API Report: Inside Electronic Signatures

For at least thirty years, people have talked about the "paperless office." With cloud-based services, it may finally be possible. Yet, for many organizations, a major hang-up is contracts, which require ink signatures. In our first public API report, sponsored by DocuSign, we looked at electronic signature platforms. Specifically, we examined the features and developer friendliness of e-signature APIs, which allow non-ink signatures to be automated and integrated into business processes. Without a doubt, e-signatures are a growing field, as evidenced by the recent acquisition of EchoSign by Adobe.

Free Download: Inside Electronic Signature APIs report (2 MB, PDF)

For this report, we used publicly available information. In other words, we used the same information that would be available to any developer looking to integrate with e-signature APIs. We found three different approaches to features and developer programs. EchoSign and RightSignature focus on automation of your own e-signature processes. DocuSign is aimed at system integrators, creating solutions for other businesses. AssureSign has a business development approach, with details of its program available only to select partners, so most of the report focuses on the other three APIs.

The E-Signature APIs

DocuSign Enterprise
DocuSign API uses SOAP protocol and formats its responses as XML. More at our DocuSign API profile.
EchoSign API uses SOAP protocol and formats its responses as XML. More at our EchoSign API profile.
RightSignature API uses REST protocol and formats its responses as XML or JSON. More at our RightSignature API profile.

Developer Programs: The "Three Cs"

This report also introduces the first version of our internal developer program criteria for developer friendliness. We looked at the clarity, cost and community aspects of all three e-signature providers. Does the Documentation help developers know what to do? Is the price, if any, available and obvious? Are there tools to help the developer access support from the community and the provider?

We look forward to your feedback on this first public API report. How could you use e-signature APIs in your organization? And what do you look for in any developer program?

Be sure to read the next Enterprise article: Intuit and Salesforce Show Promise of an API Partnership Future