The Future of Business: Lessons for 2014 from the ESRA Conference

Mary Ellen Power, December 16, 2013

I recently attended the Electronic Signature and Records Association’s E-Signatures 2013, a conference focused heavily on legal, compliance and regulatory issues in financial services as they pertain to e-signatures, e-documents and e-transactions. This impressive group of speakers was comprised of some of the top U.S. legal minds experienced in designing, preparing, defending and ruling on e-signatures and e-transactions. These speakers attracted a mix of organizations, from the largest financial institutions like Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank to some of the smaller credit unions and government agencies, which sent a resounding message – organizations of all sizes recognize the need to move into the digital age.

  • E-signatures are quickly becoming the standard for conducting business. From account openings and loans to HR and e-contracting, business leaders across multiple industries are embracing e-signatures as a way to better serve customers, save on costs, stay compliant with regulations and deliver a better business experience for both internal and external stakeholders. Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Cisco and ADP shared success stories including adoption rates over 90 percent, cost saving in the hundreds of millions, and some of their individual success criteria.
  • The digital footprint doesn’t lie. One of primary reasons why e-signature technology gets so much support from the legal and compliance stakeholders is its ability to capture electronic evidence of the process. Frank Zacherl, a seasoned trial lawyer discussed his experience in resolving legal disputes based on e-signature transactions for insurance companies. As Frank pointed out, a properly designed electronic business process can and has kept many organizations out of court – in fact, one P&C insurance carrier has used e-signatures to avoid over one million disputes.
  • There are special considerations for e-signatures and mobility. Mobility has become one of the driving forces around the accelerated adoption of e-signatures. Currently, there isn’t much legislation around mobile transactions and e-signatures. While the size of the form display is important, especially in regulated transactions, organizations have learned through automating other business processes that the key is rather to design a process that captures intent and presents the terms and conditions clearly and in a way that is accessible to consumers.

With so many organizations already using e-signatures and recognizing the benefits, it’s clear the digital future is already here. The technology is proven, the legislation exists, and the importance that a well-designed process is what’s behind the successful use of electronic signatures in business is reinforced as the best practice. Find out more about how your organization can embrace the future of business with e-signatures with Understanding E-Signatures: A Beginner’s Guide.

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