Founded 1988 | HQ Vienna, Austria | 350 employees (approx.) March 2023

Papyrus Software is one of the first firms to use blockchain in traditional document-centric applications. Interest in and use of enterprise blockchain is growing, and as an early entrant into this market Papyrus will be in an excellent place to take advantage of that.


The Company

ISIS Papyrus is one of the longest-established ECM firms in the world; founded in 1988 in Vienna, Austria, it now has three main offices: Vienna; Singapore; and Dallas, Texas. The firm is led by Annemarie Pucher, one of the original co-founders. It has approximately 350 employees and serves customers in 42 countries, and we estimate its annual revenue to be around $100 million, with no outside investment.

The Technology

Before diving into the blockchain aspects of this report, it’s important to note that Papyrus Software provides an extensive and deep enterprise content management (ECM) and automation platform, which they call “Digital Business Platform.” It encompasses case and process management, archiving, omnichannel inbound and outbound communication, and intelligent document processing. Used by over 2,500 businesses worldwide across industry sectors, the platform is unusual as Papyrus Software built all the technology in-house. The firm’s use of blockchain is focused on modernizing and expanding the capabilities of its Digital Business Platform.

Papyrus Blockchain will be used for relatively “closed-chain” applications, with access limited to trading partners and clients. However, it does standardize on multichain for its notarization applications. Hence, this is a private and permissioned version of blockchain that can support various blockchain types such as Hyperledger, R3, Quorum, etc. Architecturally, Papyrus Software runs many distributed nodes across private and permissioned ledgers (Papyrus Ledger); the nodes are not blockchain ledgers but connectors to a blockchain. In practice, this means that a customer can get started on a blockchain initiative on their own quickly and at a relatively low cost; similarly, if a customer is already involved in a blockchain initiative (for example, through an industry consortium), they should be able to connect to that quickly and easily (see Figure 1). Furthermore, this system can run on-premises or in IBM, Azure, or AWS clouds.

It is important to note that the only things stored on the blockchain are a hash, some associated metadata, and a document binary. The file itself is left in place and is not stored on the blockchain. On the one hand, this limits the use cases; on the other hand, beyond specialist use cases such as “credentials” or “licenses,” it makes the most sense in terms of operability, cost, and security to not store the document itself on the blockchain.

Indeed, the use cases for Papyrus Blockchain are focused on the concept of the immutability of records: firstly, through simplifying and reducing costs of notarizing documents, and secondly, by ensuring documents or data cannot be tampered with. In short, they are proving that a stated record is, in fact, an actual and undeniable record. This has been used to verify third-party uploaded documents, to timestamp records digitally, and to lock time reports, for example. But again, to date, the most interest in and use of the blockchain has been for notarizing and signing documents.

Notarizing and signing documents is big business and can be cumbersome and costly. By taking the blockchain route, it’s possible to reduce costs and simplify the process dramatically, and also arguably get a more secure outcome. Using blockchain ensures the authenticity of the document being signed and of those signing it, and that the correct process was followed. It’s a pretty slick system, and when used in conjunction with the broader document management and automation platform, almost seamless. In short, a blockchain-encrypted process is triggered to ensure that the document is correct, that each signing party is valid, and that a certificate is generated once signed. If this needs to be reviewed later, there is, by default, an immutable record of the process and transactions to look at.

Blockchain is also leveraged in the Papyrus WebArchive, which has been designed to provide a scalable and secure central archive for documents and completed cases. Within this is the ability to set retention rules and policies and any associated storage rules. So, for example, more frequently accessed archival material can be held on solid state drives (SSD) and rarely accessed data on tape. The option to leverage blockchain can ensure no tampering with or revisions of the data.

It’s early days for blockchain in the information management world. Still, by building and proving out regular and essential use cases such as notarization and archiving, Papyrus is providing a low-risk entry point for its customers. And in time, more use cases will emerge as the broader platform is used, from secure data sharing to timestamping.

Papyrus Blockchain
Figure 1
Papyrus Blockchain Self-Service

Our Opinion

The use of blockchain in information management in Europe and the US is at an early stage, though it is already gaining strong traction in Asia and the Middle East. Papyrus Software is one of the first firms to explore its value in traditional document-centric applications. There is much more interest in using enterprise blockchain now than just a year ago, followed by actual adoption, and that interest is only likely to grow. Papyrus will be in an excellent place to take advantage of that, as many of its competitors still haven’t left the starting blocks.

Advice to Buyers

If you are exploring the use of blockchain for information management, you will certainly want to add Papyrus Software to your shortlist. Not only is it one of the few firms active in this space, but its early entry into the market has given it real-world experiences and best practices to share.


SOAR Analysis

Strengths

  • Long-established and well-respected company with early-mover advantage in blockchain
  • A single-source, cohesive system that is intelligent, scalable, and extendable
  • Runs across operating systems, on-premises and in the cloud, and integrates with any application and service

Aspirations

  • Providing a best-in-class platform for creating and deploying business value stream applications (cross-industry)
  • Maintaining its position as a leading worldwide customer communication and process platform as measured by customer satisfaction and relatively low costs

Opportunities

  • Providing secure access to data, documents, and information for employees working and collaborating digitally
  • Ensuring legal compliance and security for all corporate content in line with increasing data protection, compliance, and security guidelines
  • Guaranteeing the originality of documents, transactions, content, and messages in some business scenarios, eliminating the need for electronic signatures and the associated time delays and fees

Results

  • Substantial blue chip customer base including the likes of Citibank and Dow Jones
  • Profitable and self-funded
  • Recognized as a Customers’ Choice in CCM – Gartner Peer Insights

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