As everything goes to the digital world, so does the job of signing things. E-signature software has risen up quite significantly in popularity in the last few years. Although it does not sound as ground-breaking as a fingerprint sensor on the back of your phone or a personalized music service, it has its own practical benefits and uses. E-signature software is fairly simple and straightforward. You use it to get stuff signed and manage approval requests without having to exchange hard copies. It makes an excellent way to make life easier and more convenient. There are several options on the market, but, fortunately, e-signature software is not among those over-saturated business technologies that require a gigantic budget and six-month procurement process. You can choose one of the few market leaders, and get started right away with minimum risk.
EchoSign and DocuSign are currently two of the most popular e-signature services. However, before you spend your bucks on either of the two options, it is wise to know the differences first. This way, you can get going smoothly without having to move to a more suitable service later. Continue reading below!
Let’s start with EchoSign. The very first thing that you may need to know about this product is that it is no longer called EchoSign – at least not officially. It was purchased by Adobe in 2011, and is now called Adobe Sign. It is now a part of Acrobat.com, a suite of cloud-based software applications developed by Adobe Systems. Still, it is often referred as EchoSign by many people.
EchoSign is an automated electronic signature solution that enables the users to send, sign, track, and file online digital documents securely. With EchoSign, there is no need to download or install anything. It is an online service that is accessed via a web browser. It also allows you to send and sign from mobile devices. As a part of Acrobat.com, it well integrated with other Adobe apps, such as Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat. It is also compatible with leading cloud-based automation tools such as NetSuite and SalesForce.com. It is used by several big customers such as The Global Fund, Workday, Unum, and Kia Motors of America.
On the other hand, DocuSign is an e-signature and digital transaction management service that facilitates exchanges of digital contracts and documents. Its features include user identity management, authentication services, and workflow automation. DocuSign has been used by Community Energy, Cisco, and Georgia Department of Community Supervision.
DocuSign is available in several “general use” editions suitable for individuals and most businesses, and in three versions dedicated for real estate businesses. The four shelf-priced editions are Personal, Standard, Business, and Business Premium. There is also the Enterprise edition, which is created with customs based on the user’s requirements and is priced by the sales team. The basic subscription costs are fairly low for individuals and small teams, but the expenses can increase significantly if you need the advanced features and support. All editions come with the basic templates, custom fields, workflows, and audit trails.
EchoSign comes with fewer pricing options. There are three editions, which are Individual, Business, and Enterprise. One great thing about EchoSign is that it does not limit the number of documents that you can send in the entry-level subscription. The Business subscription is actually more affordable than DocuSign’s, yet with similar features. The Enterprise subscription also has a custom pricing based on the requirements from the customer.
Of course, both EchoSign and DocuSign allow you to send documents and request e-signatures from people, but they do have different features and processes. DocuSign starts with you choosing a document. Then, you need to specify the recipients required to sign it, designate the required fields including address or company name, and finally send it to the listed recipients. Once the recipients signed the document, it is stored for you, and the system sends an automatic alert to the key stakeholders.
DocuSign also has the Transaction Room, in which teams and groups can share a secure space to review and comment on documents. This feature is very useful and practical if you work or communicate with other people in handling some of your documents.
Meanwhile, EchoSign starts with you entering the recipients’ email addresses. You can then add the file that needs to be signed. You can optionally add a custom message. Then, you specify the identity verification measures, add fields and signature blocks, and send the document. After the recipients return the document, all parties get the copy of the signed document in PDF. There is the Manage tab, through which you can track the progress and whether your file has been seen or not.
EchoSign allows workflow customization so that you can set specific processes according to your business and regulatory needs. You can customize these workflows to trigger invoicing or order fulfillment, for example. There is no feature equivalent to DocuSign’s Transaction Room, but this is not a huge drawback if you are already using a cloud-based file sharing service.
Of course, we can send all of our documents by logging into our trusty e-signature app, but we can save a considerable amount of time if we can just embed the e-signature functionality into our workflow. For example, instead of leaving the CRM to send the doc via a separate app, it is much faster and more convenient if we can dispatch the signature request from inside the opportunity page directly. For that to happen, our e-signature app should be able to exchange data with the systems that you use, either through a plug-and-play integration or API.
EchoSign has a wide range of native integrations, including Google Drive and Google Apps, Office 365, Box, Salesforce, Workday, SharePoint, Netsuite, and Oracle. However, the custom API integrations are limited to the Enterprise subscription. So, if you want to insert the e-signature functionality into your specific workflow, you may need to pay for the significantly higher subscription price.
On the other hand, DocuSign has over 140 native integrations, including Google Drive, Office 365, Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Salesforce, Netsuite, Oracle Sales Cloud, and SharePoint. In order to use the CRM integrations, you will have to buy the Enterprise edition. But DocuSign gives open access to all third-party and custom API integrations on any product tier, including Personal. It even has a developer sandbox for testing custom-made integrations before they go live.
|- Available in three product tiers, which are Individual, Business, and Enterprise||- Available in four shelf-priced editions (Personal, Standard, Business, Business Premium) and one custom Enterprise edition|
|- Has the Manage tab for tracking progress||- Has the Transaction Room for a secure shared space|
|- Native integrations with various apps and services||- Native integrations with over 140 apps and services|
|- Custom API integrations are limited to the Enterprise tier||- Custom API integrations are available for all tiers, complete with a developer sandbox for testing|
Each of the two e-signature services has its own advantages and strengths. If you plan to embed the e-signature functionality into a website or a proprietary app, DocuSign’s APIs and built-in sandbox are great. However, if you are already happy with the native integrations and you have to edit and customized PDFs regularly, you may benefit more from EchoSign’s seamless interaction with other Adobe apps.