ESIGN (Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act), a law passed to ensure that no digital record or digital signature could be “denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form, has been around for 12 years now. It is only recently that it has gained traction as more applications and regulations are adapted to eSignatures. And this is a good thing; eSignatures can speed up the sales cycle while also reducing some of the overhead that using paper documents have needed.
Forrester Research reports that eSignatures are gaining acceptance and momentum for all sizes of business; high tech consumer technology paired with a need to reduce costs are creating pressure to implement more automated business processes. These new practices come with a wealth of positive impacts on business as "business as usual" will be done in the future.
All that is needed is for the signatories to be able to access the document. There is no need to drive, messenger, snail mail, FedEx or otherwise deliver a paper document anywhere. In these days of high fuel prices and postal service upheaval, this saves resources and time. This presents a chance to join the green movement to save trees and the air. Not to mention aggravation…no more waiting in traffic.
Fewer people need to be tied to their desks with all the mobile options now available. They want to do business wherever they are. eSignatures are a perfect fit for the mobility-minded, eliminating the need for a return to the office or home to access their computer much less locating and signing a physical document.
In fact, customers are beginning to demand eSignature capability which fits in with their busy schedules. If it can be done on a mobile device, so much the better. Truly, we are going through an explosive growth in demand for dematerialization solutions of all kinds.
eSignatures can help enforce compliance. A mistake on a paper document once meant resending, reprinting and resigning; a hassle for all concerned. Digital documents can be revised and resigned quickly and easily, decreasing turnaround times as well as the risk involved while the incorrect document exists in the system. Faster signing times shortens this window of risk substantially.
No Expiration Date, No Third Party
When eSignatures are authenticated by a keyless infrastructure, the value of an ESIGN compliant system goes up. First of all, the signature resides with the document for its entire life cycle, no expiration date to worry about. Without the need for third party verification, long lived documents can be verified by the principals to the agreement increasing security and decreasing the possibility of problems from the dissolution of the original third party verifier in the future.
In addition, because the eSignature is part of the document, transferring document ownership and responsibility requires no involvement from anyone except the interested parties. This is especially crucial for creating secure documents that are auditable, enforceable, and independent from outsiders.
Enhanced Customer Experience, Happy Sales Staff
For sales staff, the best reason for eSignatures may be the speed with which an order can be cashed in for commission. The customer experience is enhanced as well by the convenience of these digital signatures. When the sales process can be simplified and shortened, the customer’s estimation of a company’s capabilities rises, leading to customer evangelism, better retention, and a higher chance of future sales to this customer.
There is some planning to do before diving into eSignatures. It isn’t just a case of replacing physical signatures for digital ones. The entire process must be laid out and studied to determine each touch point where the signature plays a role and must be made acceptable to different applications and systems.
Internal staff and others who handle the document will also require a change to their practices and behaviors. Intelligent change management will be required to ensure the smooth adoption of a new process, especially one that may have been seen as impossible to implement in the past. These same changes may impact changes in ownership of the document, such as when mortgage loans are sold to a different institution.
However, these barriers are being rapidly breached by both companies and customers who are discovering the ease of doing business digitally while eliminating worry about security or document life cycles. This movement is growing in momentum and is even now making a substantial differentiation point in a market saturated with competing brands.
#Security #digitalrightsmanagement #compliance #eSignatures