The development of trust services has been one of the most important technological trends of the last 20 years. They have significantly contributed to the flourishing of the digital economy, which requires solutions to secure electronic communications, documentation and financial transactions. Modern companies and institutions are increasingly using e-signatures, electronic seals and electronic time stamps. Today, trust services are a standard in the operation of Polish business and they change with it to meet the challenges of a competitive market.
What was the business reality 20 years ago? The beginning of the 2000s was a period of dominance of paper and analogue solutions in companies. Tools such as telefax (supported by facsimile), electronic and voice mail, videotex and telemetry were used on a different scale. Individual customers were testing the new version of Windows, Millennium Edition (Me), and the American CERT warned that "malicious scripts" appeared on the internet. Already at that time, 90% of the world's banking, communications and technology executives anticipated a complete or significant transformation of the area, in which they would compete in the future. This was the conclusion of a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey conducted during the Davos Forum in 2000. The real technological revolution was just beginning.
The beginnings of digital transformation
Over the last two decades, the digital services market in Poland has changed a lot. Employees of companies began to use the possibilities offered by the internet, and later mobile devices, to run their business. According to EY research, over the last 3 years, as many as 57% of Polish companies have accelerated their internal digitisation. As electronic documentation and support for digital and remote processes proliferated, the need for auxiliary solutions grew within companies. These included, among other things, the electronic seal, which guarantees the immutability of the content of e-documents and confirms their origin. It was supplemented with a timestamp, which linked the creation of a given file with a specific date and time Users particularly appreciated the electronic signature, which made it possible to sign electronic documents with legal force equal to a handwritten signature.
"The electronic signature has changed the game across the entire business ecosystem."Over the past 20 years, we have observed the progressive digitisation of subsequent sectors of the Polish economy", Elżbieta Włodarczyk, Director of the Electronic Signature Business Line at KIR, says, "Today we know that e-signature was a pioneering tool, which allowed for the digitisation of work and the gradual elimination of paper from formal communication. In efficiently managed companies, it allows for a reduction of up to 75% of the costs previously incurred for handling paper documentation. It is ecological, comfortable and safe, which is why it works wherever it has been implemented".
According to survey conducted by KIR and the Polish Bankers’ Association (ZBP), every third user of online banking system would like to use a qualified signature. Senior managers also quickly appreciated the e-signature functionality: 84% of them would like to implement it in their company*. E-signature turned out to be necessary during the pandemic and is still a key support in the ongoing digitisation of the economy.
E-signature works in every sector of the economy
Companies from all industries benefit from the use of an electronic signature. This is evidenced by examples from various branches of the economy, in which it was introduced to the daily handling of business processes.
- The banking sector is the leader of digital transformation in Poland. The level of digitisation of banks exceeds the global average, and, according to Deloitte, as many as 6 out of the 30 most digitally advanced institutions in this industry in the world come from Poland.
- E-signature in finance is used, for example, to authorise banking transactions.
- With e-signature, customers of banks and other institutions can remotely sign contracts and documents. Electronic circulation significantly reduces the time needed to complete formalities and secures communication with public trust institutions.
- Healthcare is constantly digitising, seeking operational and cost optimisation. The availability of digital solutions is also appreciated by patients.
- According to e-Zdrowia Centre, 17 million people already have the Internet Patient's Account, while 4.5 million users have installed the MojeIKP application. So far (April 2023) 1.5 billion e-prescriptions and 126 million e-referrals have been issued via the Internet Patient's Account.
- E-signature supports the operation of healthcare facilities, among other things, in authorising medical documentation (test results, prescriptions and referrals), guaranteeing confidentiality, security and integrity of sensitive data contained in digital documents.
- Digital support for HR documentation is a standard, which makes it possible to effectively manage distributed, hybrid teams. E-signature in HR helps to conclude employment contracts, submit declarations and send annexes to contracts online.
- Recruitment processes and the processing of documents for new employees have become more effective, while still meeting stringent security standards and personal data protection requirements. According to SD Worx research, 53% of the European companies have already invested in digital HR processes.
- The report drawn up by Pracuj.pl shows that 39% of the companies employing over 1 000 employees have already decided to digitise their HR processes, and 26% of the companies prioritise the organisation of recruitment, onboarding and other processes 100% digitally.
- Among the most important areas, which are currently being digitised, the survey respondents indicated: HR and payroll – 81%, recruitment – 57% and systems supporting internal communication, including the intranet – 44%.
- In the logistics sector, the digitisation, in addition to the introduction of telematics solutions and digital management systems, also includes the electrification of the fleet.
- As of 2020, according to data from Webfleet Solutions, new technological solutions have already been implemented by 69% of companies in the industry.
- E-signature makes it easier to sign contracts and documents related to the transport of goods (for example invoices, waybills, contracts), which also translates into significant savings.
- Leasing companies focus on advanced digital solutions, using artificial intelligence, virtual assistants, cognitive technologies and complete online customer service paths.
- Each stage of the leasing contract conclusion process is transferred to the digital channel. This supports positive experiences (CX) and builds customer trust.
- Possibility of using an electronic signature, for example when finalising contracts, is also in this case a response to the needs of the market and service recipients.
- According to the EFL report, up to 64% of companies plan to implement e-signature within a maximum of three years, while 65% have already increased their use of technology.
- Players on the real estate market in Poland are consistently digitising subsequent areas of activity: marketing, promotional, technical and business communication.
- Electronic signature in this sector enables remote signing and delivery of contracts to customers – sale & purchase or lease agreements or preliminary agreements.
- This allows real estate agencies and other entities to offer their services remotely and finalise transactions entirely online.
- Deloitte in the report entitled "Digitalization is here to stay. How to achieve an effective digital transformation in real estate" demonstrates that the digitization of contracts and documents is one of the key areas of technological development in this sector of the economy.
Companies using an electronic signature are among the beneficiaries of the digital transformation of the last twenty years. Modern enterprises rely on technology to compete more effectively on the market – they streamline business processes, achieve savings and increase profits, while ensuring customer satisfaction. E-signature, as an environment-friendly service, which supports the digital circulation of documents, is today also an element of the green change, which is taking place in the Polish economy along with the increase in public awareness.
"Over the last 20 years, the electronic signature, similarly to Polish companies, has been developing and adapting to the changing environment. When we launched e-signature as a commercial service, we already had experience with using it as a transaction security tool in the Elixir system. At that time, however, no one expected that in the next several years we would make its fully mobile version available with the option of remote verification of the user's identity. Today, e-signature has become a standard, permanently inscribed in the Polish business landscape", Elżbieta Włodarczyk emphasises.
*) Survey by Minds & Roses, March 2022, N=1000