Software as a service (SaaS) is making the implementation of e-signatures faster to deploy, while the use of e-signatures is reducing errors, improving productivity and reducing staff hours. These are some of the findings in a report by Forrester, The state of e-signature implementation, which looks at trends in digital authentication and the consequent business results. Some of the key trends identified in the report include:
SaaS is the chosen route for the majority of companies (65 per cent) that contact Forrester. And yet implementations still range from an average of nine months for larger enterprises to 2.3 for small businesses. Some of the challenges companies cite in the e-signature implementation process include: browser incompatibility, integration with core systems, signature pad support, diverse signing solutions and user training. The report states: “For one bank, the biggest challenge was integrating e-signature with its internet banking platform.”
According to Forrester, some of the business results shown in its survey of e-signature implementations include: 80 per cent error reduction, 85 per cent productivity improvement, bank accounts being opened in just eight minutes, and 22,000 staff hours saved annually. It says that e-authentication also contributes to: a better audit process, reduced instances of fraud and higher visibility into what has been signed.
High take-up in financial services
Financial services organisations are some of the main adopters of e-authentication. The report stated: “That’s no surprise, as the sector is where the most documents are signed. Contract signings, pre-sales applications, and data gathering are the top three financial services processes that benefit from e-signatures.”
As e-authentication processes have become easier and simpler to use, customer satisfaction and client retention have also become important factors for companies. Customer experience has also been aided by simpler, more accessible, and cheaper smartphones, tablets, and touchscreen computers.
Differences in US and Europe
The report found that the US predominately opts for simpler e-signature authentication and most businesses in the US employ an advanced signature that uses several forms of authentication. In Europe, e-signature adoption is on the rise and there is a tendency towards biometrics.
Better mobile support
Most implementation cases offer mobile signing support: four-fifths of the 25 cases studied by Forrester deliver a mobile signing capability. All the companies agreed that mobile signing has essential customer experience value. However, challenges for mobile e-authentication remain, for example, the small screen size makes it inappropriate to review important documents in PDF format.
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