New AIIM Research Shows More Than Half of Business Executives are Mistakenly Wedded to Signatures on Paper for Contracts, Order Forms

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Confusion reigns over E-Signature requirements ahead of upcoming EU eIDAS regulations

Keeping paper files because of a misguided belief that signatures are required for compliance needs to be addressed.

Fifty-six percent of business executives are wedded to signatures on paper for contracts and order forms, according to new research from information management analysts, AIIM. Thirty-one percent of respondents agree that most of the paper documents they retain are only there for the signatures.

With new EU eIDAS regulations set to come into force on July 1, 2016, there remains widespread confusion over the use of E-Signatures from country to country. eIDAS will end over-regulation caused by different interpretations of the directive into national laws and clearly define where and how E-Signatures can be deployed.

AIIM is launching a white paper with Kofax from Lexmark: "E-Signatures in Europe: Understanding the legal requirements for proof of intent" to bring clarity to eIDAS and what it means for organizations across the EU.

“Keeping paper files because of a misguided belief that signatures are required for compliance needs to be addressed, but the different legislation across the EU has been confusing for multinational organizations,” said Bob Larrivee, chief analyst, AIIM. “eIDAS serves as the functional requirement for businesses seeking to implement E-Signature technology, with a comfort level that if the solution they choose complies with eIDAS, it complies with the regulations of any EU member country.”

Every year AIIM holds World Paper Free Day, an initiative that takes place on November 4 in 2016 and challenges us to take solid steps on the path to using less paper, eliminating the waste and confusion that piles of office paper can create. The AIIM research showed that a perceived need for physical signatures was one of the main reasons given for there being so much paper in business processes, although 79 percent of respondents also agreed that all businesses should have an E-Signature mechanism.

The benefits of E-Signature range from productivity to defensibility, and help organizations achieve a much better customer experience. The key is to understand which type of E-Signature must be used for compliance reasons, and how it will be used for business benefit.

“eIDAS addresses these requirements head-on, coming with streamlining of E-Signing terminology and making it easier for businesses to identify those elements of E-Signature use relevant to their business goals and practices,” said Larrivee. “E-Signatures are just one way of reducing paper in business processes, and we hope that our white paper can bring welcome clarity to eIDAS, and that World Paper Free Day 2016 can bring paper reduction to even greater prominence.”

“E-Signatures in Europe: Understanding the legal requirements for proof of intent” is available for download here.

Get involved with World Paper Free Day 2016 via social media:

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The survey was taken using a web-based tool by 430 individual members of the AIIM community between Aug. 14 and Sept. 2, 2015.

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