Financial and environmental pressures are mounting up on today’s businesses, regardless of size. That probably explains why we’re all moving toward a paperless economy, where nothing that isn’t necessary is printed. (Hey, ink is quite expensive, too!) Not only is this movement a friendly way to reduce our impact on the environment; it’s also a way of streamlining business processes and maximizing the efficiency of our resources.

In keeping up with these trends, we here at Lakeshore Branding have been reviewing products, tools, and technologies that are designed to enhance our productivity – online and beyond. In this post we’ll check out DocuSign, which takes paperless technology to another level.

DocuSign is an electronic signature service that enables you to send, receive, sign, and manage all kinds of documents electronically – contacts, sales agreements, letters, invoices, financial records, etc. – so that you waste no time or paper getting things done. According to the company’s official website, DocuSign caters mainly to three kinds of business groups:

–          Corporations and enterprise-class organizations

–          Individuals and small business groups

–          Realtors (who must certainly have been waiting for an electronic signature solution to get rid of messy paper trails and the back-and-forth volleying of faxes)

Why realtors? Well, DocuSign has been made in such a way that makes work easy for those in the real estate industry or working on property-related transactions. If you ever need to buy or sell your house, for example, or apply for a loan, you’ll know that the paperwork is going to get crazy. DocuSign can lift that burden off you, and make the whole process of signing, revising, tracking, storing, and signing again so much more convenient. The question is: does it deliver, and is it useful for other kinds of business applications?

DocuSign Features

The e-signature platform that DocuSign offers is a web-based one: meaning, it’s pretty convenient to access those files that need your attention. You can sign and manage documents on various browsers, even the mobile ones, including the iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Android, and Windows Mobile. A full range of contracts and business documents can be processed through DocuSign in a universal “DocuSignable” file format, making it safe to say that it isn’t just realtors who’ll find this e-signature solution helpful.

The actual process of adding your electronic signature is pretty straightforward and fast. It’s just as straightforward and fast to transmit documents to a client or vendor for signing – it’s all a matter of Create and Send. You just drag and drop “Sign Here” as well as several data field tabs like recipient name, title, company (even a personal note) into your document, then send it instantly. You can also brand and customize the experience of the recipient once he or she opens your document. Recipients are notified by E-mail, and are authenticated and guided by DocuSign throughout the whole signing process to prevent errors, tampering, or incompletely signed documents.

If you think these electronic signatures are just a meaningless fad, and are no different from sending and receiving unsigned files online, think again. The DocuSign solution is compliant with established ESIGN and UETA requirements, so these e-signatures are, in fact, legally binding and court admissible. A paperless way of improving business processes indeed – plus, you have the assurance of a full audit trail.

There are a bunch of other features integrated into each version of DocuSign. We won’t go into a lot of details here, but the neat collaboration tools deserve a quick mention. These include smart, easy-to-search-and-sort folders and envelopes, flexible template creation, negotiable form fields (useful for when you’re trying to negotiate or close a sales deal), re-routing documents, and watermark protection.

DocuSign Security and Support

Of course, when it comes to signatures, security should be a top priority. That’s why DocuSign has built an enterprise-class, fully redundant infrastructure that ensures tamper-proof signings at all times. The online platform features a comprehensive audit log, AES encryption, and multiple levels of authentication. It also helps to know that DocuSign is a business accredited by consumer advocacy organization Better Business Bureau, with the highest possible rating of A+.

Some of the more popular users of DocuSign include brands like LinkedIn, Yahoo!, Yamaha, Avaya, Air Canada, Continental Airlines, Prudential, Rutgers USA, Amica, and many more. Should users have any questions or need assistance in getting started with DocuSign, support is offered through E-mail, chat, telephone, and training videos.