eSigning at TIlburg University
Serving society and making it better for citizens. That’s what drives Tilburg University. The founder of the university, Martinus Cobbenhagen, believed that anyone who wants to understand society should be actively and consciously involved. This philosophy still forms the basis for the organization.
Tilburg University is originally a Catholic university located in Tilburg. As one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands, it will celebrate its 95th anniversary next year.
With 19,334 students and more than 1,500 employees, a huge number of internal and external documents are signed, and fortunately a large number of these documents have been digitally signed with validsign’s digital signature since the beginning of 2019.
Tilburg University ended up at ValidSign through their DMS supplier HuRis. HuRis is a partner of ValidSign that offers our solution integrated into SAP SuccessFactors to customers. In this way, Tilburg University digitizes the entire signing process from generation of a document to storage in the HR portal.
The reason for adjusting the digital signature was efficiency of HR processes. Maurice Driessen, Project & Information Manager at Tilburg University: “Previously, signing an employment contract or parental leave letter could take days. Almost all HR documents must be legally signed by our directors and/or (future) employees. These signatories are often not present in the same place at the same time. For this reason, the documents were often moved from signer to signer by post or courier. With ValidSign you sign place and time independently, so that this is now arranged within a few minutes.”
GDPR technically, the digital signature also offers a solution. With ValidSign, the security around the signing process and personal data is perfectly guaranteed. Driessen says: “By adding multi-factor authentication to the signing request, the identity of the signer is extra checked and one knows for sure who is signing and the personal data is better protected. The full audit trail can also be seen in the summary, which is made available in ValidSign immediately after the signing.”
At the moment, all HR documents that require a legally valid signature are digitally signed with the ValidSign solution. This is about 7000 documents on an annual basis.
“ValidSign also ensures better control of document flows. In the dashboard of the platform, all signatures including the status can be found. As a result, we have to turn off fewer actions to find out where the document to be signed is located. And if a signature is delayed, a reminder will be sent out after a few days with another request to sign the document,” says Driessen.
Digital signing is indispensable for the future within Tilburg University. End users are very satisfied with validsign’s solution. According to Driessen, “colleagues experience the platform as user-friendly. The integration with SAP SuccesFactors ensures a completely streamlined signing process, from document generation, to multiple signing and automated storage in the file.”
“Both our employees and customers are very enthusiastic about the digital signature. Every year, more than 12,000 documents are digitally signed with ValidSign within Accon avm”.
Accon avm is originally an agricultural cooperative. The accountancy firm was founded in 1917 by the parent company from Leeuwarden and quickly grew into a national, full-service consultancy and accountancy organization for SMEs. In 2017 Accon avm celebrated its 100th anniversary.
With approximately 1000 employees and more than 40 branches, Accon AVM is an accountancy firm of size. The organization has a large knowledge network in which location-independent working is central. This means that advisors are close anytime, anywhere. They like to come to the entrepreneur, digitally but certainly also on location.
Sustainability and innovation are of paramount importance and determine the success of Accon avm and its customers. Partly because of this, the organization chose ValidSign’s digital signature in 2016, as the first accounting firm. Documents no longer need to be printed and transported by post or courier. By greatly reducing printing, paper consumption fell by about 20% every year until 2020.
Easy and fast
ValidSign was broadly deployed within the organization immediately after its extradition to digitally accelerate various signing processes. Accon avm started digitally signing documents that need to be signed by the customer, because mainly these processes took a lot of time. Anita van Gelder, Director ict and facility at Accon avm says: “Several parties regularly have to sign, for example a partnership where there are several shareholders who are not all present at the same location at the same time. It could take weeks for documents such as declarations, agreements and financial statements to be signed. With validsign’s user-friendly solution, the document is completed within 15 minutes as a way of”.
In addition to making the organization more sustainable and accelerating various business processes, the digital signature also contributes to the high-quality services that the organization provides. “Customers regularly indicate that digital signing is so much easier than on paper. The customer no longer has to walk to the mailbox or wait for the other signatories to sign. She now receives all documents in a bundled email and the documents are available for inspection and download via the same link immediately after signing,” says van Gelder.
ValidSign is used for more than 90% of the processes where signing takes place. Every year, more than 12,000 documents are digitally signed with ValidSign within Accon avm. In order to make the signing process even more streamlined, Accon avm has been working with validsign’s AFAS connector since April 2021. The link allows users to submit documents for signing in AFAS. Any process that requires signing can be monitored from A to Z in the system. Van Gelder says: “By using ValidSign from AFAS CRM, we are taking the final step in our digitization process. The fact that I can select contacts in AFAS for each signature and signed documents are archived directly in the right place in AFAS is very useful”. Only one-sided signings are occasionally done the old-fashioned way. The organization strives to digitally sign these documents in the near future and to help persuade the last colleagues to sign digitally.
eSigning at Stadgenoot
Stadgenoot is a housing corporation in Amsterdam and rents out thirty thousand social rental properties with an average rent of 500 euros per month. The housing corporation was formed in July 2008 from a merger between two Amsterdam housing corporations, the General Housing Association (AWV, founded in 1910) and Het Oosten (from 1911).
With more than 300 employees, spread over four business units of Stadgenoot, we can say that this is an organization of size. Two business units provide financial and public housing management: Finance & Operations and Strategy & Portfolio. The customer-oriented work is housed in the Customer & Home business unit. The real estate-oriented projects are at Vastgoed &Ontwikkeling.
Since the beginning of 2020, a large part of the organization has been signing digitally with validsign’s solution. The reason for the adjustment of the digital signature was the desire to be able to guarantee the security around the signing process and personal data perfectly. The wet variant has not been able to offer that guarantee at all times. Stadgenoot ended up at ValidSign through their ERP system supplier Aereon. Soon after the recommendation, a conversation with ValidSign was scheduled for a demonstration of the signing platform and discussing the possibilities for Stadgenoot. Ibrahim Hassan, functional administrator at Stadgenoot: “Finding a digital signature supplier is quite easy, but you rarely find a supplier who also identifies as a partner and always thinks along with the customer. We found this in ValidSign.”
Apart from two departments, ValidSign’s digital signature has now been rolled out throughout the organization. These two departments are currently taking the digital signature service from another supplier. These departments have been using this functionality for some time. In this way, each department applies a watertight security for signed documents and has insight into the signing process from A to Z. The organization has chosen to identify signers through a second-factor authentication. This SMS authentication ensures that in addition to email verification, the signer’s phone number is also verified to make sure it’s the right person.
In addition, the IDIN authentication will be used. This way of identifying will mainly be used by our tenants. For example, when signing the leases.
A number of departments mainly use ValidSign for signing forms, assignments and/or contracts by external parties, where the finance department signs internal (out) payment orders.
Place and time independent
The current way of working due to the corona crisis has ensured that there is an increasing need for the digital way of signing. Ibrahim says: “Like the rest of the Netherlands at the beginning of 2020 and in an abrupt way, we were only allowed to work from home. Getting an autograph from your manager or director was a special task. We were forced to re-set up processes. For example, the signatories were not present on location or did not have their own printer. ValidSign allows us to independently sign place time and device”.
In addition to the fact that the solution guarantees the security of documents, the process is also accelerating. “The lead time of a signature in general has been significantly reduced because a number of actions no longer have to be carried out. Paper paperwork is less and employees have more time for other things. The ValidSign users within Stadgenoot are satisfied with the solution and were able to get started with it after an initial guidance, which is also co-organized by ValidSign without a fight.
Within now and a few weeks we expect the two departments that currently use the ValidSign functionality to be in use and many more documents per month will be digitally signed with ValidSign. In addition, ValidSign and Aereon are developing the integration between the ERP system Tobias AX and ValidSign so that Stadgenoot and other companies can start signing from the trusted ERP system. Once the integration is realized, several departments will use it. Ibrahim says: “The digital signature is indispensable in our processes and usage will only increase in the coming years. That is also why we like to work with ValidSign and Aareon to make integration even more future-proof. We like to invest time and effort in this, because we believe that we get a lot in return”.
The Radboud University Medical Center is an academic hospital in Nijmegen that is part of the Dutch Federation of University Medical Centres. More than 3,000 students from Radboud University are trained in medicine, nursing and biomedical sciences here. In addition, Radboudumc had 1065 beds and more than 10,000 employees in 2019. As a result of the corona crisis, the number of beds and staff has increased this year. In order to be of the best possible service to patients, a clear digitisation has taken place within the organisation. The university medical centre in Nijmegen is now working more digitally than ever before.
Shortened lead time of contracts
After conducting a market research, Radboudumc tendered to choose the right platform for digital signing. ValidSign won the tender at the end of January 2020. The primary reason for digital signing was to shorten the lead time of (labor) contracts. The signing process previously looked like this: the contract was printed, placed on the desk of the internal signer for a signature, after signing, the document was sent by post to the external signer and received back by post after signing. ValidSign eliminates both printing and mail shipping.
Marty van Asperen, project leader at Radboudumc: “The purchasing department signs about 250 documents per month. It could take several weeks for the signing process to be completed. For example, when an account manager closes a deal, he or she fails to complete the agreement immediately because he or she is not fully signed and managers first have to sign it for approval. ValidSign allows you to select multiple signers and set a sign order so that the required signatures can be in a few mouse clicks.”
Radboudumc has brought in the ValidSign’s solution to ultimately deploy it organisation-wide. Short lines and close cooperation between the two organisations is therefore crucial. “We were not only looking for a digital signing platform but also for a partner, and we found it in ValidSign. ValidSign is very involved in our roll-out process and supports us with tailor-made consultancy,” says van Asperen. The organization has allocated more than 6 months for the roll-out process so that the digital signature gradually lands within the organization. She uses the digital signature first to digitize the entire hiring process. More than 1000 employees receive their employment contract to sign through ValidSign. This action works both as a test for the end users and for the signers within the organization. both parties are enthusiastic about the user-friendly solution that allowed them to use it immediately after the delivery.
ValidSign in the future
The organisation is therefore still in its early stages when it comes to digital signing. Van Asperen: “At the moment, more than 350 contracts per month are signed digitally. HR employees sign just over 150 contracts every month. This will only increase as ValidSign’s digital signature solution creates the well-known snowball effect. Especially now that working from home has become the new normal. “
Govers Accountants en Adviseurs
Govers is the specialist in accountancy, tax and business advice in the South of The Netherlands and will be working with ValidSign’s digital signature solution from the end of 2019. Since 1927, the organisation from Eindhoven has been striving to provide high-quality services to their customers. The team of 180 colleagues focuses on family businesses and the construction, food and high-tech (Brainport) sectors. She distinguishes herself from other accounting firms because of her business approach and the genuine interest in the story behind the figures of an organization. Govers has both local and international customers. As part of the international partnership UHY, Govers works for a large number of international organisations. UHY is a partnership of 320 independent offices in 100 countries.
Vlot en gestroomlijnd proces
After its own research, the organisation joined ValidSign in December 2019. Govers indicated that he was not entirely unfamiliar with the digital signature and had used a different sign platform for some time. This offered limited possibilities, which inhibited the organization in making a digitization battle. The large number of ValidSign functionalities gave the organization the decisive step to switch. At the time, the process was as follows: a document to be signed was drawn up in Word, printed and signed with the correct stationery, or sent to signatories by mail for signature. The signed document was manually archived upon receipt. Kachung Tau, Accountant at Govers Accountants explains: “With the previous signing solution, there were still too many steps to obtain the necessary signatures. Where the signing process used to take hours, it has now been arranged in a few clicks!” At the moment, the entire Govers assembly process is already being streamlined, including the contract confirmation, minutes and declaration of agreement for publication and tax return signed with ValidSign. “Until recently, colleagues regularly printed documents and then signed with the wet signature. With ValidSign, these people too cannot get around the digital signing of documents and the digital signature is used more broadly within the organization”, says Kachung.
In addition to accelerating different processes and reducing response time, the digital signature creates overview for Govers. Kachung says: “ValidSign ensures better control of document flows. The ValidSign dashboard gives a nice overview of the number of documents sent and (not yet) signed. In addition, it is possible to add multiple documents to a transaction, which has significantly reduced the number of transactions.”
The digital signature contributes to the high-quality service that the organisation provides. “Customers experience ValidSign’s digital signature as an additional service from Govers. The solution allows us to digitize in an accessible way, so that our loyal customers also dare to sign documents digitally,” says Kachung. Previously, the document was printed, signed, scanned, and mailed back to the next signer when multiple people within an organization had to sign the same document. ValidSign eliminates these steps and handles them in a single transaction. Kachung says: “The customer now receives all documents in a bundled mail and the documents are available for inspection immediately after signing and downloaded via the same link”.
With the right integrations, the solution can be used throughout the organization. “In addition to the auditor’s process, purchasing and HR processes could be digitized with the digital signature, says Kachung. In the coming year, Govers will digitize more and more processes in which the digital signature plays an important role. See all the business processes validsign can support.