Diagram illustrating types of electronic signatures

Know your buzzwords: electronic and digital signatures

Signatures have been a part of society for almost as long as civilization itself. Whether it’s an artist proclaiming their work, a binding document that requires authority, or simply receiving a package, signatures are an accepted method of confirmation.

The evolution of cryptography and technology in recent years, means electronic signatures or e-signatures have become ever more common. Their security and convenience mean that they are replacing “wet” signatures in many contexts.

What are e-signatures?

E-signatures allow people and entities to identify and authenticate themselves, and even digitally sign electronic documents, data, and records. Much of the world – especially the business world – has moved online and this, coupled with the need to reduce paper waste has resulted in the wider use of electronic signatures.

Operating almost exclusively electronically and online is the new norm, and this has made e-signatures a crucial component of business in a post-COVID world.

Types of e-signaturesBlog Post image Digital and electronic signatures

There are many different types of e-signatures, each of which varies in terms of how they are applied, how they are captured, and what they can be used for.

A Click-to-Sign signature is the most commonly used form of electronic signature. Click-to-sign allows the user to enter a simple signature (typically a typed name or ID number, or template image signature) to acknowledge what they’ve signed and identify themselves as the signatory. These signatures are mainly for simple things like deliveries – they offer no real certification of the signee and offer very little legality or protection as it is difficult to confirm who actually signed the document.

Basic or standard electronic signatures offer a little more protection and help ensure the reliability of the signer, as they are protected with a cryptographic digital certificate, user confirmation and action (such as an OTP sent to their cell phone), and a trusted timestamp. The cryptographic digital certification ensures that the document has not been tampered with after signing, the user and action help in identity validation, and the trusted timestamp helps with the longevity of the signature.

Lastly, there are digital signatures, of which there are two types: advanced and qualified e-signatures. The terms electronic signature” and “digital signature” are often used interchangeably, however, a digital signature is a highly secure type of digital signature, and currently has the highest trust and authority for e-signatures.

An advanced electronic signature (AES) uses similar technology to standard electronic signatures but adds an extra layer of security and reliability by assigning a unique “signing key” to every signatory. This signing key links a user’s registered and verified identity to each of their signatures, allowing for proven identity.

A qualified electronic signature (QES) is slightly better than an AES, as the signer’s identity is verified by a qualified Certificate Authority when registering for the digital certificate.

Current issues with e-signatures

E-signatures have gained a lot of traction recently and some forms of e-signaturesmay even do a better job of identifying and confirming the signature of a signatory.

Some industries and authorities still do not fully accept the validity of documents signed electronically or digitally, however. This is because it can be difficult to confirm whether the correct signatory signed the document, knows that they signed it and that there was no tampering. This means that certain circumstances require the signatory to be physically present and witnessed signing the document at the time of signing.

Although AES and QES were developed to overcome these shortcomings and do it well, they are comparatively new technologies. It will still take some time to normalise their use and get them approved across the board.

That said, advances in technology, digital transformation, and the growing need to conduct business remotely and online mean that it’s only a matter of time before electronic signatures become the norm.

If you’d like to know more about how to implement digital signatures in your organization, why not contact us?


What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation” is one of those terms that people bandy about so often you feel as though you should know what it means. At the same time, it’s used so broadly that it seems almost meaningless! 

So,  what is it really about?

In short, digital transformation is the process of transforming businesses utilising digital technology – replacing manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology.

Conclude Digital Transformation

Importance of digital transformation for your organization

Whether you are a small one-person business or a large enterprise, digital transformation is a “must-do”. 

You could even argue that it is even more critical for small businesses because it will reduce the time, resources, and costs associated with labour-intensive manual work!

Read more…

The importance of Digital transformation is a big topic. To make navigating your way through it a bit easier, we have curated a list of online resources where you can learn more: 

The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation

A Framework for Digital Business Transformation

Six Stages of Digital Transformation

A Step-By-Step Guide to Digital Transformation

For example:

  • Digitising your business processes enables the kind of tracking tools that will help you monitor and improve service delivery, overall customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
  • Implementing electronic signatures will simplify your documentation and approval processes in a secure and legally binding manner. 
  • Digital marketing allows you to reach a larger audience at a lower cost while collecting valuable data and analytics about your campaign and target market.
  • An online store or makes it easier for customers to buy from you and has the added benefit of allowing youhttps://concludesa.atlassian.net/secure/BrowseProjects.jspa to track customer purchasing patterns.

Getting started: Common practices

In a post-COVID world, all organisations must adapt to how business has changed or risk falling their competitors who have embraced the “new normal”.

Digital transformation will be different for each organisation and the different challenges, demands and processes they face. However, some common practices provide a basic framework for how to approach digital transformation.  

As a starting point, you will want to consider in which areas of your organisation digitisation can help you:

  • Improve customer experience, 
  • Enhance operational agility, 
  • Empower and enable your team, and 
  • Integrate systems and processes.  

To sum up, digital transformation uses technology to improve or replace processes, increase efficiency and enables organisations to keep up with trends in a fast-paced, ever-changing digital world.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you digitally transform your organisation,
why don’t you get in touch?

Impress Your Customer Blog Image

2020 was a bit of a shocker…but it’s time to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back to business.  Here’s how you can get started… and impress your customers in 2021!

Love your customers

Your customers know when you love them.  They really do.  Have you ever dealt with a business where the staff seemed “off” or bored or not really interested in you?  If you had the choice, would you go back there?

Everyone likes to feel valued and appreciated!  Smile, be welcoming!  A little effort goes a long way in customer service and is a great way to impress your customers.

Be responsive

One of the best ways to show your customers that you love them is to be responsive!  At the very least, you need to acknowledge any contact that a customer or potential customer makes with your business. Pick up the phone, answer the email, respond to the Facebook comment or like.  People need to be acknowledged.

Make business easy

It’s really frustrating for your customers when they are trying to get a quote, find an answer, or source some information, and they have to dig around to find it.  Make it easy for your customers to navigate your website, find your phone number, or learn more about your products and pricing.  The easier it is to do business with you, the more likely it is that you will win the deal!

Making business easy is an important way to impress your customers.

Get comfortable selling online

Whether you sell physical products to consumers or focus more on sophisticated B2B solutions, doing business online is becoming more and more important.  If you are uncomfortable with it your customers will be uncomfortable doing business with you.  And guess what?  They will move to a supplier who runs a slick online operation.  The Internet and e-commerce aren’t going away any time soon.  Neither are Zoom sales presentations – after all, they are easier, more convenient, and way cheaper. 

Getting good at online business is no longer optional.  It’s a necessity.

Embrace digital signatures

Most business involves some form of documentation that requires a signature.  In the post-COVID world where we are all doing business online, digital signatures are a must.  They are easy to implement, inexpensive, more secure than wet/paper signatures, and legally binding. Talk to us about your options for an easy way to impress your customers by making your business more digitally secure.

Embrace the Cloud

No, we don’t mean the cloud of smoke above the dumpster fire that was 2020! (Haha)

Cloud computing simply means storing your data and managing your business using online tools and technologies.  Cloud technology is already pervasive – if you are using GSuite, Dropbox, Microsoft 365, or even Gmail, you are already using Cloud technologies.  They are not just for big corporates anymore – there is a wide selection of secure, simple, free, and inexpensive online tools accessible from your laptop, tablet, and phone that anyone can use.

Need help with this? Talk to us.  We’ll help you get set up.

Love what you do

You spend more time working or running your business than you spend doing anything else.  For the sake of your well-being and sanity, and that of your customers, make working FUN! 

Business doesn’t have to be as dry as sawdust. Laugh, share a funny meme, treat your staff to something small that will keep their spirits up, and, most importantly, CELEBRATE your successes. Share them loudly and publicly. There are more people rooting for you and wishing for your success than you can ever imagine.  

People are attracted to positive energy – so make a point of enjoying every moment, and you’ll be amazed at the positive impact it has on your sales pipeline!

What are you doing to make your customers love you in 2021?  Share in the comments!

Vacancy: Recruiter

The Basics


Industry
: IT – Software

Reports into:  CEO

Location:  JHB Area, remote

Role type:  Permanent

About the Role

This is an opportunity to grow in an exciting new technology start-up, operating in the recruitment industry. The incumbent will assist in building an existing recruitment business by managing key accounts and recruiting top-level technical candidates, with a view to ultimately building and managing a
team of account managers and tech recruitment specialists.

Benefits include standard company benefits, as well as the option to work remotely and write your own pay-cheque while playing a key role in establishing a new tech-based business venture.

What you will do:

  • Recruit and place candidates in the tech industry, resulting in high-quality hires for clients
  • Manage Key Accounts  and delighting our clients by developing customised solutions for their recruitment and needs
  • Develop powerful and innovative technology-based solutions