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In this guest blog post, Holly Muscolino, IDC's Group Vice President of Content Strategies and the Future of Work, highlights recent survey results of HR decision makers around the drivers and benefits associated with deploying eSignature software as part of a broader digitization and integration initiative.

Transforming HR Document Processes with eSignature

Guest IDC Blogger: Holly Muscolino, Group Vice President, Content Strategies and the Future of Work

Date: May 17, 2022

Sponsored By: SAP

Do you remember how HR handled things in 2019? Hiring, onboarding, benefits enrollment – in fact, most document-centric processes – encompassed a combination of digital and physical tasks. For example, an offer letter might have originated digitally. It was sent as an email attachment to be printed, signed, scanned, and emailed back. The letter then may have been printed and filed. The process was inefficient, but it worked.

Then it was 2020.  Technologies that were previously considered "nice-to-haves" suddenly became crucial in a hybrid work environment to ensure business continuity. Technology gaps were exposed in business processes that worked fine onsite but failed in the context of remote work, including when digital documents had to be manually routed, faxed, scanned, or printed for signature.

One of these newly mission-critical technologies is electronic signature (or esignature). eSignature software refers to software and cloud-service solutions that issue an encrypted, signed document from a sender, transport it via a secure communications channel, present the document to one or more signers, record the signers' actions, re-encrypt the document, and return it to the originator via secured communications.

eSignature software is essential for enabling end-to-end digital document workflows, replacing processes that are manual and print-centric or that require paper-based steps. In a recent IDC survey of 102 HR decision makers, one third indicated that the shift to hybrid work models and enabling signing for remote workers were important drivers in adopting esignature technology.  In addition to the more traditional business drivers such as decreased transaction time and increased security, improved customer (CX) and employee experience (EX) were also near the top of the list (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: eSignature Drivers

  • What were the primary drivers for deploying an esignature solution at your organization?

For signatures and documents to be digital, the relevant document workflows must also be digital. This means deploying esignature software as part of a broader digitization and integration initiative. That effort needs to be methodical and thoughtful — and truly transformational — to avoid the risk of building existing inefficiencies into automated processes. Of course, digitized processes must be secure. Organizations must also remain cognizant of the regulations and laws that apply to esignatures and ensure that digitized workflows continue to comply with industry, government, and regional regulations.

The efforts are worth the benefits, and the benefits are compelling (see Figure 2). Over one third of HR decision makers experienced reduced transaction time and greater operational efficiency by deploying an esignature solution; 34% noted improved CX and 28% saw improved EX. In fact, respondents told IDC that they achieved a 6.6% improvement in CX metrics and an 8.2% improvement in EX as a result of deploying an esignature solution.

Figure 2: eSignature Benefits

  • Which of the following business benefits did your organization experience as a result of deploying esignature solutions?

To transform HR document workflows with an esignature solution, start by evaluating existing HR document processes, especially those that are bottlenecks or prone to errors.  Remember that esignature must be part of a broader strategy for digitizing, automating, and transforming document-centric HR processes. The transformation of document-centric business processes will be most successful as part of an organization's overall digital transformation initiatives. As part of the process, organizations should also:

  • Develop metrics to measure progress including reduced cost, increased productivity, improved security and compliance, and improved customer engagement and employee satisfaction.

  • Select technologies that integrate well with existing front-office and back-office business applications. Common use cases are recruiting, employee onboarding, contracts with contingent workers, and commission plans Work with vendors that have out-of-the box connectors and/or robust APIs.

  • Seek out vendors that can assist globally with all the above and that are equipped with the necessary solutions and professional services expertise to address business-critical issues around content security, data privacy, and regulatory compliance.

Transforming HR document processes with esignature not only produces better employee and customer experiences. It also enables your organization to be more agile and resilient, which provides a distinct advantage in today's competitive job market.

To learn more about how esignature can transform HR document process visit SAP Signature Management by DocuSign at

About Holly

Holly Muscolino is the Group Vice President, Content Strategies and the Future of Work, responsible for research related to innovation and transformation in content solutions, including intelligent document processing, esignature, imaging and printing and other content workflow services. Ms. Muscolino’s core coverage also includes work transformation, technology & digital skills research, and the role of technology in driving the Future of Work.