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Adobe’s digital signature platform is saving time and money - and forging stronger connections between businesses and customers

Adobe's head of emerging business for EMEA, Mark Greenaway, believes that "there's no place for paper" when it comes to signing a contract.

Speaking at the Experience Adobe Sign event in London, Greenaway said that traditional paper contracts are frequently bringing the final stages of agreements grinding to a halt, costing businesses time and money, and delaying customers from getting the products and services they want.

Adobe's solution lies in its e-signature platform Adobe Sign. Relaunched and rebranded in 2016 (you may remember it as EchoSign), it allows users to digitally sign documents and return them instantly. It's now Adobe's fastest growing business worldwide, with 6 billion signature transactions processed every year.

Greenaway stressed that Adobe's main focus with Sign is to help create a strong connection between businesses and their customers.

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"We want to help build experience businesses," he said. "At Adobe Sign that means helping organisations move from traditional document-based processes with the contract very often being a breakpoint in a process which is otherwise being transformed.

Mark Greenaway Adobe head of emerging business EMEA

"There's a great opportunity with digital signatures to remove that discontinuity, create a great experience, and save time and cost."

One business that's integrated Adobe Sign into its digital transformation is telecommunications company TalkTalk.

Andrew Dacombe, TalkTalk's director of colleague systems, said that the business's move to an agile working environment meant that putting pen to paper wasn't always possible.

"The traditional way of getting a contract, taking it to someone's desk and signing it became increasingly difficult. That's why we came to Adobe Sign as a tool," he told IT Pro.

The results have been impressive. Dacombe revealed that internal TalkTalk research showed the average cost of getting a document signed had fallen from 16 to below 1, while the average time taken had dropped from four weeks to four days.

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"It's a no brainer - why would you use paper? It's a great customer experience and it's great for efficiency."

BT's head of digital innovation Kirsty Goddard has a similar story when it comes to making Adobe Sign part of their business.

"There is no point in having beautiful websites with beautiful content and amazing journeys, when at the end you go, we're going to send you a letter, can you just sign it and send it back to us?'" she said. "That's not a digital journey and that's not looking at the end-to-end customer experience."

BT introduced e-signatures into their 38 BT Local Business franchises back in 2011 when the telecoms giant saw the average wait for the return of a signed contract sitting at 336 hours.

With Adobe Sign in place, that has now been reduced to four hours and taking paper out of the equation has resulted in a 630,000 cost saving. All in all, the platform has reduced processing time at BT by a staggering 8,300%.

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With these ROIs, Goddard has been able to make a case for pushing Sign into other areas of the business such as HR contracts and to consumer customers.

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"It's a no brainer - why would you use paper? It's a great customer experience and it's great for efficiency," she commented. TalkTalk's Dacombe has similar thoughts, adding: "Do I think we'll ever get to no paper? I'd like to think so."

With that in mind, Greenaway's "no place for paper" mantra might soon become a reality.

Discover more about Adobe Sign.

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