Conclusion of the AMO-Notarius Digital Signature Pilot

Posted: January 09, 2019
Tagged As: Digital, Legislation & Regulation, Technology

Last time we discussed AMO’s partnership with Notarius on this blog, two municipalities test piloting digital signature technology presented their experiences at the 2018 AMO Conference in Ottawa.

We have now successfully wrapped up the pilot project.

Pilot Summary and Early Results

In January 2018, AMO and Notarius launched a Digital Signature pilot to test digital signing solutions to determine benefits, challenges, opportunities, and improvements that may be required of a broader service for the membership.

The goals and objectives were threefold:
 
  1. Provide participating municipalities with the technology to sign documents digitally with secure and encrypted digital and electronic signatures.
  2. Demonstrate the cost effectiveness, efficiency, and user friendliness of municipal digital signatures.
  3. Determine if there is a cost avoidance of using a digital signature solution compared to the current status quo, and if the service supports comprehensive electronic document management for municipal governments.  
Six municipalities participated:
 
  1. City of Brampton
  2. Dufferin County
  3. Simcoe County
  4. Municipality of Kincardine
  5. Municipality of Red Lake
  6. United Counties of Prescott & Russell
All implemented Notarius digital signing solutions (either ConsignO, CertifiO, or both) in a variety of departments to assist with the electronic management of documents. Examples of departments within the municipality that tested digital signatures included CAO and General Administration, Council & Clerk, Legal/Risk Management, Public Works, and a host of other municipal departments and services. Documents that were digitally and electronically authenticated included, but were not limited to, contracts with suppliers, by-laws and council resolutions, permit requests, and many others.

Pilots tested the solutions for approximately six months to give participating municipalities an appropriate amount of time to test the technology in day-to-day operations. For that six-month period, pilots tested the software at no cost. After that period, if the pilot continued operationalizing the solutions, the municipality would pay the normal cost of service to Notarius for the technology. Most pilots indicated that they intend, or are exploring opportunities in budgets, to continue using the solutions.

We are in the process of finalizing a report that provides an overview of the pilot project that we will distribute to members soon. Please watch out for that report through the various AMO channels.

In the meantime, here is some general feedback that pilots have provided through exit questionnaires:
 
  • Once installed, all of the solutions were simple and easy to use
  • Projects could be signed off almost immediately, anytime, and from anywhere
  • Paper, postage costs were reduced – documents can be transferred right into a municipality’s electronic document management system
  • Digital and electronic signatures can be used right away by any size of municipality without any loss of functionality
  • Processes have become more efficient and accessible for residents when using Notarius digital signature solutions
  • Expedites workflow processes for staff
  • Enhances the corporation’s business activities
  • Environmentally friendly
  • The cost of the solutions are reasonable and appropriate for this type of technology
A key requirement in AMO’s partnership with Notarius was that their digital signature solutions should be scalable to the varying administrations and operations of municipal governments in the province. Based on feedback from the pilots, we were happy to hear that there is value in using a platform for digital signing and authentication as something attainable and reasonable for municipalities the size of Red Lake or Kincardine.

Where there are challenges, there are also opportunities

The largest challenge that pilots experienced was getting elected officials and staff to buy-in to the culture change that accompanies any digitally transformative tool. Pilots identified ways to go about addressing and embracing change:
 
  • Identify champions either on council or on staff or both to lead change and help implement the technology.
  • Convince users/staff about the benefits of rethinking processes using digital technology. Once they buy-in, processes can become leaner and efficient.
  • Reach out to Notarius to help with change management. They have the resources to make improvements to the solutions to get more of your users to buy-in as well as the expertise to implement any use case of digital and electronic signatures that you may be considering.
Town Hall Webinar

In November, AMO hosted a Town Hall webinar where all of the pilots presented their experiences using the solutions. Over 100 participants learned how Notarius digital signatures were implemented and tested by the pilots. We encourage you to watch that webinar to get a better understanding of how your peers are using digital and electronic signature technology and how Notarius solutions could work for your municipality.
 
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Next Steps

We will continue to promote and communicate our partnership with Notarius for 2019 and beyond. We may host further lunch and learn webinars with Notarius so please stay tuned to AMO channels for announcements. Notarius will also have a presence at the 2019 AMO Conference in Ottawa so please drop by their booth in the Exhibit Hall and say hello.

With the conclusion of the pilot, we encourage you to reach out to Notarius for further information (including technical specifications) about their solutions. If you are keen to begin implementing digital signatures into your own administration and operations, Fred Mazzarello and his team would be happy to answer any questions that you might have. Fred is Notarius’ Director of Business Solutions and can be reached by email at sales@notarius.com or by phone at 1-888-588-0011 x1272.

For more information and resources on AMO and Notarius’ partnership, please visit our website.

 

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