Wednesday, 26 October 2016 09:06

Wet or Dry? Signature that is.

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Make no mistake – eSignatures (digital – dry) have been recognised by the Electronic Transactions Act 1999. They are generally admissible in court.

So began Adobe’s media briefing on eSignatures and some interesting results from the Adobe eSignatures Australian Market Study developed in partnership with Forrester Consulting.

Chandra Sinnathamby, Adobe’s head of Document Cloud Solutions for the APAC Region, said that eSignatures are now an expected part of an end-to-end digital customer experience and Adobe, via its new Adobe Sign, provided a fast, easy, secure way to bring trusted eSignatures to every organisation and department including HR, sales, IT, legal and procurement, etc.

Tim Sheedy, principal analyst at Forrester, Mark Grilli, vice-president of product marketing for Adobe Document Cloud, and Norm Duce, REA (realestate.com.au) group executive manager, Business Services, presented the research and real use cases.

Sheedy said that while eSignatures had been legal since 1999, their use had been fairly limited and they were poised for hypergrowth. “Today is the age of the customer and the power in their pocket (smartphone and wallet) to complete a transaction. They are empowered. They want digital transactions. This is the year of the customer, again,” he said.

eSignatures have less than 20% market penetration and will have a 17% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Most companies will be implementing it in 12-24 months, and almost all said that eliminating a wet signature (in person) was important.

The principal reasons for uptake are operational efficiency (50%), customer experience (31%), business agility (13%), and enhanced quality (of paperwork) (5%). Sheedy said 92% expected to make up to 15% cost savings in IT operating costs alone, but the real benefit is that it was easier to complete a transaction – there was a significant reduction in “fall over” in an end-to-end digital transaction.

He said that one respondent had stated, “We save up to $1000 per month in paper alone at my resort and we have only used eSignature at the front desk.”

Grilli said eSignatures alone were only part of the solution to a real paperless end-to-end digital transaction. Only when a contract was fully digital (not simply scanned) could a customer see what they had signed and search conditions. But more importantly was the analytics that could be performed on digital contracts. He said the major advantage of using the Adobe Document Cloud was in cost reduction (no paper), and increased compliance and risk management.

But customers were increasingly demanding to “remove the paper jam,” and it was time for companies to start looking at business processes from a customer perspective. Printing out paper contracts (cutting down forests), going into offices to sign and witness them, and then scanning and lodging was unnecessary. If one could remove that pain point, fewer digital transactions would fall over.

Duce works for the IT digital success story REA. He says a digital company needs 100% digital processes to be successful. REA recently implemented Adobe Sign into its business.

“We view eSignatures as an integral part of our broader digital experience, designed to streamline business processes and simplify how our customers operate. By integrating Adobe Sign into our Document Cloud offering, it hasn’t just created a paperless solution; it’s improved the experience and day-to-day efficiency for our customers,” said Duce.

But more than that it has added more "disruption" to the game. While realestate.com.au was a game changer for real estate marketing, fully, end-to-end digital transactions would enable its global growth. “We are all about a seamless quote to cash experience. It was a REA edict that there is no more paper by Christmas 2016 and we are almost there. We were impressed at the multi-language ability of Adobe Document Cloud and that alone takes out one more barrier to us competing globally in digital business,” he said.

“For REA it was a no-brainer to look to a complete solution from Adobe. Its eSignature offering complements our entire workflow in the cloud. It was the right fit. No regrets,” he finished.

Sinnathamby said the results of the research were clear - Australian businesses needed to embrace eSignatures, as customer expectations around convenience and efficiency changed. "Too many eSignature products fail to live up to this technology’s potential. With Adobe Sign, we’ve created an integrated solution, which removes the friction inherent in transactions, documents, and data, enabling Australian businesses to transform paper-based transactions into complete digital workflows."

Adobe esig infographic

 


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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