The benefit of SPID digital system: some premises
Italy’s Sistema Pubblico di Identità Digitale is its Public Digital Identity System, known as SPID. We have been familiarizing ourselves with this tool for some time now, with a major acceleration in the most dramatic months of the pandemic emergency that, fortunately, are behind us. As a result, we have all had the opportunity to experience the advantages of SPID, which extend far beyond the requirements of the emergency period.
But the benefits of SPID aren’t just for individuals and individuals. In fact, those benefits also extend to the digital identity of the business system, for organizations of every size: the benefits and opportunities are available for both large companies as well as small start-ups. Also, beware: this is a hot topic, and there are frequent legislative updates on the subject. And it’s not just a matter of national regulations. In fact, we always have to consider the broader context of European Union legislation, which is increasingly integrating and gaining strength.
In this post, we will discuss all of these aspects and focus specifically on the benefits of SPID for businesses. So, let’s start with the basics.
Digital identity for business – from introduction to the latest legislative updates
The digital identity for professional use was introduced on December 1, 2019. This is the publication date of the official guidelines for digital identities for professional use issued by AgID. From then on, SPID has become a tool that enables public administrations and individuals to verify an individual’s membership in an organization and/or his or her status as a professional.
The so-called “SPID for businesses” also gets its specific name: eIDup. In turn, eIDup is divided into two categories:
- elDup for professional use by a natural person (elDup PF): this is the SPID reserved for freelancers. The elDup PF is the digital identity that contains the attributes of the natural person to whom authentication credentials have been issued (first name, last name, tax ID, etc.);
- elDup for professional use by a legal person (elDup PG): this is the SPID issued to the natural person acting on behalf of a legal person. The elDup PG is the digital identity that contains the attributes of the legal person and the natural person to whom authentication credentials have been issued.
And now we come to the most up-to-date news on this issue. We are referring to AgID’s Determination No. 71/2022, which operationalizes the adoption of the Convention for the Adherence of Private Service Providers, Individuals, or Aggregators of Service Providers to the Public System for Digital Identities – SPID. This Convention marks an important turning point. Until now, an organization that wanted to use SPID digital identity services, becoming a private Service Provider, had to sign an agreement with AgID and manage their integrations with the different identity managers. This path was not simple nor sustainable for all types of realities.
Here, then, is the turning point: with the new Convention, specialized companies will be able to offer services for compliance and use with SPID to other private organizations that do not find it convenient or sustainable to activate the necessary structure to expose their services on the network through SPID authentication, thus playing – to all intents and purposes – the role of Service Provider Aggregators.
What are the practical implications of this? First of all, it supports spreading the digital identity among businesses. Not only that: as a result, it facilitates development of private digital services integrated with SPID, bringing efficiency benefits to the entire ecosystem, both on the production side and the Public Administration side. Finally, it opens the market to private individuals offering third parties (aggregated entities) the possibility of making their services accessible through SPID. It is very clear that the dynamic is that of a virtuous circle, with a view toward simplification and with many win-win opportunities.
Now, let’s look at the benefits of SPID for businesses. And let’s face it: there are many, diverse and closely related benefits.
The many benefits of SPID for businesses
As promised, let’s talk about the benefits of SPID for businesses. We have already anticipated it: they are many, diverse, but all closely intertwined. In general (and in summary): what do they have in common? They simplify the historically complicated relationship between businesses and the public administration.
In short, this tool makes it possible to reconcile two “speeds” that have often been—and unfortunately still are—in conflict: the accelerated speed of the productive world, which needs to have as little hindrance and as few brakes as possible, especially in today’s digital ecosystem, and the much slower pace of the PA, which has to deal with complicated bureaucratic, legislative, security, and privacy issues. With professional SPID, these two speeds and all of these instances coexist in an increasingly harmonious and efficient manner. And everyone benefits: companies, individual workers, and the Public Administration itself, which sees its practices streamlined and simplified.
And, thanks to professional SPID, companies and professionals can easily manage the complex set of bureaucratic issues, keeping track of documents, petitions, and all official or formal communications. Archiving is maximally secure and continuously updated according to regulatory developments. With professional SPID, it is also possible to activate the third security level (SPID 3), the most secure level of authentication, which, in addition to the SPID 3 username and password, requires a special physical medium that handles cryptographic keys.
But that’s not all. Through the SPID digital identity, company workflows are also simplified and faster. In this way, for example, the company owner can delegate employees to carry out all bureaucratic and documentary tasks. Always in maximum security, and with the highest degree of control over all processes.
This brings us to another decisive issue. The SPID digital identity is becoming more and more integrated at the European level, especially since the new eIDAS regulation. In this way, it becomes an indispensable key for accessing services across Europe. We don’t need to emphasize the importance of this within the market and the work world today and increasingly tomorrow.
The great advantages of SPID for businesses don’t end with these more “direct” benefits. Indeed, there are the enormous possibilities that arise from the integration of the digital identity with other types of tools that are already available. And it is this aspect that we will focus on in the next section as we conclude this post.
SPID and the opportunities of dematerialization in the enterprise
Let’s start by clarifying one point right away: what do we mean by dematerialization? But remember: it’s a concept that goes beyond simple document digitization.
Through dematerialization processes, paper documents can be completely eliminated, as their digital counterparts take on full legal and evidentiary value. So: we’re talking about a difference with a delicate and very important legal value. It is natural that the SPID digital identity tool is a key pillar of this process, as it makes all processes between company and customer and between company and PA more efficient, automated, secure, and reliable.
Specifically, the services that can be implemented and integrated include:
- digital onboarding of customers: in addition to its efficiency benefits, this is a valuable source of surgical and deep data from which to build upon for increasingly data-driven and personalized customer care.
- electronic signature: another key tool that we are all now familiar with.
- electronic invoicing: (again, needless to say, we are talking about a tool that is becoming widely diffused at a rapid pace, driven by legal obligations)
- customer authentication processes: made increasingly secure and far removed from the annoying red tape of the past.
Here we can see the virtuous circle taking shape. Internal business processes become increasingly smart, agile, functional. The often slow and cumbersome procedures for interfacing with the public administration are streamlined. And we also see benefits on the customer front; finally, satisfied customers are always a company’s most important asset, from any industry and of any size.
These are the fruits of the most mature Digital Transformation, those that go far beyond slogans.