The growing potential of e-Signatures



About the author

Luc Pallavidino is the CEO & co-founder of Yousign

The value of global exports has almost doubled since 1996, driven significantly by the internet.  Today it is easier than ever to quickly generate global exposure for a brand.  In fact, some of the world’s most famous and globally successful businesses did not exist 20 years ago.  Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi was founded in 2010 and now controls almost 10% of global smartphone shipments. Facebook was founded in 2004, Airbnb in 2008 and Uber in 2009.

The power of global trade

While the companies mentioned above have enjoyed phenomenal global growth, many businesses are now looking outside of home markets for new sales.  Huge markets such as China, India and South America offer companies new opportunities to tap into growing populations.

International trade is not easy.  Businesses often find it challenging to balance the risk of fast expansion with remaining cash positive, causing significant “growing pains”.  Issues such as language barriers, different legal and regulatory systems and local business customs can all challenge businesses to take advantage of international opportunities.

The enabling effect of technology

Technology can be a game changer for companies looking to benefit from the opportunities offered by international trade.  

Websites have enabled companies to have a global presence from day one; social media provides the opportunity to extend reach quickly in multiple languages and to tap into sentiment in different countries and regions.  Cloud-based tools such as accountancy packages and global CRM platforms make it easier for companies to manage their business and customers simply.  Global access to currency provides an effective way to pay and get paid anywhere in the world.

The contract conundrum

One area where businesses often struggle to digitize is in creating, sharing and signing contracts.  This should not be the case.  E-Signature technology has been legally recognized around the world for most of the past 20 years.  Deploying a trusted e-signature platform to manage contracts can be a powerful tool for the management of global contracts.

e-Signatures: The benefits

The primary benefit of e-signing contracts is speed of delivery.  Contracts are often the result of a long series of negotiations.  Once all parties are happy that an agreement has been reached, it is in everyone’s interests to get the contract signed as soon as possible.  

Digital provides an ideal environment for this, particularly where e-signatures are legally binding and can be effected quickly.  Waiting days for contracts to be manually typed and posted for signature is not a realistic proposition in the digital age.

Documents supporting e-signatures are quick and simple to review.  Contracts are simple to search for relevant terms within the contract to double check validity and accuracy, saving time and effort.  Amendments can be agreed and made in real time, enabling companies to work in a collaborative way.

Traditional paper contracts are easily mislaid.  In the event of a significant event (such as a fire or flood) contracts might be lost forever, causing administrative issues for the parties involved.  In the case of e-signature contracts, businesses can save copies on cloud-based storage with multiple backups and redundancy built in.  

Finally, in an era where businesses are being encouraged to consider the impact of their activities on the environment, e-signature contracts offer a greener, more carbon neutral approach to management of contracts.  Combined, these benefits deliver a faster, simpler, more transparent, less risky and greener approach to the management of contracts.  

Deploying e-Signatures

Companies wishing to deploy e-signature technology need to ensure they work with trusted third parties.  In the EU the legal admissibility of a signature cannot be refused on the grounds that it is in electronic format. Any electronic signature made through a trusted service certified by an EU country, therefore, has evidential value within the whole European Union.

In 2014 the EU created the eIDAS regulations.  These set out the rules for the legal use and recognition of electronic signature procedures. Businesses should ensure their e-Signature partner complies with these regulations.

Conclusion

Building a successful business is difficult enough.  If technology can make things smoother, it makes sense to deploy it.  E-Signature not only saves businesses time and hassle but it also makes it simpler to quickly formalize relations with new partners.  In an increasingly global world of business, this acts as a glue to bind businesses together.

Luc Pallavidino is the CEO & co-founder at Yousign



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