When you are thinking about implementing an electronic signature solution for your business, there are plenty of things to consider. How will you know which one will best suit your organisation? How can you determine which solution will probably work best? To answer these types of questions, we have set up a checklist to guide you in the process of choosing an electronic signature solution, in terms of efficiency, legal & technical requirements, user experience and cost.
Various types of electronic signatures
Electronic signatures come in all shapes and sizes. The kind of signature solution you need depends on your requirements: does efficiency prevail or is (the degree of) legal validity more relevant?
For example: a courier has different demands for a signature to confirm the delivery of a package than a notary confirming the purchase of a house. For the courier, the main requirements are probably convenience, mobility and efficiency. When looking at the notary, the authentication of the signers and irrefutable legal validity of the transaction are the main concerns.
In our blogpost Three types of Electronic Signatures and how to choose the right type for your transactions we explain how to use the right type of signature and go into details about the solution supporting the signature.
Determine your requirements
To help you determine what is relevant for your digital signature solution, we have divided the requirements into different topics. You must evaluate all options for each of these areas to make the right decision. We will explain what there is to consider and what you should not forget. The complete and detailed checklist is included in our free Whitepaper ‘Digital Signatures’ and can be downloaded at the end of this article.
As we saw in the case of the courier and the notary, different situations have different requirements. When it comes to efficiency, you need to think about what kind of documents you need to have signed (PDF, DOC, XML, …), and on which types of devices? Can the signature be integrated in your existing applications? Is there a built-in automated flow to increase user convenience? Etc.
It is essential for an (electronic) signature to be compliant with the regulations relevant to your organisation (eIDAS, GDPR, UETA and eSign Act etc.) In our whitepaper (download link below) we provide a detailed explanation on EU regulation concerning electronic signatures. Another legal issue to consider is a What You See Is What You Sign (WYSIWYS) option. This option allows the signer to see, check and verify all documents he is required to sign. Equally important for the future is to check if the documents are self-contained, meaning you don’t need the signing provider to validate the signature, in case a dispute arises.
Of course you want to make it easy for your users to sign documents. This means they should be able to sign on any preferred device and the way of signing should fit within the customer journey. To make life easier for you and your colleagues, the solution should be self-explanatory and intuitive. With your new solution, you no longer need to wait for an often-absent director to sign. The application automatically sends a message when the request is pending too long or a confirmation when the document is signed.
To ensure a flawless user experience for both clients and colleagues, the electronic signatures should seamlessly integrate with your existing applications. As IT develops rapidly, make sure it has flexible API’s to easily integrate with future applications like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics or any other as well. You also want to think about whether you want to use a cloud solution or host the application on-premise.
As for technical requirements concerning the document itself, check if the solution tamper-seals the signed document. This option assures both signer and signee that the document cannot be altered after it has been signed.
Of course, pricing and cost are important as well. Carefully evaluate the cost model. Do you pay once, periodically or per signature? While a pay-per-signature solution may look like the most affordable solution now, it can turn out to be more expensive in the future. Therefore, estimate future use of the signature solution to make sure you get the best value for money.
Download our free Whitepaper ‘Digital Signatures’ including checklist
In our free, downloadable whitepaper that includes the checklist we deep dive into the details of these topics. We answer important questions in all of these areas to perfectly lead you to the set-up of your business requirements for an electronic signature solution. We make sure you are fully prepared and ready to start talking to providers of electronic signature solutions.
If you need a hand answering some of these questions or if you want to see how our solution corresponds with your requirements, do not hesitate to contact us. We are more than happy to help! Our experts combine technical knowledge with field experience, offering the best business solution for your organisation.