It’s 2012, and almost everything that we work with has turned digital. However, sometimes this creates bigger problems than its worth – such as signing documents. Taking pen to paper for a couple of seconds used to be something terribly easy. This allowed you to manage and sign everything you wanted quickly and simply, though getting the document to and from the sender took far longer.
Today, you can get a form digitally sent to you in seconds, but you’ll often have to print it out, sign it, scan it, then email or perhaps fax it back. It’s far from a simple process. That’s why Adobe’s EchoSign, an effortless and pain free method to e-sign documents professionally and securely, seems so exciting. We didn’t assume it’d work great, but came away very impressed by its actual implementation. Read on to find out more!
You can try out EchoSign for free directly from their site, or you can signup for a free trial account to test out all of its features. You can start out making an account with your Google Apps account, or directly with your own name and email. You’ll then need to enter a ton of extra information about your company. It’s annoying, but not too unusual for business apps.
Once you’ve made your account and verified your details on an email you’ll be able to access the main dashboard of EchoSign. Here you have a wealth of different features and options. Just for reference, I’m only using the free version of the app so things may appear differently for other price bands, but it should be mostly the same.
Working from the left, the first thing you can do is send documents. Clicking Get A Document Signed takes you to email type display which allows you to send a document from either your library or Google Drive to any contacts. You can add a quick message and a document name too, and can also pick preferences at the bottom of the page to whether you would like an eSignature or Fax. These can include adding your own signature or password protecting the document. Once everything is in order you can just click Send. It’s as simple as that.
Below this you have some additional functions which are mostly related to the organisation. These include adding documents to your library and archiving documents. There is also a messaging service which is opened when you click Only I Sign allowing you to let contacts know you’ve signed their documents.
In the middle of the page you have a gauge which shows monthly statistics. Tracking how many agreements you’ve signed, as well as the average time that it has taken you to sign them all – a good way to keep an eye on everything over a time period. There is a notification like system below this too, which shows your recent events. I love the structure that Adobe have gone with as it makes for a delightfully easy workflow.
Signing Your Documents
One thing I missed out of the dashboard section was the Document Status section. Here it says how many documents you need sign and how many you already have. Selecting the sample document, the app tells me that I need to sign in one place. This instantly tells you how many agreements you are signing for and helps you to break down each individual section. Alternately, if someone wants you to sign a document and you don’t already have an account, you’ll receive an email notification about it.
Once I’ve read through the document and clicked to sign, I now have a few choices. I can enter my full name and the app will automatically enter this in signature form and add it to the document. Or, I could draw my signature. I know this sounds like a good idea, but, it’s going to take you a few tries before you’ve perfected this. I know it’s probably not as easy as the automatic signature, though, I do feel that it creates more of a personal approach – making the whole process more like actual signing. The web app works on the iPad and other tablet browsers too, which offers a much more natural way of signing your name.
Finally, you can authenticate yourself with your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google account to let the person who receives your document know it’s really you. That’s the feature that impressed us the most, as it seems like one of the best ways to show who you really are online these days.
Being an Adobe application you’re probably expecting the price of EchoSign to be astronomical. Though, to be honest, I would say the pricing on this is pretty reasonable. Starting at free for the basic package, then ranging up to $400+ a month for the biggest package named Global. And for the big businesses, for an app of this calibre, this price range isn’t going to cause such a dent. The free package lets you share 5 documents for signature per month, which is very reasonable for basic use, and the base Pro account should work for most other small business needs. It’s definitely priced competitively with web apps from startups we’re used to.
EchoSign definitely meets its goal of making the signing process easier. The amount of major businesses using EchoSign already isn’t surprising, and it’s an option even smaller business and startups should consider. For document signing, it’s really good. It integrates with tons of professional apps you likely already use, from Google Apps to SugarCRM to Salesforce, is priced reasonably, gives you a reliable way to collect signatures, and works like it says. What more could you ask?