Friday, October 25, 2013

Death to the Fax!


The fax machine.  Was there ever a so little loved piece of equipment?  It's unreliable, bulky, difficult to operate, produces a poor quality product, and can cost as much as a cheap laptop.

We can email, scan, attach, send PDFs and Word documents, so why does this antiquated behemoth continue to live and plague modern offices?  One reason:  Signatures.  Each time a contract goes out or a mortgage gets refinanced or an offer of employment is made, someone has to sign here, here, and here, along with intialling these seven pages.  Then they have to fax the whole hot mess back, right?

Wrong.

Welcome to the 21st century and e-signatures.  An e-signature is merely a way of capturing a consent or agreement on an electronic document.  It can be a simple as ticking a box, typing in "I Agree", or using one of the actual e-signature products that are commercially offered.  Personally, I'm afraid of lawyers, so I stay away from the home brewed solutions and try to stick with the commercial ones.

I work as a consultant and my bread and butter is keeping clients happy.  To that end, I have the freedom to select and recommend just about any product.  When it comes to e-signatures, that means DocuSign. There are others on the market that do an adequate job, but in my experience, there are four good reasons to go with DocuSign.

1.  It just works.  Full stop.  No weird errors.  No unreachable servers.  It works everytime.

2.  It installs with less pain than getting a haircut.  If you can create a custom field in Salesforce, you have the technical chops to install DocuSign.  Caveat:  If you're putting it in a complex environment, I strongly suggest engaging someone like me to install and customize it to make sure you get maximum value.  If you're a mom and pop shop with two users and a couple of contracts, have at it.

3.  If you need help, their support people are like fire fighters, EMTs, and Superman all rolled into one.  These people rock when it comes to assisting you.

4.  If you're a partner/consultant, they treat you well.  There are certain products that are good, but treat guys like me as if we had halitosis and body odor, all rolled into one.  DocuSign is easy to work with on a business to business level and that's one less thing for me to worry about.

Go give it a try.  Once you've found out how sweet e-signatures are, I'm betting you put that fax machine out to pasture!



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