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Blockchain-based digital signatures for greater privacy and security

With more and more businesses, governments, and individuals employing blockchain technology for commerce and operations, ZorroSign stands as key addition to your technology stack. 

Whether you’re decentralizing data with web3, securing cloud or software-as-a-service (SaaS) architectures, committing to digital transformation, or elevating sustainability, our multi-chain blockchain solution is the perfect addition to your IT offerings—learn how!

If You’re Decentralizing with Web3

The idea of escaping a centralized authority managing protocols, transactions, and access was built into the World Wide Web from its earliest days

  • Web 1.0 was the initial iteration of the World Wide Web in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.  “Web 1.0 is the term used for the earliest version of the Internet as it emerged from its origins with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA),” writes Kuntal Chakraborty for Techopedia. “Experts refer to it as the ‘read-only’ web—a web that was not interactive in any significant sense.”
  • From those early static web pages, a platform model of computing soon evolved that would become Web 2.0 or the ‘social web.’  Here, interaction with growing web applications and platforms drove e-commerce and the expansion of the Internet, allowing large providers to aggregate and control much of the shared data.  This is the Internet we know today.
  • The dream of Web 3.0, however, is to break the centralization of information and democratize the Internet more to the vision of its earliest founders.  “Web3, ” claims Chris Dixon from Andreesen Horowitz in a recent article in The Economist, “combines the decentralized, community-governed ethos of web1 with the advanced, modern functionality of web2.”

“The rise of technologies such as distributed ledgers and storage on blockchain will allow for data decentralization and create a transparent and secure environment, overtaking Web 2.0’s centralization, surveillance and exploitative advertising,” writes Charles Silver in a recent Forbes article.  “Indeed, one of the most significant implications of decentralization and blockchain technology is in the area of data ownership and compensation… Web 3.0 will bring us a fairer internet by enabling the individual to be a sovereign.”

Blockchains are distributed ledger technology (DLT) leveraging cryptography—user authentication, data encryption and verification—to secure information records (blocks) distributed across peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. DLTs replicate, share, and synchronize digital data geographically spread across multiple sites (nodes), with no central data storage or administrator. They can run publicly (open) or privately (permissioned).

Perhaps most importantly, blockchains can support smart contracts—where terms, conditions, and permissions written into the digital code that require an exact sequence of events to take place to trigger the agreement of the terms mentioned in the blockchain contract. This hardwiring of contract details greatly increases speed (via automation), trust (where accuracy and backup are built into the transaction), and autonomy (as no third parties are required to mediate or control the exchange) of transactions.

As such, centralized solutions such as blockchains have immense potential to transform business contracts, real estate deals, digital rights, supply chain security and provenance, estate planning, and many other legal transactions.

And here is where ZorroSign shines! 

User Experience

We have built our digital platform from the ground up using blockchain technology.  Launched with Hyperledger Fabric, our multi-chain platform now supports the public Provenance Blockchain as well, giving our users an entirely new world of decentralized digital transactions.

Our web3 technology platform also provides identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) capabilities through a patented Z-Forensics token plus fraud prevention, user authentication, and document verification.  Web3 features such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) allow us to automate form completion for digital documents, and can improve regulatory compliance across global standards for legally enforceable digital signatures.

Paired with Provenance Blockchain—which reduces the need for third-party intermediation, drastically reducing costs and freeing up capital in financial transactions—ZorroSign’s platform promotes greater transparency and liquidity for organizations, and allows for new kinds of financial engineering and business opportunities.

If You’re Securing SaaS or Cloud Solutions

More than 90% of all cyber attacks begin with phishing but blockchain architecture, originally built for zero-trust environments, can deliver a compelling alternative to centralized databases and a strong protection against cyber attacks. How?

  • In phishing attacks that seek to steal data, blockchain presents a data architecture where no single endpoint node controls the data set. Even if an individual endpoint is hacked through phishing or other social engineering, the data set is distributed across many nodes. This decentralization of data and access means even successful phishing attacks that penetrate a blockchain endpoint only gain a small piece of system access.
  • In cyber attacks that seek to inject malware such as ransomware, the distributed nature of blockchain defeats those seeking to breach a system then holistically ransom the data files stored therein. Again, a single endpoint node might be breached, but the larger data set cannot be controlled by any one endpoint (or central authority) and so attackers cannot capture the full data set for encryption, ransom, and shutting down the network.
  • Recovery is quicker with blockchain, too. With blockchain, each endpoint node has a unique encryption key to access and write to the distributed ledger. If any one of those endpoints is successfully hacked (compromising their access key), the blockchain can simply remove distributed ledger access for that compromised key, issue the endpoint a new key, and allow that endpoint to quickly regain distributed ledger access (effectively as a new endpoint). This speedy recovery process effectively maroons any ransomware on the endpoint it attacked—ending its access and threat—while allowing the endpoint to re-engage the larger data set with a new key and without needing to pay any ransom to the attackers for restored access.

ZorroSign technology leverages the biometric capabilities of hardware endpoints to verify user identities—for example, PC and mobile device fingerprint scans, iris scans, and face recognition to ensure users are who they claim to be.

ZorroSign is proud to be the first to adopt password-less login amongst our digital signature competitors.

And ZorroSign multi-factor authentication (MFA) provides maximum security, as before a user can sign a document, our platform can validate multiple dimensions of authentication based upon your transaction security needs: What you know (i.e., your ZorroSign login password ), what you have (e.g., your laptop or mobile device), who you are (e.g., biometrics such as fingerprints or eye iris on the device securing who can access it), etc.

ZorroSign has further elevated our security through our patented fraud detection technology we call the Z-Forensics token, our unique digital solution that can:

  • Prove that the individual who is performing the action to sign the document is who they claim to be (verification); 
  • Apply a digital equivalent of a wet-ink signature to the document (legal intent); and, 
  • Prove the authenticity of the printed copy or digital version of an electronically signed document, its content, attachments, and the signatures on it (authenticity).

Unlike any other digital signature solution, ZorroSign seals all your documents with our Z-Forensics token—capturing the complete audit trail and accompanying attachments and signature workflow. The token is encrypted and contains all the details about the transaction: Time stamps, user authentication, documents and attachments.

And like your SaaS solutions, ZorroSign’s SaaS model can be deployed in various cloud configurations, making it seamless to integrate into your existing platform as a public, private, hybrid, or on-premise cloud:

  • Our standard deployment is on Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud computing network
  • In our private cloud configuration, all your data and the ZorroSign application run in a private and secure cloud network dedicated to your organization
  • In a hybrid cloud configuration, your data can be stored on either ZorroSign data centers or in the private cloud, while the ZorroSign platform and applications run on their standard public cloud configurations
  • On-premise deployments require your department to manage and maintain your own data centers, but gain the benefits of unlimited API calls and total control over identity access management (IAM), data privacy and security, and data integrity processes

If You’re Committed to Digital Transformation

For years, organizations have steadily moved more and more of their operations to digital data and delivery. Such advances save time and effort, automate key processes, and drive greater efficiency and effectiveness. With digital transformation, customers or constituents can receive services faster and gain self-service options, and employees get more time to work on the most important projects.

“Digital transformation is no longer an option, but an imperative,” notes the Harvard Business Review. “Recent research from Accenture has found that in the three years prior to 2018, firms who led their industry in enterprise technology adoption grew two times faster than laggards. Today, they are growing five times faster. The risk is no longer merely getting left behind, but being eliminated altogether.”

For organizations leveraging digital data, apps and SaaS, IoT, or any of the multitude of other digital solutions, adding ZorroSign can be an important consideration.

To transact business, commerce, government, or individual trade in such a digital ecosystem also requires legally enforceable digital signatures to prove agreement and intent. Our multi-chain blockchain platform delivers such digital signatures and ensures the digital chain-of-custody necessary to successfully defend digital signatures in a court of law.

And by digitizing paper-based workflows, ZorroSign’s digital signature and document management platform can decrease costs, reduce errors, and increase productivity across digital operations . . . a massive benefit for any organization committed to digital transformation!

If You’re Focused on Sustainable Business

Digital operations also eliminate paper so “going green” with paperless operations may readily align to your IT organization’s corporate social responsibility goals or vision. 

At ZorroSign, we help IT organizations deliver paperless operations. We all understand that switching from doing business using paper to digital records is not only a smart business decision, but it is also good for the environment. Each time you use ZorroSign to digitally transact agreements, contracts, and other documents—instead of printing, faxing, scanning, shipping documents overnight to collect signatures—you save trees and water, plus reduce carbon emissions.

Further, ZorroSign is dedicated to advancing sustainability while advancing new technologies, promoting a paperless life and leading sustainability programs that support environmental conservation. The company’s Save-a-Tree, Plant-a-Tree program, for example, plants a tree on behalf of customers every time they save 8,000 pages of copy paper. As one tree produces roughly 8,000 pages of copy paper, this amounts to a double incentive: Reducing the destruction of trees via reduced paper use, plus increasing the number of trees as a reward for reducing paper use.

For all these reasons and more, if you are using blockchain technologies—or planning to in 2023—consider ZorroSign as a strong complement to your technology stack!  You can start with a free 14-day trial to see what we can deliver or contact us to learn more!

Innovation awards

With new technologies constantly coming to market, companies must make an effort to be innovate in order to stay relevant and not get left behind. 

ZorroSign is committed to continuous technology innovation and our achievements have been recognized with the following awards over the past year:

Then, in June 2022, ZorroSign was recognized as the “Most Innovative Blockchain Company from Sri Lanka” by APAC Business Headlines. The award celebrates ZorroSign’s software development team in Sri Lanka as they lead innovation in blockchain technologies for the company’s global customers.

ZorroSign was awarded a gold Stevie in the Blockchain Solution category at the 18th Annual International Business Awards at the end of 2021. We were also recognized with two bronze Stevie® Awards for Company of The Year – Computer Software and Most Innovative Tech Company of The Year.

According to the judges, ZorroSign “pushes the needle on innovation,” demonstrates “great use of blockchain and Hyperledger to solve signature issues,” is “one of the few companies that are able to use blockchain technology to solve a real business problem,” and declares, “blockchain is the future of digital signature.”

We could not be more proud of this recognition and the Stevie judges’ comments!

APAC Business Headlines

APAC Business Headlines praised ZorroSign’s commitment to delivering superior privacy and security, as well as the company’s ability to make a difference through sustainable practices.  You can read the magazine article at https://www.apacbusinessheadlines.com/Blockchain-2-web-version/ZorroSign/

Insights Success

And in July 2022, ZorroSign announced our appearance on Insights Success cover as one of the “Ten Most Innovative FinTech Solution Providers in 2022.”

Insights Success celebrated ZorroSign’s multi-chain blockchain platform as a groundbreaking solution in financial technologies and driving force for blockchain and web3.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by Insights Success and counted amongst the most innovative fintech solutions providers today,” said Shamsh Hadi, co-founder and CEO of ZorroSign, Inc. “As most financial service providers currently deploy legacy technologies, the opportunity for early adopters to leap ahead with blockchain solutions—such as ZorroSign—becomes an asset and key competitive advantage.”

ZorroSign continues to create and use new technologies, driving both industry innovation and greater sustainability. On August 15th we will be launching our completely redesigned next generation platform—including upgrades to our user experience, user interface, new features, security, compliance and system updates.

Contact us to learn more . . . or start your free trial to put our innovative digital signature software to the test!

Global ZorroSign
(Originally published on LinkedIn by Shamsh Hadi, CEO and Co-Founder of ZorroSign)

Last year, I shared how ZorroSign’s early roots in Dubai, UAE, helped us grow into an international company. I want to update that theme today and talk about ZorroSign’s role as a global company providing global solutions that improve data democratization, privacy, and security.

As CEO and co-founder of ZorroSign, I have dedicated my career to advancing technology while simultaneously advancing sustainability:  Ensuring the new technologies we bring to market elevate information privacy, data security, and data democratization while not coming at the expense of future generations.

At ZorroSign, we saw very early a market need to push past web2 solutions for digital signatures and digital transactions—escaping centralized information architectures that consolidate data with a provider (and expose that data to the risks of single-point-of-failure cyber-attacks) while simultaneously pulling data ownership away from users (to be housed and monetized by the web2 provider). Alternatively, ZorroSign empowers our users by deploying web3 solutions that decentralize data and ensure users will always own their documents and transaction metadata—even after their subscriptions with us end.

Dubai Start, Dubai Strong

As a long-time resident of Dubai, I was greatly inspired by the Digital City Vision—Smart Dubai of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. ZorroSign’s technology very purposefully supports Dubai’s paperless initiatives for Digital Dubai and helps to advance Dubai’s leadership in digital operations, specifically focused on:

  • Security—providing superior digital privacy and security by leveraging a private, permissioned blockchain technology
  • Digital Signatures—a platform that is easy-to-use and legally compliant to global standards
  • Chain of Custody—delivering immutable records of every step of every digital transaction: Authenticating users, securing data, and verifying documents for legal enforceability
  • Advancing UAE’s 10 Principles for the Next 50 Years—specifically helping Dubai to build the best and most dynamic economy in the world; defining new UAE development with digital, technical, and scientific excellence; and promoting a value system based on openness and tolerance

Initially, our company served government departments in UAE but soon grew into an international business—helping people to build, sign, store, and track mission-critical documents on the blockchain in Sri Lanka, India, and the United States.

Last year, ZorroSign was named Blockchain SaaS Innovator of the Year at the UAE Business Awards 2021, then at the turn of the year, Unlock News Desk showcased a story on UAE Based ZorroSign introducing six new features to our blockchain platform.

This spring, Tech Channel wrote a great article on ZorroSign making waves in digital signature space using blockchain technology, and TahawulTech.com interviewed me on how ZorroSign helps tackle identity theft on our now multi-chain blockchain platform.

And most recently, ZorroSign was highlighted in a Zawya article for UAE businesses and a TECHx article on ZorroSign’s mission to provide businesses across the Middle East with seamless integration of document management and secure digital signature solutions.

I am incredibly proud of our continued success in my home town, and while ZorroSign expands our global presence, the UAE and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries will be a strategic market for us.

Success in South Asia

From the start, ZorroSign has had close ties with the south Asia countries of India and Sri Lanka. While operations started in Dubai, our development center of excellence has always been in Colombo!

Our blockchain architecture was conceived, coded, and cultivated entirely in Sri Lanka with a vision to provide global customers with the ability to securely transform paper-based workflows to digital operations. I could not be prouder of our Sri Lanka team, and though they are struggling through that beautiful country’s difficult political and economic crisis, they have proven again and again the resilience and tenacity of their engineering genius.

Recently, APAC Business Headlines recognized the ZorroSign team as the “Most Innovative Blockchain Company from Sri Lanka” for 2022! The award validates the hard work of our center of excellence team, and further proves blockchain’s prominence on the global stage.

This recognition followed our 2021 success where the International Business Awards® named ZorroSign a Gold Stevie® Award Winner for Blockchain Solutions. The Stevie’s are the world’s premier business awards program, where in 2021 more than 3,700 nominations from organizations across 63 nations and territories—of all sizes and in virtually every industry—were submitted for recognition. We were delighted to be awarded a gold Stevie for our blockchain solution and to be recognized as a Company of the Year, and Most Innovative Tech Company of the Year. Most flattering, the judges were quick to note that ZorroSign is “one of the few companies that are able to use blockchain technology to solve a real business problem” . . . a strong endorsement of our digital signature technology, built on blockchain, and paired with identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) and patented fraud detection, to authenticate users and verify documents across digital transactions.

Tackling North American Markets

As a U.S. citizen who has lived in Canada, China, and the UAE at various times over the past forty years, my goal was always to return home and bring ZorroSign’s blockchain solutions to North American users.

In August 2020, we opened our global operations hub in Phoenix, Arizona—ushering in a new phase of business growth. We quickly established local partnerships with Arizona State University, Grand Canyon State University, the Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Technology Council, City of Phoenix, Global Chamber®, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, and many other incredible organizations!

And we’ve engaged government agencies, financial services providers, IT businesses (and departments), legal services firms, real estate companies, and several other verticals to prove the value of a paperless life and the most private, secure, compliant digital transactions hosted on blockchain. Early adopters of our web3 solutions are excited to embrace ZorroSign’s robust platform to advance their digital operations and gain a competitive advantage in a market place still dominated by legacy, web2 technologies.

Global Privacy and Security Compliance

Our unique combination of blockchain architecture, web3 technologies, artificial intelligence/machine learning, and patented fraud prevention grants ZorroSign compliance across many international standards for privacy and security.

The list continues to grow as we expand our markets, but already includes:

  • Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)
  • Canada’s Uniform Electronic Commerce Act (UECA)
  • The European Union’s Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for data privacy and security
  • EU’s electronic IDentification, Authentication and trust Services (eIDAS) regulation
  • India’s Information Technology Act 2000 (IT Act of India)
  • International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) No. 3402, Type II audited
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001 certified
  • PDF Advanced Electronic Signatures (PAdES) is a set of restrictions and extensions to PDF and ISO 32000-1
  • The UAE’s Federal Law No. 1 of 2006 regarding Electronic Transactions and E-Commerce granting electronic signatures legal force and effect
  • The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) SOC 2 Type I audit
  • USA’s California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
  • USA’s Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) encryption standards
  • USA’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
  • USA’s Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign Act)
  • USA’s FDA Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations; Electronic Records; Electronic Signatures
  • USA’s Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • USA’s Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA)

I am proud of all ZorroSign has achieved for our international customers and incredibly excited about some big announcements later this summer! ZorroSign is truly a global company delivering global solutions, and we are not resting on our laurels—the best is yet to come.

Contact us to learn more . . . or start your free trial to put our digital signature software to the test!

The Arizona Technology Council and Phoenix Business RadioX are proud to host monthly podcasts on technology events, forecasts, issues, and trends. For the July 27th podcast, hosts Karen Nowicki and Steven Zylstra invited experts from DocSolid, OnStream Software, and ZorroSign to discuss how digital transformation can reimagine customer interactions.

Steve Irons of DocSolid, Tiffany Ma of OneStream Software, and Kristen Harder of ZorroSign spoke on the importance of digital transformation for businesses, issues and obstacles businesses often encounter when moving to digital, how DocSolid, OneStream, and ZorroSign help companies transition from paper-based operations to digital, business benefits beyond faster digital processes, future trends, and predictions for the next ten years of digital transformation.

You can find and listen to the AZ TechCast from July 27 at https://businessradiox.com/podcast/phoenixbusinessradio/digital-transformation-of-operational-workflows-e28/

AZ TechCast
July 27 Podcast on Digital Transformation

Earlier this month, on December 5, 2018, the 21st Century IDEA (Act) passed in the US House of Representative and December 12, 2018 it passed the Senate. On the 20th of December 2018, the President of the United States signed the “21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act” or the “21st Century IDEA” bill into law. We discussed this in a blog article speculating what it means and its impact on business. The passage of this bill is a tremendous milestone particularly for the Digital signature and digital transaction management industry and represents rather progressive “forward” thinking of our country’s leaders. The law addresses issues with regard to:

 

  • Website Modernization
  • Digitization of Government Services and Forms
  • Plan to Increase use of Digital Signatures within Federal Agencies
  • Improving Customer Experience and Digital Services Delivery

 

With this new legislation, the ability to conduct all of your government business via digital technology is closer than ever before. 21st Century IDEA, will position the US Government to be a fully digital public sector operation, potentially in the next few years.

 

The goal of the 21st Century IDEA legislation is to enhance the digital services within the federal government. Accelerating the federal government’s ability to improve digital service delivery and customer experience. The 21st Century IDEA will:

 

  • Enhance federal agency websites, making them mobile friendly, and establishing minimum standards.
  • Transition from paper-based forms to electronic transactions.
  • Decrease federal costs, saving taxpayers money.
  • Increase efficiency and productivity of federal employees.
  • Promote the use of Digital signatures standards established via the eSign Act.
  • Reinforce the validity of Digital signatures.
  • Decrease use of paper, and potentially decrease human error by digitizing processes.

 

We think there are two areas of significant impact that beg to be called out here.

 

Workflow Automation and Business Process Optimization

 

With the passage of this bill, there will be even greater emphasis on enhancing business process optimization and using workflow automation. The digitization will create opportunity to revisit how we run our operations, how we handle approvals, how we manage storage and tracking of information, how we handle inquiries and how we provide service to the constituents in the front office and how we handle everything else in the back office. Digital signature is just one part of the complete Digital Transaction Management system which will be a core enabling technology. An added benefit of going digital is the business savings of time, cost and efficiency. Check out our blog article of complete business impact of going digital.

 

Environmental Benefits of 21st Century IDEA

 

Imagine what the approximately 800,000 federal employees do every day. Add millions of State and local government employees to this list and then add all the millions of private companies that interact and do business with all the government agencies and programs. Now imagine how much paper is used every day, printers, ink, and storing of those files and documents. On average about 3 Gallons of water is required to produce one page of copy paper, 1.5 Gallons if recycled water is used. The magnitude of positive impact on the environment is tremendous. Water, trees, and Carbon footprint. Checkout ZorroSign’s Environmental Savings Calculator (a part of its Paperless Life initiative) to estimate the environmental impact this law will have.

 

Checkout our complete review of the environmental impact of going digital in this blog article.

 

ZorroSign is excited for the 21st Century IDEA to be implemented so we can start to see the digital transformation within the government. This marks a fundamental shift in Government to consumer customer experience. ZorroSign would like to thank and recognize all of the cosponsors of this legislation for a bipartisan job well done: Rep. Ratcliffe, John [R-TX-4], Rep. Kelly, Robin L. [D-IL-2], Rep. Russell, Steve [R-OK-5], Rep. Connolly, Gerald E. [D-VA-11], Rep. McMorris Rodgers, Cathy [R-WA-5], Rep. Krishnamoorthi, Raja [D-IL-8], Rep. Fitzpatrick, Brian K. [R-PA-8], Rep. Raskin, Jamie [D-MD-8], Rep. Costello, Ryan A. [R-PA-6], Rep. Watson Coleman, Bonnie [D-NJ-12], Rep. Hunter, Duncan D. [R-CA-50], Rep. Lawrence, Brenda L. [D-MI-14], Rep. Comstock, Barbara [R-VA-10], Rep. Eshoo, Anna G. [D-CA-18], Rep. Curtis, John R. [R-UT-3], Rep. Swalwell, Eric [D-CA-15], Rep. Stefanik, Elise M. [R-NY-21], Rep. Walker, Mark [R-NC-6], Rep. Ross, Dennis A. [R-FL-15], Rep. Faso, John J. [R-NY-19]. Read the entire bill here.

 

ZorroSign is the pioneer of the Digital signature technology which was instrumental in passage of the eSign Act in June of 2000. President Clinton also signed the bill into law using the technology invented by one of ZorroSign’s co-founders. That is a matter of pride for our team. ZorroSign not only uses the real true electronic code to sign documents it is also an enterprise-grade Digital Transaction Management platform built from the ground up using Blockchain with security and privacy at the core of its philosophy and design. With ZorroSign There is the added benefit of its proprietary document tampering and signature forgery detection system. With ZorroSign, documents are not only signed with real Digital signature, use of biometrics, and full automation, the Government can also ensure, verify and validate the sanctity of electronically signed digital documents for the life of the document.

 

ZorroSign is idiosyncratically poised to aid executive agency leaders to convey their proposal to the OMB and Congress and federal agencies in order to meet their 180-day requirement to demonstrate how their agency will increase the use of Digital signatures.

 

ZorroSign looks forward to using our industry and subject matter experts to help executive agencies identify their plans to meet the June 2019 deadline to submit their plan on accelerating the use of Digital signatures within their agencies. For consultative discussion, federal agencies can email [email protected] for immediate assistance.

 

Read more on how ZorroSign Supports the 21st Century IDEA for government agencies here.

Throughout history the US government has flourished by staying at the forefront of technological advances. In recent years, however, the slow adoption of digital services within the government to consumer business process has many people frustrated. Ever wish you could conduct all of your government business via digital technology? If so, the “21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act” also known as the ‘‘21st Century IDEA”, will be of great interest to you.

 

The goal of the 21st Century IDEA legislation is simply to enhance the digital services within the federal government. Accelerating the federal government’s ability to improve digital service delivery and customer experience. The President’s Management Agency previously reported that there were greater than 23,000 unique forms within the federal government, leading to an estimated 11.4 billion hours spent on paperwork per year. This leads to a poor customer experience and increased cycle time.

 

The 21st Century Idea Act will:

 

  • Modernize the digital government experience.
  • Enhance federal agency websites, making them mobile friendly, and establishing minimum standards.
  • Transition from paper-based forms to electronic transactions.
  • Decrease federal costs, saving taxpayers money.
  • Increase efficiency and productivity of federal employees.
  • Promote the use of Digital signature standards established via the eSign Act.
  • Promote the use of Digital signatures and reinforce their validity.
  • Decrease use of paper, and potentially decrease human error by digitizing processes.

 

ZorroSign supports and is excited for the 21st Century IDEA to be passed so we can start to see the digital transformation within the government. We encourage Congress to act swiftly and sign this legislation into law no later than first quarter 2019. This will mark a fundamental shift in Government to consumer customer experience.

 

At the time this article was written, 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (bill S.3050), was just placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders, Calendar No. 723. Read the entire bill here.

 

Update on December 22, 2018.

On the 20th of December 2018, the President of the United States signed the “21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act” or the “21st Century IDEA” bill into law. We have written a follow up blog article offering what the bill entails and most importantly what it means in term of its technology, implementation and business and environmental impact.

 

Read more on how ZorroSign Supports the 21st Century IDEA for government agencies here.

A document is sent out as an email attachment asking the recipient to “sign it and send it back.” A new hire packet is sent out for acknowledgement and signature with 52 pages in it. A sales contract is sent out for approvals to multiple people before it goes to the customer. A real estate transaction requires multiple people sign a huge stack of papers. Non-disclosure agreements, invoices, service agreements, and consent forms; they all are sent out for signatures and approvals. All of these “business transactions” involve 2 or more individuals to sign. Most of these cases result in Print-Sign-Scan or Ship then Print-or-Copy-and-store away. A number of businesses have started using some form of eSignature solution but still insist on printing a copy for backup. With average document retention policy being 7 years, office floors are lined with huge steel file cabinets. On average one office worker uses roughly 9000 sheets of copy paper in a single year.

 

In this article I will focus on environmental impact of using physical paper for all such business transactions. In the next installment, I will cover the analysis of hard cost associated with using paper.

 

Trees or Wood

It is estimated that one tree produces roughly between 8000 and 8333 (average 8166) regular copy paper. Considering that most of the world uses A4 size paper, the number would be close to 8000 or less. This number assumes a certain size of tree. It does not take into consideration many other types of trees with varied shapes and sizes. Assuming 8166 pages per tree, an office of 100 employees would use about 113 trees worth of paper each year which amounts to roughly 1.25 MM lbs (569.5 kg) of wood each year. As you can see how quickly these numbers add up.

 

Water

It is estimated that a paper manufacturing plant would use about 3 gallons of non-recycled water to produce one sheet of copy paper or 1.5 gallons of recycled water. Using the example of wood usage above, a typical office of 100 employees would be responsible for using roughly 2.77 MM gallons of water per year to use all that office paper.

 

Carbon Emission

Calculating Carbon footprint for a life of a copy paper (from a tree getting chopped off, going through the manufacturing process, to distribution) is a very difficult task due to the complex nature of all the processes involved. The fact that every paper manufacturer produces a wide variety of paper products adds to this complexity. However, one factor that makes it easy to estimate Carbon emission is the fuel consumption during transportation of documents for signature. This means trucks, cars, and airplanes used by the courier services like FedEx. Based on the above example, this single office would be responsible for roughly 629 tons of Carbon emission per year.

 

How Can You Help?

Consider living a Paperless Life! Step 1 is to know how much you could be saving based on your current use of paper. ZorroSign has developed an Environmental Savings Calculator which lets users estimate how many trees, how much water consumption can be saved, and how much carbon emissions can be avoided in less miles driven by going paperless. In the calculator, simply enter the number of documents your company sends out for signature and number of documents your company signs every week – and the calculator will show you estimated savings per year in terms of trees, water, Carbon emission, time, and cost.

 

According to SBE Council, there are over 5.8 million employer firms in the United States and firms with fewer than 500 workers account for 99 percent of all businesses. If all those businesses convert even 25% of their paper document transactions to all-digital it could mean tremendous reduction in number of trees saved, reduction in water consumption, and a significant reduction in the Carbon footprint.

 

Managing documents is work. When documents are a part of a business transaction, the work involves collecting signatures and its work with direct money on the line. Whether you’re dealing with physical paper documents, fully digital, or somewhere in between, document-based transactions involve a process or workflow. It’s time consuming and error prone and it could cost an entire deal if not done correctly the first time.

 

For ease of use and to save money organizations are moving to digital documents instead of paper-print-sign-scan-fax-manila folder system. Therefore, more and more people are adopting eSignature and Digital Transaction Management (DTM) systems to help with all that. Not all eSignature solution providers offer a robust DTM system that can handle creating or configuring workflows that your business requires.

 

Using a DTM system, when you create a workflow you are defining a set of actions that each person involved in the workflow has to take in a particular sequence with dependencies. Imagine two people co-signing a loan and then the bank signs the documents at the end indicating their approval. That’s a workflow. If you are using a DTM system or are looking to purchase one, here are 9 things you should be doing with your DTM system.

 

Define document and user-specific workflows.

 

There are essentially two types of basic workflows. The first one is where a document gets executed over and over again and each time with different people, companies, and dates. For example, everytime a Non-Disclosure Agreement or a standard sales contract is sent out for signatures, the recipient, date, value are different each time but the rest of the document stays unchanged.

 

The second type of workflow is when a business process requires the same people to sign any set of documents every time. Suppose you have a company policy that invoices (from any vendor) over $5000 that must be approved by the CFO and the CEO before they are paid out. With DTM you should be able to create an automated workflow that can handle this process regardless of who the vendor is, what the document might look like, the number of pages, and how many places people have to sign.

 

Define your document signing process.

 

What does your document signing process look like? Well-designed document workflows will help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your work. Create your signature easily, upload your documents and then execute the signing process. This could be as simple as numbering the sequence of signers inside the document and specifying what actions they have to take (Check a box, sign, date). You should be able to simply sequence the signatures and dates and that makes the document signing process to easy as 1-2-3.

 

Define templates for multi-use.

 

In your business you have business transactions that require special or custom handling or one-off documents like a sales contract that is so different from deal to deal that you don’t recognize it as “the” contract. Then you have business transactions that can be completed with the same set of documents with little variations such as who signs it, date, and the value of the deal. You probably already have a template that you use every time you have to execute one of those transactions.

 

With a DTM system like the ZorroSign, you can convert your document templates into digital templates with full features such as wizard-like interface for you to complete a transaction. You can also define expiration dates and how many days you want to give people to sign each document. Let’s take a very simple example of again a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Every time you must execute this document its the same document with only the name of the people involved, company, and date. NDA is an ideal document to convert into a template. Other examples we have seen people convert into templates using ZorroSign are rental agreements, consent forms, and new hire packets.

 

In the attempt to never go back to paper again, we refer to Abby Lawson who writes ‘The Ultimate Guide to Going Paperless’.

 

Build and Organize a template library.

 

Now that you know how to build a template out of your frequently used documents, you can build an entire library of those for everyone at the company to use. A good DTM system will allow you to organize your templates library into departments and divisions and assign individuals to a department and assign permissions based on roles and responsibilities.

 

The Balance outlines the workflow using templates and following through.

 

Documents should be protected

 

With pen-and-paper documents you can easily detect forgery of signature or tampering of documents. It is natural to expect the same level of protection from your digital documents when you go paperless.

 

ZorroSign’s Document DNA-based 4n6 (Forensics) Token provides the same level of detection of fraud and forgery. When building your workflow or your templates make sure to place this token at the end of every workflow and you can have the peace of mind that your documents are protected even when you have share them with a third party by printing them or sending them as PDF.

 

Full automation saves time, money and avoids errors.

 

Computer software can improve workflows by automating document routing and processing. It can also connect one or more systems by providing interfaces between different applications by integrating the workflows using ZorroSign API. Automate your workflow with one touch, assign the right people and you’re done. With automation comes savings of time and money. By specifying conditions and rules you can avoid costly errors that people make when executing documents. The Director of Product Strategy, Sam Thorpe writes of how important it is to digitize your life.

 

Create folders and subfolders.

 

As the number of documents grow so does the time it takes to manage them and search for them. You can organize your documents into folders and subfolders. Ever have a document that belonged in multiple folders? With the smart tagging system now a single file can be placed into multiple folders without making a copy of the document.

 

Clear rules help identify bottlenecks and rejected documents.

 

As you build your workflows and templates and as those documents and templates get executed you will need to make sure people are signing and taking actions on those documents on time. A DTM system will at any time tell you where the bottlenecks are in your workflow and how fast the document is moving, when its pending, when it’s done, rejected or expired. With automated notifications, status and bottleneck indicators you can automate-and-forget.

 

Create a team environment.

 

Get workflow participants involved in the improvement campaign. Observe their interactions with the system. Get their ideas for possible improvements. Develop a flowchart that they agree with, and test the new workflows. Take it from the CMO of ZorroSign, Akbar Jaffer – read all about the trials and tribulations of running an efficient business.

Did you know that simply using electronic signature for your business is insufficient when it comes to security of your signature and documents, and also for automating your business processes? If at any point you are scanning, printing, or mailing business documents, you have an incredible opportunity to automate all of that, eliminate paper, save tons of time and money, and close deals within hours instead of days. Companies that are looking to optimize their businesses, automate mundane tasks and become efficient, eSignature and DTM are key to digital transformation.

We are just getting started with digital transformation. Over 65% of businesses are still conducting various document based transactions using paper and pen.  People are still printing, signing, scanning, copying, FedEx-ing, and storing piles of signed documents and contracts in manila folders. Every dental office has a wall of shelf with mountains of manila folders with colored tags sticking out. And the list goes on.

DTM is a category of technology solution available either in the Cloud, via integration, or on-premise that is designed to digitally manage document-based transactions. DTM aims to automate and streamline cumbersome and time-consuming inefficient process of business transactions that involve people, documents, and data. It promises to create faster, easier, more convenient, and secure paper-less processes.

According to Aragon Research, a leading B2B technology research firm, the race to digital starts with making document-based transactions fully digital. Digital Transaction Management (DTM) is often the catalyst for the start of digital transformation, helping enterprises to operate faster.  The research report published by Aragon Research offers great insight for SMB and large organizations and what to look for when evaluating eSignature and advanced DTMsolutions available in the market. The report covers following key insights.

  1. Automating Paper Transactions
  2. Basic DTM Gives Way to More Advanced Capabilities
  3. Use of Electronic and Biometric signatures
  4. Workflow and Content Automation
  5. Mobility
  6.  

ZorroSign is recognized by Aragon Research as hot vendor in Digital Transaction Management. ZorroSign is considered an advanced DTM solution because of its innovative product, unique technology, bank-grade security, lead in mobile biometrics, and robust enterprise-grade automation engine.

Download full research paper here for free.

As we become a truly mobile and digital society, soon all paper-based business transactions will be the thing of the past. Digital Transaction Management (DTM) is leading the charge of this digital transformation.  As businesses strive to remain competitive not only in products and services but also in operations, user experience, and more, they need a simple yet robust way to convert their business transactions into truly paperless. This move is incredibly advantageous and lucrative for organizations.

Here are some of the more significant and tangible advantages of going digital by using a complete DTM solution.

  • Be efficient through automation
  • Eliminate errors
  • Save time
  • Reduce cost
  • Realize revenue (close deals) faster
  • Realize more revenue (in many cases)
  • Be environmentally friendly
  • Deliver great user experience
  • Truly embrace mobile
  • Be compliant to standards, regulations, and legal requirements
  • Take advantage of latest security and privacy technologies

In addition to all the benefits, it makes total business sense to cater to the ever-so-digital and mobile customer base. Majority of the millennials won’t do business with a vendor unless they can interact completely using just their mobile devices and can take advantage of Social Media.  They are comfortable storing their credit card and social security numbers in an online profile with multiple vendors. They are completely trusting to conduct thousands of dollars of transactions by signing their name on a digital paper on a mobile phone.

 

DTMs are still in their infancy and they are already delivering tremendous benefits. Advanced DTMs are event more robust, secure, and extremely efficient. We are just getting started with our Digital Transformation.

Electronic Signature was first invented back in the mid 90’s. After President Bill Clinton signed the Digital Signature Act into law in 2000, it’s popularity has been growing both, in the Point of Sale (POS) systems and for signing documents.  Since then there have been multiple generational advancements made to the eSignature technology. Today, eSignature or ‘electronic signature’ is part of our normal business vocabulary.

 

However, as the #Digital movement gave birth to ‘Digital Transformation,’ organizations quickly realized that in order to truly become paperless, eSignature alone is not enough, when it comes to managing business transactions that involve documents and signatures.

 

A December 2015 report by Aragon Research, Aragon Research Tech Spectrum for Digital Transaction Management, estimates that fewer than 12% of all document processes were fully digital in 2015—but predicts that 65% of enterprises will retire legacy paper-based processes in favor of those based on DTM by 2017[1].

 

This realization comes with the understanding that every business transaction has a ‘document signing ceremony’ associated to it.  This includes all types of loans, real estate transactions, legal notices, insurance transactions, agreements, and contracts to name  a few. In order to go completely digital there needs to be a way to support all different types of document signing ceremonies.

 

This gave birth to the notion of Digital Transaction Management or DTM. DTM is governed by the xDTM Standard, which is a foundational set of criteria for managing digital transactions. At the core, a DTM system includes electronic signature component, an automation engine, workflow management, and some basic security features.

 

An Advanced DTM however extends the core DTM functionality to a much robust and secure enterprise level.  An advanced DTM solution includes a document management system, rules and policy engine, adherence and compliance to various laws and regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, and Document Retention Policies, and filling out forms. Lastly, there are provisions for security, privacy, authenticity, legality, and trust for managing document-based transactions.

 

Here is a list of key components that make up an Advanced DTM solution.

  1. Electronic Signature
  2. Post-execution fraud Protection (paper and digital documents)
  3. Full audit trail
  4. Document Management System
  5. Content Automation, Workflow Management, and Rules Engine
  6. Intelligent Forms
  7. Security, Trust, and Compliance
  8. Advanced Security and Biometrics

 

To bring about complete and true digital transformation of their business, organizations must consider full implementation of an Advanced Digital Transaction Management Solution.