IACCM‘s email updates are a reliable source of interesting leads, and the April update was no exception, in that it mentioned EchoSign, a company that offers a “signature automation solution” of the same name.
Here’s how EchoSign (the product) works: You email a contract for signature through EchoSign. EchoSign automatically adds a machine-readable fax cover sheet bearing an EchoSign fax number and forwards the document to the recipient/signer. The recipient opens the email and then does one of two things: prints, signs, and faxes back the document or e-signs it, in two clicks or less. EchoSign’s servers receive the document and automatically route signed copies as PDFs to you, the other party, and anyone else you specify. There’s no software to install.
But what made me sit up and take notice was the the tracking and filing component. EchoSign makes sure that you can easily find a signed copy later. A private copy of the signed contract is stored in your secure EchoSign account. You can, for example, send a copy to anyone or remind others to sign it if they haven’t already. And you can automatically keep track of which contracts have been signed and which haven’t.
From the perspective of the organization rather than the individual user, the system allows managers to check on the status of all the organization’s contracts. You can break down the data by trading partner, by business group, or by country or sales rep. You can designate who has authority to sign contracts, as distinguished from those who are authorized to send out contracts for signature. And you can protect against unauthorized signature by requiring signatories to log on with a PIN.
I was intrigued, so I contacted Jason Lemkin, EchoSign’s CEO. Besides going over the general features of the product, we discussed a couple of topics of particular interest to me.
First, seeing as auditor sensitivity over the dating of contracts was fresh in my mind, I suggested to Jason that auditors must love his product—if a company uses EchoSign, its auditors don’t have to take on faith when a given contract was signed. He confirmed that in terms of compliance, the response has been particularly favorable.
We also discussed whether companies use EchoSign on its own or with other software. Jason said that smaller businesses are content to use EchoSign as a stand-alone system. He’s noted that some bigger companies that have implemented contract-management solutions are finding the signature-automation component overly time-consuming and so are running EchoSign as a parallel system. Jason recognizes the value of seamless systems, so EchoSign now offers integration with Salesforce.com‘s customer-relationship-management software and Upside Software‘s contract-management software.
I was impressed with EchoSign’s product—if I were routinely signing contracts, I’d want to give it a try. It certainly makes the idea of simply using electronic signature stamps seem lame. Evidently plenty of others feel similarly—even though EchoSign was launched only last year, it has more than 50,000 sign-ups.
If you’d like to find out more about EchoSign, on May 23rd Jason Lemkin will be participating in an IACCM webinar. Click here for more details.