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Electronic signatures, often referred to as E-signatures, are a digital version of someone’s “analog” or handwritten signature (not to be confused with digital signatures).
E-signature solutions were born out of the need to to accelerate the transition to the paperless office. There are now plenty of them in the market since the technology first came to market more than 20 years ago.
They have grown in popularity over the past few years as businesses of all sizes embrace the SaaS (software-as-a-service) paradigm which removes many of the inconveniences associated with some more traditional e-signature solutions.
Below are five important things to look for when you choose an e-signature solution.
1. Device agnostic
By that we mean that the process of signing should be seamless regardless of the device being used. Mac, PC, tablet or mobile handset. That applies to the document management part as well as in-person signing which allows third parties to sign to sign directly on your device and get the completed document delivered securely via email. Being able to do it anywhere and at anytime provides with a massive boost in efficiency, especially as it doesn’t require any application (or app), just your standard browser and internet connectivity.
2. Connect to popular business applications and services
Tight integration with existing popular online applications such as Google Docs, Zoho, Dropbox, Salesforce, OneDrive or Evernote is critical to maintain the viability of your existing document workflow. That integration should be as seamless and as quick as possible so that users can hit the ground running with minimal downtime. Look out for APIs as well as they will allow you to push the integration even further, allowing developers to tailor the provision of e-signature for specific use cases.
3. Grow with the company
APIs usually give you the flexibility of scaling as far as you want. But just make sure that your e-signature provider can support your business demands with an adequate number of API requests, should you go that route with a number of tiers that correspond to your business needs. Having a tiered approach means that businesses can grow (or shrink) their e-signature service requirements without negatively impacting their bottom line.
4. Meet security, regulatory and authentication requirements
An electronic signature means nothing if you can’t guarantee the authenticity of the sender, the recipient and the actual document. Having a robust audit trail feature helps as it provides with a shared and readily available list of who has done what and when. Make sure your e-signature provider complies at least with ESIGN (the U.S. Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000), UETA ( Uniform Electronic Transactions Act) and eIDAS (European Union Directive 910/2014). And do make sure that your solution protects you not only from forgery but also from repudiation.
5. Excellent management capabilities
Being able to manage multiple list of signees and users of the e-signature solution within the company is important to maintain the integrity of the system. Granular control of team members, for example, should be high on your list as it allows various teams (e.g. sales, HR or legal) to have access to different documents and signees while sharing the same platform. The same goes for templates; having these ready allows for faster turnaround, which translates into more efficient processes.
Eversign is a newcomer in the world of e-signature but its impressive list of features will appeal both to small companies and big enterprises.