European digital signature options play the cardboard of belief

Accelerated by the health crisis, the electronic signature market has shown growth rates of more than 25% since 2020. The phenomenon of “prosperity” should increase in the coming years, as only 1 in 2 companies with more than 500 employees use this technology today.

On the ground, European solutions, which are more operational but also more transparent in terms of data protection, are gradually eating up the market share of foreign leaders.

A market that continues to accelerate

According to a recent Forrester study, the electronic signature market grew by 25% between 2020 and 2021. And if growth was initially “driven” by the pandemic, remote work commitments, the trend continues. From multi-million euro contracts to easy approval of human resources, this technology allows you to legally sign any document remotely, in minutes and in a completely secure way. Saving valuable time, widely appreciated by executives, as 63% of them believe that an electronic signature is an everyday facilitator[1]. It benefits companies at all levels: business continuity plan, cost reduction – savings can reach hundreds of thousands of euros for simple unposted letters – but also a sales multiplier effect. There is nothing more efficient in executing a transaction than sending a link to a contract to be signed at the same time.

The practice is still heterogeneous, but well supervised

Despite the obvious advantages, the electronic signature is not yet fully integrated into the strategy of large groups, or only in a fragmented way. Basically, its implementation is the work of a particular department (HR, marketing, sales, etc.), and it is not uncommon to see several tools coexist within the same company. An approach that undermines the consistency and flexibility still expected with this type of device. Distrust in the legal value of such signed documents was removed in 2014 with the establishment of the European eIDAS regulation. This offers 3 levels of certification, from the simplest to the most qualified: the path of proof is much more advanced than a “paper” signature.

Integrating such a solution into business software also contributes to removing the latest “cultural” barriers, allowing companies to naturally incorporate this tool into their day-to-day processes. The trend is also on the move: 35% of the electronic signature market is now held by software publishers or ISVs (independent software vendors)[2].

In Europe, the signature is under strict supervision

Another concern, on the other hand, deserves the attention of health or defense players and, globally, all companies that handle sensitive information: the guarantees offered by publishers in terms of data protection. The undisputed market leader, US DocuSign is indeed subject to the Cloud Act, as are its compatriots Adobe or Hello Sign. If some are not yet aware, the American legislation also authorizes the government to look at contracts worth more than 200 million dollars from 2018.

It is in this field that European companies have their say. In accordance with the strict rules of the GDPR, their solutions offer much better guarantees than those of their Chinese or American competitors in terms of sovereignty. They also have another advantage: simplicity. Indeed, if the number of functionalities offered by DocuSign is incomparable, the tool has now become extremely complex. More operational and equally effective, French and European solutions therefore seem to be a credible, efficient and secure alternative for companies that want to project into the next world, with complete peace.

[1] Oodrive study, conducted by OpinionWay, February 2020

[2] The source should be stated

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