Agrello blog

Winds Of Change In Agrello

The current situation most of us are living is a painful reminder of how unpredictable the future is; being able to ‘adapt’ is a critical determinant of success. If nothing else, this experience confirms our need to rely on electronic means of exchange and trusted interactions to keep businesses running. I am referring to payments, e-self-serving, online ID verification, digital ID with trusted authentication, and digital signatures. Fortunately for us at Agrello, a significant part of the Estonian economy rests untouched thanks to the general digital adoption by Estonians and the government-led programs that guided us to this level of digitalization.
Hando Rand
Hando Rand
April 15, 2020

As for Agrello, the future has been challenging to predict and stick to plan. We started with a vision to automate information logistics by automating the obligations and rights of everyone and everything inside the loops of business processes; we thought this was what the world needed, as a team with the law and technical background, it made sense to most of us.

Our biggest hurdle and reality check came along with the realization that most businesses do not have or plan to have the most basic digital infrastructure in place. It is common to find that companies are yet storing their essential documents in a file cabinet, and managers are still scheduling time to sign papers. Yes, to sign by hand. We also found that the companies which have planned for a digital infrastructure are mostly large corporations and multi-nationals with limited options for interoperability and heavy security, leaving us with the current standard of heavy security “the more security, the less usability.”

These gaps in our reality shaped our plans differently and required a fresh way forward. We started adjusting our development to new needs and focus on accelerating the transition from physical (paper) to digital. We knew the ideal product would have to offer a government-grade level of security to be trusted and be as simple as typing a password while secured enough to protect the least tech-savvy person.

That was the moment our journey took a turn, and the focus shifted towards Agrello ID, which goes by the name advanced electronic signature .ID.

We are lucky to be in Estonia; we have some of the best cyber-security experts in the world who can make secure systems without compromising usability. Some of those experts happen to be in our team, so the tech is easy for us. What is not as easy is to make users understand the value of cyber-security products. We realize we are building products for people that cannot differentiate between a private key and public key and how do they correlate. Our problem is that a large part of the population thinks that drawing or typing a signature in Adobe or Docusign, is equivalent to verifying your identity and authenticating the veracity of the signed document.

While our initial mission was to innovate in the intersection between law and tech, our law expertise was less required as our focus shifted. For that, we decided we would change gears with new leadership. So I am pleased to announce Toomas Pihl is now Agrello’s Project Lead and CEO. I will step down as CEO but will remain very active in pursuing the core of our mission as the Chief Innovation Officer.

Toomas brings extensive sales and customer relations experience with innovative tech products that are most suited for our company at this juncture. We rely on Toomas’ leadership style and experience as he has led several successful teams. With Toomas on board leading our team, we have strengthened our capabilities to keep developing innovative products that facilitate the bridge between the physical and the digital that can help build trusted business relations.

I feel now we are experiencing excellent traction in all perspectives, quality of work, team dynamics, accountability, and target focus.

With new beginnings, new energy! In the next blog posts, we will share more about the team and the products we are building with our customers in mind.

As for me, I am going back to my sandbox, something I always missed. I will keep trying ways in which Agrello can incentivize new practices for companies and consumers using their digital applications. I believe that new methods will integrate flexibility and much less friction for users with security, almost as high as having information on an offline device. Now our journey is challenging but exciting with the right team on board.

Our next milestones will bring the automated information logistics in business processes back on the table for discussion. I have not forgotten our initial vision, but I am aware that to get there, we need to bring people to a comfortable level of trust and ease to prepare them for the future we envision.

Lastly, my heart and thoughts are with the families who have suffered severe losses due to the pandemic COVID-19. I hope that everyone takes it seriously so that we can soon go back to our new normal. I don’t think life will be the same again, but it is an opportunity to make things better for all.

Hando Rand
Founder of Agrello
Chief Innovation Officer

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