The SAFE-BioPharma Association announced that xyzmo SIGNificant Suite 1.6, has met the SAFE-BioPharma product certification requirements. Thus, the SIGNificant Suite 1.6 has been officially certified by the SAFE-BioPharma Policy Approval Authority as a SAFE-BioPharma Certified Product.

Certification provides the level of confidence SAFE-BioPharma members seek in implementing SAFE-BioPharma solutions.

SAFE-BioPharma is a non-profit association that created and manages the SAFE BioPharma digital identity and signature standard for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.

Quo vadis digital signature

October 15th, 2008

Before answering this question a fundamental misunderstanding must come to light especially for EU based readers of this article.  E-billing does not present the platform application of digital signatures. It is just one of many examples, which for different reasons, has been mentioned in the EU media more often than other (perhaps even more important) applications. Even if the EU framework would cause e-billing to not need digital signatures, and sending unsigned PDF or XML documents would be entirely sufficient, this wouldn’t imply the end of the digital signature. Rather, the main application is presented by fully digital business processes, also described as “the paperless office”.   It is very costly to spend a lot of money automating entire business processes just to print out documents for the reason of signing them, which means they ultimately have to be scanned and perhaps also mailed before getting back to the IT environment.  This process is extremely costly and inefficient.

Conversely, these essential decisions of a person signing a document, relating to the authenticity of a contract or the confirmation of a procedural step, cannot be automated by just a password and the “Enter” key.  The probability of such a decision is extremely doubtful for internal processes and even more important for signatures and acknowledgments of important contracts and business documents across company boundaries.

Here we face one of the main areas of relevance regarding digital signatures in combination with a biometric signature or a secure digital identification card.  The process of a customer signing on a contract can be digitally mapped one to one.   It is not necessary to print the contract. The signature of the customer is digitally recorded on a signature tablet. The signature data becomes directly embedded into the electronic document and protected against unnoticed ex post changes using a digital signature. There is no need for the time-consuming and costly paper handling, and both the customer and the providers are in possession of a secure electronic document. The recorded biometric data of the signature can be proved by a graphologist, as it is quite the same procedure as on paper. In closed applications, companies can enroll sample signatures on a server in order to compare and verify them in real time.

For internal processes the same digital signature technology can be used.  If the company already works with digital cards (certificates) for their employees, or wants to, it also is recommended that another variant of the digital signature is used – we call it a digital stamp.  The employee chooses the right stamp depending on the desired decision (for example “Declined”, “Approved”, “Admitted”,…), optionally adds comments on his decision, identifies himself with his digital ID card and clearly expresses his decision by the visible stamp which protects the electronic document against unnoticed ex post changes.

In addition to all cost saving advantages, paperless document management also has a positive effect on our environment. Not only is a considerable amount of paper and toner saved, but all paper related handling and transportation expenses are avoided.  Saving costs and contributing to environmental protection is crucial to our current economic and to global circumstances as well.

xyzmo SIGNificant has been mentioned as an e-signature vendor within two publications by Gartner including ‘Hype Cycle for Regulations and Related Standards, 2008’ and the ‘Hype Cycle for Governance, Risk and Compliance Technologies, 2008’.  The latter report, with analysis conducted by Gregg Kreizman, Carsten Casper and Kristen Noakes-Fry mentions the following regarding electronic signatures, “Most benefits attributed to any form of e-signature are really a result of automating a business process, and the signature is a small but important step in the process… E-signatures, including digital signatures, add efficiencies to formerly paper-based processes…”.

The first report, provided by the same analysts mentioned above, relates to the EU Digital Signature Directive and states, “Although the impact on commercial organizations is not significant at this point, the legal framework for digital signatures means that purchase orders and invoice systems using digital signatures are legally acceptable, and multiple implementations are in place in Germany”.  Both reports mentioning xyzmo relay the benefits of e-signatures and express a growing interest in the market.

Gartner Consulting provides fact-based consulting services to help clients use and manage IT to enable business performance.  To read more about Gartner please visit: http://www.gartner.com/it/products/consulting/consulting_overview.jsp

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