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20 successful years of electronic, digital signatures ‒ StepOver celebrates its milestone birthday

On 12 December 2001, StepOver GmbH was founded in Stuttgart. The current CEO Andreas Günther was one of the original four founders. Back then, StepOver was a small hardware company making signature pads – “designed and made in Germany”.

As a rule, small businesses start out with small customers and small projects. At StepOver, things were different from the outset. Some of its first customers included large firms such as the insurance companies Nürnberger Versicherung and Karlsruher Versicherung (today the W&W Group). These were soon joined by other big names ‒ Allianz Insurance, AXA Insurance, the UK’s Department of Work & Pensions, HVB bank, Targobank, Sixt, and many more. StepOver flourished into a successful global company. StepOver solutions encompass the full range of electronic signature devices; e-signatures on a signature pad, smartphone, tablet or PC, online as well as offline, and of course in the cloud too if so wished.

Four quick questions for the founder and CEO of StepOver, Andreas Günther:

Mr Günther, what is the biggest challenge that StepOver has faced over the past 20 years?

Definitely our transformation from a hardware manufacturer to a software and cloud provider, for one thing. StepOver started developing its own software in 2003. By 2011 we had laid the foundation for our cloud solution. For another, you could say that we now have suitable services for our customers in all three areas: hardware, software, and the cloud. This is a big advantage compared to other providers, which only cover individual aspects of the e-signature world. The clients that used to use exclusively stationary signature solutions are now noticing that they are increasingly serving their own clients online. We can offer everything from A to Z under one roof.

Why do companies adopt e-signature solutions?

Cost-saving is an important factor. Printing contracts, signing them by hand, and then scanning them is time-consuming, expensive, and there’s lots of potential for error. More and more, it’s also about offering the customer a fast response i.e. concluding the contract takes just a few minutes, and you can do it from your sofa. You can’t imagine these processes without electronic signatures.

How do you see the future of electronic, digital signatures?

In this market, what lots of people want is for everyone to carry around a qualified e-signature with them everywhere they go (e.g. on their smartphone), meaning you can sign either online or offline. I think it will be another couple of years before we get there. In the meantime, companies need solutions which they can use to reach their customers in a low-threshold way. On site, this could be handwritten e-signatures on a signature pad. Online, you’ve also got certificate-based signatures, if necessary with multi-factor authentication via email address or mobile phone number. Where it’s legally required, for example for credit card contracts, a qualified signature can make sense. Although, for the client this means that they first have to go through an eIDAS-compliant identification process.

What new developments can we look forward to?

In our cloud solution webSignatureOffice, we’ve got a few things cooking next year particularly in the field of qualified e-signatures. In terms of hardware, StepOver will shortly be launching a next-generation signature device. I don’t want to give too much away at this point, but it’s going to set new standards in terms of speed, easy integration, and security. We’re really looking forward to it.

Thank you so much; I look forward to talking to you again next year about new technical developments.

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