The world has had no time for a thoughtful transition to a virtual working environment. Everything changed instantly, and the business had to rethink how to continue operating in such a new habitat. This paper-to-digital transformation accelerated digital document processes with services such as file sharing, cloud storage, and electronic signatures.
What do we know about electronic signing? Is it beneficial or just another buzzword to excite business owners? If you are still new to this, you might wonder – what do remote processes have that the physical ones do not? Let’s talk about factors motivating businesses to adopt electronic signing solutions and the key advantages it brings.
What motivates businesses to adopt e-signing solutions
One technological advance that has greatly benefited the remote workforce is the safe use of electronic signatures instead of handwritten signatures. Companies are encouraged to replace traditional signatures with electronic signatures for various reasons. Here are several internal and external factors contributing to the change.
1. Time constraints
Employees’ overload is business as usual in many companies. 35% of employees state there is “too much work to do it well” in their current job1. Therefore, companies are looking for ways to optimise workload and switch to digital processes.
2. Budget constraints
Paper itself may not be expensive, but the costs spent on storage, copying, printing, and postage add up expenses. Studies estimate that associated paper costs total roughly 30 times the actual purchasing cost2.
3. Strict security requirements
Security is now more critical than ever before. In times of pandemics, when the need for online services has grown massively, a rise in frauds, forgeries, and other disturbances is also highly expected. As consumer adoption of digital channels has continued to accelerate, the global rate for all types of suspected digital fraud attempts increased by 52.2% from 2019 to 20213. Companies search for ways to improve security during their business procedures.
4. Change in end-user behaviour
86% of customer service professionals think customers are more thoughtful and informed now than ever4. It is crucial to meet customer expectations for a faster and better cross-device end-user experience. Additionally, businesses must adapt to end-users preferences to use a sustainable service.
5. Outdated and inefficient workflows
The pandemic situation forced businesses to work remotely. Even though e-signatures were vital for business continuity in many companies pre-pandemic, social distancing and remote work guidelines have fast-tracked the need for e-signatures in many organisations.
According to a global study by OnePoll, 26% of employees’ day is wasted on avoidable administrative chores, unnecessary tasks and outdated ways of working5. 63% of customer service professionals say it is difficult to balance speed and quality when serving customers6. Businesses are looking for a solution to eliminate back-end bottlenecks and help managers close deals quickly.
6. Increasing sustainability efforts
Environmental sustainability is one of the pressing issues of the 21st century and one of the critical priorities of most companies. It is estimated that 28 million hectares have been cut down yearly7, which is one football field of forest lost every single second, and 42% of the industrial wood harvest is used to make paper8. According to Gartner, Inc., an industry research firm, 50% of all business waste is composed of paper9. That is why many companies are looking for ways to impact the environment positively.
Business benefits delivered by electronic signing solutions
Industry-leading organisations have rapidly accelerated their strategic vision to support a digital customer experience using electronic signature solutions and boost the efficiency of processes. See the following list of added values you could benefit from by enabling an electronic signing solution in day-to-day activities at your company.
1. Electronic signing saves valuable time
E-signing eliminates manual and repetitive tasks, accelerates negotiations and improves contract execution; thus, there is more time to focus on what matters. Every business, big or small, struggles with time-consuming administrative tasks. Switching from regular to electronic signature can save you tons of hours, and there will be no need to organise meetings when you need the other party’s signature. The process of signing the document using electronic signing solutions reduces from several days to less than an hour, according to the experience of the Lithuanian Food Bank.
Companies experience a boost in productivity when using electronic signing due to the quicker collection of signatures and shortened document approval cycles. According to Kristina Gabrilavičiūtė, Head of Sales at Dokobit, it might be even more significant if your business is international and you are signing documents with people from other countries. With electronic signatures, your business processes speed up and do not stop just because you have to wait for someone’s signature.
2. Electronic signing reduces costs
E-signing saves costs on printing and postage and the workforce associated with it. Signing documents electronically reduces labour costs and the financial impact of human errors such as signing mistakes, and, of course, giving up the paper itself allows you to save expenses.
For businesses that deal with many documents, the difference is instantly noticeable. You can calculate your potential savings after switching to electronic signature using Dokobit’s e-signing savings calculator.
3. Electronic signing increases the security of your documents
Electronic signing ensures greater security for confidential and sensitive documents than traditional handwritten processes. Electronic signature contains information about who signed the document and when it was signed, making e-signatures more secure than handwritten ones. It is more difficult to forge the documents signed with advanced or qualified e-signature as any document alteration is visible. Plus, no one will be able to copy or rewrite your e-signature. Unauthorised parties will not be able to access the document.
A qualified e-signature is equivalent to a handwritten signature and cannot be questioned in court, which businesses want to face the least. When signing internal and external documents with third parties using qualified e-signatures, documents cannot be forged or backdated.
Find more information on Information security and compliance with international ISO/IEC 27001 standard, GDPR and eIDAS.
4. Electronic signature improves customer service
Clients having a remote signing possibility will no longer depend on a place, time, or other circumstances. This results in increased customer satisfaction, as convenience is one of the critical aspects of customer experience. Cross-device e-signing operations simplify processes for every party involved. Increased trust from customers due to the simplicity of e-signing was noted by SB lizingas, among others.
5. Electronic signing solutions increase workflow efficiency
Electronic signing drive business efficiency by replacing traditional, costly and impractical paper-based processes. This way, businesses can focus on being productive instead of busy and experience a boost in productivity as repetitive manual tasks are automated.
E-signature solutions enable remote document processing: you can track document lifecycle, monitor status and see if your document was received, signed or approved. Incorporating e-signing into your document workflow reduces contract review times and improves contracts and legal documents’ accountability, traceability, and compliance. With the cross-border signing, internationally operating businesses sign contracts in minutes.
6. Electronic signing supports sustainability efforts
Around 400 million metric tons of paper and cardboard are produced each year10. By using e-signature, organisations can significantly reduce the amount of paper used and achieve their sustainability goals. This reduction contributes to less waste being produced, which leads to less air and land pollution.
Since 2014, Dokobit has helped its customers give up more than 46 million sheets of paper or approximately 230 tons.
Choosing a trustworthy e-signing solution provider
These are just a few proven benefits of going digital. At Dokobit, we have observed that an increasing number of firms are switching to electronic signatures and that doing so empowers them to enjoy considerable advantages.
E-signing boosts efficiency, raises productivity levels, streamlines processes, and provides both time and cost savings in the workplace. However, choosing an e-signing solution without careful consideration could compromise the integrity of the process. It is crucial to conduct due diligence on an e-signing platform you plan on using and find a trustworthy service provider. Several things to consider before choosing your e-signing service provider:
- Legally binding e-signatures. According to the eIDAS regulation defining the usage of e-signatures in Europe, only qualified e-signatures are equivalent to handwritten signatures and therefore have indisputable legal power. Ensure the e-signing provider allows the creation and validation of e-signatures with qualified certificates that comply with eIDAS regulation.
- Qualified timestamps. Consider choosing a service provider that uses qualified timestamps in all document signings to assure security against forgery and backdating.
- Long-term validity of signatures. Double-check whether the service provider offers long-term preservation service to guarantee the trustworthiness of e-signatures with qualified certificates over time.
- Measures to ensure information security. Look for a solution provider with an implemented Information Security Management System of their own, which is audited and certified by independent accredited auditors.
- Transparency. Examine how much and what kind of information about the company’s compliance is publicly available. Third-party certificates, certification statements of applicability, audit reports, data processing policies, and other legal documents are all things to look for.
- Qualified validation service. If you are going to use electronic signatures, make sure you can check their validity. Choose a solution that can provide an eIDAS-certified qualified service because only qualified validation services can be fully trusted as defined by eIDAS regulation.
- Variety of document formats and eIDs. Before choosing your e-signing and signature collection service provider, check what document formats they support. Although there is an internationally recognised format in Europe, each country has its own format. The variety of supported eIDs, besides the ones you will use, might also be vital if you are planning to sign documents cross-border.
Here’s a complete checklist to guide you through the most critical aspects of choosing an e-signing solution provider.
1Kinni, T. (2020, April 15). Too much work, too little time. Strategy+Business. Retrieved from https://www.strategy-business.com/article/Too-much-work-too-little-time
2Melo, S. (2018, March 8). How much paper waste is costing your business? DataScope. Retrieved from https://datascope.io/en/blog/how-much-paper-waste-is-costing-your-business/
3Shipping Fraud Increased Nearly 800% Worldwide in the Past Year. (2001, August 1). Retrieved from https://newsroom.transunion.com/shipping-fraud-increased-nearly-800-worldwide-in-the-past-year/
4HubSpot Annual State of Service Report. (2022) Retrieved from https://offers.hubspot.com/state-of-customer-service
5Reynolds, A. (2019, June 19). How inefficient processes waste nearly a third of employees’ time. The CFO. Retrieved from https://the-cfo.io/2019/06/19/how-inefficient-processes-waste-nearly-a-third-of-employees-time/
6State of Service, 4th Edition (2020). Salesforce Retrieved from https://www.salesforce.com/content/dam/web/en_us/www/documents/research/state-of-service-4th-edition.pdf
7Rate of deforestation. (2021) The World Counts. Retrieved from https://www.theworldcounts.com/challenges/forests-and-deserts/rate-of-deforestation
8The State of the Paper Industry. Monitoring the Indicators of Environmental Performance. https://environmentalpaper.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/state-of-the-paper-industry-2007-executive.pdf
9How much paper waste is costing your business? (2018, March 8). DataScope. Retrieved from https://mydatascope.com/blog/en/how-much-paper-waste-is-costing-your-business/
10Topic: Paper industry worldwide. (2022, June 2). Statista. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/topics/1701/paper-industry/