Digital Transaction Management is about more than just documents but documents are at the core of every business interaction.
The Digital Transformation change programs in business are highlighting the need for Digital Transaction Management. This not the well understood entry of data into a database, but it is the digital management of document centric transactions. There are many people in organisations involved with the creation of documents, this activity has been computerised for years. For many companies, it is the subsequent processing of the documents that have lacked the digital approach and involved manual handling of paper, as well as the storage of paper documents.
In the B2B space, one of the key areas where the manual handling of documents has been addressed successfully is in finance where it is quite common for purchase orders to be emailed to suppliers and for invoices to emailed to clients. Such digital documents are the exchange mechanism for the finance transactions which are recorded into the IT systems of both parties. The degree of automation in the handling of these emails of course varies as the documents are effectively a “Transport” mechanism for the data between the organisations. However, before such detailed documents can flow there is normally an “Agreement” which needs to be reached and it is this document handling which is often still processed with manual activity.
To achieve Digital Transformation objectives, it can be the focus on any aspect of the business activity which involves “Agreements” that can provide quick wins. Through the use of eSignatures, the digital handling of documents can be completed. This can yield substantial benefits of quicker processing in parts of the business activity which often have days or weeks as the timescale when the people involved are in different locations or frequently travelling. Adopting eSignatures into an organisation is normally relatively simple as it does not mean a change to existing IT systems and there is no absolute need to change working practices. Of course, once eSignatures are in use, it can highlight other potential areas for consideration such as “Document Management” of signed documents as well as the earlier document versions, and “Forms Workflow” to get the detailed data values specified in the signed documents into core transactional IT systems.
There is a spin-off benefit from completing digital transaction management processes and that is in terms of analytics which become available. The time line for complete processes becomes visible to supplement the transaction information which enables attention to be focused to resolve issues.
Although the law exists and is clear that eSignatures are valid, for many individuals the experience of using the technology is relatively new. The level of confidence can be improved where the eSignature activity is just part of the relationship. For example, where a company is undertaking HR processes with an employee, using eSignatures becomes a convenient method of processing agreements and builds on the level of trust which already exists. By extension, achieving the level of confidence in a B2B scenario tends to be easier than in a B2C implementation but the growing adoption of eSignatures from the millennial generation is spreading the experience.