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What is an e-Signature? Part II.

By Dave Venance


In the last blog post, we discussed the two main types of signatures (Electronic and Digital).  We then explored some examples of each.  In this continuation, we will continue to explore different types of signatures that you can leverage in your form based business processes.



Scribble Signature


Scribbled signature is one of the multiple types of electronic signatures mentioned in part I of this blog post.


Mobile Forms are increasingly being used on touch devices, and one common requirement is to support signatures. Scribing is becoming an accepted way of signing documents on mobile devices.  Think about when you get a parcel delivered, you now sign on a signature pad, not a piece of paper. 




•        Actual image of the signature is captured

•        Has useful feature such as Geographic location detection, date and time

•        Allows users to apply their pen signature on an electronic form on Mobile devices

•        Becoming an accepted way of signing forms on mobile devices

•        Adobe HTML5 and Adaptive forms support scribble signatures



Once a Signature Scribble field has been added to the form and rendered, clicking or tapping on the field opens a dialog box. The user can scribble a signature in the draw area designated by a dotted rectangle, using a mouse, finger or stylus.


Clicking the geolocation icon while creating the scribble causes geographic location and time information to be embedded into the field.


What is Adobe Sign?


Adobe Sign is a web contracting and electronic signature service that removes friction from the process of gathering signatures and information. It may be used on any computer, tablet or mobile phone with a web browser allowing documents to be signed by anybody anywhere.


In just one click, the Adobe Sign solution automates the entire e-signature process from the request for signature to the distribution and automatic filing of the executed document. 



Adobe Sign is usually in use by these departments: Sales, HR, Finance, IT, and Operations. Integrated with Salesforce, SharePoint, Documentum, CRX, and others, Adobe Sign offers integration with almost any system.



The solution allows you to cut approval cycles by 50-500%, reduce post-follow administration by 50-75%, and ultimately increase top line revenue.


Digital Signatures to Certify Documents


Aside from the direct tangible benefits of investing in electronic or digital signatures, businesses can also extend the ROI on existing investments in public key infrastructure (PKI) and associated key management hardware.


You can protect the integrity of forms by allowing people to use certificates to digitally sign forms. After the form is signed, the signed portion cannot be altered without invalidating the signature. The digital signature invokes a third-party signature handler that provides the required digital signature functionality.


Verifying the signature guarantees that no one tampered with the data after it was submitted. 


When and why to certify documents:


•        When it is a PDF document of record

•        To prove authenticity and integrity of the documents that are published

•        Sign a form on behalf of a public notary

•        Validate signatures on documents before moving to a document management system

•        Extend ROI on existing investments in public key infrastructure (PKI) 


Legal or Illegal?


On June 30, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed the e-Sign Act into law without a pen.  Instead, he used an electronic signature.   An e-signature was granted the same status as a written signature under the terms of this legislation.


So, the simple answer is, yes, e-signatures are legal.


According the e-Sign Act, an e-signature is defined as “an electronic sound, symbol, process attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record and be legally bound.”  The key takeaway for purposes of contract enforcement is that the electronic sound, symbol, or process must be both associated with a contract or other document and adopted by the signatory, by some act, with the intent to be bound.



When looking for an e-signature solution, it is important to ask the right questions of the Vendor. It is necessary to ensure that selected e-signature solution is:


·       Legally Binding

·       Meets industry Compliances

·       Secure

·       Fully Auditable to anyone with access to the document


But the first question probably should be addressed to the organization’s legal department to clarify their requirements based mostly on industry standards.



To summarize, today with businesses moving to a digital and app-centric world, and both external and internal users working “on the go” using multiple devices, electronic signatures become one of the “must have” tools.  This allows companies to provide seamless and engaging experiences in an efficient manner which is a requirement of being competitive. 




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