overlays and more in the same implementation.
Are your outgoing digital documents not secured yet, but are you interested in joining this next step in digital transformation? Then don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email so we can contact you to talk about the possibilities we can offer you.