The flow of paper documents still plays an important role in company processes. The use of paper media is often due solely to the need to capture the handwritten signature of the competent person. Efforts to date to replace a handwritten signature with an electronic one have come up against obstacles and have failed to eliminate completely the signing of paper documents. The digitalisation of a handwritten signature is a means by which hard copy outputs and the related costs simply vanish, without any need to change established habits but while meeting the legal requirements for a written form.
A key part of the process of integrating and optimising company applications is the management of business processes, which in itself includes managing internal and external data flows and relations across the organisation (approval processes, reports). Various applications process business opportunities (contracts, orders, delivery notes, protocols) and transactions (invoices, orders), inclusive of their signing by responsible employees, suppliers and clients, and verification of identity. The preservation of transparency and control of processes represents a key part of this. The processes themselves are mostly accompanied by fairly high costs for the creation, processing, circulation and archiving of physical documents. The majority of these documents must be produced in written form, which prevents their integration and the optimal transition to paper-free electronic document flows. Processes are lengthy and ineffective.
Shortcomings of approaches to date
The methods applied to date on a base of electronic signatures cannot fully replace the physical signing of paper documents due to certain limitations, and they can even produce additional costs.
For example, a certified electronic signature, which is anchored in law as a substitute for a written form, works out inadequate for mass application from a technical perspective due to weak penetration and high costs in applications. A standard electronic signature does not have enough acknowledgement in law. A similar situation can be seen with other forms of expression of will, which would adequately and clearly prove the identity of a person that has expressed consent other than by a physical signature on paper.
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