Although the numbers may surprise you, they don’t lie. More and more office managers, as well as their upper management, have realized that shifting the paperwork burden from a how-we’ve-been-doing-it-for-the-past-century model into an electronic enterprise content management system not only makes document handing more efficient, but also pays for itself within mere months of the switch-over.
There are many ways digital document handling will save an organization money. One example being that the expense to store a copious amount of paper will be eliminated when the documents disappear into the memory boards of a server instead of enormous filing cabinets. This will, in turn, free up expensive office floor space, external archival facilities, and the rather remarkable amount of time it takes to handle paper files. In addition, there are process improvements which make document retrieval, distribution, security, and organization a major step up from the old style of information management.
The Common Misconception
One concept that may hold back companies from implementing digital solutions for document handling is the perception that you need to have an ink-on-paper signature on a form, affidavit, report, etc. for it to be “really” signed. Although it might be a bit slow on the uptake for most folks, the structure is in place, which makes this an invalid argument against e-signatures.
Amazingly, the law has been on the books for over a decade. In 2000 the ESIGN Act (Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act) was enacted and states that a contract or signature “may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form.” Even when it may seem odd to type in your name on an interactive form and choose a typeface to “sign” it, these are taken very seriously. It’s been noted that federal judges sign all their orders electronically, so if something gets to court and there is a question of whether it’s a real signature, there will be no doubt that it is legitimate.
Aside from the ESIGN Act, there are numerous other bits of legislation and regulation that apply. These include the UETA (Uniform Electronic Transactions Act), SEAL (Digital Signature and Electronic Authentication Law), GPEA (Government Paperwork Elimination Act), and even parts of the Uniform Commercial Code.
In this case, the law has anticipated society catching up with it, rather than the usual state of regulations lagging behind technology. Unfortunately, this leads to a situation where there is very little standardization in the field of e-signatures. Generally speaking, the guideline is that the person signing is actually the person signing (as in a pen-on-paper signature), and that their true intent is to sign the document. These are implemented in various ways, from the typed-into-a-pdf method, to uploading a graphic image of a signature, to even having documents signed with a fingertip tracing across an interactive tablet or smartphone screen.
A Simple Solution
Of course, a full-function document management system like Contentverse is going to provide simple, direct, and secure e-signature capabilities. Aside from recognizing third-party systems, Contentverse includes an “electronic signature capture” module, which enables users across the system to enter their signature into a secure data bank (featuring a unique username and password for each user) within the program, and can pull it up (once their identity is validated) to apply to documents as needed. The ability to provide e-signed documents at a moment’s notice (rather than ink-signing and mailing paper copies) is another way that having an electronic document management system makes business processes faster, convenient, and streamlined.
Take the online tour and see all the ways that moving from paper based to the Contentverse solution can help your office’s functionality. If the ability to officially sign documents was a concern keeping you from implementing a document management software, you don’t have to put it off any longer.
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