DocuSign Acquires ARX

March 11th, 2015

SAN FRANCISC, March 11, 2015 – DocuSign, Inc. (DocuSign®) announced its acquisition of Algorithmic Research, Ltd. (ARX). The acquisition builds on a three year business partnership between DocuSign and ARX, bringing together ARX’s CoSign digital signature technology with DocuSign’s Digital Transaction Management (DTM) platform. No financial details about the deal were disclosed but Israeli newspapers estimate DocuSign is paying $30-50 million.

Way back in 1997, ARX was sold already once to Cylink for $83 million. But Cylink did not survive the bubble and fell back into the hands of its management and employees in a buyout. Since then the company has focused on digital signature solutions.

Gerald Cäsar“This continues DocuSign’s strategy of buying market share in the e-signature market,” stated Gerald Cäsar, xyzmo owner and CEO. “Already in the last years, DocuSign primarily tried to win market share with very high marketing expenses, assuming that the competition did not have the money to match these expenses. With the backing of large investors, that assumption proved to be right. For many years for 1 USD revenue, DocuSign invested close to 1 USD in sales and marketing.

This new acquisition of ARX fits very well into its strategy to dominate the e-signature market using money. The rationale is that customers want to make a safe decision and buy from the largest company. Many of them will not realize initially that the company uses proprietary standards and that they have to pay for these high marketing and acquisition costs to enable a decent exit for the current DocuSign investors.

This is unlike xyzmo, which does not try to force its standards on its clients. It has based its technology on the most widely approved international open standards, like the ISO PDF standard and true digital signatures, and it does not use proprietary e-signature technology. You do not need to be a xyzmo customer or visit xyzmo’s website to check the validity of your documents. This is fundamentally different from DocuSign. There you are very much dependent on the vendor: your e-signature is valid only as long as you keep paying. But you need to have evidence that can’t expire, and that requires a method of verification that’s independent of the e-signature vendor.”

This series of posts will help you to understand what a remote online e-signing solution needs to provide. This is post 2/5.

2 Managing the Last Mile

Especially in online scenarios where the document recipients needs to sign remotely without a physical face-to-face meeting, it’s vital that the e-signature software ensures proper process execution, maximizes automation of all steps, and only raises alerts and reminders if something goes wrong. This can dramatically reduce the work-effort involved in getting documents signed as, typically, more than 80 percent of all signature transactions do not require any manual interaction of the sender.

2.1 Creating transactions using envelopes

Often, a transaction consists of signing multiple documents. Using an “envelope” concept, you can define which documents belong to a single transaction and thus need to be signed together to successfully accomplish this.

2.2 Routing

With routing rules you can define the persons that need to sign a specific document and should have access to it once it is completed—either as a signed original or as a flattened copy. This may be done either in parallel as a bulk routing, or sequentially whereby you define the precise order in which each recipient will receive the envelope.



2.3 Defining document ceremony per recipient

Here, you simply define online in a web browser what each recipient has to do to successfully complete his/her part of the transaction—be it filling out a form field, adding a particular attachment, or signing signature fields. Alternatively, you simply define these tasks automatically from external applications through API calls, or use text markers to define signature fields within a document.



2.4 Reminders and alerts

Send Envelope


With reminders, you can define rules to remind your recipients of their signing tasks and to expire documents if they are not signed within a certain time frame. Using alerts, you can remind the sender that a specific document is not yet signed.



2.5 Dashboards

Dashboard views are important to give a quick overview about the status of your envelopes and documents. Good dashboards not only provide a good overview, but also allow a fast drill down to areas that require your attention—minimizing the number of navigation steps you need to follow to accomplish your tasks.




… read more next week.

rp_xyzmo_ipad_1200_627_transparent-300x156.pngMaximising the value of digital transformation is important in most industries—and critical for survival against competition for some. Organizations that sell virtual rather than physical products, especially, have a cost base that is largely focused on processing and servicing, which makes such organizations highly sensitive to digital transformation. For these, there needs to be a concerted focus on automating core activities to boost self-service and “straight through” transaction processing.

With online e-signing it’s easy to complete a business process and to get documents signed on any device without having to meet the recipient in-person. Simply send documents out for signature to other people, get instant visibility into your document status, access completed documents, and much more. Whether you or your recipients are in the office, at home, or on the go, online e-signing works every time from every device.

If you send documents out for signature, the recipient gets an email with a link to your document and can sign on a smartphone, tablet, or any web/HTML5-enabled device without the need to download anything. You can have multiple signers and get them to sign in the order you need. E-signatures don’t just let you reach customers on the devices they most commonly use; they also let you create compliance and comfortable engagement. E-signature solutions allow you to build in markers (tags) and metadata about documents that can help consumers understand what they are signing and what fields they have to fill out. To eliminate human error, electronic documents can also include auto-check tools that identify common mistakes. All these functions together add up to a better customer experience.

This series of posts will help you to understand what a remote online e-signing solution needs to provide. With an emphasis on why the last mile to the signer needs to be closely managed and what this includes, it will help you to select the most appropriate methodologies for authenticating a remote signer. Then we will discuss the most fitting use for each signing technology—biometric, HTML5, or certificate-based signing—and why this is, depending on the actual use case. There you will see that e-signing is about more than simply signing digital documents — it’s about optimizing productivity. Finally, we also illustrate the end-to-end business process that a real-customer (The Phone House) has implemented.

1         Typical Functionalities

Online signing solutions typically consist of the following three basic functionalities:

  • Preparing and sending
  • Signing
  • Managing

Each task has certain typical steps, as outlined below.

1.1        Preparing and sending

  • Start a new “envelope” (a container used to send one or more documents for signature)
  • Add documents (and other content types)
  • Add recipients
  • If you are uploading a PDF document with form fields, the fields are automatically detected
  • Place tags/markers in the document for signatures, attachments and other information
  • Add your subject and email message
  • Set recipient options, reminders, expirations, and more
  • Send the envelope/document for signature.

1.2        Signing

  • Signers receive an email with a link to the document
  • They click the link
  • There is typically no need to download or sign up for anything
  • They may have to further authenticate themselves
  • They can review and print the document or complete form fields and add attachments
  • Whenever they are ready, they sign using a mouse or stylus by hand (on their smartphone, tablet, PC, etc.), or they “Click to sign” or “Type to sign” from any web-enabled device.

1.3        Managing

  • Typically, you will have implemented a dashboard to check the status of your documents. This way you always know where your document is in the signing process. You can set reminders and be notified at each step of the process.
  • Further, you can manage internal users and adjust branding by Business Line or Use Case if required.

Preparing, sending, and managing are discussed in more detail in section 2—“Managing the Last Mile.” What needs to be done to actually sign a document that is distributed via the web is then discussed in detail in the following sections, which also describe the two main steps in this process:

  • User (signer) authentication (see Section 3)
  • Signature execution (see Section 4).

… read more next week.

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