E-Sign Only First Step Towards True E-Commerce
Now comes the hard part: getting people to adopt the technology
Monteal, Qc, June 20, 2000 — The E-Sign Act (Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act) is only the first step towards encouraging the adoption of e-signatures, said Silanis Technology Inc. President Tommy Petrogiannis today. Now the challenge is to develop e-signature technology that is secure and easy to use.
E-Sign grants electronic signatures the same legal status as handwritten signatures and has been touted as a boon to industry and consumers alike. But legislators and businesses must realize that it takes more than legislation to encourage adoption, warned Petrogiannis, a developer of electronic approval management solutions.
"Our signature has always symbolized our word of honor and that word has, until now, always been cast in pen on paper. Converting to a click of a computer key will have its challenges," he said.
Among the key issues barring user-adoption of e-signature technology today, Petrogiannis cited cultural familiarity with handwritten signatures, wariness about electronic security, and adapting to new technologies.
"End users are suspicious of technology, especially when it replaces such a fundamental component of our social fabric. They need to be sure that when they're using an electronic signature, it's as secure as putting pen to paper," he said.
Facilitating the transition from pen and paper to electronic transactions has been Silanis's mission for the last four years. To do so, its leading electronic approval management software, ApproveIt, marries digital signature technology with the image of a person's handwritten signature. "We respect the historical significance that a person's signature represents and the sense of security it gives," explained Petrogiannis. "That's why ApproveIt combines both."
ApproveIt also meets all legal requirements of electronic signature as cited in numerous state e-signature laws including permanently linking electronic signatures to the exact contents of a document. Just like a wet ink signing process, signatures can't be separated, copied, or pasted into another document. Also, if changes to a document are detected post-signing, ApproveIt invalidates the pre-applied signature.
"It has the same legally binding attributes as pen and paper," said Petrogiannis. "By virtue of the fact that it invalidates signatures if any changes are detected, ApproveIt may, in fact, be even more secure than paper."
Ultimately, however, Petrogiannis believes that adoption rate will come down to ease of use. "E-signatures could be as secure as the Pentagon but they won't be adopted if they aren't easy to use and implement," he said. "If people have to change the way they work, the challenge will be that much greater."
To facilitate organization-wide implementation, ApproveIt offers out-of-the-box support for a wide variety of business applications. Combined with its unique support for multiple signature approvals and sectional form signing, ApproveIt doesn't require organizations to reengineer their work processes. This allows businesses to move their approval processes on-line today.
Founded in 1992, Silanis Technology Inc. develops ApproveIt, the industry's first and only multi-signature electronic approval management software. Over 400 organizations use Silanis products in government, business, insurance, medical, and health care sectors, including the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, TRW, Williams Group, Nationwide Insurance, and National City Bank. Silanis software is recognized for its mature feature set, security, ease-of-use, and simple integration.