The coronavirus pandemic has hit every industry globally. It has completely transformed the way we work. Businesses have had to overhaul their operations, human resources, sales, etc., and switch to a fully remote, digitized approach.
The Philippines has always been one of the most dynamic economies in East Asia. It relies upon solid consumer demand, a thriving labor market, and remittances from overseas—increased urbanization with the young population helping drive these. The territorial impact of the COVID-19 crisis, however, catapulted organizations into quickly adapting to continuous changes like technological progress, changing regulations, new consumer trends, etc. The crisis also led to a good thing: the surge in adoption of digital tools like digital or electronic signatures leading to the rapid digital transformation of all industry sectors.
What is a Digital Signature?
According to Republic Act No. 8792 or E-Commerce Act of 2000, a digital signature represents the identity of a person and is attached to the electronic data message or code for authenticating or approving an electronic document online. It is defined as “any distinctive mark, characteristic and/or sound in electronic form, representing the identity of a person and attached to or logically associated with the electronic data message or electronic document or any methodology or procedures employed or adopted by a person and executed or adopted by such person with the intention of authenticating or approving an electronic data message or electronic document.” Electronic documents are legally recognized and binding in the Philippines if they comply with the requirements of the E-commerce Act.
This Act applies to any data message used in the context of commercial and non-commercial activities. These activities include domestic and international dealings, transactions, agreements, contracts, exchanges, and information storage.
Are Digital signatures legally binding in the Philippines?
Challenges such as hacking, misuse of private information, personal security breaches, and unsafe access deter consumers from embracing digital solutions. The Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 helps build an environment that minimizes the inherent risks of the digital world for the people of the Philippines. The Philippines also follows a hierarchical Root of Trust (RoT) model where digital signatures issued by a Certifying Authority are considered legally valid. As a result, digital signatures on electronic documents are legally binding here and serve as the legal equivalent of the traditional handwritten signature of a person on a written document.
Digital signatures use the PNPKI (Philippine National Public Key Infrastructure) allowing users of public networks to exchange private data securely.
When you compare traditional wet-ink signatures with digital signatures, the sheer risk and inconvenience that handwritten signatures can cause are astounding!
The PKI authenticates the data source and ensures data has not been tampered with in transit ensuring secure, safe, and efficient delivery of documents to individuals and businesses.
Incorporating Digital Signatures into your business
Most businesses are contemplating the digital signature way or are in transition from traditional signing methods to digital signatures. Digital signatures provide businesses a chance to adapt and move forward with the evolving technology. In addition, by embracing digital signature technology, businesses can reduce the time taken to sign important documents, from an average of 5-6 business days to a mere 30-40 seconds!
According to a survey, the digital signature market was valued at US$ 587.6 Mn in 2016 and is forecasted to cross US$ 3,400 Mn by the year 2025 (Expected to increase at a CAGR of 22.4% during the forecast period (2017-2025)).
The pandemic forced many businesses to adopt digital signatures to continue engaging with their customers during the lockdown. What businesses should focus on now, is how to leverage this new method that not only allows for smooth and secure transfer of documents online but also creates better business opportunities.
“The future of government services will all be online. Digital signature technology should be embraced and adopted to enable the complete online performance of government services. Commission on Audit’s (CoA) affirmation on the validity and acceptability of these digital solutions for government services would allow agencies to confidently and decisively proceed with their automation programs,” The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Director General Jeremiah Belgica.
Also Read: Transforming SMBs with Electronic Signatures
Digital signatures - Your response to unforeseen adversities in business
Every business, big or small, every industry and every company faced certain adversities during the pandemic. Be it a cash crunch, a complete halt to business deals, or cessation of manual mobility, COVID-19 spared nothing and no one.
The incorporation of digital signatures in your quotidian business dealings allows you to be:
- Flexible: Sign, upload and send documents from anywhere, any device. All you need is an internet connection.
- Economical: Eliminate costs spent on paper, printing, ink, post, couriers, and more.
- Sustainable: Do away with traditional paper methods and reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating transportation of person or documents.
Technology keeps your business going and equipped to face unforeseen challenges in the future.
Benefits of Digital Signatures
Switching to a digital signature solution empowers your businesses to spend less money on papers, pens, filing, postal services, and even rent. Opting for a digital solution helps your business save funds and align them towards other more lucrative avenues of your business.
- Saving Time
Digital signatures save your time and increase operational efficiency. It is easy to obtain signatures from customers using digital signature solutions instead of physically signing the document and sending it through mails or scanning.
- Increased efficiency
Digital signatures play a vital role in maximizing work productivity. It helps organizations significantly accelerate the signing processes of all types of contracts and documents from anywhere. Using digital signatures drastically decreases delays leading to high-cost savings and time savings for your business. In addition, documents are sent and signed in a legally binding way in just a few clicks.
- Secure and Legal
Digital signatures are legally binding thanks to compliance to global electronic signature laws and regulations. This method is also highly secure owing to technology such as a PKI.
- Improved Customer Experience and Trust
When you provide a secure, legal, fast and sustainable way of doing business, you automatically elevate the experience that your customer has. Additionally, with most digital signature solutions providing personalized features such as Custom Notifications and Reminders, digital signatures can make it easy for your customers to engage with your business more easily and quickly.
Fostering innovation and improving the business environment through digitization is crucial to support the digital economy of the Philippines. Despite a period of intense concern in the current pandemic, the implementation of technological measures, including digital signatures, has facilitated everyone’s life at work, promoting digitization. As a result, productivity and efficiency have increased, making us more competitive and resilient to the changing market environment.
To understand how Exela’s DrySign helps your business digitally, allowing you to experience the benefits of digital signatures, Get in touch with our experts today!