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GigaOm Key Criteria for Evaluating E-Signature Solutionsv3.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. E-Signature Sector Brief
  3. Decision Criteria Analysis
  4. Analyst’s Outlook
  5. About Dana Hernandez

1. Executive Summary

E-signature technology—which enables businesses to record signatures, initials, dates, and other data on electronic documents rather than needing physical documents—continues to be defined by rapidly increasing demand across virtually every industry and market around the world. This momentum is driven in part by remote operating models and distributed work forces, often replacing traditional document processes bound by physical limitations. This demand has helped fuel a growing set of technology features that continue to mature and provide legal credibility for virtually any document type.

Most jurisdictions formally recognize e-signatures as a legal alternative to handwritten wet ink on paper and, in some cases, consider digital execution to be more secure and legally sound than traditional physical methods.

The core competency of an e-signature technology is the ability to execute a document in a digital and legal manner. To satisfy this requirement, a full solution encompasses the following capabilities:

  • Preparation: The ability to upload a digital version of a document, specify data capture requirements, and define a desired workflow.
  • Distribution: The ability to digitally and securely send a document and specific instructions to a signee using the specified workflow.
  • Execution: The ability to sign a document in a legally compliant fashion. This is defined by the local jurisdiction but most often includes identity verification, audits, and accessible storage functionality.

Solutions in this space allow organizations to upload existing documents, apply digital capture fields, and deliver requests and signing instructions to recipients securely via email. Providers that are compliant with local regulations offer signee authentication, audit certificates, and record storage to establish a legally binding result for all parties.

More comprehensive tooling that supports contract lifecycle management (CLM), document creation, collaboration, and digitization via optical character recognition (OCR) or natural language processing (NLP) is out of scope for this report.

E-signature technologies range from freeware and limited-volume trials to enterprise-level subscription services. Solutions can be fully cloud-based or support on-premises software and storage. Organizations should consider the types of documents they process along with the volume of documents and the number of internal teams utilizing the service. Common limiting factors include the ways existing documents are created or stored and what organizational frameworks are available to dictate prioritization and manage access across multiple business units.

Business Imperative
Organizations adopting e-signature solutions benefit from enhanced customization, transparency, and speed when executing documents. Users can specify multistage routing requirements, customize where and what data is captured, and track external actions taken by the recipient. Signees can access the document from virtually any interface, ensuring frictionless execution on both sides of the transaction.

Cost savings and efficiencies are highly scalable because most document types and use cases can be enhanced by an e-signature solution.

Sector Adoption Score
To help executives and decision-makers assess the potential impact and value of an e-signature solution deployment to the business, this GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a structured assessment of the e-signature sector across five factors: benefit, maturity, urgency, impact, and effort. By scoring each factor based on how strongly it compels or deters adoption of e-signature solutions, we provide an overall Sector Adoption Score (Figure 1) for e-signature solutions of 4.6 out of 5, with 5 indicating the strongest possible recommendation to adopt. This indicates that e-signature is a credible candidate for deployment and worth thoughtful consideration.

The factors contributing to the Sector Adoption Score for e-signature solutions are explained in more detail in the Sector Brief section that follows.

Key Criteria for Evaluating E-Signature Solutions

Sector Adoption Score







Figure 1. Sector Adoption Score for E-Signature Solutions

This is the third year that GigaOm has reported on the e-signature solution space in the context of our Key Criteria and Radar reports. This report builds on our previous analysis and considers how the market has evolved over the last year.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report highlights the capabilities (table stakes, key features, and emerging features) and non-functional requirements (business criteria) for selecting an effective e-signature solution. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those decision criteria. Together, these reports provide an overview of the market and its underlying technology, identify leading e-signature offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.


The GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a detailed decision framework for IT and executive leadership assessing enterprise technologies. Each report defines relevant functional and non-functional aspects of solutions in a sector. The Key Criteria report informs the GigaOm Radar report, which provides a forward-looking assessment of vendor solutions in the sector.