SignSpace – service platform for electronic signatures and cooperation
1. Introduction to the project
The goal of the project is to create a web-based service platform that enables electronic signatures and cooperation and caters to the special needs of the built environment and construction sector. The first phase will be implemented as an experimental project aimed at creating the simplest possible functional product for limited implementation in pilot companies. This product will enable the electronic signing of documents, cooperation with partners, archiving and distribution within the piloting environment.
2. Project background
The transition from paper-based operating models to electronic ones increases operational efficiency and generates cost savings. It also improves quality by ensuring timely access to data and the information derived from it. In spring 2016, a working group was set up to study the current state of electronic signature procedures and the overall needs in the built environment and construction sector, composed of Senaatti-kiinteistöt, RAKLI, YIT, SATO, SRV, Inlook, VRJ, Humaliston sähkö and Suomen Tilaajavastuu, which served as a facilitator.
The built environment and construction sector is slowly adopting solutions based on electronic identification. Until now, the new practices have mainly been pioneered by large operators, which have for some years worked on a phased transition from traditional operating models to electronic processes. There are multiple providers of electronic identification services on the Finnish market with excellent capabilities to serve individual companies. Despite the availability, the majority of small and medium-sized companies in the built environment and construction sector still sign paper documents with a pen. In this sector the shift from paper-based signing models to electronic processes is only just beginning.
The introduction of electronic signing services involves various kinds of complications. Large organisations are mainly slowed down by limitations due to existing information systems, increasingly strict data security requirements and the slow adaptation of processes to the new practices. In addition to this, other stakeholders must change their operating practices to enable the generation of added value. These stakeholders include a large number of SMEs, authorities and other parties whose operations are steered by deeply-ingrained practices and operating models, which persistently involve paper-based agreements, approvals, permits, authorisations and commitments.
In the working group’s view, electronic signing implemented at the sector level based on shared information models could save a lot of money in the built environment and construction sector. Harmonised information content would enable added value from digitally verified data mass with connected services serving as a refinement and distribution channel for this electronically produced information, which is now mostly ineligible for use in other processes.
As a result, the working group decided to initiate a project aimed at creating a service platform for electronic signing and cooperation that caters to the needs of operators in the built environment and construction sector. In the vision of the working group, document signing, approvals, decisions, permits and authorisations will take place electronically starting from 2020.
3. Project implementation
The project is implemented by Suomen Tilaajavastuu Oy, which has the necessary networks and substance-related and technical expertise to develop the service. The project started on 2 January 2017 and ends on 30 August 2018. The first phase implemented between 2 January and 30 June 2017 will create an electronic signing and cooperation platform with minimum functionalities that is suitable for pilot use.
The pilot use must begin in the autumn of 2017 at the latest. The pilot companies will take part in the project by starting a limited use of the service and providing information on their own best methods and practices to the project. The pilot will test the suitability of the product for the lifecycle management of signed documents and identify opportunities to use the content produced in other processes and information systems. The decision on the pilot project and its detailed content will be made in spring 2017.
5. Target result of the project
In the following project phases, the product will be assessed and developed based on user feedback and by examining it from the perspective of various actors, agreed practices in the sector and legislation in force. The electronic signing and cooperation platform will be implemented in a way that enables its expansion into a channel for digitally verified data masses in the built environment and construction sector that can be used to produce and reliably share verified information between people, companies, authorities and information systems.
The service platform will utilise an identification service developed by Suomen Tilaajavastuu Oy, which covers the entire field and complies with the requirements of the EU Data Protection Regulation.
The electronic signing and cooperation platform will be linked to the KIRA-digi service channel. This will enable connecting systems in the ecosystem to be integrated into electronic identity services and using verified data through them.
Examples of projects/services that can utilise the service platform:
- Worksite ERP and project management systems: reviewing, signing, distributing, classifying and archiving agreements, records, decisions, tenders, worksite meetings, handovers, etc.
- Reliable Partner Reports: quick approvals for changes to company information from authorities, insurance companies, health service providers and other operators
- Electronic induction: approval of general and site-specific induction provided at the worksite
- Electronic reference register: creating basic site information based on verified information, content reviews and approvals
- Competence register: granting and verifying competences
- Authorisation service for the built environment and construction sector: authorisations related to the use of information content
Rikhard Tiula, Project Manager, Tilaajavastuu Oy
Tel. +358 40 5796 083