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Key Criteria for Evaluating E-Signature Solutionsv1.0

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

Just as document management is now ubiquitous in virtually every industry and business function, e-signature technology has become a universal component of modern-day digital strategy. Applied solutions dramatically transform the execution of most documents by enabling a legally sound digital alternative to traditional wet-ink signatures. Furthermore, maturing capabilities in this space can now support end-to-end document signature processes across a broad set of markets around the world.

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 market but most often includes identity verification, audit, and accessible storage functionality.

A combination of increased global legal support and an accelerated migration toward remote workforces has magnified the need for e-signature adoption. Organizations can no longer rely on predictable face-to-face interaction for critical document execution. However, even before the pandemic accelerated this trend, globalized workflows were already making certain physical processes obsolete due to increased complexity and cost.

E-signature technology eliminates this in-person dependency and generates significant business value via enhanced customization, transparency, and speed when executing documents. Users can configure highly specific workflows, customize what data is captured and where, and track external actions made 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, to 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 manage, along with the volume, and the number of internal teams that will use the service. Common limiting factors include the way existing documents are currently created or stored, and what organizational frameworks are available to dictate prioritization and access across multiple business units.

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.