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Instant Collaboration with Real-Time Support: KYS's Move from Another PDF SDK to Partnership with PSPDFKit

Jonathan D. Rhyne
Illustration: Instant Collaboration with Real-Time Support: KYS's Move from Another PDF SDK to Partnership with PSPDFKit

Learn how KYS (Know Your Signer) reduced its solution implementation time by 30 percent through genuine partnership with PSPDFKit.

KYS, which stands for Know Your Signer, is an enterprise signature and notary management service.

Its platform bridges complex regulations, enabling stakeholders to meet with their notaries over video and produce notarized electronic documents. As a result, KYS helps enterprises shift from cumbersome paper workflows to efficient, secure, web-based remote online notarization (RON) environments.

While PSPDFKit has proven a strong fit for KYS’s core document notarization experience, it wasn’t the company’s initial choice. In 2022, KYS used a different PDF SDK vendor. However, unexpected changes to the first PDF SDK and an unsatisfactory support response forced the KYS team to rethink its strategy.

Later, KYS switched to PSPDFKit, and, in the process, reduced implementation time for its solutions by one third compared to when using the other SDK. KYS Founder and CEO Terry Van Bibber attributes this improvement to PSPDFKit’s stable product and a genuine level of partnership.

“When I spoke with PSPDFKit, it felt more like I was connecting with the core team rather than a sales organization. Salespeople often have this ‘chest-thumping’ way of making big promises. But I needed real, grounded assurances for a decision as crucial as changing a core system,” he said. “If our move went south, it would’ve jeopardized the whole company. And talking directly with the PSPDFKit team, instead of navigating sales hype, gave me the confidence to take that pivotal step.”

Workflow Requirements

  • Browser-based video conferencing

  • Secure, compliant handling of notarized documents with personal information (PI)

  • PSPDFKit to cover technical parts of remote document notarization

  • Smooth, high-fidelity web viewing

  • Seamless signing with synchronization of electronic signatures and other PDF annotations at the instant pace of video conferences

  • Embedding of digital signatures in documents and notary certificates to seal documents

  • Further PDF processing to enable flawless document authentication in any professional PDF reader

Leveraged Products

Background — Pioneering Enterprise-Grade Remote Notarization

In 2020, Van Bibber laid the foundation for KYS, a competitive player in the evolving landscape of RON. This emerging space has seen fast growth, sped up by the pandemic and the convergence of web technologies like video conferencing and digital signatures.

Van Bibber has a lot of experience in remote and digital notarizations. He was the first to facilitate the digital signing, notarization, and record of a lending instrument in California, and he orchestrated the very first bicoastal RON transaction.

KYS’s distinctive approach thus lies in taking the RON concept its team helped pioneer and customizing it to meet the operational nuances of notaries within an enterprise.

KYS provides solutions tailored for corporate users managing notary individuals and pools. As these users operate across various branches, notary locations, and states, they grapple with a maze of state laws dictating notarization procedures.

Thus, they need a specialized enterprise solution from a provider well-versed in the details. This expertise should include knowing all collateral and the sequence in which documents are processed (direct document workflow), along with the broader dynamics of how stakeholders collaborate and make decisions (business flow). Moreover, protecting personal information (PI) and ensuring consistent compliance throughout the process is crucial.

Building on the Need — Finding a Stable Document Technology Core

After identifying the unique requirements of corporate users, it became apparent that the foundation of the KYS solution had to be robust and secure. Thus, the KYS team needed quality parts that would embed directly and that didn’t pass data to someone else’s servers. This strategy would streamline compliance and improve the reliability of the web application.

However, the myriad of required libraries and functions for document notarization complicated finding the right document technology components. KYS needed features that included document web viewing, real-time collaboration with dynamic annotation manipulations, digital signatures, backend document synchronization and processing, and more.

Meanwhile, Van Bibber, a business consultant with a legal background, steered the vision while working with an offshore developer team.

“This is my third platform I’ve built, and I know the value of streamlining communications within a remote, distributed team,” he said. “So as to mitigate any vendor-related distractions, we needed a stable, proprietary-based system that was secure and able to cover many different functions, each almost requiring a separate specialization.”

Previous PDF SDK Experience

KYS found its technical needs met by the previous PDK SDK, with all the basic “nuts and bolts” for document notarization. But the team grappled with issues concerning stability and support. Van Bibber emphasized that these deficiencies led to wasted developer time and project delays.

In 2021, KYS used this SDK to further develop its product, but by the following year, the vendor had discontinued a pivotal component. This predicament forced the team to search for replacements from its vendor and acquire new licenses. These challenges were further amplified when, due to poor vendor communication, KYS discovered a missing license for an essential backend component.

“These companies focus on the enterprise market but also want a piece of medium and small businesses,” he explained. “But then when you encounter a problem, you’re told to take a number and ‘we’ll help you when we can,’ and you’re ultimately blocked. You can’t do business until your ticket is responded to and resolved.”

Outcome and Transition

Citing instability in the previous SDK, mounting licensing costs, and mediocre support, Van Bibber decided a change was needed to achieve the stability his team required.

“In the short term, we had no alternative but to keep paying the license fees,” he said. “But I also started looking for a replacement.”

The team discovered this replacement in PSPDFKit through web searches, and while it was a technical fit, Van Bibber admitted to some initial “trepidation” involved in switching out a core piece of its platform mid-flight with many enterprise pilot projects on the go and strict deadlines to meet.

Personalized Consultation with PSPDFKit

Van Bibber credits the caliber of the initial conversation. PSPDFKit engineers invested the time into understanding KYS’s business case and the notarization flow. Coming from a law and business consultant background, Van Bibber appreciated how the team translated developer concepts into his language. PSPDFKit engineers also picked out the components and licenses tailored to the notarization use case.

“Instead of us figuring out what had to be in the agreement, the PSPDFKit team returned from our initial conversation, and within 48 hours, demoed exactly what we needed,” he explained.

That transparent discussion and demo “was a critical aspect of making a smooth transition — along with dealing with a team who truly understands the entire PDF SDK market and not just their own technology.”

PSPDFKit Integration and Support

In contrast to the previous vendor’s service, KYS received a comprehensive support system, including:

  • Direct access to PSPDFKit engineers, eliminating the need for support tickets

  • Prompt support from nearby time zones

  • A multilingual support team for KYS’s team of global developers

And this commitment went beyond mere sales discussions. It extended into fluid collaboration during the integration phase, filtered through a WhatsApp channel set up by a PSPDFKit engineer in charge of helping KYS.

Before, the KYS team had to wait days for responses to a ticket and then endure more days of overnight troubleshooting via email with engineers an ocean away.

But with PSPDFKit, the assigned engineer proved to be both a virtual extension of the KYS team and a prompt document technology partner who ensured answers on the same day and during the team’s work hours.

“The developer communicated according to our time frame and the team’s time zone,” Van Bibber stated. “And a direct line, rather than a ticket-based approach, is absolutely critical, especially when the product is live and you’re contending with issues that could disrupt continuity of service.”

Lastly, the PSPDFKit support engineer spoke the same mother tongue as the KYS project team, smoothing discussions over code samples and when clarifying complex concepts.

Final Impression — A Team Committed to Your Success

Nothing speaks louder than the voice of the customer, so here’s Van Bibber’s final reflection on his experience with PSPDFKit:

“Some companies leave you hanging after the deal’s done. But compared to most vendors we’ve dealt with and the previous vendor, the amount of attention we received from PSPDFKit was huge. I sensed the company’s dedication to making sure everything worked.”

“Partnership with PSPDFKit gave us a much broader development stroke in building, refining, and implementing the product. They helped us take an average-experienced team and make it better, elevating them into document manipulation experts. And having that real-time PDF SDK support — across everything from your analysis and investigation to deploying it, and then troubleshooting issues like live server downtime — has proven invaluable.”

“PSPDFKit belongs to a select bracket of national and international companies I’ve enjoyed working with — those prioritizing communication and collaboration.To me, the essence of these companies is authentic human interaction: teams invested in your success with their tools, guiding you through the process, helping you get it done, and who, in the end, leave you feeling like you’re more than just a number.”

Ready to experience the same level of dedicated partnership and technical expertise? Get in touch and try PSPDFKit today to transform your document solutions.

Jonathan D. Rhyne Co-Founder and CEO

Jonathan joined PSPDFKit in 2014. As CEO, Jonathan defines the company’s vision and strategic goals, bolsters the team culture, and steers product direction. When he’s not working, he enjoys being a dad, photography, and soccer.

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