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Digital Initials vs Digital Signatures

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

via Flickr by Kurtis GuftonAt some point in our working careers most of us have planted our initials on some form or memo to signify our approval.  Yes, I agree that purchasing this $1mm piece of equipment is a good idea – MC.  It’s not a legal issue such as when a contract requires a full signature, but it does indicate that we take responsibility for or acknowledge the contents of a document.  There is a justified need for the initials.

The legitimacy of digital signatures for legal documents has been debated in the Supreme Court and every major country in the world.  Software solutions exist and thrive providing secure digital signatures that comply with the law.  This is all positive for our economy as it makes business processes more efficient.  Here is a little hint – there’s a lot of bang for the buck replacing ink on internal forms with digital initials.

Truth be told, it may not cost anything to get the benefit of digital initials.  Digital initials isn’t some type of software solution, it’s a result of a trackable action.  Send an email around to three people asking for them to bless a decision and save the final email with all three responses – digital initials.  Have all three people open the Word file and type their initials and the current date while tracking changes – digital initials.

There are many examples of simple and free solutions that have the same basic purpose as taking out your pen and scribbling on a page.  The need for the initials can be a compliance issue or simply that the boss wants to make sure everyone has used their special knowledge to collectively make a good decision.  Whatever the reason for requiring the acknowledgement, it’s easy and provides some level of comfort.

However, some businesses or business processes may require more stringent proof than an email chain or logging in a Word file.  In those situations, a document management solution with workflow or an online form type workflow might be needed.  These solutions will have built-in tracking of user actions down to each computers IP address.  In essence, the solutions provide digital fingerprints.  These solutions also provide alerts, attached supporting documentation for easy review, mobility and productivity tracking as added benefits.

The bottom line is that business processes really don’t need a paper document routing around for internal signatures.  There are plenty of options that can provide an easier and much more efficient process.  Depending on the process, the use of workflow may have a significant ROI.  You may have just invested in a nice new fountain pen and perfected your John Hancock, but take a look around your company and see how some simple changes might have a big impact.

Millennia Group provides SaaS model workflow and document management solutions to companies looking to become more efficient.  For more information go to www.mgdocs.com or send us an email at info@mgdocs.com.