Vermont takes contract signing to the cloud

Vermont’s Department of Information and Innovation is transforming the way it processes vendor contracts with cloud services and electronic signature technology.

DII has integrated Silanis Technology’s e-SignLive, a subscription-based, secure online e-signing service with IBM's LotusLive cloud-based collaboration service to process signatures as well as lower costs and reduce paper consumption.

DII contracts range in value from thousands to over a million dollars and often require signatures from officials located in other office buildings before being submitted for final sign-off by the state’s attorney general.

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Many contracts and forms can be downloaded from DII’s website. However, “hand-signing meant many of our people were spending valuable time chasing down multiple signatures or correcting errors,” said Kris Rowley, DII’s Chief Information Security Officer.

DII signs as many as 80 vendor contracts a month, Rowley said.

As a result, DII turned to a Web-based service that doesn't require a software download. The service captures strong electronic evidence during the signing process which makes it extremely difficult for signers to repudiate their signatures should there ever be a dispute.

E-SignLive lets organizations and individuals invite their customers, partners and suppliers to instantly sign documents over the Web, harnessing online collaboration and social networking tools during the negotiation and pre-signing process. Multiple users can review, modify and sign a single document in a secure and compliant extranet environment.

IBM LotusLive's cloud collaboration service includes a range of tools, such as project tracking, Web meetings and instant messaging, which promotes team work, helps quickly find expertise needed to get projects done and create partnerships.

Meanwhile, IBM has taken steps to improve the social collaboration capabilities of the IBM Federal Community Cloud, which is specifically designed to help federal agencies respond to technology requirements more quickly.

The secure, private cloud environment is part of IBM's established and dedicated Federal Data Center that provides secure, certified computing capabilities to federal agencies.

IBM's new cloud services includes capabilities for social software such as wikis, microblogs, staff profiles, instant messaging, Web conferencing, messaging and collaboration and e-mail. Additionally, the services includes support for mobile devices, including Android phones and tablets, Apple iPhone 4 and iPad, Research in Motion BlackBerry, and the Nokia Symbian platform.

The new services will be ready for the required Federal Information Security Management Act certification when they become available late this year, IBM officials said.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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