Tech Review: Adobe Echosign

Adobe Echosign is an e-signature service that allows traditional documents in Word and PDF to be formatted to be electronically signed. Originally a standalone service, Echosign was acquired not too long ago by Adobe.

Over the past two decades of being in business, I’ve found the process of managing legal documents (contracts, offer letters, etc.) to be stuck in a different time period. That is until we decided to move to an electronic process for getting those documents signed.

We had several objectives that we were trying to achieve:

  • Get documents signed faster
  • Keep signed documents organized electronically
  • Avoid having to keep paper copies
  • Avoid having to manually scan documents
  • Get legal documents distributed to the right people
  • Get documents countersigned in a timely manner

In looking at the marketplace for electronic signature, cost was definitely an issue, but more important was using a service where there would be a high level of trust. Using a small startup company was not an option for me. I felt that our clients needed to know that the service was backed by a well established company. In the end we looked at two services: Docusign and Echosign.

I conducted a pilot of both services. Docusign definitely had the greatest number of features. It also had robust premium features that would be useful for the future. There were no issues using Docusign in different browsers and I felt performance was pretty good. What I didn’t like was the design of the signature tool that our customers would see. I found it to be complex–so much so, that I was concerned that it would not be used.

In reviewing Echosign, the biggest improvement it had over Docusign was the simplicity of signing a document. For the customer, it could be as easy as clicking one button to add the e-signature, and then submission. Fast, easy, and clear. For our uses, it was more than enough for what we needed. Echosign has met all of our initial objectives.We’ve now rolled out the service to five people on our staff in sales, finance, and HR. In addition to its ease of use, the speed of the rendering of Word and PDF documents makes the service very easy to use and accessible. So transitioning to a service like this requires very little setup. You can load a combination of Word and PDF documents to create a single signing request. Drag and drop the fields to the forms (name, title, company, signature, etc.) and then send it off to the recipient.  In all, I was able to send my first document out in about 15 minutes.

If you’re a school or non-profit, you may be thinking why you would need this service. I recommend it for the following reasons:

  • Employment documents
  • Vendor contracts
  • Grant and funder documents that require a signature

If you have any questions, or would like more information, feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to assist.