Success Story Maschinenring Salzburg

Maschinenring Salzburg is digitizing its signature workflows with sproof sign to make the internal processes even more efficient. Rather than printing documents for signing and requiring to distribute and collect the documents across multiple divisions and office locations, this can now be done fully digitally.

The original idea of Maschinenring was for farmers to support each other and to jointly achieve price advantages and reduce costs by sharing expensive machinery. This vision is still valid today. However, in addition, Maschinenring opens up a wide range of additional business opportunities. Through services and personnel leasing, farmers and people with an agricultural background are employed, for example, in winter service but also in summer service, and thus Maschinenring offers numerous employment opportunities.

Maschinenring Salzburg has chosen sproof for accompanying its digitalization process for two main reasons: sproof is an Austrian-based company that is 100% GDPR-compliant, and sproof provides qualified electronic signatures for legally-binding and valid digital signing according to the European legal framework. Qualified signatures offer  the highest level of trust and are equivalent to handwritten signatures. With sproof, the management board of Maschinenring Salzburg has been equipped with their own legally-binding electronic signature. However, the application of sproof sign is not limited to the  board, but also all the other employees can digitize their processes. sproof sign is a cloud-based solution, easy to use, and does  not require a large-scale IT project to start.

At Maschinenring Salzburg, we decided to use sproof to optimize our business processes and make them more efficient. All documents that require a qualified signature are signed in seconds via Sproof and digitally signed in their entirety. The batch signature of documents is a central feature for us that not only saves paper, but above all time.

Ing. Roman Spiegel
Head of IT and Process Management

Digitally sign – but correctly

For the second time in just a few days, everything revolves around digital signatures and their validity in court: In Germany, the issue is the legality of digitally signed employment contracts, and in another case in Austria, the correctness of a contract award for 400 million euros. Where are the issues in these cases, and how would the right digital signatures have prevented legal doubts?

In Berlin, Germany, a legal dispute between employees and employers is currently revolving around the validity of employment contracts signed via the software of a major US provider. The signatures applied and their legal validity — specifically, whether they meet the writing requirement — are currently the subject of the proceedings (1). In Austria, a few days later, the result of a tender procedure was declared null and void by the court because the applied digital signature was not legally valid in Austria — the contract amount was 400 million euros (2). In both cases, digital signatures were applied whose legal validity is either the subject of the proceedings or was directly rejected by the respective instance.

To understand where the problems lie here, let’s take a look at the current legal situation for digital signatures. In the EU, the legal framework is regulated in the eIDAS Regulation or in the corresponding national legislations that have been leaned on. Essentially, a distinction is made between simple, advanced, and qualified digital signatures. In the case of Berlin employees, everything revolves around the legal validity of advanced digital signatures. This is because the law only specifically stipulates that qualified digital signatures are legally equivalent to handwritten signatures.

Although the eIDAS Regulation provides a uniform legal framework in the EU, it does not cover Switzerland. There, digital signatures are regulated in the “Federal Electronic Signature Act (ZertES).” In the case of the contract award in Austria, a document was signed in accordance with Swiss law. However, the equivalence of eIDAS and ZertES was rejected by the court.

Even if these two cases now give the impression that (legal) uncertainties may arise when using digital signatures, reassurance must be given at this point: With correctly affixed, eIDAS-compliant qualified digital signatures, equivalence to handwritten signatures applies within the EU. When selecting providers for digital signature solutions, therefore, particular attention should be paid to the possibility of qualified digital signatures.

We offer the right solution for this problem with sproof sign (https://sign.sproof.io), an Austrian company. Qualified digital signatures created with sproof sign are guaranteed to be legally valid according to eIDAS and are equivalent to handwritten signatures. If both the employment contracts in Germany and the tender in Austria had been signed with it, the court would probably not have doubted the legality of the signature in either case.

(1) https://plus.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/tuecken-des-arbeitsrechts-berliner-gorillas-streit-zeigt-probleme-mit-digitaler-unterschrift-253141.html

(2) https://www.derstandard.at/story/2000129788448/kauf-von-doppelstockzuegen-wird-debakel-fuer-die-oebb