How to start certification process digitisation in my company?
Daily, companies manage lots of documents. It's hard enough to handle it online, imagine what people must go through while doing it in paper. Even though digitization is essential nowadays, it’s not common knowledge what documents should be additionally secured during the process. Today, I will walk you through what digitization of documents (especially, certificates) might mean for your organization.
This article includes the following:
- What is digitalization and why is it important?
- Step-by-step guide: “How to digitize certification within your company”.
- How can DoxyChain be a partner for your digitization process?
Let's start with What and Why.
What is digitization?
Simply put - digitization is the process of converting information, data, or even physical objects into a digital format. Document digitization means either creating copies of analogue (paper-based) records or using digital form as a primary means of storing information.
There are a lot of benefits in digitizing almost each and every document. And, as I've always been a strong evangelist for secure and digital document management, I could give millions of reasons why, but let’s get back to it later. My point here is that there exist certain types of files that should be issued and stored in a particularly secure manner but (surprisingly, in the 21st century) still aren't. Certificates!
Why is it important?
I can't stress enough how important security and verifiability are for certification. If your business issues any types of certificates, diplomas, digital credentials, assessments or proofs, you should seriously consider their digitizing. It's the only way to leverage integrity, unfalsifiability and accountability. But, I've talked about it already here - link.
Now, let me give you a couple of other “why?” which are based on our clients’ pain points.
- Digitalization saves you time and resources in the long run
Managing important documents (I specifically refer to certificates and credentials) electronically can help save lots of time, hence improving business efficiency. You don't have to browse through physical files, ask people around if they've seen some piece of paper, go from desk to desk asking for signatures etc. All you have to do is to search for a file via an easy search engine, invite other people to e-sign and voila, at least a few dozens of minutes saved... And that's per a single document!
Our clients say that they can spend up to 3 hours on the certificate (filling out the fields, signing internally or with external partners/3-rd parties, assigning, sending and making sure it reaches the holder/client, archiving the hard copy), when with us, in fact, they could do it in less than 3 minutes. For a company that issues 100 certificates per month, it amounts to a gigantic amount of hours saved each month. And that's just for the issuing!
Let's do a quick calculation and assume that the average salary per hour in Europe is 20 EUR. Can you imagine that a company can easily save 6000 EUR/monthly from an operations perspective?
100 certs monthly x 3h/cert x 20 EUR/h = 6000 EUR monthly. MONTHLY.
Furthermore, remember, in the analogue form you have no control over the further lifecycle of the issued certificate, whereas, (some) digital platforms let you actually manage the status, validity and ownership transfer if needed. You can revoke or suspend a certificate due to unregulated payment or fraud and everyone will see the change in real time.
And as a cherry on top, digital documents cannot be damaged by temperature, water, fire or other human factors (seriously, how many times I've spilled something on my desk...).
- It's just more convenient (not only when working remote)
When you store documents on some cloud (or preferably, blockchain) you can take a look at them at any time and place. You could be traveling from the UK to Japan and still access important files, sign them and have an insight in what’s happening with them in real time. Similarly, you can take an action of revoking or suspending the certificate if you see that, say, a factory in Japan doesn't comply with the standards you've set.
- Frees up physical space and saves the planet
It's a small thing but how important - you save on paper, ink, scanners, and printers AND you make a positive impact on the environment (4 billion of trees are cut down each year for paper production, that's a Billion with a B). Moreover, going digital makes your workspace a lot more productive - no papers laying around, no mess, no binders or folders, just those on your computer.
Ok, so as I mentioned, these are just sample advantages of digital certificates over paper ones, there are more! So, if anyone sees an advantage of paper certificates over digital ones, even just a tiny one - please email me about it.
And if you believe that digital certificates could be valuable for you, let's take a look at how such a process looks.
Step-by-step guide: How to digitize certification within your company?
I, as well as the whole DoxyChain Team, firmly stand on the point that the (digital) transformation always, always, always has to be done mindfully. Here are best practice we've worked out through years of experience:
0. Realize the need/Identify your problem
It's the first step to change. You should understand what is not working well or could work better, how you could save on operations without hurting the quality, and why competitors outperform you. When it comes to the certification workflow, think which step can be secured, automated, and digitized. Here what could be done:
- mapping your existing, paper-based processes out
- deciding what steps can be digitized
- writing down how the newideal digital process could work
- making a “wishlist” of features for the new software provider, and start searching for one
1. Choose the dream team that will be leading the change
The change should come from within the organization and organization leaders should lead it. Employees should be aligned with it and technical resources should be activated. We usually suggest Directors of IT to take care of systems integrations and Directors of Certification or Management-level person of Operations to lead the change in processes and people training.
2. Do your market research/ talk to the several service providers
Please do your research! Compare several digital certification platforms, read a couple of articles, like the one we posted recently - link, set a meeting with the sales teams to show you a demo and tell their story. Pick one and agree on the trial/contract terms.
Self-explanatory but don’t underestimate that step. Ask as many questions as possible, set up a training with the team. Do the tech setup, prepare the necessary materials, and cooperate with the new service provider.
4. Pilot use
Test what you got. See how people respond - is it enough for your current needs? Is there any room for improvement? Is the interface simple? Does it lead to objectives set in step 0? Get feedback internally and externally.
5. Commercial use
Here you can go full-steam ahead! After you know that this is something you need, spread the news company-wide and market-wide. Add new certificates or steps to the process, slowly but confidently. Also, consider adding personalization to the tool you picked (e.g. white-label).
6. Optimize the process further
Now that you've got the process digitized, your certification flow is streamlined and secured, think of other things that could be optimized to save time. Maybe additional templates of other certificates you issue, may be whole another line of business digitization? If you picked the tech partner correctly, now you should see the real value and enjoy the title of an innovation pioneer.
How I could help you with digitization?
At DoxyChain we take great pride in being partners in the process of digitizing and securing certification workflows. We could help you go from step 0 to step 6 and beyond with our expertise and blockchain-based system to issue and manage certification in real-time. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get you started!
Before I sign off, let me also visualize the actual workflow for certificate management in DoxyChain system.
0. Client asks a Certifying Body to issue a certificate.
1. Client and a Certifying Body sign a Certification Process purchase agreement.
2. After agreement signing, a Certifying Body starts the analysis, assessment or testing.
3. After assessment is finished, a Certifying Body makes a decision about the certificate/credential issuing.
4. A Certifying Body picks a relevant certificate template in the DoxyChain system.
5. Then, fulfills the necessary dynamic fields, also specifying the validity period.
6. Next, adds relevant attachments, e.g. test or assessment results.
7. Next, invites relevant parties to this certificate, assigns the holder, picks the signers and third-party collaborators - everything via typing their emails in.
8. This is basically the end of the issuing workflow.
9. Thanks to the QR codes and blockchain tech, the certificate status and authenticity are easily verifiable via a smartphone. Every change is recorded and visible in the history which is transparent and immutable thanks to blockchain.
I hope you got a glimpse of how to start the certification process digitization in your company. I an here to ask any questions and provide more context for your individual case!