The COVID-19 pandemic has taught everyone around the world one thing: Digital processes are essential for organizations to thrive. The pandemic has changed everything; it's doubled down on digital as a strategy. Organizations now understood that they needed all of their data to be in the cloud, easily and quickly accessible, and in an electronic format. You couldn't have stress-tested that hypothesis more than the real-world situation the pandemic provided. Those who were on their way to implementing digital strategies felt the heat to move faster, and those who may not have had a digital strategy in place were left to figure one out as quickly as possible.
The move to electronic documents to replace the time-consuming and inefficient paper workflows in many industries and businesses was well underway long before the pandemic. However, the restrictions and difficulties that came with COVID-19 provided the necessary push to move the digital transformation of industries to the finish line. According to a recent Gartner report, knowledge workers spend an average of 50% of their time at work creating and preparing documents. These workers also reported that they shared at least five to 10 documents with co-workers, partners, customers, and countless other collaborators each day.
For many workers, the most common document workflow is around the process of filling out forms, and creating and sharing documents within the organization, or sending them out to third parties to review, fill out, and sign. PDFs are the electronic document format of choice for many businesses around the world. Whether a knowledge worker is invoicing clients, maintaining customer records in a consistent format, sending out forms or contracts, or sending essential memos, PDFs come with the built-in technology to ensure that the right person is viewing the document and will see it as it was intended.
One of the most significant advantages of the PDF document format is that they work very well with electronic signatures. In fact, more than 85% of agreements sent out for approval via electronic signatures are in PDF format. When an agreement in an electronic document format is received to sign or needs to be distributed to employees, clients, or vendors, it's necessary to create an electronic signature to seal the agreement. The good news is that, with electronic signature technology, creating a secure and legally binding signature has never been easier, secure, or faster. Electronic signatures are secure and verifiable and hence can replace a handwritten signature in virtually any process.
Why use an electronic signature?
While it is very tempting in many industries for someone to scan and upload the image of a hand-signed document and call it a day, this process makes it so users miss out on essential layers of security and authentication that protect their agreements and other signed documents. One layer of security, for example, is that electronic signature technology contracts come with audit trails and proof of transactions, making it easier to show they were legally executed should they ever be challenged in a court of law.
In addition to security, one of the most significant advantages of e-signatures is that it helps save time, reduce errors, and improve efficiency. More than 80% of agreements that are signed electronically are completed within a day. Thus, sending out PDF forms or contracts to fill and electronically sign reduces the time spent on the manual process of printing, faxing, and mailing and makes the process extremely secure and quick.
Electronic signature integration
When an electronic document creation, editing, and electronic signing solution is combined into one single document productivity app, it makes it much easier for any organization to automate their routine tasks and streamline workflows to achieve higher productivity. Also, it's not a huge learning curve for the organization's employees as they don't have to learn to use different applications and open separate applications to do a single task. This makes it easier to transition to electronic documentation and adopt it over the temptation to print papers when new technology is simple, cost effect, efficient and most importantly, incredibly secure.
Some of the critical areas within any industry where automating the processes with PDF editor tools and electronic signatures have shown more immediate and lasting benefits include, but are not limited to, sales, HR, accounting and financial services. As in the case for sales, users can quickly close more deals by preparing contracts in no time, sending them for signature, and tracking the whole process without a single sheet of paper.
Combining the power of a PDF Editor and electronic signature solution gives an organization paperless workflows, intuitive forms, and fluid e-signing experiences. It all adds up to a more efficient way to hire, retain, and manage talent while enabling the HR staff to stay productive.
An important note is that in industries such as healthcare and life sciences, organizations can stay HIPAA-compliant by protecting a patient's PHI and PII while sharing their information with third parties using PDF editor features such as redaction, password protection, and secure electronic signing.