Yogi Berra famously quipped, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!” Unfortunately, choosing business software providers isn’t quite so simple.
Adopting and implementing electronic signatures to increase the efficiency and profitability of your business is a great step, but not one to be taken lightly. Implementing eSignatures is very much like implementing a new CRM: your entire business process will undergo change. So, before you begin the implementation process, one of your first steps is choosing an eSignature software provider that fits your business, your culture, your technology, and your budget.
Here’s the first four questions you need to ask your prospective eSignature providers in order to whittle your choices down to the top 2 or 3 vendors.
- Do they meet your deployment option needs? There are three options to choose from when it comes to eSignature software.
- Cloud – many small businesses today have abandoned having any IT infrastructure on their site, adopting cloud CRM, accounting, sales, marketing, and business process software and paying for it by the user or transaction each month.
- On premises – the software is deployed at your site on physical servers. The reasons for such a deployment are generally security or compliance with certain industry regulations.
- Hybrid – large enterprises have many needs, and some of those needs can be met completely in the cloud; however, parts of the business may be subject to regulatory compliance. In such cases, a hybrid of cloud and on-premises deployment may be necessary.
- Do they offer the features you need specific to your business processes? In order to understand what features you need from eSignature software, you’ll need a solid detailed understanding of your actual business process that requires signatures, including things like:
- What types of documents do your customers sign?
- Where do your customers sign these documents?
- What types of devices do your customers typically use?
- Does their pricing fit both your budget and your business? Every business is different. Your business may have few internal users but thousands of eSignatures (transactions) per user, or it may be the other way around: hundreds or thousands of users but just a few monthly transactions per user. Choosing the wrong type of pricing can end up costing you far more than you should pay. Ask potential providers for detailed analysis of what your software will cost you and how the cost is calculated.
- Do they integrate with your CRM, DMS, ERP or other systems directly or via API? This question may be the most important one of all. If everything else is just perfect – deployment, features, pricing – but the provider’s software doesn’t integrate nicely (or at all) with the software you use to run your business, the engagement will be painful.
These questions should help you vet your choices of eSignature providers down to a short list. In the next post, we’ll help you determine which provider is right for you.