E-Handbook: Adobe Sign business workflows bypass COVID-19 restrictions Article 1 of 4

'Signed, sealed, delivered' takes on a new e-meaning

Signatures on documents are sacred. Document signings can be ceremonious and change the course of history -- King John and the Magna Carta, John Hancock and the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, and congressional legislation signed into law by the president.

Even in sports, a single signature on a document can stand the test of time. Babe Ruth's signed $5,000 contract with the Boston Red Sox that was sold to the New York Yankees 100 years ago was auctioned off for a "modest" $1 million. Jackie Robinson's signature on contracts with the Brooklyn Dodgers that officially broke baseball's color barrier 75 years ago was recently appraised at $36 million.

Today, the century-old idiom "signed, sealed and delivered" takes on a whole new meaning. Signees no longer travel to the document and pen their signature. Instead, the document comes to them in a completely automated process to be signed electronically in the location of their choice and returned to the source for distribution, cataloguing and filing.

E-signature technology has been with us for some time, but more recently, the electronic document signing process has become more sophisticated, more secure and more prevalent in everyday life -- be they business contracts, software licenses, mortgage applications or tax returns. Prescient & Strategic Intelligence predicted that the U.S. e-signature market will grow 22% annually and surpass $2.4 billion by 2030.

Yet many businesses gradually recovering from the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still saddled with traditional pen-and-paper document signing processes that can hamstring their operations, productivity and bottom-line profits. Paper-based processes currently rank as the biggest impediment to business operations, according to Adobe research, and 86% of companies surveyed admitted that their processes are inefficient.

Adobe Sign business workflows in the cloud provide companies and individuals the ability to send, sign, track and manage electronic and digital signature forms using a browser or mobile device. Businesses can create end-to-end signing processes, with the flexibility to build workflows in accordance with specific compliance and risk profiles.

This handbook reports on recent Adobe Sign business features that help organizations digitally transform to sophisticated e-signature workflows and expedite seamless remote customer transactions amid COVID-19 lockdowns, social distancing and fears of a second wave. We also detail best practices for companies devising an e-signature process, including choosing the right tools and technologies.