Electronic signatures are similar to handwritten ones, but the former captures an image or document electronically, reducing the risk of fraud. Therefore, they are considered legally binding. This means it can be used in legal documents, such as contracts and wills, and you can even use it to buy and sell goods and services.
How Does an Electronic Signature Work?
E-Signatures are electronic representations of a person’s handwritten signature. They work by providing an electronic copy of a sign that can be attached to an e-mail, a message, or contract. They also provide a way for people to authenticate the identity of the person who sent an e-mail or message. DocuSign is one of the most popular examples, and you can also be involved in developing signature software similar to DocuSign.
To create esignature software is an incredible convenience for businesses and consumers alike. Not only can they simplify document signing, but they can speed up transactions and eliminate the back-and-forth that often accompanies the traditionally manual process of signing a document.
E-Signatures allow you to send documents or messages to anyone, anywhere, at any time. After all, they are usually secured with encryption, and can only be opened by the recipient.
Difference Between e-Signature and Digital Signature
It is easy to get confused when you compare an electronic signature with a digital signature, but they are not the same thing. Yet, to start signature software like DocuSign, you have to be able to tell the differences between both. An electronic signature is the actual sign of identification on a document, while a digital signature is the encryption technology that secures e-signatures.
Perhaps the biggest difference is that electronic signatures are legally binding, while digital signatures are not. The distinction between the former and the latter is important because digital signatures are much more secure. As mentioned, a digital signature isn’t binding, but it’s evidence that someone, somewhere, has verified that a document came from that person.
Therefore, to build an electronic signature software, the ideal solution always comes with the encryption capabilities of the digital signature. To understand it using traditional terminologies, if an e-signature is the equivalent of a paper sign, the digital signature would be the notarization process to affirm the validity of the sign.
Benefits of e-Signature Solutions
Electronic document verifications are becoming more widespread as organizations realize the benefits of streamlining their business processes especially on the cloud. E-signatures, for example, allow parties to electronically agree to, sign, execute, complete, certify or verify a contract, agreement, record, form, or document.
They can also simplify processes, reduce processing times, lower costs, reduce errors, and increase security. Before examining how to create digital signature software similar to DocuSign, we must first explore these benefits in detail.
1. Business Process Optimisation
Today’s business environment is fast-paced and tedious; the need to be efficient and productive has never been greater. Electronic signatures can speed up business processes. This is particularly important for complex, multi-party processes. A paper process can take several days, but an electronic process can be completed in a single day.
E-signature software for small business in particular helps businesses to eliminate wasted time having to print, sign, scan, and send a paper document, and for recipients to electronically sign documents.
In addition, they let you sign documents without printing, scanning, and faxing, and without relying on slow postal services. Your customers save time by not printing out contracts, and your staff doesn’t have to spend hours upon hours processing transactions.
2. Record Management
They can improve compliance by enabling organizations to securely track document approvals and sign-offs. And, because electronic signatures are stored electronically, they can help companies manage records more easily and effectively. This is particularly useful in ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) especially through electronic signature software for healthcare companies.
They also improve workflow by making it easy for organizations to manage multiple versions of documents at the same time, and to collaborate on documents in real-time.
Moreover, they help you automate business processes, so your employees can work remotely while still having the benefit of electronic signatures. That’s why it is important to know how to develop an e-signature software like DocuSign.
Electronic signatures are quickly becoming the standard in document signing. Businesses can save up to 90% on document-signing costs by going paperless. Therefore, it is very useful to know how to make an electronic signature software like DocuSign.
In some cases, you have to pay a one-time fee to use our document-signing platform. However, that’s surely better than budgeting costs for sheets of paper, printing, and other needs for the traditional process.
More so, these solutions are becoming increasingly popular as companies seek to reduce their environmental footprint. As more and more employees work from home, companies must find ways to communicate efficiently, and electronic signatures present a less expensive, more environmentally friendly option than traditional paper.
4. Enhanced Security
When you sign a document electronically, you create a digital signature, which is a unique string of data (a “hash”) that uniquely identifies you as the document’s creator. That signature is then encrypted and stored with the document itself. One very good use case here is esignatures for banking.
These systems can mitigate risks such as tampering, duplication, and forgery. In addition, parties using electronic signature systems can confirm the identity of the other party before executing contracts and other agreements. Because they can be verified as authentic, they allow you to do business securely.
More so, when a document is signed electronically, the document creator and recipient can’t modify it. Thus, electronic signatures protect sensitive information. Because no documents can be edited once they’re signed, sensitive information stays private.
5. Regulatory Compliance
Make no mistake to think that paper signs are somehow more legitimate than electronic ones. You couldn’t be more wrong. With the ever-increasing proliferation of digital technologies in how we do business, governments and governmental organisations have introduced various legislations to confer validity on the use of electronic signatures to sign contracts. Therefore, an electronic signature is as legally binding as a paper one.
In addition, with top-grate security and tracking capabilities, you can determine if a signature has been altered or not, something that you can’t prove definitely with paper ones.
Popular Examples of e-Signature Software: Best DocuSign Alternatives
Adobe Sign is one of the most popular alternatives to DocuSign as an e-signature solution for PDF files. From its name, it is obviously backed by Adobe, one of the most well-known computer software companies in the world. The company developed the PDF document standard. Adobe Sign has various pricing plans with different features at each level according to the diverse needs of the numerous companies that use the system.
HelloSign was founded in 2010 and it is backed by another hugely popular technology startup, Dropbox. Its integration with the file storage capabilities of Dropbox makes it a great standard for optimising business processes and keeping track of document records. HelloSign is available as a standard software or as an API for website integration; each option has its periodic pricing plans depending on business needs.
DocHub is an online PDF annotator software, although it has come to be more well-known for its e-signature capabilities. Like the previously mentioned platforms on this list, DocHub also features a pricing plan. However, its cost is much lower than that of the others, not to mention that it allows monthly billing. Nevertheless, for free, users can sign up to 5 documents in a month.
Like DocHub, PandaDoc is a full-featured platform for creating and managing documents. However, its most popular feature is its e-signature attribute. PandaDoc also has an API, useful for third-party integration. It integrates well with other business tools such as Zapier, Zoho, HubSpot, Stripe, Dropbox, Salesforce, and more. It can even be integrated into a company’s CRM software.
signNow is a powerful tool for signing documents. Besides the standard software, it also features a powerful API that enables users to integrate e-signature capabilities into their websites and apps. signNow boasts of compliance with various security standards such as the GDPR and PCI DSS. It is worth mentioning, too, that signNow’s pricing plans are some of the cheapest for businesses across the industry.
Why Do You Need Custom Solutions?
The need to obtain and validate signatures is ubiquitous in corporate operations. However, the process of collecting them can be time-consuming, costly and inefficient, causing many enterprises to purchase, manage and manage their electronic signature solutions. As the need continues to grow and expand, businesses are increasingly looking to third-party providers to provide these solutions.
The available software market provides vendors with a variety of choices. However, some organizations prefer to customize their solutions to meet their specific needs. Hence, many leaders need to learn how to build an esignature software similar to DocuSign.
Or course, a company might develop its own electronic signature solution based on needs that are specific to that company’s business model. A custom solution is typically designed around a configurable system that centralises the signing process. After all, every company has unique requirements. Therefore, you must let the system adapt to your needs, not the other way round.
This custom solution can be a powerful way to achieve two important business goals: better security and efficiency. Companies tend to shy away from custom solutions. They perceive a custom solution to be an expensive, time-consuming venture. However, when designed and implemented properly, custom e-signature solutions can help companies save money and time.
In addition, companies must comply with various laws, regulations and business policies, and custom electronic signature tools can help companies easily comply with the regulations that specifically apply to their business case.
For very large companies with a lot of data to protect, to build digital signature software is a very practicable solution to ensure that their sensitive documents do not have to live at the mercy of the security capacity of a third party, which may be verifiable or otherwise.
How to Build an e-Signature Software Similar to DocuSign or Better?
Starting an electronic signature software like DocuSign (presumably for internal uses but also perhaps for external sales), it only makes sense to learn how the owners of DocuSign built their app. Therefore, this section contains lessons from that process and situates them in the contemporary context as useful advice on how to make digital signature software today.
We draw from our experience in building a job matching platform for logistics professionals, RLM Jobs with an e-signature feature that allows drivers to sign contracts and other relevant documents. Precisely, our process followed all the steps of determining the needs, assembling the team, development, and testing and deployment. SDCN contracted ProCoders to build the RLM Jobs platform and we collaborated to determine the needs of the platform. Once that was set, we assembled a team of smart developers to work on the app.
Tom Gonser, one of the three co-founders of DocuSign, talking about how they built the software, said “We started DocuSign because we wanted to fundamentally change the way business transactions happen.”
Determine your needs
Of course, you can’t say you want to change business transactions for every company without first learning what the companies need. So, the first move of the three men who founded DocuSign was to propose the idea of an e-signature platform to potential customers and ask them what they would expect from such an application.
In the same way, to make an electronic signature software for your business, you must involve the stakeholders. These include your employees, business partners, investors, customers, clients, vendors, and the likes. Determine the various business needs for such a custom solution in your company and outline the potential problems it would solve. This gives direction to the rest of the project steps.
Assemble your team
The next step in electronic signature software development, after outlining your needs, is to assemble a team of skilled professionals to create an electronic signature software for you. This includes developers, engineers, designers, UX writers, product managers, project managers, quality assurance specialists, etc. If your company does not have an in-house team of designers, the best option would be to outsource the hiring to a development company like ProCoders to create digital signature software for you.
The ProCoders method is organised around picking out talents from an existing pool that are suitable for your needs. Therefore, if you want your project to get started right away, that’s very possible since we won’t just be sourcing developers from outside. Otherwise, if you already have an in-house team, using staff augmentation services may help you to fill possible skills gaps in your team. Again, this is another aspect of ProCoders’ e-signature development services.
This is the actual execution stage. At this stage, your goals and objectives are clear, and your team is set, all that is left is to develop the software according to your company’s needs. If your team is an offshore one (say, you hired developers through ProCoders, for instance), you should do well to maintain constant communication with the team to ensure that execution goes smoothly. Tools such as WordPress esignature may help.
For instance, when ProCoders built the e-signature platform for RLM Jobs, since it was a web development process, we used the tools WordPress, Elementor, and MySQL to fulfill the project. It took only 4 months to complete the project and deploy it.
At ProCoders, we ensure that the execution is perfect by connecting clients directly to our developers who are working on their projects. This direct interface helps to ensure that any irregularity or even the most minor detour from the objectives of the project gets fixed in due time.
Testing and Deployment
The final stage of the project is as delicate as all the other stages. You want to ensure that you have the perfect app ready for the market. This is the stage where the roles of quality assurance testers are needed. Again, hiring QA testers is often a matter of staff augmentation, especially since they have a very limited role at the beginning and middle stages of the project. If you have hired through ProCoders, you don’t have to start scrambling to hire a QA specialist just when your project is nearing its end.
How ProCoders Team Can Help You in e-Signature Software Development?
The previous section has done more than a bit of explaining how ProCoders can help you to develop and e-signature software solution. The underlying point here is that Procoders is a full-service software development team that is ready to be involved throughout the life cycle of your product. We have worked with a variety of teams from different countries and all our clients have good reviews concerning our service delivery.
One of our testimonies is the building of an e-signature feature into a job matching platform, RLM Jobs. The feature was developed using the ApproveMe software and the entire project took only 4 months to complete. RLM Jobs is a logistics company and the e-signature feature on the app enabled drivers to complete forms and applications easily, without having to come to the office every time. This shortened mobility times and boosted efficiency.
At ProCoders, the companies we work with are not just our clients; they are partners, too, and we dedicate our best efforts to delivering excellent results. Whether you need to outsource your entire project to an offshore team (taking advantage of the lower rates here in Ukraine) or you require staff augmentation services to plug a specific talent gap in your team, Procoders is available to help as an outstaff team.
E-Signatures are electronic representations of a person’s handwritten signature. They work by providing an electronic copy of a sign that can be attached to an e-mail, a message, or contract. They also provide a way for the identity authentication of the person who sent an e-mail or message.
Tom Gonser, one of the three co-founders of DocuSign, talking about how they built the software, said “We started DocuSign because we wanted to fundamentally change the way business transactions happen.” Of course, you can’t say you want to change business transactions for every company without first learning what the companies need. So, the first move of the three men who founded DocuSign was to propose the idea of an e-signature platform to potential customers and ask them what they would expect from such an application.
When you sign a document electronically, you create a digital signature, which is a unique string of data (a “hash”) that uniquely identifies you as the document’s creator. That signature is then encrypted and stored with the document itself. These systems can mitigate risks such as tampering, duplication, and forgery. In addition, parties using electronic signature systems can confirm the identity of the other party before executing contracts and other agreements.
In this article, and based on our experience, we have done our best to explain the process of making an e-signature software like DocuSign. Even if you don’t make one for commercial use, you can always make one that can be deployed for your in-house needs. The benefit of the latter model is that it would be custom-built to fit your exact needs. More so, you won’t have to depend on the security of another platform that you may not fully trust. You are in full control of all your data, including sensitive documents.
However, everything requires a process and a strategy. At ProCoders, one of the factors we have found that really make software development teams successful is the presence of superstar developers; and that’s all we do at ProCoders: supplying our clients with rockstar talents on how to make an electronic signature software like DocuSign. If that sounds like what your company needs (why not?), feel free to give us a call and let’s discuss how to bring your next big project to life.