The Digital Thumbprint
A few days back I was reading an article on my mobile phone using Adobe Acrobat when it prompted me to click on a droplet icon for a more optimized and easy-to-read view. All of a sudden the curiosity in me had me googling Acrobat. A few taps later I found myself reading about Adobe E-Signatures.
Within a few ‘right-click and open’ Chrome tabs, I educated myself a little about digital signatures and e-signatures. I quickly learnt that even though the two are used interchangeably, there are some noteworthy differences between the two. Digital signatures, on one hand, are used to identify the person’s identity who signs a document while ensuring security. E-signatures on the other, are used more often to verify the contents of a document and are comparatively less secure. E-signatures often use email IDs, OTPs and corporate IDs to reflect user identity and are not encrypted, while digital signatures are validated by certified authorities and encrypted. Most everyday examples we see around us are that of e-signatures.
E-signatures and digital signatures were granted a legal status in both India and the US back in 2000 with the IT Act and E-SIGN Act respectively, and are nothing out of the ordinary in our digitized world. In the early 2000s, E-signatures reduced turn-around time drastically and eliminated the need to print a document, sign and scan it back to send it across. Today, e-signatures are used by financial companies, government organizations, insurance agencies and many more.
Today Adobe led e-signatures live and breathe amidst Microsoft, Salesforce, Google, Workday and Servicenow ecosystems and ensure unaltered, secure documentation. Beyond that, Adobe also makes it possible to check if the document sent out for a signature has been opened and signed yet with its Document Tracking feature. This also actuates timely, hassle-free follow ups when needed. Its Mobile Features allows collaboration, designation and distribution of tasks for optimum time utilization. From the looks of it, AdobeSign and E-Signatures is the JIRA of document management that ensures speedy exchange of documents that need to be signed with a tracking system that not only includes notifications, reminders and prompt follow-ups, but also reflects the status of the document every step of the way. Time is money. And time (and money) saved in the right places drive customers, clients, contracts, revenue and profits in favor.
The idea of e-signatures is Lean. Adobe has made the process Leaner.
Since quite a few years, big corporations and institutions have been using e-signatures in day-to-day business. Adobe e-signatures has been instrumental in fast tracking the process of filing for an Income Tax return in India with robust authentication for many years now. It is the smaller companies that have been slow in adopting digital and e-signatures. With Adobe Sign for Small Business, this transition has been made easier and more affordable. In India, Aadhaar card is accepted as a proof of identity and address. In the recent years, Adobe integrated Aaadhaar-based authentication with Adobe Sign, revolutionizing the market of e-signatures in the country.
But is Adobe the absolute go-to choice for e-signatures today? The short answer is No and the more descriptive answer is It depends!
In terms of websites and market share, DocuSign is the leader, capturing a whooping 69% of the market while Adobe holds a mere ~5% of the same. And here are some reasons why! DocuSign is known to have a much better mobile platform and user interface as compared to its competitors. DocuSign also is slightly better in terms of security. DocuSign also encourages small sized companies with freemium offerings. That being said, many have reported that Adobe is the preferred choice for many of the big enterprises since the Adobe product ecosystem is deeply integrated with most large enterprises and turns out to be more convenient and worth the money.
The race for continuous optimization, convenience and efficiency is real. And e-signatures triggered a ripple effect across industries and organizations!