Doing business with any financial institution implies signing legally binding documents, which often requires that multiple parties sign dozens of pages. Orchestrating such signing flows the old-fashioned way is often logistically challenging and time-consuming.

Thankfully technological maturity of organizations is inversely proportional to their reliance on ink and paper. But even though getting rid of paper is somewhat easy, getting rid of signatures is more of a challenge. The in-house solution, adopted by the Danske Bank group of companies, is a great example of how digitization can take paperless to the next level.

Digital Signing – established as an independent product a little over 2 years ago, has already freed up millions of working hours at the same time improving and simplifying the signing experience. This was made possible by combining a modern technology stack, agile values, microservice architecture and motivated minds housed in a hip Danske Bank DGITL office.

On the external level the signing solution exposes RESTful API’s which allow processes integration across a range of financial products and services. A more traditional UI exists for consumers who may wish to benefit from the service without having to write any code. The team is constantly improving and iterating on the design, expanding functionality based on business needs of internal partners and markets.

Below the outer layer, a micro-service driven back-end aggregates and meshes relevant data. Who are the authorized signatories? Who are their delegates? What are the applicable signing rules? Which documents are being signed? Answering all these questions is made possible by combining public data registers (such as virk.dk or asiakastieto.fi) with internal data sources and relevant business logic. This process has matured to the point where some interactions are performed asynchronously, achieved through domain driven approach to service decomposition and async communication over AMQP.

Document signing is performed by the customers via a standalone, responsive web application. There a person is able to review relevant documents and sign them via a valid eID service in the country of residence (with all Nordic countries supported to date). When all digital signatures are in place, the underlying documents become legally binding. Background processes complete the flow by cryptographically encrypting relevant information and passing it on for long-term storage.

Digital Signing is one of many software products fully in-housed by Danske Bank.

The signing process described above can take as little as one minute to complete, a more traditional ink and paper approach may take weeks. So how much of an improvement is that exactly?

Let’s take into account processes which require courier services to deliver documents – pickup plus delivery to a customer and back can take five to twenty working days. Other processes may require scheduled appointments, that’s give or take five working days. Digital Signing eliminates the need for physical travel. Given the pace of adoption and average signing case complexity, digitization saves around 7 days of wait time per case. To date, that has translated to over a millennium of saved time, and will break two millennia by the end of this year. If one would factor other benefits of digitization, such as reduction of manual input and physical labor (i.e. automatic case creation; lack of physical paper handling, etc.) the number would double. It means customers are able to receive their financial services earlier and employees can spend less time doing trivial tasks.

If there existed a time travel machine which accepted saved time as input, Digital Signing could propel a person witnessing the construction of the Great Pyramids of Giza to modern times.

However impressive the numbers may be, the signing team is ambitious to further increase its velocity and flexibility. The target for 2018 is to migrate some of the underlying services to the Cloud and adopt an Open Source technology stack, expanding the products reach to more markets and processes.

The team is undergoing a period of rapid growth and would welcome talents from both inside and outside Lithuania. If you would like to get in touch regarding career opportunities or seeking more information about the Digital Signing product please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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