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Key Criteria for Evaluating E-Signature Solutionsv2.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. E-Signature Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Bill Witter

1. Summary

E-signature technology 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 that appear to be here to stay for many businesses, 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 as per 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 instructive requests 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) are out of scope for this report.

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.

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.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report details the criteria and evaluation metrics for selecting an effective e-signature solution. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those criteria and metrics. Together, these reports provide an overview of the category 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.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.