2020 was a year like no other that led to many significant changes in business operations across various industries. Most notably, companies were forced to adapt to a virtual environment to protect both their staff and clients. The growing digital landscape has made it clear that some frequently used processes are out of date and in need of an upgrade.

In this week’s episode, VP of Sales and Marketing, Vince Hanson, is joined by Rob Beier, Strategic Alliance Manager at ImageSoft, to discuss the growing trend of electronic signatures. Rob answers questions about e-signing and gives us a high-level overview of how businesses are leveraging the solution to maintain an efficient virtual workflow. In addition to discussing some of the features of ImageSoft’s own TrueSign solution, Rob and Vince discuss topics including:

  • Why more companies are looking for e-signature options
  • Why e-signing is more efficient than wet signatures
  • How businesses are using e-signatures to respond to a more virtual world
  • What to look for in an e-signature platform/software
  • The longevity of e-signing
  • Electronic audit trails and the benefits that accompany them
  • And more!

Listen in as two ImageSoft veterans chat about electronic signing and the role it will play in the coming years. Find out what considerations you should make before choosing an e-signature platform for your business and gain a deeper understanding of how virtual solutions are shaping communications between companies and clients.

Check out this episode!

Read the Transcript

 

Steve Glisky: 

Welcome to the Paperless Productivity Podcast, where we have experts give you the insights, know-how and resources to help you transform your workplace from paper to digital while making your work life better at the same time.

Vince Hanson: 

Thanks for joining me today, my name’s Vince Hanson, your host for today’s podcast. When we last discussed the topic of electronic signatures, the ability to electronically sign was just considered convenient and nice to have. With the pandemic drastically changing our everyday lives the need for electronic signatures is no longer a convenience. Electronic signatures have become a must, have to continue to stay in operation. With businesses, starting to have more transactions and customer interactions, the need for mobile and virtual methods of executing and providing services is creating needs greater than pre pandemic levels. Many of these companies have less employees and increased demand. There are so many types of scenarios and documents you might encounter in any given day, including signing HR documents, a contract agreement, a housing voucher and insurance form, an authorization or acknowledgement form, or even claims documentation. Being remote presents a huge challenge.

 

And today we’re going to talk about how technology can help improve remote transactions in a secure and proven manner. And we’ll take a deeper dive into why electronic signatures are an important part of doing business in the new normal I’m joined today by Rob Beier, Strategic Alliance Manager at ImageSoft.

 

Welcome Rob.

Rob Beier:

Thank you, Vince. It’s a pleasure to be with you today.

Vince Hanson:

Yeah, thanks again for joining us. Great to, great to hear from you. So, Rob, first question here obviously electronic signatures aren’t a new concept. Why is it becoming more of a hot topic these days?

Rob Beier:

Vince, I think you covered quite a lot in your introduction there as you mentioned, there’s a huge increase in the need to complete normal day-to-day business, operation documents, contracts, and quite frankly, orders remotely. I think likewise, the need to utilize virtual meetings with customers to discuss and execute agreements and contracts again at an all-time high. And as you mentioned with smaller workforces’ efficiency and ease of completion are critical to meeting those growing needs. I think that it’s also probably very vital to have secure and faxed access to documents, you know, the old days of printing to sign a document and then scan to email it. Well, they’re really now really easy to address with an electronic signature. So, I think in addition to time-savings email is not a secure signature method for many transactions. And today we must utilize a solution that is managed via secure cloud or a local application to protect all parties involved.

Vince Hanson:

Yeah, I think your message around the days of printing to sign and then scanning to email is one that definitely hits home for me, especially when the pandemic happened and now us and our customers and you know, my wife and her business. They were actually sending someone to the office to try to get the mail and then figure it out like, hey, we’re, we’re not going back to the office.  We may need to consider routing this mail to somebody’s house, cause we’re just not going to be going there. So yeah, it definitely, it definitely hits home.

 

So, Rob how are people dealing with this increased need for electronic signatures? What, what are you seeing out there?

Rob Beier:

You know, in my experience, a lot of early adopters, they’re utilizing some sort of existing provider. Others really, as we’re opening up for business, as usual, they’re scrambling to kind of revamp or, redesign their processes, to either work around or find an affordable solution. You know, regarding those with an existing provider, many businesses were desperate for a solution as the pandemic unfolded. I think they identified critical areas, starting trial plans, and then as their workload increased and the realization that an electronic signature benefits, the entire operation, they expanded. You know, now at the time of renewal, many are experiencing costs that are exponentially higher to address what they realized as their actual needs. In fact, I’ve heard stories of many organizations that started pilot programs liked how the process worked. They started out very reasonable. But now are opening renewals and they’re facing tens of thousands of dollars in costs.

 

Regarding those now needing to implement a new electronic signature solution. I think many of those organizations were using traditional methods to secure an actual wet signature, many times this involved, costly delivery service with FedEx or UPS. And as we know this method, unfortunately introduces the risk of loss and can often cost in excess of $30 or $40 in the round-trip delivery service cost, just for the document.

 

So more of these organizations are now working to define their workflow, identify where an electronic signature will provide a best practice in that process. And in turn are finding that electronic signature solutions really do mitigate some of that risk and are in fact safe and economical.

Vince Hanson:

Yeah. It really sounds like folks are, re-imagining what this process needs to look like. Obviously incorporating this technology into their day-to-day processes, like they really have never done before. Can, can you elaborate a little bit more on what current users and maybe those that are in the market should be looking for when they look at this type of technology?

Rob Beier:

Vince, that’s a great question. You know, we hear this almost every day and I have to say, I cannot stress enough for organizations either using a solution now or considering implementing an electronic signature solution, how important it is to map out your business needs. And then work with a provider who has a consultative approach to solution design. Along those lines, you know, I always say it’s very important to look at the ease of use. Does the electronic signature solution involve downloading software? Is there or are there time-consuming installations that must be performed?

 

You know, many current users are utilizing PDF documents and they’ve installed or purchased a plugin or a helper application to achieve a virtual signature state. But I always ask, does this create a cumbersome or error prone process with your customers or constituents? And only you can answer that as, as a business looking to revamp or revise that process.

 

So, you know, after identifying where the process will benefit most, I think it’s very important to look at the providers, how they price their solution, how they structure the deployment. And, and when I say, look at how they price it, also look at what the feature functionality said is, are there any necessary integrations included? How are

the documents or their envelopes addressed for service in or out of the organization? I always say, do not accept a one size fits all solution. And unfortunately, many of the solutions that are out there sometimes try and make you fit that square peg in a round hole.

Vince Hanson:

Yeah, for sure. A lot of great a lot of great things to keep in mind as you’re looking at this technology. You know, we often hear about businesses having issues with the inability to meet face to face for document or a contract signing. With that there’s a new focus on web-based and virtual meetings. How can an organization use electronic signatures in this part of the new business norm? You know, I, I know myself, I’m spending a day in and day out on video. Pretty much for the first time I’ve ever done this in my entire career. So, I’m curious what you’re seeing.

Rob Beier:

 Vince, I likewise am participating in and utilizing video more than ever. And I think today more and more businesses are really trying to work out low and no touch methods of customer and constituent interactions. Fortunately, I think that the capabilities and the acceptance of mobile meeting platforms such as GoToMeeting or Microsoft Teams or Zoom, you know, they’ve really been embraced. Everyone’s now comfortable with, with utilizing that technology. You know, I, I hear more and more often, for example, remote real estate and loan closings, and even remote notary services are at all-time highs. And interestingly enough, some of these transactions require a witness. They require that you provide identification. And unfortunately, there’s a limited number of signature solutions that are integrated with a mobile meeting platform that can provide that robust, a set of capabilities. So, you know, I go back to it really is, important to match your process with what a solution may offer. And look for easy to use mobile signing, the ability to have a witness have ID verification, and most importantly, the ability to use that rather seamlessly during that virtual or web-based meeting.

Vince Hanson:

Yeah, that’s, that’s great, Rob.  You know, I, I hear the term audit trail with electronic signing with document transactions. Can you give a high level of what this is and why it might be important?

Rob Beier:

Absolutely. And, and, you know, Vince having, you know, really had the opportunity to be involved in records management for well over two decades now. I want to share that an audit trail is very similar to a chain of custody, if you will. Sometimes people are more familiar with that terminology. And as you know, it’s very critical that files requiring a signature are managed appropriately and directed only to that intended signer. I think it’s probably equally important to look for a solution that provides a very detailed history of the document, as well as the envelope transaction from beginning to end, to be able to confirm receipt and proper processing of that document.

Vince Hanson:

 So, I guess in a nutshell, look for a solution that has a robust audit trail that details all those elements of the transaction. And that will help you to ensure you have a complete chain of custody. So, so Rob talking about chain of custody and audit trails, what about security and compliance for electronic signature processes?

 Rob Beier:

Yeah. Great question Vince. You know, as, as simple as it may sound, looking for security and compliance I think it is important to look for solutions that not only offer document password or multiple authentication methods for those transactions. But from a broader perspective, I think it’s important to look at your provider and are they utilizing recognized data, information, security, and compliant practices? With that said, I would say, look for a solution that has longevity. And seek details on the hosting and the management of that application. I would say, look for sound recognized organizations such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon web services, or Google cloud as examples.

 

And then depending on your specific business requirements, research, digital signature capabilities, your compliance obligations. There’s many out there when you deal with federal state or local government, for example federal law enforcement has a certification known as CJIS. There’s a federal information processing standards that’s known as FIPSE. And then if you’re doing any business internationally the general data protection regulations apply, and those are known as GDPR. And then of course there’s the associated data subject requests, which is a part of GDPR and that relates to how you handle or process the information related to those, those details.

Vince Hanson:

 Yeah. I know you know, many of the CTO’s, CIO’s, cybersecurity experts these are the questions and buzzwords that they live, by trying to make sure that their agencies and organizations stay secure, and they are in compliance. We’ve seen so many of these cybersecurity threat and malware threats in the news and the media. So, it’s, it’s definitely something to, to keep in mind here. So Rob, as we wrap up, what are maybe the three most important things, a company looking for an electronic signature solution should consider? What should they be thinking about here?

Rob Beier:

Let me preface those things real quick, Vince. I think, you know, I can’t impress enough to start again with the end in mind. You know, define what that process is to be improved, whether that’s just simply pure cost savings. Is it faster contract completion? Is it a part of creating a more efficient workflow that you need to look at? So, with that said the three most important things I would, I would suggest are how strong are the security and authentication elements of the solution? How flexible and easy to use is the solution for not only your team, but for your customers and constituents alike? And then I always say, can I start a true free trial and see if the solution actually meets my needs? It’s a great way to take a test drive and see how well it works for the organization.

Vince Hanson:

That’s great. That’s great, Rob, it sounds like there are quite a few things to consider when implementing or reviewing electronic signatures to enable compliance, create efficiency and of course meet the specific needs of the remote workforce and remote customers that you deal with on a day-to-day basis. This discussion was definitely informative, and I believe our listeners can benefit from today’s conversation. Rob, thank you so much for joining me today and discussing the topic of e-signatures a little bit with me.

 

For our listeners stay tuned for a future podcast, diving deeper into the topic of electronic signatures. In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about ImageSoft or our digital signature solution called TrueSign, please visit us at www.truesign.com.

 

This concludes today’s podcast. Thank you and have a great day.

Steve Glisky:

Thanks again for joining us on this podcast. To learn more about ImageSoft, please visit imagesoftinc.com that’s ImageSoft I-N-C .com if you haven’t already done so, be sure to subscribe to Paperless Productivity, where we tackle some of the biggest paper-based pain points facing organizations today. We’ll see you next time.