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27 November 2014

Top 3 Reasons for Shifting to Digital Signature in the Cloud

With 2014 almost behind us, we experience a surge in the number of reports that provide both the latest analysis and the IT predictions for 2015. This information that is given by some of the most influential technology research and advisory firms, offers substantial up-to-date data that can benefit business owners and organisations of any size or industry:

1. See your business / organisation as a system that incorporates IT in its daily business process, rather than seeing the IT as a separate aspect of the business.

According to Gartner’s Senior Vice President and Global Head of Research, Peter Sondergaard, “thirty-eight percent of global IT spend is outside of IT already, with a disproportionate amount in digital. By 2017, it will be over 50 percent.” (Susan Moore, 17 November, 2014). Speaking to an assembly of more than 1,500 CIO’s and IT leaders at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Australia last week, Sondergaard said their predictions show in 2015, the digital business will change how industries and businesses work with a “dramatic” impact on the global IT industry. 

Secured Signing, the Australasian Personalised X509 PKI Digital Signature and eForm SaaS provider, enables companies to combine the legally binding technology in their day-to-day business routine: “Paper was the bane of our lives, and we had been looking for a reliable and secure way to sign electronic documents for some time. Secured Signing’s solution ticked all the boxes. We didn’t have to change to or buy a specific HR system; it is an extension of our existing systems, so it was agile, quick, and easy to set-up with great support from the Secured Signing team,” says H&R Block HR Manager, Bill Cashman.   

2. Implementation of a cloud solution enhances your ever-important competitive advantage.

 The study ‘Disrupt, Collapse, Transform: The Role of the Cloud in Industry Transformation’ by global analyst firm Frost & Sullivan was completed last month (October, 2014); it surveyed 1,500 senior executives from different industries in the US, Australia, Singapore, the UK, Japan, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. Pursuant to the findings, 81 percent of US cloud users indicated the implementation of cloud technology delivered a timely and effective lead - notably, when they entered new markets. 

Peoplebank Australia’s CEO Peter Acheson, commented recently on the implementation of the Secured Signing platform saying, “Second to its people, efficient and effective use of technology can be one of the most competitive advantages a business can have.” 

3. With the fast shift to the cloud computing scene, businesses need to adapt their cloud services early in order to gain the initial doer benefits.

According to Forrester’s 2015 Cloud Predictions (Natalie Gagliordi, 13 November 2014), cloud services solutions are going to reign over on-premises applications, with the anticipation that companies will aim to replace their enterprise services with connectors to other ecosystems. 

Author of Thoughts for Meaningful Life, Dr. Pano George Karkanis’ quote concludes it best: “Good advice is like a useful tool, yet it requires hands to make it work.”

Till next time,

Cheers, John.


General

October 15, 2014

Latest research from leading industry analyst Enterprise Management Associate (July 2014), surveyed 415 executives to identify what qualities customers are looking for when engaging with a cloud computing service provider. According to their results, while acceptance of the technology and market presence no longer poses significant issues, choosing a service provider, certainly does!

EMA’s survey (underwritten by iland) describes it as “market confusion” which reveals many executives feel they lack cloud expertise and understanding including operational and pricing modules. They also describe “departmental-level-fragmentation,” where various parts of a business require a particular cloud service that suits their specific requirements.

Today, filling-in and signing of electronic documents in the cloud has become almost the norm among users from different types of business and industry (e.g. Australia’s Queensland Government’s “cloud-first” compulsory policy). The compliant and secure flagship of the PKI digital signature technology offers countless benefits that include increased efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Secured Signing, Australasia’s trusted leading provider of Personalised X509 digital signature solutions, is taken here to the test of EMA’s four main matters cloud customers expect their vendor to address:

  • Transparent pricing – a clear payment model and more accuracy with estimated costs that can be easily communicated to management and meet the objectives of a business’s needs. Secured Signing offers distinctive marked utilisation plans that range from the free option to the Pay as you Go plan that enables end of the month fixed payment of $9.95 for online signing of ten documents by one user. There is also a Team Edition in which you can choose the number of users and documents to sign with a detailed price tag, and the Enterprise Edition that is tailored to your business needs and presented with clear itemised pricing.
  • Ease of management – apparatus that makes transition less difficult with a convenient website and common parameters and reports. The Secured Signing system is easy to use, with smooth implementation steps for users and invitees clear customised workflows, and comprehensive demo videos and tutorials. The service also provides all parties involved with a thorough audit trail of the signing process as soon as it is completed. The precise reference allows for easy verification of activities, details, and a time frame report that can be later used as a proof for audit, or in case of a dispute.
  • Support – how it’s delivered, how much it costs, and its quality.  Secured Signing’s friendly support team offers reputable, prompt, local support, with rapid response online or over the phone - at no extra cost!
  • Services – identification of the actual areas where the cloud solution will meet the businesses’ real needs. At Secured Signing, we implement the customer-centric approach that fosters personalised relationships and an open channel of communication with our customers, which starts with detailed questions and an understanding of requirements, and then continues by proactively addressing specific needs, the explicit process of testing and feedback, and lastly, the delivery of professional and precise tailored responses for the fill-in and online signing of electronic documents.

With Kable’s Market Research survey findings (July, 2014) highlighting  across industries that 16.6% of overall allocated procurement budgets for 2014 - 2015 will be spent on cloud computing, and with SaaS the most-used cloud computing form, Secured Signing digital signature SaaS solution is right up there!

This is due not only to the clear and evident reasons detailed above, but rather because of the principle that continuously guides our work and reflects in Aristotle’s enduring words: “Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” 

Till next time,

Cheers, John.   


General

28 June, 2012 

“In a networked world, trust is the most important currency.” Eric Schmidt

Digital Signature

Cloud computing represents a major transformation in the way companies leverage information and appeals with its offer of a one-stop-shop, cost-effective, hassle-free, and efficient business environment. Acting Deputy Director General of Information Society and Media for the European Commission, Megan Richards, emphasised during her speech at the Cloud Computing World Forum conference in London (15 June 2012) the sizable market and ever growing trend that is expected to reach 11 billion in revenue by 2014, representing 3.6 percent of the total IT market. 

Nevertheless, the cloud’s birth and existence has challenged, and still does, one of the crucial components in any type of relationship – trust! From a ‘face-to-face’, on-premise, product-based, controlled IT business environment, to externally service-based sourced operations. In his book The Big Switch, Nicholas Carr shows an historic analogy that brilliantly reflects the effects of a similar significant shift that took place in the 19th Century:  the evolution of power plants. At the time, companies who usually generated their own power from in-house steam engines and dynamos, have gradually plugged into the cheap power that was generated from newly built, professionally run, centralised electric grid of electric utilities.     

Trust in cloud computing, or concerns over it, refer to the characteristics of the technology (reliability, security) as much as to legislation, governance, and organisational issues. While some aspects can be overcome only by government legislations and regulations, or are associated to the psychological, behavioural, and technical customer’s ‘time-of-adaption’, others are directly linked to practices and steps taken by the cloud provider.  

  • Security - When communicating sensitive documents for signing purposes in the Cloud, comprehensive security measures have exceptional importance. The Secured Signing’s user-based PKI digital signature technology provides each user with a unique digital ID (signing key) that is accessible only to that user. The system instantly seals the signed document, and any changes made invalidate the signatures. Furthermore, users have the ability to verify their signatures offline any time at their desktop / mobile device, or at the Secured Signing’s Free Verification Service.
  • Reliability - Business reliability is an essential indicator of the attitude, actions, and results derived from a service. Continuous setting of goals, ongoing development, and regular quality evaluation and monitoring are at the heart of the Secured Signing digital signature cloud service. Constant online signing performance assessments and follow-through processes ensure customers’ satisfaction: “The Secured Signing solution impressed us instantly with its high level of security, capabilities, and seamless implementation” Gadi Hadar, Managing Director at Asia Pacific Easy-Forex.        
  • Open communication – The fundamental shift in human communication behaviour requires cloud services to acknowledge and respond to their digitally aware clients. Successful communication is associated with trust and influences brand loyalty that will guarantee commitment of even geographically dispersed customers. With the apparent value of multiple ways for communicating (via e-mail or direct phone with the service provider), it’s the prompt, approachable, and responsive service that creates the difference: “Secured Signing was very fast and responsive whenever we asked for something. Their customer service is amazing.” Kym Volp, Queensland State Manager, Evolve Scientific Recruitment.                

Till next time,

Cheers, John

4 May, 2012

A recent article (22 April, 2012) by Brandon Bailey discussed the 2011 performance of businesses in Silicon Valley. Not surprisingly, Apple led the 150 large companies with $128 billion in annual sales, and astonishingly, nearly $33 billion profit. However, the picture across the board revealed mixed results, particularly when compared to 2010 figures. Slow financial recovery in the US, economic chaos in Europe, and Asia’s natural disasters, are all legitimate contributors according to Bailey. Nevertheless, there are a few exceptions that mainly come from “related trends- such as the explosive growth of social networking, cloud computing, and big data.”    

Any conclusion? While keeping in mind the ever-changing scenario of technological trends, it is obviously best to be on the side of current proven winning technology, whether as a manufacturer, consumer, or user. A recent KPMG report on the impact of cloud computing in Australia states: “it is clear from KPMG’s analysis that, should Australian organisations adopt cloud platforms as expected across their ICT requirements – as more mature markets such as the US suggest is likely – then the benefits at both the enterprise and aggregate economy level could be substantial.”  It continues to say:  “These include lowering ICT operation and capital expenditure by up to 25 percent and 50 percent respectively.” (The Australian, 2 May, 2012)

Whilst a conservative approach for handling budget and expenses would always require a careful review (of both), and a ‘stick to budget’ attitude, the ‘upgrade your technology’ rule should never be neglected, especially in the current business environment. Secured Signing’s digital signature cloud-based solution is no exception; businesses that choose to sign documents online with the Secured Signing service eliminate the printing, scanning, document storage, delivery, and handling of paper all together. Implementing eSignature service saves time, cuts operational and processing costs, expedites the entire business workflow, and frees up staff, budget, and other resources for their core business.

Sophie Beers, Yarra Ranges Council’s Procurement Officer concluded her exceptionally positive experience with the advanced electronic signature solution: “Time frames for signature on Evaluation Reports and Contracts have reduced from 1-2 weeks to a matter of an afternoon. Cost and time saving is literally immeasurable, and has paved the way for us to move wholly into paperless office.” 

I rest my case.

Till next time,

Cheers, John. 


General

4 April, 2012

In a business environment of rapid technological developments and ever-changing market circumstances, small businesses and large corporations alike need to keep up with business conditions and to promptly adapt and implement new tools and advanced systems. Even the hesitant can’t avoid it and will often make the shift in response to their customers’ expectations and demands.

A small business has a number of significant, related advantages including the ability to respond faster with a more personal customer service, a simpler management structure and decision-making processes, and an ease with which to identify, change, and adopt new technologies.

According to Microsoft’s research of SMB Business in the Cloud 2012 (conducted by Wayland, Massachusetts-based research firm, Edge Strategies), small businesses are quick to embrace Cloud Computing technology and the number of SMBs that are using it is expected to triple in the next three years. Leading motivators identified in the study include cost savings, increased productivity, flexibility, and market competitive advantage.

Secured Signing’s Cloud-based PKI digital signature pay-as-you-go solution allows small businesses to access highly innovative IT implementation that in the past was available only to larger and richer organisations. The secure and legally compliant system provides its users with a comprehensive range of electronic signing capabilities that enable them to fill in any type of form and sign it, or invite others to sign online via browsers on desktop PC, Mac, iPad, and many other mobile and smart phone devices.

The latter, directly fulfil the requirement of 71% of research participants who look for “technology that enables their staff to work anywhere, at any time.”           

And as Lee Cockerell once said: “It’s not the magic that makes it work; it’s the way we work that makes it magic.

Till next time,

Cheers, John.


General