Business agreements are the lifeblood of any enterprise. Companies must execute a multitude of transactions with customers, suppliers, employees, departments and even government agencies. Executing a purchase, negotiating a contract, or submitting a vacation approval request are all examples of everyday business agreements. These transactions require processes comprised of a number of events. In a paper-based world, these discrete processes and events tend to remain static, because changing or amending them proves difficult and costly. If these processes and events can be digitized and automated, however, they can become more flexible and dynamic – exactly what today’s businesses need to compete.
To complete the conversion to a paperless enterprise that supports all types of electronic business agreements, including those that present the greatest risk and return the highest potential value, companies must devise and implement the capabilities necessary to replace original, paper-based signatures with digital signatures. Although this migration seems simple enough, it actually is far more complex than it appears at first blush, because all significant components of the enterprise are affected – not just the processes and events, but the people and systems surrounding them as well. On the other hand, the payoff is worth the effort. According to IDC, a 1000-person organization spends approximately 81,700 hours each year moving paper documents, including one million faxes, nine million pages printed, and four million pages copied.
Eliminating the paper-based albatross and going digital allows companies to improve operating efficiency, lower capital, improve quality, reduce operating expenditures, and better serve their customers. Successfully executing the conversion mandates a solution that accounts for three primary requirements: security, compliance, and intelligence.