adobe_logo_2009.jpg Today we all moved one step closer to the elusive paperless office with Adobe’s (news, site) announcement of its newest acquisition -- electronic signature provider EchoSign (news, site).  Adobe will be integrating the technology into a number of its products and perhaps improve the adoption of electronic signature technology in general.

Electronic Signatures Improve Automation

According to Adobe, it plans to integrate EchoSign’s cloud-based digital signature solution into SendNow for file transfer, FormsCentral for form creation and CreatePDF. Integration of EchoSign’s tools means that Adobe will abandon the free beta eSignatures technology that it released last May that provided similar functionality. Acquisition of EchoSign may further integration of Adobe’s products deeper into enterprise processes; its PDF technology is already used prolifically as a document exchange format.

Why should anyone care? Organizations that have taken the effort to implement process automation technology and content management systems will likely be pleased with this announcement. The EchoSign integration will allow adopters to make any process that requires a human signature to be entirely electronic from document creation to signature and storage. The automation should reduce the cost and time for getting signatures as compared to manual processes that require signing, scanning, mailing and overnight delivery.

EchoSign e-signatures

Taking Manual Signatures out the of Process

EchoSign’s subscription based electronic signature service is currently used by over 3 million users. According to EchoSign, on average, electronic signatures require just 42 minutes and is capable of automating the signature process with just a few clicks from users. Although digital signing technology has long been available and easy to use, it has not been adopted as widely. Given how widely used the PDF document format is, Adobe’s acquisition might just the kick e-signatures need to become the defacto way people sign documents.

Adobe isn’t just getting a new product; it’s getting the entire EchoSign team. EchoSign’s founders and all full-time employees will transition to Adobe. The terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed and it is also not clear if EchoSign’s existing subscription model pricing will be modified in anyway as a result of the acquisition.

How do you feel about moving to completely digital signing? Do you love or are you nostalgic for a post office trip?