Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Green Way To Get Documents Signed

We’re drowning in a sea of business paper. All that talk about computers creating the paperless office was 180 degrees out of phase with what really happened. As soon as there were high speed printers, business users started printing at high speed. This went on for decades, culminating in the rise of the professional business document shredder. They come by your office with a van full of high power slicing and dicing equipment and shovel the paper in like tree branches going into a chipper shredder. Is there any way to break this costly cycle of buying more paper so you can print more documents and then shred them to make more paper? There is, and you can thank your lucky cloud for it.

Send Documents for Signature Online
It’s cloud services that are finally starting to break the paper cycle. Clouds are nebulous things, so to speak. There is no hardware for you to deal with. You just access those clouds from your iPad, smartphone, desktop or notebook computer and accomplish what you had in mind. While on the go, you probably aren’t anywhere near a printer anyway. That means the business processes you use to get your job done have to be designed to work without paper.

This puts us in the interesting dilemma of half the people being fully interconnected online with the rest in a limbo state of half-online and half-offline. Many businesses and organizations still need those offline products like signed paper documents to copy, mail and file. Are you really going to trust email messages for your non-disclosure agreements, W9 tax forms, purchase orders or employment agreements? If it needs to pass a legal sniff test, a tweet, text message or an email just won’t do.

Fortunately, all is not lost. You may not be able to use casual online communication methods to support legally binding documents, but there is an electronic technology that does just that. Just in time, too, because business, government, health care and other serious endeavors are about to go paperless in a big way. The process is called electronic signature.

Electronic signature isn’t brand new. It’s just coming into the limelight with a recent stampede toward mobile computing and productivity oriented cost reductions. It supersedes makeshift solutions such as faxing (still paper intensive) and scanning paper documents so you can email them and have them printed off again at the far end. Electronic signature is a purely electronic system that doesn’t assume there is any actual paperwork to begin with.

RightSignature is a company in the forefront of this technology. What they’ve created is a way for e-signatures to replicate pen-and-paper signing when using a mouse and browser. The electronic documents then include handwritten biometric signatures that are legally binding. They are compliant with the E-Sign Act, UETA Act and European Directive that all establish the validity and legality of electronic signatures worldwide.

Getting a document signed is as simple as uploading a PDF or Word File to the RightSignature system, entering the required signers’ names and emails, and clicking send. RightSignature then contacts the signers by email to tell them how to access the online documents and sign them. When complete, all parties are notified and get electronic copies of the signed documents, plus a copy is archived.

It’s very similar to what you accomplish now, but without the flurry of copying, the cost of overnight mail, nor the interminable wait for physical documents to be delivered, signed and sent back. It’s estimated that the cost of processing a signed document can drop by more than an order of magnitude using the electronic signature process.

Would you like to give it a try? If you are a business or organization that needs to send out documents for signature, you can have a 5 document free trial right now. No credit card is required. Only buy the service if you like the way it works. Get your RightSignature Electronic Signature Free Trial started and see if you really want to go back to drowning in all that paper.

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