Digital processes, the argument goes, are the key to efficient organizations.

If that's the case, entire business processes need to be digitized — from ingestion to archiving. With the rise of cloud, mobile and digital technologies, this shouldn’t pose a problem. However, according to Russ Gould, senior director of Product Marketing at Kofax, organizations are lagging when it comes to e-signatures.

Digital Transaction Management

Failure to adopt e-signatures could be hampering the development of automated processes. Even worse, it could be costing enterprises millions of dollars.

A recent paper from Aragon Research discusses digital transaction management (DTM), of which e-signatures are a key element.

"Digitizing the process of conducting a transaction, including all the paperwork and signatures, has been the ‘last mile’ until now. Executives are recognizing the benefits and pushing forward with DTM initiatives faster than we have seen with other emerging business categories."

In the past year, DTM started coming into its own. Aragon Research estimates that by 2016, 70 percent of large enterprises will have a DTM initiative underway or fully implemented. By the end of 2020, it will be a $30 billion market.

Kofax Takes Aim

Early this month, Kofax bought Aia Holding, a provider of customer communications management (CCM) software.

Aia’s platform uses data from other business applications to personalize customer-driven letters, contracts and other documents with minimal IT effort.

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Last September, it acquired SoftPro and its SignDoc software. At the time Kofax said SignDoc was processing more than 200 million e-signatures annually, as well as offering click-to-sign and physical signature capture via mobile and other devices.

In January, Kofax started the year by announcing a new family of e-signatures that incorporated SignDoc’s capabilities.

The standard version stand-alone solution offers self-service capabilities that allows users to design, deploy and manage custom e-signing workflows.

The Enterprise edition enables organizations to design, deploy and manage custom e-signing workflows, as wel as embed advanced-signature capabilities within a host of enterprise applications. Its e-signature solution uses biometrics for image verification.

Customer Focus

So all the elements are there for a secure, efficient and agile e-signature solution that works for mobile workers too. So why has it taken so long to move in the direction of e-signatures?

Gould told us that one of the principal barriers to adoption of e-signatures was human resistance to change.

"It takes humans a long time to change, particularly with people like lawyers that are very risk averse, which has been an impediment to leveraging e-signature technology and adding it to existing business processes," he said.

So there, in a nutshell is the crux of it. The problem with e-signatures is not the technology, but reluctance to change.

Gould said the driver now is the rise of customer experience as a core business goal. Organizations, in an attempt to gain a competitive edge are examining all areas of business processes at both the First Mile and the Last Mile.

The First Mile, as Kofax defines it, is the period of initial information-intensive interactions customers have with an organization. That includes such things as loan applications, claims submissions and new account openings, and the challenge of interacting with a business via multiple devices and methods of communication. The Last Mile is the end of that process.

Gould said the development of e-signatures is part of a wider development of technologies to cover the core business processes used in the enterprise, including transactional components, migration components, and case management capabilities among others.