BC OnLine boosts public-private collaboration

Saving customers time and money should be the outcome of anauthentication and archiving service delivered by a B.C. governmente-service delivery portal.

BC OnLine will provide access to information products andservices on behalf of government and private sector partners,including “virtual notary” witnessing, archiving, and electronicdocument signing services, to mostly the legal and finance sectors,according to Jag Gillan, CEO, Datawitness.

Currently, government offices are taking many documents in paperform and in order to preserve them over a long period of time arescanning them, digitizing them and then putting them ontomicrofilm, he said.

“It starts off in a digital format, goes to paper and then getsscanned back to digital, and then digital gets transposed ontomicrofilm,” said Gillan. “What we’ve done is eliminated all themiddle part — we’ve gone from digital to micro-film.”

Gillan believes the importance of using microfilm, is that itcan’t be altered or manipulated, something of significance in theevent of a contract dispute.

“Because it can’t be changed, and it’s held by a third party –the original recipient — if they got into a dispute, we can alwayssay we have in addition to digital, an analog copy of all thecommunication that went back and forth.”

There’s also the benefit of cost and time-savings for thecustomers of these services, according to Alan Crawshaw, MDAgeneral manager for BC OnLine.

“There’s time that will also be saved in any kind of a disputebecause the information could be called on by either lawyer throughDatawitness, and it can be pulled from the archives very quickly,”said Crawshaw. “Because Datawitness is a third party, it reallydoesn’t have an interest in either side other than just showingwhat actually took place in the transaction.”

As for who uses the Datawitness services, Gillan said it varies,from clients using it for corporate minutes, to signing contractsonline.

“We really want to demonstrate to the various governmentalagencies here locally, how this service can compliment theirservice,” he said. “That’s where we’re putting a lot of our focuson right now.”

Analysts see growth in adjacent market areas like informationlife cycle management and content management, said IDC Canadasenior analyst Alison Brooks.

The Government of Canada, through its Secure Channel services,also offers a number of services, including electronicallypost-marked transactions, she said.

“A number of provinces are in discussion with the FederalGovernment to maximize use of the Secure Channel infrastructure,”she said. “Legislation has been passed to enable the federalgovernment to provide services, and all associated informationtechnology infrastructure services, to provincial, territorial andmunicipal governments.”

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