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E-signature use to pick up across Africa

Read time 2min 30sec
Carla Ralph
Carla Ralph

Electronic signatures (e-signatures) are increasingly in use among leading enterprises across Africa, with strong growth expected as the COVID-19 pandemic restricts movement and drives more organisations digital.

This is according to Carla Ralph, software consultant at Magenta SA, who was speaking at a webinar hosted by Dax Data to introduce Adobe Sign to local businesses. “E-signatures are widely used across Europe and North America, but large enterprises in many African countries are embracing them too.”

Lydia Webber, product specialist at Dax Data, says the company is receiving requests for three or four demos a day out of the rest of Africa. “In addition to the convenience of e-signatures, the detailed audit report is a big drawcard – there is less risk of fraud using e-signatures than with paper based documents,” she says.

The only thing standing in the way of wider adoption is that some organisations tend to trust the processes that have been there forever.

Carla Ralph, Magenta SA.

Adobe Sign, as part of Adobe Document Cloud, allows organisations to digitise their document processes, improve their customer or employee experience and track and audit progress on documents to be signed.

Ralph explained that an electronic signature is a broad term referring to any electronic process that indicates acceptance of an agreement or a record. A certificate-based digital signature is a specific type of e-signature.

Typical e-signature solutions use common electronic authentication methods to verify signer identity, such as an e-mail address, a corporate ID, or a phone PIN. If increased security is needed, multifactor authentication may be used. Digital signatures use certificate-based digital IDs from TSPs and demonstrate proof of signing by binding each signature to the document with cryptography.

Adobe Sign supports digital signatures by simply placing the Digital Signature field on a form (either via Text Tags, drag and drop in the Adobe Sign Authoring environment, or authoring in Adobe Acrobat with Acroforms).

In a live demonstration of Adobe Sign, Ralph indicated that many contracts required multiple pages to be signed or initialed, and possibly also required attachments to be submitted. She noted that e-signatures powered by Adobe Sign are legal and binding in most countries, including South Africa. Only documents relating to the purchase of fixed property and wills and estates still need a ‘wet’ signature, she said. 

A study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Adobe found that using Adobe Sign delivered a 420% return on investment and a 28 times faster time to signature, along with an average of 1.5 hours saved per user per transaction, and a dramatic reduction in paper and printing.

“The only thing standing in the way of wider adoption is that some organisations tend to trust the processes that have been there forever,” Ralph said.

For more information about Adobe Sign, contact Dax Data.

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