Home » eSignature » Page 3

Last month, when ZorroSign launched its Green initiative called Paperless Life, I wrote an article about the environmental impact of using office paper. The impact on the environment is significant in terms of conservation of water, energy, and trees as well as reduction of Carbon footprint. For the organizations adopting #PaperlessLife strategy, there are tangible and intangible benefits for the company and its employees. In this article I will analyze the business impact of using office paper for business transactions, specifically the financial impact.

 

Challenges and Cost Factors

Almost every business process that involves document signatures is either fully manual or partially digital. The use case in this context is a combination of: Print-Sign-Scan-Email or FedEx. (Choose your favorite courier service). If it’s a document for a loan of any kind with co-signers, repeat the use case above for every signatory.

 

Because no two businesses are the same, it is better to provide a framework for cost calculation. We will consider each component of this use case for our framework for cost analysis.

 

Cost Analysis Framework

 

Copy paper
$5 / pack of 500 sheets
Printer/WorkCenter

B/W: $8,000
Color: $4,500

Printer Ink (per printer)

B/W: $250 50k pages
Color: $360 20k pages

Scanner

Included w/Printer/WorkCenter

Electricity

$99.06 /Month/printer

Steel file cabinets

$600 average / Cabinet

Folders & stationery

$300 / Year/Employee
$1000/Year/Employee (Law Firm)

Courier services

$33,000 to $65,000/Year

Man hours, Time

260 hours/ Employee/Year

Off-site paper storage

$0.72 /Box/Month
$864/100 Boxes/Yr.

Office space (file cabinets)

15 Sq.Ft (standard 4-drawer file cabinet)
Avg. $50 /Sq.Ft = $9000/Year

Insurance (Data Breach Policy)

$12k to $120k /Year
size of company, includes cyber attack coverage.

 

Applying the Cost Analysis Framework

Costs of using paper may vary from one company to another. However, it is very clear that the cost is significant relative to the size of the company. The overall business impact of using office paper is tremendous. We highly recommend to apply the above framework to your business situation and calculate cost as accurately as you can. Then compare that cost to purchasing and using an eSignature and Digital Transaction Management system. Click here to check out ZorroSign Plans & Pricing.

 

References

People have been toying around with the idea of a Smart City.  Some Asian countries have good success with Smart City. As we hear more about Smart Cities, digital. transformation, security, and privacy of data I can’t help but think that Smart Cities are a great way to completely change the way we live our lives at some level. Smart Cities and #PaperlessLife. There is no place for paper in a smart city.

Imagine a world without printers, toner, scanners, ink pen, and paper. Stretch your imagination a little and imagine a world without paper books, book shelves, news papers, magazines, file cabinets, manila folders, staplers, 3-hole punch, business cards, paper clips (Microsoft’s Clippy will be out of a job).

Your office is located in a smart city. Now imagine your office without a printer. No its not hiding in a closet, it just does not exist. Your company never bought it because they are not available for purchase if you live in a smart city.

In the smart city, every business transaction is conducted electronically. You sign rental agreements, medical forms, consent forms, employment letters, and taxes. Everything.

However, the barrier to entry is trust. How do you trust that the document you are signing will not be tampered with or your signature will not be forged post-execution. Furthermore, when you receive an officially signed document, how do you make sure the document is legit and has not been tampered with. The answer is ZorroSign 4n6 Token. Document DNA based document forensics information that’s built on a private Blockchain that detects forgery and fraud in documents.

It is possible to have a smart city that is completely paperless and where document transactions are protected.

 

 

A document is sent out as an email attachment asking the recipient to “sign it and send it back.” A new hire packet is sent out for acknowledgement and signature with 52 pages in it. A sales contract is sent out for approvals to multiple people before it goes to the customer. A real estate transaction requires multiple people sign a huge stack of papers. Non-disclosure agreements, invoices, service agreements, and consent forms; they all are sent out for signatures and approvals. All of these “business transactions” involve 2 or more individuals to sign. Most of these cases result in Print-Sign-Scan or Ship then Print-or-Copy-and-store away. A number of businesses have started using some form of eSignature solution but still insist on printing a copy for backup. With average document retention policy being 7 years, office floors are lined with huge steel file cabinets. On average one office worker uses roughly 9000 sheets of copy paper in a single year.

 

In this article I will focus on environmental impact of using physical paper for all such business transactions. In the next installment, I will cover the analysis of hard cost associated with using paper.

 

Trees or Wood

It is estimated that one tree produces roughly between 8000 and 8333 (average 8166) regular copy paper. Considering that most of the world uses A4 size paper, the number would be close to 8000 or less. This number assumes a certain size of tree. It does not take into consideration many other types of trees with varied shapes and sizes. Assuming 8166 pages per tree, an office of 100 employees would use about 113 trees worth of paper each year which amounts to roughly 1.25 MM lbs (569.5 kg) of wood each year. As you can see how quickly these numbers add up.

 

Water

It is estimated that a paper manufacturing plant would use about 3 gallons of non-recycled water to produce one sheet of copy paper or 1.5 gallons of recycled water. Using the example of wood usage above, a typical office of 100 employees would be responsible for using roughly 2.77 MM gallons of water per year to use all that office paper.

 

Carbon Emission

Calculating Carbon footprint for a life of a copy paper (from a tree getting chopped off, going through the manufacturing process, to distribution) is a very difficult task due to the complex nature of all the processes involved. The fact that every paper manufacturer produces a wide variety of paper products adds to this complexity. However, one factor that makes it easy to estimate Carbon emission is the fuel consumption during transportation of documents for signature. This means trucks, cars, and airplanes used by the courier services like FedEx. Based on the above example, this single office would be responsible for roughly 629 tons of Carbon emission per year.

 

How Can You Help?

Consider living a Paperless Life! Step 1 is to know how much you could be saving based on your current use of paper. ZorroSign has developed an Environmental Savings Calculator which lets users estimate how many trees, how much water consumption can be saved, and how much carbon emissions can be avoided in less miles driven by going paperless. In the calculator, simply enter the number of documents your company sends out for signature and number of documents your company signs every week – and the calculator will show you estimated savings per year in terms of trees, water, Carbon emission, time, and cost.

 

According to SBE Council, there are over 5.8 million employer firms in the United States and firms with fewer than 500 workers account for 99 percent of all businesses. If all those businesses convert even 25% of their paper document transactions to all-digital it could mean tremendous reduction in number of trees saved, reduction in water consumption, and a significant reduction in the Carbon footprint.

 

This week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his close ally, Finance Minister Taro Aso accepted blame for an unraveling scandal in which official records were tampered with.  Total of 14 documents related to a dubious sale of state land at one-seventh of the appraised value to nationalistic school operator Moritomo Gakuen had been altered. The papers were scrubbed of all mention of Mr Abe and his wife, as well as lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).  Later, it was discovered that another set of documents, which show a record of price negotiations with Moritomo before the sale, were missing from what was submitted to the Parliament. (News source)

 

When documents signed with wet ink are tampered with or signature forged, document forensics experts can very easily detect the wrong doing.  Multiple copies may provide protection as long as those copies are not destroyed. The list of ways document fraud can be conducted is extensive.  Document transactions conducted using digital paper and electronic signature give you the false sense of security. The truth is that digital documents that were either electronically signed or signed in wet-ink and then scanned can, very easily, be tampered with and signatures on them forged after the effect. This can be accomplished with the use of software such as Adobe Acrobat Reader and Preview on Mac which are available for free.  Complete digital transformation is inevitable. Its just the matter of time. This problem will not go away.

 

So, how can individuals and businesses protect themselves again such malicious act? How can the Japanese public protect itself in the future from what Shinzo Abe, Taro Aso , and Moritomo Gakuen did? This was just one transaction by them that got caught. How many other transactions they must have conducted with forged signatures and tampered documents?

 

Imagine you’re a healthcare service provider, a doctors office, a financial services institution conducted millions of transactions a month domestically and internationally, a real estate deal, or a half a million dollar sales contract. The liability of having documents tampered with or signature forged for any one of the transactions in the above mentioned industries, is significant. Even companies that strictly use wet-ink on paper signature are scanning-and-storing documents electronically – not to mention rows of steel file cabinets lining up in offices around the world resulting in increased risk and insurance premiums. At the end of the day whenever these digital documents are to be shared with anyone there will always be this one question, is the document that I am looking at, original and authentic?

 

Only if there was a way to lock all the documents of a transaction with an encrypted token, secure them by a super advanced hash, and seal them with biometrics? What if, in addition, a distributed ledger could track the audit trail of actions and chain of custody?

 

As it turns out that there is.

 

With ZorroSign’s real eSignature and patent-pending unique Document 4n6 (Forensics) Token technology, individuals and organizations can be 100% confident that their business is protected against document fraud whether you’re sending documents out for signature, signing documents yourself, or wanting to verify and authenticate documents shared with you. As long as they were signed by ZorroSign, you know you can have the peace of mind that you and your business are protected against document fraud.

 

Managing documents is work. When documents are a part of a business transaction, the work involves collecting signatures and its work with direct money on the line. Whether you’re dealing with physical paper documents, fully digital, or somewhere in between, document-based transactions involve a process or workflow. It’s time consuming and error prone and it could cost an entire deal if not done correctly the first time.

 

For ease of use and to save money organizations are moving to digital documents instead of paper-print-sign-scan-fax-manila folder system. Therefore, more and more people are adopting eSignature and Digital Transaction Management (DTM) systems to help with all that. Not all eSignature solution providers offer a robust DTM system that can handle creating or configuring workflows that your business requires.

 

Using a DTM system, when you create a workflow you are defining a set of actions that each person involved in the workflow has to take in a particular sequence with dependencies. Imagine two people co-signing a loan and then the bank signs the documents at the end indicating their approval. That’s a workflow. If you are using a DTM system or are looking to purchase one, here are 9 things you should be doing with your DTM system.

 

Define document and user-specific workflows.

 

There are essentially two types of basic workflows. The first one is where a document gets executed over and over again and each time with different people, companies, and dates. For example, everytime a Non-Disclosure Agreement or a standard sales contract is sent out for signatures, the recipient, date, value are different each time but the rest of the document stays unchanged.

 

The second type of workflow is when a business process requires the same people to sign any set of documents every time. Suppose you have a company policy that invoices (from any vendor) over $5000 that must be approved by the CFO and the CEO before they are paid out. With DTM you should be able to create an automated workflow that can handle this process regardless of who the vendor is, what the document might look like, the number of pages, and how many places people have to sign.

 

Define your document signing process.

 

What does your document signing process look like? Well-designed document workflows will help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your work. Create your signature easily, upload your documents and then execute the signing process. This could be as simple as numbering the sequence of signers inside the document and specifying what actions they have to take (Check a box, sign, date). You should be able to simply sequence the signatures and dates and that makes the document signing process to easy as 1-2-3.

 

Define templates for multi-use.

 

In your business you have business transactions that require special or custom handling or one-off documents like a sales contract that is so different from deal to deal that you don’t recognize it as “the” contract. Then you have business transactions that can be completed with the same set of documents with little variations such as who signs it, date, and the value of the deal. You probably already have a template that you use every time you have to execute one of those transactions.

 

With a DTM system like the ZorroSign, you can convert your document templates into digital templates with full features such as wizard-like interface for you to complete a transaction. You can also define expiration dates and how many days you want to give people to sign each document. Let’s take a very simple example of again a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Every time you must execute this document its the same document with only the name of the people involved, company, and date. NDA is an ideal document to convert into a template. Other examples we have seen people convert into templates using ZorroSign are rental agreements, consent forms, and new hire packets.

 

In the attempt to never go back to paper again, we refer to Abby Lawson who writes ‘The Ultimate Guide to Going Paperless’.

 

Build and Organize a template library.

 

Now that you know how to build a template out of your frequently used documents, you can build an entire library of those for everyone at the company to use. A good DTM system will allow you to organize your templates library into departments and divisions and assign individuals to a department and assign permissions based on roles and responsibilities.

 

The Balance outlines the workflow using templates and following through.

 

Documents should be protected

 

With pen-and-paper documents you can easily detect forgery of signature or tampering of documents. It is natural to expect the same level of protection from your digital documents when you go paperless.

 

ZorroSign’s Document DNA-based 4n6 (Forensics) Token provides the same level of detection of fraud and forgery. When building your workflow or your templates make sure to place this token at the end of every workflow and you can have the peace of mind that your documents are protected even when you have share them with a third party by printing them or sending them as PDF.

 

Full automation saves time, money and avoids errors.

 

Computer software can improve workflows by automating document routing and processing. It can also connect one or more systems by providing interfaces between different applications by integrating the workflows using ZorroSign API. Automate your workflow with one touch, assign the right people and you’re done. With automation comes savings of time and money. By specifying conditions and rules you can avoid costly errors that people make when executing documents. The Director of Product Strategy, Sam Thorpe writes of how important it is to digitize your life.

 

Create folders and subfolders.

 

As the number of documents grow so does the time it takes to manage them and search for them. You can organize your documents into folders and subfolders. Ever have a document that belonged in multiple folders? With the smart tagging system now a single file can be placed into multiple folders without making a copy of the document.

 

Clear rules help identify bottlenecks and rejected documents.

 

As you build your workflows and templates and as those documents and templates get executed you will need to make sure people are signing and taking actions on those documents on time. A DTM system will at any time tell you where the bottlenecks are in your workflow and how fast the document is moving, when its pending, when it’s done, rejected or expired. With automated notifications, status and bottleneck indicators you can automate-and-forget.

 

Create a team environment.

 

Get workflow participants involved in the improvement campaign. Observe their interactions with the system. Get their ideas for possible improvements. Develop a flowchart that they agree with, and test the new workflows. Take it from the CMO of ZorroSign, Akbar Jaffer – read all about the trials and tribulations of running an efficient business.

The answer is definitely yes.

 

Similar to the financial services industry, the legal industry has been very difficult to innovate for when it comes to the latest technology tools and trends. Financial Services providers are responsible for protecting the assets of their customers – “protection” in its most strictest of definitions.  Similarly the lawyers are responsible to make sure their clients are protected against any bad actors and bad actions or behaviors by bad actors. Therefore it is natural to be very careful when it comes to adopting new technology especially if it has a potential of exploitation, cyber attack, but most importantly fraud and tampering of evidence which includes documents.

 

Legal transactions that are of high value are still, to this day, being transacted (signed) on physical paper using a wet pen, mailed back and forth and copied for safekeeping. Some even make a PDF copy but the originals are still kept around forever. As a society, it will take time for us to go totally digital.  However, there are some in the legal community who live on the bleeding edge of technology and have made some significant strides in terms of adopting new technology or at least considering it. The question is, lead by these daredevils, is the legal industry headed in the right direction when it comes to eSignature and Digital Transaction Management technology?

 

High Performance Counsel is an information destination for the leaders in the legal community who prefer to live their lives at the bleeding edge of technology.  Recently Akbar Jaffer, the CMO of ZorroSign sat down with David Kinnear, CEO of High Performance Counsel to discuss the state of technology in legal industry.  Read the full interview here.

 

ZorroSign recently learned that law firms that are serious about technology have established a “technology lab” where they research, test, and contemplate adoption of tech tools in their practice. ZorroSign is an ideal solution for such legal “tech labs.”

 

If you are a law firm interested in exploring eSignature and Digital Transaction Management (DTM) technology, here are some use cases that other law firms have automated.

It is a proud moment for the ZorroSign team to become the winners of Rising Star and the prestigious Great User Experience award in December 2017 by FinancesOnline, a B2B & software solutions review site. This highly reputed and popular software review platform featured ZorroSign where their experts analyzed how our solution is changing the eSignature and Digital Transaction Management game.

Expert enterprise software analysts from FinancesOnline review and examine hundreds of the best free electronic signature software and Document Management Software categories under Collaboration Software and we are honored to be recognized as leaders in our space. According to their experts ZorroSign offers sophisticated yet flexible functionality that can handle simplest to most complex document signing workflows and processes used by SMB and large enterprise companies.

According to Finances Online, eSignature is a facilitating confirmation option, but also an online mechanism for trustworthy validation of critical information and documents. A good solution makes faking signatures extremely difficult, if not impossible. The high-end digital eSigning software for enterprises automates the workflow by allowing users to convert proprietary documents into templates and also by providing a set of pre-made templates you can distribute instead of drafting special ones for every occasion. More sophisticated solutions like ZorroSign also offer full logic-based content automation capabilities. Our solution was also recommended as one of the top e-signature alternatives suggested by the experts.

When it comes to operations, processes, and requirements, no two companies are the same. That is why ZorroSign offers a consultative approach to helping our customers find the right solution. Our demos are also customized.

We invite you to reach out to us, ask us questions, see a custom demo, and sign up for our free Starter account and get your first 10 document sets for free.

Did you know that simply using electronic signature for your business is insufficient when it comes to security of your signature and documents, and also for automating your business processes? If at any point you are scanning, printing, or mailing business documents, you have an incredible opportunity to automate all of that, eliminate paper, save tons of time and money, and close deals within hours instead of days. Companies that are looking to optimize their businesses, automate mundane tasks and become efficient, eSignature and DTM are key to digital transformation.

We are just getting started with digital transformation. Over 65% of businesses are still conducting various document based transactions using paper and pen.  People are still printing, signing, scanning, copying, FedEx-ing, and storing piles of signed documents and contracts in manila folders. Every dental office has a wall of shelf with mountains of manila folders with colored tags sticking out. And the list goes on.

DTM is a category of technology solution available either in the Cloud, via integration, or on-premise that is designed to digitally manage document-based transactions. DTM aims to automate and streamline cumbersome and time-consuming inefficient process of business transactions that involve people, documents, and data. It promises to create faster, easier, more convenient, and secure paper-less processes.

According to Aragon Research, a leading B2B technology research firm, the race to digital starts with making document-based transactions fully digital. Digital Transaction Management (DTM) is often the catalyst for the start of digital transformation, helping enterprises to operate faster.  The research report published by Aragon Research offers great insight for SMB and large organizations and what to look for when evaluating eSignature and advanced DTMsolutions available in the market. The report covers following key insights.

  1. Automating Paper Transactions
  2. Basic DTM Gives Way to More Advanced Capabilities
  3. Use of Electronic and Biometric signatures
  4. Workflow and Content Automation
  5. Mobility
  6.  

ZorroSign is recognized by Aragon Research as hot vendor in Digital Transaction Management. ZorroSign is considered an advanced DTM solution because of its innovative product, unique technology, bank-grade security, lead in mobile biometrics, and robust enterprise-grade automation engine.

Download full research paper here for free.

United States Capitol on Capitol HIll

Electronic Signature was invented in 1995. It only took 5 years and in 2000 eSign Act was signed by President Bill Clinton. This was the turning point for the business process automation, business process optimization, and digital transformation of workplace and business movements. It was the same time when people didn’t yet feel comfortable giving their credit card information online. The mainstream business leaders knew little about what to do with this eSign Act and how it will impact the business world. Today eSign Act is 17 years old, what’s the state of electronic signature

 

The main intention of the eSign Act was to validate and legitimise business transactions that occurred over the internet, save the parties from fraudulent behaviour, and ultimately replace pen and paper signatures or “wet” signatures. When it comes to understanding whether your eSigned document is legally binding, the definitions provided both by UETA and the US eSign Act are both amply clear, provided you have a trustworthy provider. Implicit and explicit promises made by the eSign Act included:

  1. Reduce and eventually eliminate use of paper from every business transaction that required signatures or acknowledgement of any sort (Save trees)
  2. Automate and optimize business processes
  3. Make business transactions secure, fraud-resistant, legal, and error-free.
  4. Save time and money (shipping and handling, copying, physical storage, etc.)

 

Where are we today?

Unfortunately, we have barely scratched the surface when it comes to adoption of electronic signatures. Rightfully so, it took us over a 100 years to figure out the pen-and-paper process. We had to work through different cultures, business practices, languages, countries, education level, and more. The good news is that we have a much better idea of what it will take for electronic signatures to become mainstream. Here is our take on where we are today:

  1. There is limited adoption company-wide. It’s less of a company-wide initiative and more a prerogative of a particular department. HR and procurement is easy sell, legal, not so much.
  2. Our POS systems are capturing electronic signatures but companies are not authenticating, verifying and processing them in the back end. Since credit card companies insure fraudulent purchases, merchants don’t feel the need to invest in this particular area.
  3. Most electronic signature solutions are images of signatures coupled with security wrappers around them.
  4. We haven’t quite figured out the security aspect of the signatures and the eSignature vendors who house these documents and valuable customer information.
  5. Only a small percentage of world’s businesses have adopted eSignature at some level.
  6. Masses or mainstream is educated at a very rudimentary level.
  7. There is a resistance to changing years of business processes due to old habits, lack of full confidence in the solution, comfort level, legality and more.
  8. A handful of vendors have developed great basic solutions and out-of-the-box integrations.
  9. Majority of the companies shy away from adopting this solution because of huge underlying cost and time required to implement the solution.

 

Trends in Electronic Signature over the next few years

If we continue to make progress at this pace, over the next few years we anticipate work in the following seven areas:

  1. Security and assurance
  2. Post-execution fraud protection
  3. Acceptance in court
  4. User experience and ease of use
  5. Pre-packaged integrations
  6. Blockchain implementation
  7. Biometrics and mobile biometrics

 

When an organization converts its paper-based business processes and transactions that involve filling out forms and collecting signatures and dates, it opens up the possibility of incredible insight into its business operations. This insight into business processes and business transactions not only helps identify what’s working and what needs to be improved it can also predict what to expect. All this is possible with big data. Digitization of our business opens doors for massive amount of structured and unstructured data to be collected, processed and analyzed. Business processes that involved electronic signatures, automation engine and workflows are no exception, rather, they are ideal for big data implementation.

 

In this article we analyze various components of a digital transaction management system including electronic signature and outline some of the best practices for big data application. We organize components of a DTM into categories of insights and outline best practice insights under each. For the purpose of this article, we will only use five user-based categories.

Transaction Templates

How many templates of what type are there.

  1. How many times each template has been used.
  2. How many times each template has been rejected and for what reasons.
  3. How many workflows are there for each type of workflow categories
  4. How many total transactions use some type of template
  5. How many eSign transactions were completed

Document Sets

  1. How many Document Sets are used (by each user, overall)
  2. Are the number of Document Sets sufficient for the company?
  3. How many Document Sets end up having attachments? Size of attachments?
  4. Number and frequency of Document Sets printed, shared, granted access to.

Transactions

  1. How long (min, max, average) has it taken to complete a transaction
  2. How long (min, max, average) has it taken to complete a transaction for each type of work flow.
  3. What is the (min, max, average) length of a bottleneck.
  4. Number of transactions rejected and for what reasons.
  5. What is the (min, max, average) number of signers in the transactions.

Mobile App

  1. Number of users
  2. Number and frequency of log-ins.
  3. Number of scans
  4. Number of users who create new signatures using the ap

Usage Patterns of Signers

  1. Location
  2. Devices used
  3. Type of signatures used
  4. Integrated users, Cloud users, 3rd party app users.

 

And the list goes on. The idea is to identify actionable insights. That’s the beauty and true value of big data. Digital Transaction Management systems are specially ideal for big data applications because they contain extremely large data sets that can be analyzed computationally and can easily reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.

With the era of “going paperless” well underway, the days of “wet signs” are soon going to be an ancient history. Going paperless, of course has its advantages, ranging from efficiency to environmental benefits, however, it is vital to keep in mind safety and security when it comes to using eSignatures as the replacement of actual wet signatures.

 

There is a plethora of evidence supporting the tectonic shift of going digital, however, many are concerned about the end-to-end execution of the entire document signing process. The US Federal ESIGN act defines it as, “an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.” This is a broad definition, and there are a plethora of ways documents can be signed electronically and contracts (or transactions) can be executed ranging from entering your initials, checking a box, typing your name, pasting a scanned image of your signature, and using a cryptographic-based digital signature.

 

Many digital signature solutions have been created with different levels of security measures around each. These include ensuring that they are tamper proof by forming a link between the signatory and his signature with the help of an encryption key that may be in the possession of the signatory.  This layered security ensures that the three vital aspects of the digital signature that ensure its legal validity have not been breached. These three aspects are:

 

Authentication: All the signatories are known to each other and can be authenticated easily.

Integrity: The signatories are the same persons who have signed the contract. I.e., the documents and the digital signatures have not been changed en-route

Non-repudiation: None of the signatories to a contract can deny that they are in fact, the actual signatories of the contract

 

But, this however, leaves a glaring gap, the susceptibility to hacks, forgery, and fraud.

Enter the world of biometric signatures.

 

Biometric verification of a signature now adds yet another level of security to the documents that are a part of a digital transaction.  The idea is to find a very unique way to authenticate and verify signatory because even the most complex passwords can be cracked. Biometrics is the natural answer because it is unique and, if done right, cannot be stolen or duplicated. A ‘bio’ signature is pretty much amongst the highest levels of security solutions out there. It has the capability of recording individual idiosyncrasies of the person signing the digital document. Traditionally biometrics means signing and verifying signatures and documents with retina scan, iris scan, and recently popularized by mobile devices, fingerprints and facial recognition technology. Advanced biometric may also use the personal mannerisms of the signatory such as the ‘flourish’ of the pen when he signs, when he slows down and consequently where he accelerates when signing, his overall rhythm and speed; and many other seemingly random variables that taken together, form a highly personalized and forensically identifiable and therefore utterly unique foolproof signature.

 

And the applications for biometric signatures are endless. They can be as basic as opening a bank account to as complex as closing multi-million dollar deals. Biometrics can also be used in conjunction to a simple 2-form authentication. Biometrics can be used not only to secure the digital transactions but also to restrict access to authorized individuals only.  And we are just getting started.

When we convert our business transactions that involve paper and signatures into digital processes, we enjoy the benefits of efficiency, cost and time saving, save trees, save on file cabinets and much more. Perhaps the biggest benefit of going digital is the ability to monitor and track the progress of electronic signature transactions at every step in real time, including the ability to identify bottlenecks.

 

Typical electronic signature workflow (digital transaction) scenario looks something like this: The originator of the transaction initiates the workflow and takes some actions (fills out a form, dates etc.) then identifies who all the people are who need to sign and date the document and in what order. Once every signs it the originator receives an email notification that everyone has signed it and the transaction has completed, or someone has rejected the document.

 

Now imagine you are running a relay race and each person in the race (workflow) has a stopwatch attached to them. The coach (originator) has the master stopwatch for the entire race (workflow) and also can see the stopwatch reading of the individual runners (signers).

 

Monitoring the race (workflow) will reveal some very interesting actionable insights.

  1. How long it’s taking to complete the transaction
  2. How long did each signer took to complete his/her step
  3. Which step and/or person is taking a very long time (or the longest time)
  4. Which document was rejected and by whom and reasons for rejection

 

Once you gather this intelligence, you can work with your team to figure out what’s causing the delays. Some common reasons for delays in getting the documents signed electronically are:

  1. Not having the right technology and tools
  2. Need for education and training
  3. Processing payments
  4. Waiting for information to confirm something
  5. Security risks or privacy concerns
  6. Unavailability of the person or their proxy to sign

 

Armed with a robust electronic signature and digital transaction management tool, imagine how it will transform your business processes – invoices, new hire process, critical consent form collection and processing for thousands of employees (financial/HR compliance), sales contract, partnerships, procurement, legal documents and much more.

As we become a truly mobile and digital society, soon all paper-based business transactions will be the thing of the past. Digital Transaction Management (DTM) is leading the charge of this digital transformation.  As businesses strive to remain competitive not only in products and services but also in operations, user experience, and more, they need a simple yet robust way to convert their business transactions into truly paperless. This move is incredibly advantageous and lucrative for organizations.

Here are some of the more significant and tangible advantages of going digital by using a complete DTM solution.

  • Be efficient through automation
  • Eliminate errors
  • Save time
  • Reduce cost
  • Realize revenue (close deals) faster
  • Realize more revenue (in many cases)
  • Be environmentally friendly
  • Deliver great user experience
  • Truly embrace mobile
  • Be compliant to standards, regulations, and legal requirements
  • Take advantage of latest security and privacy technologies

In addition to all the benefits, it makes total business sense to cater to the ever-so-digital and mobile customer base. Majority of the millennials won’t do business with a vendor unless they can interact completely using just their mobile devices and can take advantage of Social Media.  They are comfortable storing their credit card and social security numbers in an online profile with multiple vendors. They are completely trusting to conduct thousands of dollars of transactions by signing their name on a digital paper on a mobile phone.

 

DTMs are still in their infancy and they are already delivering tremendous benefits. Advanced DTMs are event more robust, secure, and extremely efficient. We are just getting started with our Digital Transformation.

Electronic Signature was first invented back in the mid 90’s. After President Bill Clinton signed the Digital Signature Act into law in 2000, it’s popularity has been growing both, in the Point of Sale (POS) systems and for signing documents.  Since then there have been multiple generational advancements made to the eSignature technology. Today, eSignature or ‘electronic signature’ is part of our normal business vocabulary.

 

However, as the #Digital movement gave birth to ‘Digital Transformation,’ organizations quickly realized that in order to truly become paperless, eSignature alone is not enough, when it comes to managing business transactions that involve documents and signatures.

 

A December 2015 report by Aragon Research, Aragon Research Tech Spectrum for Digital Transaction Management, estimates that fewer than 12% of all document processes were fully digital in 2015—but predicts that 65% of enterprises will retire legacy paper-based processes in favor of those based on DTM by 2017[1].

 

This realization comes with the understanding that every business transaction has a ‘document signing ceremony’ associated to it.  This includes all types of loans, real estate transactions, legal notices, insurance transactions, agreements, and contracts to name  a few. In order to go completely digital there needs to be a way to support all different types of document signing ceremonies.

 

This gave birth to the notion of Digital Transaction Management or DTM. DTM is governed by the xDTM Standard, which is a foundational set of criteria for managing digital transactions. At the core, a DTM system includes electronic signature component, an automation engine, workflow management, and some basic security features.

 

An Advanced DTM however extends the core DTM functionality to a much robust and secure enterprise level.  An advanced DTM solution includes a document management system, rules and policy engine, adherence and compliance to various laws and regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, and Document Retention Policies, and filling out forms. Lastly, there are provisions for security, privacy, authenticity, legality, and trust for managing document-based transactions.

 

Here is a list of key components that make up an Advanced DTM solution.

  1. Electronic Signature
  2. Post-execution fraud Protection (paper and digital documents)
  3. Full audit trail
  4. Document Management System
  5. Content Automation, Workflow Management, and Rules Engine
  6. Intelligent Forms
  7. Security, Trust, and Compliance
  8. Advanced Security and Biometrics

 

To bring about complete and true digital transformation of their business, organizations must consider full implementation of an Advanced Digital Transaction Management Solution.