Adobe Systems has taken another step toward becoming an all-in-one electronic document company. It announced Monday that it has acquired electronic signature company EchoSign. Terms weren't announced.
EchoSign has more than three million users worldwide for its electronic document signing services, and it will become part of Adobe's platform for online document exchange services.
Kevin M. Lynch, vice president and general manager of Acrobat Solutions, said that, by adding electronic signature capabilities to its platform, Adobe is "addressing the need to provide better customer experiences by significantly reducing the time, cost and complexity associated with having a document signed."
E-SIGN Act of 2000
EchoSign joins a growing Adobe family of document solutions. These include SendNow for file transfers, FormsCentral for forms creation, and, for those who cannot create a PDF locally, CreatePDF for online PDF conversion. The company sees EchoSign as part of the business evolution away from faxes and overnight envelopes, a development that it says can speed up sales cycles, make tracking more efficient, and centralize the way signed agreements are managed.
EchoSign is designed to provide a one-click electronic signature solution through a subscription-based service for individuals, small and midsize businesses, and enterprises. APIs allow companies to develop specialized solutions for creating, distributing and managing digitally signed documents.
Adobe noted that the EchoSign service already integrates with other business-oriented services, including Salesforce .com, Google Apps, NetSuite, Oracle CRM on Demand, SugarCRM, SAP Contract Lifecycle Management, and others.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based EchoSign said the E-SIGN Act of 2000 boosted the use of electronic signatures in a number of industries, and most brokerages, such as Schwab, Vanguard or eTrade, use digital signatures. It also pointed out that more than half of all tax returns are now signed with an electronic signature, as are about half of insurance industry documents.
'The Missing Piece'
With EchoSign, a registered user uploads an electronic copy or faxes a hard copy, enters the recipient's e-mail address and a note if so desired, enters his or her name and initials, and clicks to sign. A scanned signature is included, and the signed document is then sent. EchoSign noted there is nothing to "download, learn or install."
Melissa Webster, program director of content technologies and digital media at industry research firm IDC, noted that Adobe's acquisition of EchoSign is, "in a way, the missing piece."
Along with CreatePDF and SendNow, she said, Adobe now has a complete work flow for business documents. Webster noted that Adobe previously had a digital signature solution, but "it was more high-end, sort of like a notary."
In the future, she said, Adobe's next step could be some sort of "secure data rooms," where documents are created, verified, signed and exchanged, all within a single environment.