Secure Mail in Germany - New Alternative Options to the Letter
Dr. Frank Wermeyer, SWISS POST AG
The topic of secure mail as an alternative or supplement to the standard letter has been under discussion for some time in Germany. In the past, however, existing processes and technologies fell short of a breakthrough for a variety of reasons: lack of mandatory standards, high application complexity, but especially lack of legal foundations. The legislature did take action, defining under De-Mail law a service designed to meet the legal requirements for a letter substitute.
Approximately three years after the law was enacted and two years after the market introduction of De-Mail service (the German Postal System had already introduced a similar service four years ago), the euphoria this miracle of digitalization initially induced has dwindled in the sober light of day. Not a single De-Mail supplier has yet been able to produce customer and usage data that proves its unequivocal success.
Discussions with companies from a number of industries and managers from different areas such as HR (salary and wage notices), finance (invoices, statement), sales/CRM (offers, customer account data) show wherein the problems associated with such services lie. For one thing, they are closed systems with a daunting user learning curve and therefore do not support a sufficiently large recipient base. For a lot of companies, it’s just not worth it. For another thing, the systems are strictly national and offer no cross-border solution.
Against this backdrop, did De-Mail and ePostbrief really meet users’ expectations and needs and are there alternatives that work around the initial hurdles and national restrictions? A look elsewhere in Europe is helpful in this regard. In the meantime, well functioning closed systems (Denmark) and open systems (Switzerland) have been established that could certainly be used to some extent in the German market - secure mail knows no boundaries. In particular, Swiss Post’s IncaMail appears to be a readily available and easy-to-use option especially for companies with international reach.
Dr. Frank Wermeyer
Dr. Frank Wermeyer has been a consultant and interim manager since 2013 and is currently supporting Swiss Post AG in the introduction and positioning of Switzerland’s IncaMail service.
He previously held various management positions at St. Gallen Consulting Group and Deutsche Telekom. He was in charge of the business customer segments for T-Mobile and Telekom Deutschland AG. From 2010 to 2013 he was responsible for all De-Mail activities throughout the Deutsche Telekom enterprise.