SignNow Blog

The one thing 60% of the Fortune 500 do to boost productivity

Fortune500 Blog Image
When you’re looking for business tips, the Fortune 500 companies are never a bad place to start. By definition, these guys are achieving a level of excellence that puts them ahead of some 30 million or so other companies in the US – in other words, among the top 0.0016% of American businesses!

With so much variety among this elite list, it’s difficult to nail down exactly ‘what makes’ a Fortune 500 company – although many have tried. Unsurprisingly, certain words pop up regularly: vision, communication, branding, performance and culture, among others. But what do they really mean? What quick, takeaway lessons can you take away from these uber-successful businesses and roll out in your own company?

Well, there is one thing that as many as 60% of these companies do to help boost productivity, and you can do it, too.

“SignNow’s eSignings helped us make the halftime show happen.”
Andrea Harrison, Digital Brand Director, Pepsi

The importance of signatures

In the ever-changing world of business and technology, one thing is constant: the mission-critical importance of a simple signature. For most businesses, getting a signature on a document means putting a horribly tedious, antiquated process into action – totally at odds with today’s technology-centred world of work.

You’ll generally print and sign the document yourself. Then you’ll fax or mail it off to the recipient. Once they’ve got the document, they need to sign it, and send it back to you – once again via mail or fax. The whole process takes days, costs money and gives you pretty much no control.

In an age when so many businesses are focussed on going paperless, this is one process that continues to hold many of them back.

The alternative – e-signatures!
If this problem all sounds a little too familiar, the solution is at hand. That secret trick we mentioned that 60% of the Fortune500 are using? It’s the utilisation of electronic signatures by SignNow on their important documents to save time, money and boost productivity!

Essentially, e-signatures are digital representations of their real-life counterparts and they do exactly the same job, with exactly the same legal consequences. The difference is, rather than the manual and laboured approach you’re currently using, it takes a matter of seconds to collect legally binding electronic signatures from customers, partners and employees – cutting document turnaround time by as much as 90%.

And, although e-signatures are spreading like wildfire among the bigger corporations, that doesn’t mean it’s something you can’t use in your own business too, however big or small. In fact, we actually work with over 100,000 small businesses. It’s free to get started using SignNow and you can scale up to add extra users whenever necessary.

The benefits
Of course, the primary benefit of e-signatures is that they’re quick and convenient. By condensing a process that previously would have taken days, if not weeks, into a matter of seconds, they dramatically increase efficiency and give your business the power to do more instead of waiting around on a fax or physical envelope to arrive. Studies show that an office of 100 can save as much as 40 hours per month avoiding paper. You can close deals faster, reduce errors and cut costs – all compelling factors that can help improve your bottom line.

But e-signature solutions are also significantly more secure. The second you fax or mail your sensitive documents, you lose an element of control over them. Using SignNow, your documents are secured by Barracuda technology, one of the world’s leading security companies. Documents are securely archived, with a full audit-trail, in an easy-to-read format. So, remember the last time you turned the office upside down looking for a signed paper agreement? Yeah, that won’t be happening again any time soon!

There’s also the huge benefit of being able to track and monitor where your documents are up to at a glance, which is extremely helpful to your workflow management.

And, sure, you might not single-handedly save the planet, but going paperless is great for the environment, too. Printing, scanning, mailing and faxing all use up valuable resources that we really don’t need to be using for this stuff anymore!

So…are e-signatures really legal?
Yes! The U.S. government actually took the biggest step of resolving the legal issues of e-signatures back in 2000 with the ESIGN Act, which gave electronic signatures the same legal weight as handwritten ones. State law, for the most part, has followed suit in recognizing their validity.

OK, where do I start?
So, this seems like a fairly profound change in the way your business ‘does’ signatures, right? Well, you might be surprised to hear that it’s a pretty easy transition and you can get started more or less straight away.

Head over to our website and check out the packages we have on offer. You can actually get started for free if you want to sign 5 documents or less per year. Once you’re signed up, it’s incredibly simple to start getting documents signed. SignNow is even set up so it can fully integrate with your existing CRM, CMS and workflow management systems.

How does it work?
The actual process for collecting signatures is really easy. To get started, simply upload the document, whether it’s a PDF, Word Document or another file type. Using our intuitive wizard you can then sign, date and add any relevant text to the document yourself, before creating fields for the recipient to complete. You can add Signature Fields, Text Fields, Initials Feeds, as well as Checkboxes and Dropdown menus.

You then send the document off to be signed by the other party. It’s super-easy for them, too – we use a guided field process that shows them very clearly what they need to do next. Documents can be signed easily on pretty much any device, so it’s really quick and convenient.

If you’re regularly using a particular document, you can even set this up as a template to avoid having to set it up every time you need to get it signed.

Check out our video demo to see how SignNow works, step-by-step!

Conclusion
The business world is experiencing constant change, fuelled by technology and innovation, and yet all too often, we see businesses waiting days or weeks at a time to get a simple document signed. It’s crazy!

An e-signature solution is the obvious way to fix this problem, bringing signature collection up to date with the rest of your business processes. This helps you close deals faster, reduce errors, cut costs and secure your documents.

Here at SignNow, we’re really proud to call ourselves the most secure and top-rated e-signature solution. We’re trusted by 60% of the Fortune500 – they recognise that e-signatures are the future! – but we’re also affordable enough to meet the needs of smaller businesses too. If you’d like to understand more about how e-signatures can help boost your productivity, please get in touch with us or request a callback.

Productivity Growth Relentlessly Grows Through Technology

This post was submitted by Chris Hawkins

Recently, The Conference Board Total Economy Database reported that global productivity growth slowed. What gives? Aren’t we supposed to be in a jobless recovery? Isn’t software eating the world, and driving us toward a future where nobody needs to work? The reality is that this recovery is weaker than usual, but the macro trend is the same: technology makes us consistently more productive each and every year.

To understand any misperception, lets dig into how some of the terms being used.

First, what is labor productivity? Labor productivity is real GDP produced per hour of labor. Don’t confuse GDP with the stock market. The stock market can vary widely from GDP and GDP growth, as shown in the chart below:

 

Source: Seeking Alpha

 

Over the last few months, the stock market has grown tremendously at about 30%, GDP growth was a reasonably strong 4%, but labor productivity grew a more tepid 1.7%.

What is a jobless recovery? A jobless recovery in theory would be one where economic growth has recovered, but employment has not. Because productivity has gone up, definitionally this cannot be true. Statistically, the labor market recovery over the last few years has been consistent with Okun’s rule of thumb. This means it is not any more “jobless” relative to the growth rate than previous recoveries.

So why has this 2008 recession been perceived to be “jobless”? The major difference is that GDP growth has been slower. For reference, after the recession of ‘81 the GDP growth bounced to 5.9%, or roughly 50% faster than today’s recovery.

So the reality is that we are in a slower recovery, not a jobless one, in the middle of an era of continued, sustained, technology driven productivity growth. Since the 1950s, labor productivity has grown very consistently. Technology is constantly augmenting and replacing human labor to do more for less. This isn’t a trend that moves in large spurts, rather is a collective effort, much like Moore’s law. At a very consistent 2% labor productivity growth rate you can assume that we can provide roughly the same standard of living today, with effectively no human input, in about 36 years.

 

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

 

It is obvious to anyone in the technology business. The amount of work an individual can accomplish and the speed by which they can accomplish it is moving at a tremendous pace. You can work anywhere, anytime. Workforce automation tools save people time from menial tasks. The costs to deploy sophisticated IT infrastructures have been and continue to come down dramatically.

The real winners of this trend will be those who invest in technology. Companies that don’t make their employees a little more productive every year will be quickly outpaced.

So find something, automate it, and win.

 

 

Chris Hawkins was the founder of SignNow, an eSigning and workforce automation tool, and is now a GM at Barracuda Networks. Barracuda Networks is a leading technology company that focuses on making IT solutions easy and affordable for businesses of all sizes.

 

SignNow – 1st eSignature platform used for National Signing Day

We are incredibly excited to have partnered with UCLA to be the first company to enable high school athletes to eSign their National Letters of Intent.

Electronic NLIs National Signing Day

From the UCLA Athletic Department:

For the first time, UCLA football recruits will now be able to sign their National Letters of Intent (NLI) electronically during the 2014 National Signing Day period. One of the first universities to take advantage of this new platform, UCLA is offering football recruits the electronic signature option through SignNow by Barracuda. SignNow allows users to sign and fill out documents via computer or mobile device.

The process is simple. UCLA will email recruits both NLI and scholarship contracts, which can be electronically signed beginning Wednesday, Feb. 5. Electronic signatures can be drawn by using a mouse or by hand on the screen of a mobile device. Once the form is filled out by both the recruit and parent, a final copy will be sent to the family and university via email, expediting the process of receiving and verifying the letter.

“Once the NCAA approved electronic signatures for NLIs, it was an easy decision to partner with SignNow on this project,” explained UCLA Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Matt Elliott. “The technology provides accurate time stamps and ensures that we receive the signed contracts as soon as they are executed.”

Various sports-related uses of the SignNow platform include Pepsi notarizing more than 500 signatures for photos submitted from around the country to be used as part of the 2013 Superbowl Halftime Show and Brooklyn Nets’ All-Star point guard Deron Williams signing a $98M contract on his iPad using the electronic signature app.

“UCLA Football is all about forward thinking and using new technologies to improve efficiency and effectiveness,” said UCLA Football Director of Player of Personnel Pat Girardi. “Signing a National Letter of Intent electronically will be cutting-edge, and we want this year’s recruits to be able to say they are the first to ever do such a thing. Our goal is to be on the forefront of exciting technology coming down the pipeline. This is just another advancement in the Bruin Revolution.”

Source: uclabruins.com

So what was the result?  UCLA got a great class of recruits, we had no hiccups….. And the industry was a big fan.  Check out a few of our mentions:

Fox Sports:

http://msn.foxsports.com/west/story/electronic-letters-of-intent-ucla-moves-away-from-fax-machines-020414

LA Times:

http://www.latimes.com/sports/varsity-times/la-sp-vi-football-goodbye-fax-machines-hello-electronic-letters-of-intent-20140204,0,7480194.story#axzz2sb86tQuo

Bleacher Report:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1948224-ucla-football-to-offer-electronic-nlis-during-national-signing-day

College Football Talk (NBC Sports):

http://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/02/04/ucla-to-use-electronic-letters-of-intent-on-signing-day/

Yahoo! Sports:

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-dr-saturday/ucla-offer-option-recruits-sign-national-letters-intent-214511538–ncaaf.html

Business Week:

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2014-02-05/ucla-recruits-can-sign-letters-electronically

New Jersey:

http://www.nj.com/rutgersfootball/index.ssf/2014/02/national_signing_day_2014_like_at_rutgers_fax_machines_still_being_used_though_not_many_know_why.html

Courier Journal:

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20140205/SPORTS1102/302050042/Morning-Kickoff-Kentucky-ditches-faxes-electronic-signatures-from-recruits

 

Want to get your favorite sports team onboard?  Just give us a call.

SignNow + Webmerge = More Document Flexibility Than Ever

Does the text of your documents change constantly? Need to collect form information to populate a changing word document? Now SignNow can help you with a wider range of document types with our newest integration partner: WebMerge. Webmerge lets you upload a Fillable PDF, a customized Word document, or build one from scratch using an online Document Builder. it supports flexible document types, dynamic content, and deliverability options.

Below we’re going to show you how easy it is to generate a contract using Webmerge and send it to SignNow. The first step is to setup the document in WebMerge. We’ve taken a pretty boilerplate contract and put in our template variables for the customized information (name, company, pricing, terms, etc) that will be unique to each specific contract.

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Our next step is to setup the Delivery option that will send the merged contract to SignNow. For this step, you’ll need to go to the Delivery tab, then click New Delivery and choose SignNow. Next, authorize Webmerge to send documents to your account.

 

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After you have authorized WebMerge, you will be redirected back to the Delivery setup. Here is where you will indicate who should be signing the document. This can be a specific person/email address or you can use a variable that you have setup in your document. For our example, the signer will be the client, so we are going to use the “email” variable we have setup in our document. There are also a few other settings your can setup under the Advanced Options.

 

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Once you have the Delivery setup, our next step is to generate a sample contract to see this all working! Let’s jump over to the Merge tab and click the Manual Entry option. Here, you’ll see a Merge URL, go ahead and click that and you’ll see a simple form that lists all of the variables that are in your document. Enter in the information you’d like merged to the contract and click Merge. This will send that information to your document and then send the document to your client via SignNow.  They should see the document ready for signature in seconds.

 

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Now you have more power and flexibility than ever in getting new and unique types of documents signed.  If you are interested in help setting up this integration, simply contact sales@signnow.com.

We’re Moving

Just a friendly heads up, we are joining the rest of the Barracuda blogs next week at a new url: https://www.barracuda.com/blogs/pmblog.

We plan on increasing the great content in 2014, so stay tuned!