“The train has left the station!” – Electronic Signatures in the Real World

This entry is part of our continuing educational series, “What is an Electronic Signature, Anyway?” (Parts 1, 2 and 3.)

In June, at an event at the National Press Club, Jerry Buckley, Founding Partner at the Buckley Kolar law firm in Washington DC, as well as Counsel to the Electronic Signatures and Records Association (ESRA), an organization devoted to promulgating the use of electronic signatures & documents and educating the public & industry on those matters, stated that the “train had left the station” when it came to electronic signature usage around the world. As the demand for more fully electronic workflows becomes more pronounced, especially given the meteoric rise in gas, and thus shipping, prices, as well as an increasing desire on the part of enterprises and organizations to ‘go green,’ electronic signatures will become even more ubiquitous.


Buckley and Margo Tank, also a Founding Partner at Buckley Kolar, together provided compelling examples of this movement:

“This year marks a significant turning point in the adoption of electronic signatures…• eMortgages up six-fold in last year• $12 billion in electronic automobile finance contracts have been consummated and over $2 billion of these have been securitized, reflecting acceptance by the capital markets• Billions of dollars in student loan transactions signed electronically• Of relevance to our environment, the Government Printing Office estimates that it saves 20 tons of paper and roughly 480 trees by electronically distributing just one annually published document, the National Budget, electronically signed”

In parallel with the press event, ESRA also released a newsletter containing information on several key signature deployments. Two of these (US Government Printing Office and Procter & Gamble are Adobe customers who have used the universally deployed nature of Reader and PDF, combined with Adobe’s powerful LiveCycle Enterprise Suite software, to save money and accelerate and improve their signature workflows in combination with key security partners.But the examples do not end there. Here are some other organizations that have revolutionized their business processes using various electronic signature methods combined with Adobe products:• Snap-On Credit: “We’re impressed by the ease of integrating CIC and Adobe solutions into our processes. Already, we are looking to automate more forms processes, making it even faster and easier for franchisees to conduct business.” – Thomas Niman, Snap-on Credit, LLC• Astra Zeneca : “’Due to the enthusiastic response from users signing regulatory documents, we are looking for opportunities to leverage the existing solution for digitally signing documents in other areas,’ says Rich Ware, one of the project team leaders.” – Bio-IT World, July 2008• Speaking of SAFE, be sure to check out this Adobe blog post on the use and deployment of digital signatures within SAFE environments.• Land Title & Survey Authority of British Columbia: “One law firm informed us they saved $6000 per month. Plus, the stress level is lower because there are fewer delays and errors in processing paperwork. Acrobat and Adobe Reader software are ideal for government agencies that want to streamline document processes by using electronic forms and digital signatures.” – Denis Thomas, technical architect of the Electronic Filing System at the Land Title & Survey Authority• Kane County Circuit Court: “The automated process built around Adobe LiveCycle software is dramatically faster than our previous manual workflows. Within approximately sixty seconds of having a judge sign the document, an order of protection arrives at the sheriff’s office for input into the national wanted persons database. Overall, we’ve seen as much as a five-fold improvement in the time it takes to complete, submit, and process orders of protection.” – Matt Meyer, programmer at the Circuit Court Clerk’s officeWe’ll continue to shine light on other real world electronic signature deployments in future posts.