Earlier this month I had the pleasure of chatting with Jennifer Harris, Senior Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Realyst, a leading contract management software provider in South Africa. We talked about the ways contract management is evolving, as organizations are making the move from signed paper documents to digital solutions, and how digital certificates can provide the high level of trust and assurance that businesses need in today’s world. Keep reading for some of the highlights from our interview.
Lea: Can you tell our audience a bit about Realyst and what you do there?
Jennifer: Our company has been established for 22 years and we play mainly in the contract management space. We provide companies with a digital system for managing their contracts – whether it’s sales contracts, procurements, HR, etc. – across the whole organization.
Approximately three to four years ago we developed our own electronic signature tool, integrated with our core software. The signature tool grew in popularity and eventually became a separate, stand-alone offering.
Lea: How did you first realize the need for certificate-backed signatures?
Jennifer: One of our customers is in the telecommunications industry, working primarily with financial institutions. Due to the strict regulations that surround financial activity and information security, they had certain security requirements they needed to address, specifically the use of digital certificates. After doing some research, we realized that there were not a lot of local certificate authorities that could issue these types of certificates in South Africa. Eventually, we came upon another South-African based company that had partnered with GlobalSign.
Lea: How would you describe the process of working with GlobalSign?
Jennifer: The process was really seamless with GlobalSign. The sales and technical teams did an excellent job, in quickly providing a proof of concept which we were able to show our client. That sealed the deal for us.
We started investigating CAs in November and had the solution fully installed, with vetting complete and clients up and running, by mid-January. Given the busy holiday season in between, we were quite pleased with that implementation timeline. All of the representatives on the GlobalSign side were extremely responsive and helpful throughout the entire process.
The API made it very easy to integrate the Digital Signing Service (DSS) into our existing tools. At first, we weren’t sure about the difference between the individual certificate and organization certificate. We had to consider not only how we would handle this initial customer’s scenario but how we would offer the DSS solution to new, potential clients going forward. So we needed to test both options.
Lea: Why are digital signatures so important in your business?
Jennifer: People are only just beginning to move away from manual signing and paper documents now. In this era, there are so many factors to consider – including whether or not the signature is trustworthy. The certificate provides that level of comfort.
Lea: How do you see your business growing now that you’ve implemented the digital signing service?
Jennifer: The GlobalSign digital signing service will help us differentiate our offerings from our competitors, absolutely. It means a lot to have an established, global company behind us like GlobalSign.
To learn more Realyst’s flexible range of contract management products, check out their website. If you’d like a free demo of how DSS can help you transform your existing contract, invoice, or other signing processes, let us know and one of our friendly PKI experts will be in touch soon.