When planning your digital transformation, make sure to design your solutions in a way that makes your users’ lives easier. Otherwise, they will find the path of least resistance, regardless of your best laid risk and compliance plans.
 
Most organisations are now looking for digital alternatives to painful, paper based processes. Out of pragmatism, many accept fax or scan-and-email as substitutes for paper contracts. None of these methods, however, allow the authentication and assurance of document integrity that a dedicated Digital Transaction Management system provides, and that ensure non-repudiation of the contract. Effectively, these workarounds are introducing risk into the process.
 
A similar issue, but on a larger scale, can be found in the US payments industry. Here in Europe, cheques have largely gone away. By contrast, last year in the US 18.3 billion cheques were written. Most deposited cheques are immediately scanned and handled digitally. Some banks even offer mobile apps which make use of devices’ cameras to allow users to take a photo of a cheque and deposit it remotely.
 
For Europeans, used to Chip and Pin, this idea is baffling: why would you not initiate the transaction electronically in the first place? One reason (of many) is that in the US, transactions originating on paper are governed by a different set of regulations to those that are initiated electronically.
 
Driven by demand from frustrated consumers, some apps now automatically generate and send a cheque image without the user ever having to write a paper version. Since these transactions are fully electronic, they should, according to the rules, be treated as such by the banks. The problem is that banks now have no reliable way of knowing if a particular transaction started life as a paper cheque or not. From a regulatory and compliance standpoint, this is a problem.
 
Don’t Try to Hammer a Digital Peg into an Analogue Hole
 
US banks avoided having to revise their operating procedures by retaining paper cheques. By trying to bash the digital process into the hole left by the paper one, the banks lost the opportunity to design a new, friendlier process and introduced new and unforeseen risk.
 
When implementing, don’t be afraid to change and streamline your processes. Your solution must help your users to get their work done while maintaining a balance between usability and security. Otherwise they’re going to do what’s easiest, not what’s best for your organisation.
 
 
Kevin Boyle is the Head of Professional Services EMEA at DocuSign. If you'd like to continue the conversation you can leave comments below, connect with Kevin on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.
 
 
 
 
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