In a context of digitalization of the customer journey in the BtoC and BtoB sphere, we note nevertheless a sector in which there is still much to do. The preferred validation process in companies is still the paper signature. When subscribing to a service or an agreement between two entities, despite the lack of confidentiality, we still sign a lot on paper. However, the professionals who have chosen to implement the electronic signature are very satisfied and do not wish to go back. Integrating this process is an important step of advanced digitalization in order to improve the user experience of the company’s employees and/or customers. This integration in the pathways meets several needs and generates benefits for the user companies. The current crisis is revealing new essentials of which the adoption of the electronic signature is part.
Let’s define the electronic signature in business
In order to better understand your use of electronic signatures, we conducted a survey of companies with 500 or more employees. It turned out that more than half of them use electronic signatures. How do you explain the success of this digital tool ? It is necessary to define it in order to understand the interest that the electronic signature can represent. It is a technical process allowing to give its agreement, to validate computerized documents while giving it a legal value. The e-signature, as we can also call it, has the same legal value as a paper signature. It is even better because it also guarantees the integrity of the document. It is therefore more difficult to contest its value.
There are several types of electronic signature depending on the level of security, ranging from simple to qualified.
- The simple and advanced levels indicate a low legal risk (insurance contract, subscription to a service… etc.)
- The qualified level is intended for critical validations with the aim of making it impossible to contest (invoice, BtoB banking transaction, responses to calls for tender for public contracts)
Among the users of the tool, 63% think that it is its simplicity that they appreciate the most. This is also the most sought-after criterion when it comes to implementing electronic signatures in companies.
If the legal value and its simplicity have conquered many companies, the current conditions of regular teleworking give the electronic signature an increased importance. Indeed, it allows to make decision processes more fluid, without using paper.
Implement electronic signature : free up time for value-added activities
The paper signature, even though it is not part of the digital process, does not always have a bad reputation, and some signatories do not see its limits. 92% of them still sign on paper. Nevertheless, once the electronic signature has been adopted, companies see several key advantages that we will develop.
An obvious gain in efficiency generated by the speed of the process
The regulatory compliance of the service provider who has to respect the concepts stated by the eiDAS regulation. (electronic IDentification, Authentification and Trust Servi
Ensure efficiency gains and improve reactivity
While the paper signature requires time to be spent on each signature, its electronic counterpart facilitates its realization in several ways. Thus, the subscription process, which can take from a few days to several weeks with a paper signature, can be completed in a few minutes with an e-signature. There is no need to send documents by post. An email with an attachment to be signed electronically sent back in a few minutes allows to divide the time of treatment of files and to increase the productivity of a company. Moreover, within the framework of a BtoB agreement between several signatories or entities, the whole process becomes much more fluid and rapid. In a context of important competition and increased reactivity, speed is an asset not to be neglected.
Meet regulations with an adapted electronic signature
More than half of the companies surveyed expect their electronic signature provider to guarantee regulatory compliance. This is especially true for companies that manage sensitive data, in the banking and healthcare sectors. This is also the view of the financial departments of companies equipped with electronic signatures. To meet the level of security required by these sectors, it is necessary to use a qualified signature allowing the identification of the signatory or the company. An electronic certificate is therefore required to carry out the procedure in a completely secure manner. Signing electronically allows the integration of fiscal and administrative standards. We also note that this tool is mainly used in the context of exchanges with the public administration, with more than one out of two companies using it for this purpose. The regulations are a strong incentive to implement electronic signatures. Moreover, the tool is over-represented in the procedures of finance-related departments.
Some obstacles to the adoption of this digital solution
Non-users anticipate the effects of electronic signatures in terms of time savings, productivity and security. Nevertheless, they believe that this solution is not adapted to their company for three main reasons.
A third of them believe that the tool is not in line with their business sector. This figure is even more understandable when you consider that half of the companies surveyed who do not use the tool do not see any limit to paper signatures.
39% of the companies still signing on paper say that the switch to digital is not a priority. The interests linked to the use of this advanced tool are not, however, forgotten as 6 out of 10 non-user respondents are interested in the dematerialization of this process. They still have to go through the process. We have also deciphered the subject in our article on the “electronic signature: how to make your company go further”.
Finally, among the companies that have not gone through the digital signature process, 76% only use the traditional signature for internal validations and supplier contracts, so there is no regulatory obligation.
Implementing the electronic signature in companies corresponds to a need for advanced digitalization, which is of proven importance for players in sensitive data and BtoB administrative exchanges. The time and productivity savings generated by electronic signatures, although anticipated by non-users, have not had the same attraction effect. The aftermath of the health crisis could be the source of a new trend to follow.