Vijith Menon
by
Vijith Menon

The digital revolution has resulted in unparalleled levels of productivity and ease. We are currently thriving in an age where technology has a hold on just about and any and every aspect of our life – from shopping to paying bills, to buying groceries and signing documents! However, as much as technology has our lives simpler, it has simultaneously lead to a spike in threats such as data theft and cybersecurity attacks. This is where secure solutions like electronic signatures can play a significant role in preventing fraud and data theft in day to day processes like signing and documentation workflows.

An electronic signature or eSignature is information logically related to other data and is used to sign the associated data by the signatory. An electronic signature provides a safe and accurate form of identification for the signatory to facilitate a smooth transaction. Today, companies and organizations widely use e-signatures to gain approvals on critical documents such as onboarding forms, agreements, sales proposals, and contracts, etc.

Before eSignatures, a firm's work moved at a glacial pace, with people relying on time-consuming, paper-centric processes like printing, scanning, and faxing documents to gain the necessary consent. Enter 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic commences. Offices were in an uproar due to mandatory remote working. Companies and firms had to shift their processes overnight to adapt to this new way of working. But social distancing created a gap in ways to conduct business digitally. As a result, e-signatures leaped to the rescue of firms looking for workflow automation solutions. In this blog, we provide you with a broad outlook on the Philippines eSignature market since then and its future prospects.

History of E-signatures

E-signatures were first developed in 1977 by Ronald Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Len Adleman. They invented an algorithm known as RSA, which took the first initials of their surnames so that information could be transferred securely. It would be used in public-key cryptography or asymmetric cryptography, where the data can be decrypted using two keys, a public and a private one. The algorithm would play a significant role in public key infrastructure (PKI), a set of policies and protocols for the management of public-key encryption, and the creation to the nullification of digital certificates.

E-signatures have been legal in the Philippines since the passing of two pieces of legislation – Republic Act No. 8792 (RA 8792) and the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 (“E-Commerce Act”). The RA 8792 overlooks the use of electronic commercial and non-commercial transactions and documents. On the other hand, the Electronic Commerce Act is accountable for regulating electronic documents used for personal and professional purposes. This Act was signed into law by the then-President of the Philippines, Joseph Estrada in March 2000. It stated that electronic signatures are valid as long as they comply with its rules.

Types of E-signatures

  • Simple eSignature (SES) is used in verifying a person’s digital identity.

  • Advanced eSignature (AES) is an advanced form of SES that identifies users through a digital certificate attributed to them. This protects the integrity of the document and ensures it remains tamper-proof.

  • Qualified eSignature (QES) is a highly secure method of identifying signers via digital certificates attributed to users through a government-sponsored scheme and a trusted service provider (TSP).


The electronic signature market size can reach a value of $32.82 billion by 2029. – Data Bridge Market Research


How big is the e-signature market?

The eSignature market size has expanded tremendously since the COVID-19 pandemic. As per the research by Forrester, the pandemic forced 58% of business leaders to adapt to eSignatures to cater to their clients. In addition, the rise of digital solutions in large organizations and small to medium-scale businesses helped in the market growth. Despite the various case studies for eSignatures over the years, the market remains highly commercially viable and underserved. We showcase a few drivers that will accelerate its growth over the next few years.

Drivers

  • Fully Digital Processes: The rise of digital customers has paved the way for digital processes. Customers want most of their needs completed digitally. E-signatures can help by being utilized by people working in geographically distant locations. It has even helped employees working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Various government agencies have adopted electronic signatures. For instance, 97% of the Office of the Solicitor General’s workforce is using Digital Signatures provided by Department of Information Communication and Technology’s (DICT) Philippine National Public Key Infrastructure (PNPKI) service.

  • Remote Signing: Remote signing is expected to drive the growth of the eSignature market. Verification of the digital identities of parties through a trusted service provider (TSP) and a digital certificate will enable organizations to conduct business electronically instead of relying on paper agreements and contracts. Electronic identification (e-ID) will encourage remote signing even further.

  • Solution Ecosystem Providers: Solution providers that offer more comprehensive products for various industries have a better chance of sustaining in the market. Platforms must provide e-signing functions of bulk signing, archiving, audit trails, and workflows.

Trends

  • Advanced electronic signatures with biometric authentication: As a security measure, advanced electronic signatures with biometric authentication provide superior user experience and security. Captured using active pens, tablets, and other devices, advanced signatures can use physical features such as fingerprints, faces, and iris to identify a person. Or it can even recognize a person using their behavior, such as handwriting dynamics, typing speed, gesture recognition, and voice and speech rhythms.

  • API Integration: According to market experts, the next tech in this department is the integration of eSignature APIs with productivity suites. E-signature solution providers can modify their code to integrate into existing tech stacks of popular office applications, increasing reliability and saving time. Firms are utilizing APIs for simple signing workflows and review and discussion of documents before signing.

Challenges

  • Lack of Sufficient training: Employees used to signing on paper documents may find it challenging to transition to digital technologies.

  • Lack of Awareness: The adoption of eSignatures is facing slow growth in the Philippines due to a lack of awareness and misconceptions about the technology.

  • Too Many Regulations: Adherence to regulations and continuous updates on electronic signature laws take a lot of work to comply with for various companies and pose a challenge to the eSignature market.

Also Read: Economic Impact of Digital Signatures

How to Choose a Suitable E-signature Provider

Firms or businesses must identify their use cases and customer expectations before choosing a viable e-signature provider. Vendors can vary as per features, regulatory compliance, and hidden costs. Here's a quick checklist of questions you should ask before you take the final plunge toward 100% digital documentation:

  • Is the solution flexible?

    The e-signature solution should be flexible no matter the size of the organization. It should have the capability to add as many people as possible and adapt to any future use cases of the organization.

  • Is the solution easy to use?

    The solution should be user-friendly for customers and employees and provide a smooth experience. In addition, it should minimize risks and provide the ability to automate approval workflows.

  • Is the solution compliant with the latest regulations?

    Businesses need to be secure when using their e-signature solution and recommending it to their clients. This is even more relevant when you are a business set up across multiple locations. In addition, eSignature solutions must comply with the latest laws to protect companies against data breaches.

  • Can it be integrated with other business applications?

    Easy integration is a highly critical feature for firms used to working on popular applications such as Adobe and Microsoft Word. The solution should work across browsers and applications across various devices.

Why DrySign?

DrySign is an e-signature solution used widely across sectors for signing documents securely. It offers digital signature solutions to users looking to conduct business digitally and expedite document workflows. Some advantages of DrySign include the following:

  • Legally binding: DrySign is legally adherent to electronic signature laws such as the ESIGN ACT and provides a transparent real-time trail of all recipients accessing documents on its platform.

  • Paperless: DrySign helps firms become paperless by using digital contracts and agreements and curtailing their carbon footprint. Firms can save on expenses for printing, scanning, and delivering documents.

  • Easy to Track: DrySign helps users track the signing status within a document. The DrySign dashboard provides a clear view of the action taken by multiple signers and sends them timely reminders.

  • Seamless Customer Experience: Users can sign a document within seconds without printing a single document. Organizations can also collect signatures from multiple clients or employees from any location, providing a smooth user experience.

  • Reduced Costs: The most obvious benefit of implementing electronic signature solutions is reduced costs. Users can also automate repetitive work and lower human errors.

Conclusion

Electronic signature solutions like DrySign provide numerous benefits to organizations and individuals, from efficient workflows to faster turnaround times and cost savings. If experts are to be believed, this paperless tool is only starting to gain momentum in households, individual workflows, and SMBs. With global governments investing in higher percentages in their digital economies, online signing is here to stay!

Source: Google.com | adobe.com | databridgemarketresearch.com | conga.com | business.inquirer.net

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing the subject matter may change quickly, and Exela cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or correct. Should you have specific legal questions about any of the information on this site, you should consult with a licensed attorney in your area.

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