7 Reasons To Add eSignatures Into Your Next Application

Neal O'Mara
May. 14 2014, 10:14AM EDT

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Many companies are building eSignatures into their business processes to improve speed, gain efficiencies and save money. As developers we already understand the benefits of starting with a traditional process and taking it digital. In today’s hyper-competitive environment, the service with the best user experience often wins. It feels awkward to push users to a third-party eSignature product to capture a signature. Instead, developers can create a better experience by adding eSignatures directly to their applications via an API. Improved customer experience is only the beginning: Here are seven reasons why you should consider adding eSignatures to your application through an API.
 
Improve customer experience – Having an amazing, friction-free user experience can affect the types of users you will attract, the rate of new user adoption and how active those users end up being. When users leave your application to complete a signature workflow using traditional pen and paper or a third-party eSignature app, it breaks the user experience. Instead, make the experience seamless by integrating an eSignature API with embeddable signing right into your own workflow. It will lead to less friction and a better user experience.
 
Cost savings – Conducting business using traditional paperwork workflows is tedious, inefficient and worst of all expensive. Costly printing, signing, scanning and faxing are completely unnecessary when you have an eSignature API integrated into your application’s workflow. Say goodbye to courier services and the overnight shipping fees needed to ferry documents between signature requestor and signees. The right eSignature API will lower the cost of doing business.
 
Faster turnaround times – Friction is the enemy of done. If an action inside your application requires a legally binding contract or agreement, requiring an offline signature can significantly slow down the process. By building an embedded eSignature capability directly into your application, you keep document signature flow on track by allowing users to complete the necessary steps while staying in your application. The easier you make it to sign a document, the faster it will get signed.
 
Scale effortlessly – Traditional signature workflows require people power to process. That’s time to collect, track and file the paperwork. That type of overhead can really cramp your growth ambitions. An eSignature API, on the other hand, scales as needed so you don’t become a victim of your own success. Max Mullen, co-founder of InstaCart and a HelloSign API customer, says, “As we continue to grow and add more shoppers in even more cities, eSignatures have become an important part of our business, saving us hundreds of hours over traditional signature methods. It’s one of the important growth enablers of our business.” Reduced paperwork requires fewer employees to process documents, which leads to higher revenue per employee.
 
Improved visibility – A big benefit of taking your signature process digital is the ability to track the progress of documents as they make their way through the signing process. Know when a party has opened a document, signed a document and when all parties have finished signing. Afterwards, audit trails provide a clearly documented map as to who signed and when.
 
Legally binding and secure – Using an eSignature API for critical business documents doesn’t mean compromising on legal compliance. Adding eSignatures to your application through an API offers all the legal protections of a traditional pen and paper signature with the added benefits of a detailed audit trail that includes a signatory’s user agent, IP address, email address and more. For security, eSignature APIs typically offer SSL encryption during file transit. For adding protection make sure to look for an eSignature provider that offers long-term document storage on secure server infrastructure hosted at Tier III, SSAE-16 certified data centers with ISO 27001 certification. For added protection you can secure sensitive documents using an API that offers Access Pin two-factor authentication.
 
Automate repetitive tasks – As a developer you already understand the value of building automation into workflows. An eSignature API lets you automate repetitive tasks via templates. You can set up a frequently used document as a template. This way, your initial time investment on setup can be leveraged to save time over the life of your app.
 
Replacing traditional signing with eSignatures is quickly becoming a business best practice. For developers, this means having an eSignature API in your toolbox. We talk with developers everyday who see the value of adding an eSignature API into their applications, but are worried about the complexity it adds to the development process and how it will affect user experience. Choosing the right eSignature API is as important as deciding to add it at all. To reap the rewards of eSignatures, you need an API that is easy to implement, has clean and well-written documentation and has readily available support options. If you are interested in learning more about the HelloSign API or seeing demo applications, you can view the developer documentation at http://www.hellosign.com/api/
 

Neal O'Mara Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at HelloSign

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