Two converging trends — the growth of the mobile workforce and digital business processes — are giving a big boost to the e-signature market.

That's the word from Michael Laurie, co-founder and VP of product strategy at Silanis, an electronic signature provider.

"Acceptance for e-signatures has been growing over the past years in terms of end user adoption," he said, noting that customer experience is a priority. If users don't like an e-signature solution, they won't use it, he said.

Market in Flux

Laurie’s perspective on the e-signature market completes a picture of the space that we have been looking at over the past few weeks.

Earlier, Mark Grilli, VP, Adobe Document Services at Adobe, Adobe’s EchoSign, blamed lack of support from C-suite executives for holding back broader adoption of e-signatures.

More senior leaders, including Chief Information Officers, need to deploy or develop IT strategies that include digital signatures, he said. Many still misplace concerns about security or the legality of e-signatures, even though e-signatures have been legal and enforceable in the United States since the passage of the E-Sign Act of 2000,

Russ Gould, senior director of product marketing at Kofax, speculated the drag on the market is caused by simple resistance to change, particularly among professionals like risk averse lawyers.

Kofax was just bought by Lexmark. So the e-signature technology Kofax offers will be now ingested into the wider Lexmark portfolio, giving it wider reach.

Silanis is marketing its e-signature app as a key element of customer experience, which it in turn defines as a key element of digital business.

2015 3 27 Silanis e-signature.jpg


Slow But Steady

The Silanis product, e-SignLive, can be installed on-premises or used as a Software-as-a-Service, with both versions offering the same levels of security. E-SignLive, Laurie said, creates legally recognized signatures and integrates well with existing enterprise apps.

He described adoption of e-signatures as slow but steady.

More companies and industries have started adopting the technology, led by the financial services industry and government agencies. There is also growth in the mid-market as more small businesses implement e-signatures.

What’s different now, compared with a couple of years ago? In the past few years, Adobe acquired EchoSign and Kofax acquired SoftPro.

"We’re seeing acquisitions become more common. We can credit these acquisitions to the fact business is going digital and larger players want to offer e-signatures as a key component of their whole solution ecosystem,” Laurie told us.

And then there’s DocuSign and its move toward a US initial public stock offering. It hasn’t reached the final stages, given the current IPO market. However its plans demonstrate just how big this market is becoming and how much money there is in it.

Market Trends

Businesses worldwide are adapting to changing trends, including increasingly mobile workers. Many of those mobile workers are also insisting on using their own devices.

A few years ago, bring your own device (BYOD) was all people were talking about," Laurie said.

To accommodate the trend, Silanis developed e-SignLive Use Your Own Device (UYOD), which captures handwritten signatures on-the-fly. It's designed for organizations that want t"o securely deliver and support services on devices that their customers already use,” he added.

Being able to use a customer’s own device to capture a signature, review a document and capture data makes the transaction process easier and faster. It also saves companies money because they don’t have to invest in signature pads or touchscreen devices.

Like other technologies that are embedded into business processes, e-signatures don’t live in isolation. Increasing digitization means increased complexity, along with problems around security, and human error.

To tackle this vendors have been obliged to add other components like analytics into the mix:

"That’s in part how analytics are playing a role in the e-signature market – helping make digital personal. When we look at an electronic transaction, the removal of paper means the process remains digital from beginning to end, which in turn produces a lot of data,” Laurie added.

With completely digital processes users have visibility into the status of a document or package 100 percent of the time. It shows where it is, who is logging in and when, who is accessing it, what they read.

Security Issues

Security concerns is a barrier to e-signature adoption. "Companies need to find a way to balance security with usability so that the customer experience is not overly cumbersome. The more complex a process is, the less likely people are to complete it, Laurie said.

Silanis relies on independent certification like Service Organization Control (SOC) 2, a security standard for cloud and data protection. According to Laure, the firm is also looking for FedRAMP certification, which could smooth the product's way into federal and public agencies.