Pooja Patil
by
Pooja Patil

Sustainable and ethical business practices are suitable for the people, your business, and the planet. Embracing values like transparency, healthfulness, diversity, and environmental stewardship can help organizations attract and retain talent, stay ahead of government regulations, grow customer loyalty, and foster economic well-being and market growth. They often go hand-in-hand with practices increasing business efficiency, productivity, and agility.

For most organizations, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues have become a growing concern. It has not only spurred ethical and regulatory compliance requirements but also increased customer demands.

A third of all global customers now prefer to buy from brands they believe are doing environmental or social good.

87% of people stated that they are more likely to buy from brands that support issues they believe in, while 76% stated that they would instead not buy from brands that are on the wrong side of issues having conflict with their values.

In addressing critical ESG issues, digital transformation can be a vital tool for simplifying processes for business owners. Now that technological advancements have made it all easy to digitize operations, organizations are increasingly moving towards automation and digital tools to streamline their day-to-day processes. However, the digitization of documents is an item that still needs attention. Digitizing your documentation can do wonders for your business. Here’s everything you need to know about digital documentation and the role of digital signatures in augmenting it.

Challenges of Document Management beyond COVID-19

  • Increased need for physical storage space due to social distancing protocols
  • Considering the amount of daily paperwork businesses have to deal with and additional storage requirements due to the social distancing protocols, it has been challenging for companies to manage paper-based processes. The administrative task force must scan, print, share, and manage documents on a large scale, which acquires half of their entire working day. Moreover, physical storage accounts for additional money and time loss, as employees have to spend hours managing documents physically with an integrated risk of data loss.

  • Every four-drawer filing cabinet holds 10k to 12k documents, occupies around nine square feet of floor space, and costs $1500 yearly.

  • The more space you need, the more costs, risks, and challenges are involved.

  • Labor shortages
  • Since the COVID-19 outbreak, work schedules have immensely reformed. More people are now working from home or in a hybrid mode to adhere to the COVID-19 norms. Almost 2 years later, when employees had finally gotten into the rhythm of working from home and productivity was reaching new heights, businesses started calling their employees back to the office.

  • According to a survey, 41% of employees would rather lose their jobs than return to the workplace.

  • Right now, people prefer to work from the convenience of their homes and are willing to lose their jobs for that. As a result, companies are more likely to experience labor shortages in the coming years. Furthermore, upcoming recession rumors have made it all worse. Managing dozens of documents in such a situation is an arduous task. In addition, the delay in processing critical data and essential documents when required can cause considerable damage to your business.

  • Hybrid or staggered workforce
  • The new working models come with different challenges. For example, while your employees are working from home, you must ensure that essential documents, documented updates, letters, etc., are easily accessible to them. In addition, only authorized persons should have access to specific contracts or agreements to secure data from potential breaches. Managing documentation effortlessly and making your employees feel safe, secure, and unrestricted is the most important thing right now for businesses.

  • Document security
  • Working from anywhere in the world has become very convenient for employees with the help of newly incorporated technologies. But is it the same for businesses? It might be, but remotely having safe and secure communication and collaboration with employees is challenging. Any loss or theft of data, misplaced documents, unauthorized access to sensitive information, or data alteration can cause considerable business damage, which makes it highly crucial to maintain security in your documentation.

Digitizing documents – More important than ever

Over the past few years, digitizing documents has become more of a ‘must-have’ than a ‘nice to have.’ Therefore, reimagining how documents are processed, accessed, and stored is crucial to the success of any business. Furthermore, organizations have drastically transformed their workplaces during the last few years and have adopted an agile ideology. Consequently, it has become equally crucial to adopt a better document management system and create a more agile environment concerning documentation.

With every organization now prioritizing digitization for their business processes, the use of electronic documents and digital signatures have skyrocketed. Electronic signature solutions now provide electronic documents with end-to-end security, the same legal protection as paper-based documents, and easy cloud storage to access documents quickly and effortlessly. For example, Philippine courts will be duty-bound to accept electronic documents as evidence. There are still some documents that need physical attestation or signatures. However, the regulations to accept e-signatures and digital documentation for all business is not too far in the future.

Digital Documentation Benefits beyond COVID-19

  • Greater process efficiency
  • Digitization of manual workflows enables organizations to streamline and standardize their processes. It also helps employees save countless hours spent on repetitive administrative tasks such as tracking down incomplete forms from paper-based documents or modifying errors.

  • Robust documentation and processes
  • Digitizing your documentation empowers employees to have built-in checks and balances to ensure information is complete and accurate. It significantly reduces the time required for editing documents and getting them reviewed and signed, improving business workflows. Additionally, e-signatures help you seamlessly sign online and securely get other parties' digital signatures.

  • Improved information sharing
  • Converting your physical, paper-based documents into digital ones can immediately improve usability. You can easily share digital documents within your organization or anywhere in the world with just one click. In addition, the information mentioned in the documents can be easily searched, classified, and analyzed.

  • Strengthen workplace security
  • With digital documentation, you can gain insights such as who is accessing the documents or how it is being used. This empowers compliance enforcement on document security within the workplace.

  • Improved business continuity and flexibility
  • Organizations can seamlessly transition to a remote workforce with the help of digital documents whenever required. Regardless of the availability or geographical location, digitization of documents enables a more efficient workplace collaboration.

Also Read: How Digital Signatures Make your Hybrid Workforce Efficient

E-signatures – A necessity for digital documentation

Time is money! And the money saved is money earned! Well, we all agree with this. And so do those countless businesses spread across the globe that have successfully switched from manual paper-based processes to digital documentation. Incorporating digital documents in business processes has worked wonders – saving time and money and eventually enhancing revenue. Now is the time to optimize and dive deep into e-signature technology. You might create zillions of digital documents, but most business processes require signatures from authorized entities to complete the transaction. Electronic signature solutions help you create digital documents, send them for further review, get them signed, and store them easily on the cloud. It not only speeds up the processes but also helps eliminate costs associated with paper usage, fuel, scanning, printing, and transportation.

Electronic signatures are legal in the Philippines and are provided for under the Republic Act No. 8792, and the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 and its implementing regulations and rules. The Act defines what comprises an "electronic data message," "electronic document," and "electronic signature" as follows:

  • a) "Electronic data message" directs to information generated, sent, obtained, or stored by electronic, optical, or any similar means.

  • b) "Electronic signature" directs to any distinctive mark, characteristic, or sound in electronic form, depicting the identity of a person and attached to or logically related to the electronic data message or electronic document or any methodology or procedures used or embraced by a person and executed or adopted by such person with the intention to authenticate or authorize an electronic data message or electronic document.

  • c) "Electronic document" directs to information or the representation of data, information, figures, symbols, or other modes of written expression, depicted or however represented, by which a right is established, or an obligation eradicated or by which a fact may be proved and confirmed, which is received, documented, communicated, stored, processed, retrieved, or produced electronically.

Furthermore, Sec. 8 of the Act, Legal Recognition of Electronic Signatures, states that an electronic signature on electronic documents shall be equivalent to the signature of a person on a written document if the signature is in the electronic form and verified by showing that a specified procedure, not alterable by the parties involved in the electronic document, existed under which -

  • a) A method is employed to identify the party desired to be bound and to demonstrate said party's access to the electronic document required for his consent or authorization through the electronic signature;

  • b) The said method is trustworthy and appropriate for the intent for which the electronic document was generated or transmitted, in the light of all circumstances, including any applicable agreement;

  • c) It is crucial for the party sought to be bound, to proceed further with the transaction, to have executed or delivered the electronic signature; and

  • d) The other party is authorized and enabled to verify the electronic signature and to decide to proceed with the transaction authenticated by the same.

These provisions put at rest the legal debate on whether or not Philippine Courts accept electronic contracts or documents as legal proof.

Conclusion

With increasing compliance and security requirements and stringent working conditions, digitization is the only way businesses can make it ahead of the curve. DrySign, a leading e-signature solution, helps automate your business processes and streamlines workflows. In addition, DrySign has a wide range of features to future-proof your business growth. Start DrySigning now!

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing the subject matter may change quickly, and Exela cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or correct. Should you have specific legal questions about any of the information on this site, you should consult with a licensed attorney in your area.

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