By Larry Kluger and Ryan Cox

When buying or selling a house (the largest financial transaction in most people’s lives), consumers now commonly complete all their paperwork by signing documents electronically.

Electronic signatures are also frequently used for smaller transactions such as cell phone contracts, acknowledging package deliveries, and more. eSignatures have matured: all of the issues, recommendations, and case law for using eSignatures are now fully understood. The technology used to electronically request signatures has also matured; it’s never been easier to use eSignatures. Switching to eSignatures has been shown to save organisations money, time, and increase customer, client, and employee delight.

And, best of all, eSignatures will be your most successful IT project:

  • Your business leaders will be delighted with the time saved and controls gained through the use of eSignatures.
  • Your CEO will be delighted that the company is providing a modern service.
  • Your customers and clients will be delighted with the benefits of securely and accurately signing documents from anywhere.

Recommended first steps:

  • Establish a lightweight, agile corporate IT center of excellence for electronic signatures. Their role is to assist (not slow down) organisations who want to try eSignatures. They should reduce or eliminate barriers to entry for other groups.
  • Task the group to work with a client organization to offer eSignatures in a business process. The goal is accomplished when eSignatures are in production with regular use.

Finding client organisations for eSignatures:

  • Groups that are already asking for help with an eSignature project.
  • Look for groups that are experiencing the pain of dealing with paper: check your FedEx usage for groups that send out many contracts for signature.
  • Examine IT itself: does your group require signatures on paper for any requests or transactions? If so, consider using eSignatures instead.
  • Discuss opportunities with HR: Would they like to send job offers to be signed by eSignature? Other forms?

Walk, then run

Like any new technology, there will be traditionalists who will prefer older ways of doing things. That’s ok—first work with the enthusiasts, technology adopters, and early mainstream of your organization.

Start with smaller projects and signature volumes, then build on their success.  Successful implementations and metrics of time and money saved are a good way to drive further adoption within your organization. In your analysis of your eSignature projects remember to include softer goals too. For example, electronically signing employment offers and NDA agreements signal a modern organization that people enjoy doing business with.

“After the signature”

After your first eSignature project, investigate what happens to the signed paperwork after it is received back and countersigned. Is it carefully filed? Is its data entered into a line of business application to initiate fulfillment of an approved order? Is its data sent to Finance to effect a change in a database? In all of these cases, you can (relatively) easily build automation onto the completion of the eSignature process to precisely replicate the manual process automatically and autonomously (or semi-automatically with manual supervision).

Summary

These days, eSIgnatures provide both carrots and sticks: the benefits and demand for enabling eSignatures are high. At the same time, as companies strive to attract the highest quality talent and enable a delightful customer experience, they need to provide modern services, including eSignatures. Already, your competitors are either using eSignatures or are investigating them. What’s your plan?

See you in San Francisco!

We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco this June for the Momentum conference.

Bring your dev team! Registration for your developers is free. CIOs can also host a tech chat–a small, informal 15-30 min session in our Dev Lounge about any topic they want for no charge. DocuSign experts will be on-hand to participate and answer your questions.

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