How to Choose the Best Electronic Signature Software
What is the best electronic software?
The answer is simple: one that can be used for all the agreements that your business makes with customers, suppliers, and employees. You need a e-signature tool that is easy to use, integrates with other apps and document management systems you use, has identification verification, and one that allows you to use pre-made templates.
DocuSign has been in the electronic signature business since 2003 and we’ve helped a lot of businesses transform their agreements. G2 Crowd, a software review site, recently named DocuSign a Leader in its Small Business Grid Report for E-Signature, Spring 2020. Products in the Leader quadrant were highly rated by G2 Crowd SMB users, who also rated DocuSign eSignature as one of the Top 50 SMB Products of 2020. G2 Crowd’s user survey reveals 93% of users awarded DocuSign either 4 or 5 stars for overall product satisfaction.
G2 Crowd reviewers are happy they chose DocuSign. Here are some things to consider when choosing an e-signature technology.
A guide for choosing the best electronic signature solution
#1: User experience
Today, business is done from practically anywhere on any number of mobile devices. Whether you need your CFO to approve a proposal while on vacation or you’re trying to get a remote candidate to accept your job offer, you need an electronic signature solution that works perfectly everywhere you—and they—do.
What is the mobile experience for signers? Viewing a PDF document on a smartphone can be a terribly frustrating experience. All that pinching, zooming, and scrolling might just make someone give up on signing altogether. Does the tool offer a mobile-friendly signing experience?
Agreements that are easier to view, read, and sign on any mobile device are completed faster, have higher completion rates and offer a better user experience.
Trust is critical. The best e-signature software will meet and exceed the most stringent US, EU, and global security standards. Understand what threat intelligence and cybersecurity capabilities the vendor offers. Do they have a dedicated compliance team? Do they have an enterprise information security program that meets or exceeds national and international security standards and follows industry best practices? Do they offer support or security resources to you as a customer with dedicated subject matter experts?
Is the privacy of your data as a customer a top priority? As new technologies collect increasing amounts of personal data, the importance of protecting the critical business and personal information entrusted to the electronic signature service increases as well. Is the vendor committed to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance? What other data protection practices do they employ?
You want to choose an electronic signature vendor that provides continuous monitoring of the security and privacy landscape to ensure your agreements comply with the latest state, federal, and international requirements.
Some questions to ask:
- Does your product adhere to industry regulations, such as CFR Part 11, Annex 11 (EU), HIPAA, SAFE-BioPharma, and Sarbanes-Oxley?
- What globally recognized certifications do you have? (Look for: ISO 27001:2013 certification, PCI-DSS, and SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC 2 Type 2 reports)
- Do you have dedicated teams of subject matter experts across privacy, information security, physical security, internal audit, compliance, and supplier risk?
- What contractual agreements will exist to provide assurance for data privacy and security?
What other software systems do you use every day? Does your potential e-signature vendor integrate with any of the tools your organization already uses? Pre-built integrations are an easy way to adopt digital signature technology into existing workflows. Does the company offer an API for custom-built integrations?
Does the company invest in research and development? Does the company consistently deliver innovations that make the product more helpful and easier to use, not just for signers but for senders and system administrators, too?
One of the benefits of buying software as a service (SaaS) is the continual, seamless rollout of new capabilities and features. How often does the company release new product features? These new features will keep pace with what your customers and partners expect.
Is the digital signature management tool scalable to meet the needs of your company now and in the future? Will it enable continuous modernization of the way you do business?
You may only be considering electronic signature solutions for one department, but it’s helpful to think about possible future uses for e-signature software because you’ll want to choose a tool that works for all of them.
Business processes to consider:
- Sales agreements
- Preparing electronic agreements for e-signature
- Employee onboarding agreements
- Legal team document storage and retrieval
- Procurement agreements for goods and services
#8: Thought leadership
While investing in an electronic signature solution is a great way to improve your business, an electronic signature is just one part of a bigger agreement process. You’re probably not thinking about all the manual, disconnected steps both before and after the signature that: slow the whole process down, increase costs, and undermine your customer experience—but you want your vendor to be.
Organizations are investing in digital transformation so they can be more agile and flexible, so they can adapt to change more quickly and easily. When it comes to digitally transforming your agreement processes, think about how your business will grow and change. Then choose an electronic signature solution built on a robust and extensible technology platform from a vendor who is thinking about the bigger picture.
#9 Free trials
Most vendors offer a free trial period with their tool. Take advantage of this and try out a few of the products you are considering from popular e-signature software providers.