Table of Contents
As industries adopt hybrid operating models, e-signature solutions have become a critical tool for supporting traditional business functions.
The e-signature market has been steadily maturing for the past two decades but recently experienced accelerated growth triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, previous new entrants now offer comprehensive core signature capabilities. And longstanding leaders continue to expand platform offerings by bundling broad compliance functionality with advanced workflow and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven analytics.
With global regulatory support, the e-signature market now offers execution of virtually any type of transaction in any jurisdiction. Vendors may specialize in small use cases through mobile-rich interfaces and a streamlined set of core features, or focus on larger implementations that require administrative control and advanced platform add-ons. Solutions should support desktop, web, and mobile interfaces, and be based on a no-code configuration because non-technical business users tend to operate these products.
To be considered a true player in this space, an e-signature offering must support the core signature workflow (preparation, distribution, and execution) with basic compliance. This includes the ability to prepare a document by attaching data capture fields, securely sending that document to a recipient, and capturing the signature in a legally compliant fashion—a “simple,” “advanced,” or “qualified” signature (see Figure 1). Compliance with industry standards such as ESIGN and eIDAS requires that tools support multiple methods for identity authentication (SMS, email, password, and so on) and generate a comprehensive audit log of recipient details (IP, location, name, action).
Figure 1. Requirements for Legally Binding Signatures: Simple, Advanced, and Qualified.
Beyond simply removing the physical constraints of document processing, e-signature solutions offer several business benefits as well. Some of these include:
- Establishing signee identity through a wide range of user authentication methods that enable trust-based document execution.
- Distributing documents through a dedicated application allows users to track external recipient actions (such as viewed email, viewed document, or rejected) in a way that simple email distribution does not allow.
- Attaching structured data requests to otherwise free-form files allows businesses to automate end-to-end processes.
- Improving security through secure document storage, encryption, and role-based authentication helps to keep data confidential.
- Enhancing content customization allows businesses to manage branding and provide specific experiences to clients.
This GigaOm Radar report will help business leaders evaluate e-signature vendors based on the signature compliance provided (simple or advanced), important functionalities and requirements (Key Criteria and Evaluation Metrics), and pricing structure. In the accompanying GigaOm report “Key Criteria for Evaluating E-Signature Solutions,” we describe in more detail the key features and metrics that are used to evaluate vendors in this market.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.
2. Market Categories and Deployment Types
For a better understanding of the market and vendor positioning (Table 1), we assess how well solutions for e-signatures are positioned to serve specific market segments.
- Small-to-medium business (SMB): In this category, we assess solutions on their ability to meet the needs of organizations ranging from small businesses to medium-sized companies. Also assessed are departmental use cases in large enterprises, where ease of use and deployment are more important than extensive management functionality, data mobility, and feature set. This category includes assessment of how quickly users can onboard the solution and the richness of relevant mobile offerings.
- Large enterprise: Here offerings are assessed on their ability to support large and business-critical projects. Optimal solutions in this category will have a strong focus on flexibility, performance, and improve security and data protection. This includes comprehensive administrative controls that support role-based access configuration (RBAC) and enterprise-level user authentication (such as SSO), and features that provide business customization and branding.
In addition, we recognize three deployment models for solutions in this report: software as a service (SaaS), on-premises, or hybrid.
- SaaS: These solutions are available only in the cloud. Often designed, deployed, and managed by the service provider, they are available only from that specific provider. A big advantage of a SaaS solution for e-signatures is simple integration with other services offered by the service provider (document storage, for example).
- On-premises: These solutions can be installed on self-managed servers secured within enterprise infrastructure. This approach offers more control over update releases, resource allocation, and customization. Data security is another common priority when selecting this option. Often these implementations are more costly to deploy and maintain as compared to SaaS.
- Hybrid: A combination of cloud and on-premises deployments, allowing businesses to select which components should be secured by self-managed servers and which ones can be streamlined via cloud integration.
Table 1. Vendor Positioning
|Adobe Acrobat Sign|
|Exceptional: Outstanding focus and execution|
|Capable: Good but with room for improvement|
|Limited: Lacking in execution and use cases|
|Not applicable or absent|
3. Key Criteria Comparison
Building on the findings from the GigaOm report, “Key Criteria for Evaluating E-Signature Solutions” Table 2 summarizes how each vendor included in this research performs in the areas that we consider differentiating and critical in this sector. Table 3 follows this summary with insight into each product’s evaluation metrics—the top-line characteristics that define the impact each will have on the organization. The objective is to give the reader a snapshot of the technical capabilities of available solutions, define the perimeter of the market landscape, and gauge the potential impact on the business.
Table 2. Key Criteria Comparison
|Advanced Digital Signature||Data Fields & Templates||Advanced Distribution||Bulk Invite||Application & Service Integration||Analytics||Business Customization|
|Adobe Acrobat Sign|
|Exceptional: Outstanding focus and execution|
|Capable: Good but with room for improvement|
|Limited: Lacking in execution and use cases|
|Not applicable or absent|
Table 3. Evaluation Metrics Comparison
|Flexibility||Scalability||Ease of Use||Security & Compliance||Cost|
|Adobe Acrobat Sign|
|Exceptional: Outstanding focus and execution|
|Capable: Good but with room for improvement|
|Limited: Lacking in execution and use cases|
|Not applicable or absent|
By combining the information provided in the tables above, the reader can develop a clear understanding of the technical solutions available in the market.
4. GigaOm Radar
This report synthesizes the analysis of key criteria and their impact on evaluation metrics to inform the GigaOm Radar graphic in Figure 2. The resulting chart is a forward-looking perspective on all the vendors in this report, based on their products’ technical capabilities and feature sets.
The GigaOm Radar plots vendor solutions across a series of concentric rings, with those set closer to the center judged to be of higher overall value. The chart characterizes each vendor on two axes—balancing Maturity versus Innovation, and Feature Play versus Platform Play—while providing an arrow that projects each solution’s evolution over the coming 12 to 18 months.
Figure 2. GigaOm Radar for E-Signature Solutions
As you can see in the Radar chart in Figure 2, products in this space range from innovative, feature-focused solutions to mature platforms. E-signature functionality is increasingly offered with capability add-ons, such as contract lifecycle management (CLM), document collaboration software, and expanding suites of third-party integrations. Innovation has been focused on content creation outside of standard drag-and-drop data fields, along with advanced workflow via robotics process automation (RPA) and AI-powered analytics.
DocuSign and Adobe are market leaders, each providing longstanding solutions that they continue to optimize and bundle with broader document management capabilities (like CLM and document clouds). Nitro Sign has emerged as a leader with its acquisition of Connective, providing a platform suite with aggressive pricing and best-in-class functionality.
Citrix RightSignature, sitting outside the leadership circle, benefits from a full Citrix suite of applications and will continue to advance toward a leadership position as its e-signature capability matures.
Several challengers are poised to become leaders in the next 12 months, however. Foxit eSign and HelloSign represent comprehensive e-signature suites that support broad use cases, while PandaDoc continues to optimize content creation and ease of use. SignNow and OneSpan Sign both offer full-featured alternatives with innovative functionality such as RPA (via SignNow) and fraud detection enabled by machine learning (ML) algorithms (via OneSpan Sign). Box Sign is rapidly accelerating into platform territory as it enhances core e-signature functionality embedded within the overall Box suite.
Finally, several challengers offer dedicated solutions for specific use cases. Signeasy and eversign specialize in simple signatures that are easy to onboard and offer mobile-rich interfaces. Sertifi is a platform focused on hospitality and travel payment use cases, while GetAccept is sales focused through innovative digital salesroom collaboration.
Flexible pricing is supported across the sector and ranges from inexpensive, unlimited options to custom enterprise subscriptions.
Prospective buyers have a wealth of options when choosing an e-signature solution and businesses should consider their use case, licensing needs, and the signature type and features they require to find the best fit for their needs.
Inside the GigaOm Radar
The GigaOm Radar weighs each vendor’s execution, roadmap, and ability to innovate to plot solutions along two axes, each set as opposing pairs. On the Y axis, Maturity recognizes solution stability, strength of ecosystem, and a conservative stance, while Innovation highlights technical innovation and a more aggressive approach. On the X axis, Feature Play connotes a narrow focus on niche or cutting-edge functionality, while Platform Play displays a broader platform focus and commitment to a comprehensive feature set.
The closer to center a solution sits, the better its execution and value, with top performers occupying the inner Leaders circle. The centermost circle is almost always empty, reserved for highly mature and consolidated markets that lack space for further innovation.
The GigaOm Radar offers a forward-looking assessment, plotting the current and projected position of each solution over a 12- to 18-month window. Arrows indicate travel based on strategy and pace of innovation, with vendors designated as Forward Movers, Fast Movers, or Outperformers based on their rate of progression.
Note that the Radar excludes vendor market share as a metric. The focus is on forward-looking analysis that emphasizes the value of innovation and differentiation over incumbent market position.
5. Vendor Insights
Adobe Acrobat Sign
Headquartered in California, Adobe has been synonymous with PDFs for almost four decades. In 2011 it acquired EchoSign, enhancing its e-signature capability. Leveraging the Adobe Document Cloud, this solution packages market-leading document functionality with a globally compliant and feature-rich e-signature offering. Adobe is a leading provider in this space, in use across almost all jurisdictions worldwide.
The Adobe e-signature solution supports native advanced signatures through digital certificates integrated with PDF functionality and compliant public-key encryption (ESIGN, eIDAS). It also integrates with over 20 trusted service providers (TSPs), enabling a flexible, qualified e-signature (QES) capability. Along with support for more than 32 languages and leading security certification (SOC 2, ISO 27001, GDPR, FedRAMP Tailored, IRAP), Adobe Acrobat Sign can be used globally.
Data-field configuration is enhanced by deep PDF integration and a broad range of customization options. An extensive list of fields and types can be placed in any location of the document and customized with conditional rules, visibility logic, and regular expression (regex) validation. Native digital forms can be created from scratch, and fields can be mapped easily to source systems via pre-configured service integration. This mapping allows fields to be pre-populated during preparation and then provides extractable metadata for downstream systems post-execution.
Adobe Acrobat Sign also provides a highly configurable workflow interface. Using an event creator and matrix configurator, users can quickly specify tasks, actions, recipients, and other parameters without any coding required. Workflows can be saved and reused as templates for additional efficiency. A standard bulk send is also available through a .csv upload feature. While each UI drives sufficient ease of use, businesses should factor in onboarding time for new users given the breadth of features and customization available.
The Adobe Document Cloud offers an extensive suite of hundreds of third-party applications to automate or embed functionality in virtually any business software. This solution also supports an advanced set of business customization options, including logo updates, header/footer edits, company redirects, and custom landing pages.
Standard analytics is available via a pre-configured dashboard that summarizes usage statistics and customizable reports.
Adobe offers cloud deployment only, leveraging extensive APIs to create a customizable platform experience. Supporting millions of interactions at once makes this a highly scalable solution. Common enterprise requirements are supported along with extensive team administrative control, user authentication, and role-based access. Pricing is flexible enough to support high-volume and feature-limited use cases for SMB customers as well.
Strengths: Adobe Acrobat Sign is a leading e-signature solution that provides best-in-class document configuration through deep PDF integration. Advanced workflow, branding customization, and advanced-signature compliance make this solution suitable for almost any use case.
Challenges: While each interface drives sufficient ease of use, onboarding effort should be factored in for teams learning to use the wide range of features and customization options. Out-of-the-box analytics and bulk campaign support are less differentiated than its other feature sets.
Headquartered in Amsterdam, SignRequest was founded in 2014 as a core e-signature solution. It was acquired by Box and re-branded in 2021, and this product (Box Sign) is now available through the Box Content Cloud platform at no additional cost. As a result, Box Sign continues to specialize in SMB use cases and optimize usability, but is poised for platform expansion into other document management use cases and integrations.
Box Sign supports both simple and advanced signatures that are eIDAS and ESIGN compliant. It does so through algorithmic hash codes and digital certificates generated post-execution. This approach supports smaller use cases that still require increased tamper-proofing and signee authentication. Box Sign is also ISO27001 certified and supports GDPR and 256-bit encryption during any document processing. Integration with the overall Box platform also enables enhanced data security through granular access controls and auto-classification of sensitive documents. Multiple two-factor authentication methods are supported, including SMS and email.
Through the Box Relay product, users can configure an extensive set of workflow parameters in a no-code, process-modeling UI that’s easy to onboard to and navigate. Requests can support multiple recipients, documents, actions (approve, attach, watch), verification actions, and signing orders. For mass outreach, a bulk-invite feature is available through Excel upload of recipient details. Document requests can be tracked individually in a summary queue.
Data-capture fields are limited to basic options like signature, name, date, and text. These are applied to the document in a drag-and-drop interface but don’t allow for advanced conditional logic or validation. Box Sign does not support digital form creation at this time. Analytics is limited to minimal exportable reports, and there’s no dashboard summary.
Business customization is supported by team administration functionality. Each team can configure UI elements such as logos, banners, email text, and custom landing pages for clients. Team groups support role-based access and single sign-on, enabling enterprises to deploy this solution as well. This is a SaaS-only vendor, so on-premises or hybrid deployments are not supported.
Box Sign supports over 20 languages and is compliant with most jurisdictions worldwide. A mobile-rich feature set allows users to action documents from anywhere, along with multiple third-party integrations including notary via SIGNiX, Salesforce, HR onboarding, and UiPath for complex workstreams. Box Sign also supports its own APIs and SDKs across multiple development languages for custom integration requirements.
SMBs continue to be a focus for this vendor, offering a good breadth of functionality at a highly affordable price. Free options are available that support smaller use cases, along with basic plans that include unlimited document perks. An easily navigable UI focused on core e-signature functionality also helps decrease onboarding costs and generates efficiency through ease of use.
Strengths: Box Sign offers optimized e-signature functionality at an affordable price. SMBs benefit from support for smaller use cases with advanced-signature execution also available. Ease of use is strong, with a mobile-optimized application and modern UI components.
Challenges: Box Sign is focused on core functionality and doesn’t offer many differentiating features such as advanced data configuration or analytics support. Box’s acquisition is likely to drive development in these areas.
RightSignature was founded in 2009 and acquired by Citrix in 2014, pairing the core e-signature solution with Citrix Podio, Citrix ShareFile, and Citrix Content Collaboration. As a result, this solution offers broadened platform and integration capabilities for simple signature use cases. Citrix is headquartered in Florida and supports a global community of workspace developers.
Citrix RightSignature focuses on simple-signature use cases and compliance with US-specific regulations (ESIGN, UETA). Advanced signature and eIDAS support are not currently available but are on the roadmap for 2022. Standard functionality to prepare documents is supported via drag-and-drop data fields and some auto-fill capability if relevant system integrations are available. Bulk-invite requirements are supported by mass distribution links that users can self-select.
The user experience is enhanced by embedding Citrix RightSignature with the full document lifecycle in a single space via Citrix FileShare. Housed within the Citrix Content Collaboration workspace, users can support all document functions with efficiency and ease. Users can securely share data with external and internal teams, collect feedback and proactively break down bottlenecks. Configurable integration of more than 10 applications and self-serve APIs allow for further centralization of work across multiple functions.
Workflow support is enhanced significantly with Citrix Podio. This add-on allows comprehensive process configuration via a business process modeling (BPM)-type environment. Users can specify custom tasks, recipient actions, and decision gateways, allowing for end-to-end digitization of complex document requests. These parameters are available in a no-code interface, along with quick configuration of other third-party application services. Citrix Podio also enables native digital form creation, facilitating quick document setup that captures and transfers data as required through the same workflow definition.
Additionally, Citrix supports enhanced analytics via its Citrix Analytics Service. This capability aggregates data across the Citrix Content Collaboration solutions and other platform applications to support cross-functional objectives and help predict business risk. Dashboarding is available via configurable widgets based on sourced data and specializing in performance, security, and usage parameters.
Although globally available, Citrix specializes in US requirements with limited additional jurisdiction and eight language support options. Citrix RightSignature is a SaaS-only solution (on-premises or hybrid deployments are not supported).
Citrix RightSignature supports both SMB and enterprise requirements through flexible pricing and administrative support. Pricing is based on number of users or a customized subscription for larger implementations. Pricing also increases depending on the functionality and add-ons required.
This solution has an easy-to-navigate user interface across its platform, with support for desktop, web, and mobile usage. RBACs help administrators manage security across multiple teams and datasets. Encryption is supported at the 256-bit level, along with HIPAA and SOC 2 certification.
Strengths: Citrix RightSignature leverages advanced platform add-ons to enable comprehensive workflow digitization capabilities, customizable analytics, and centralized document collaboration. Users benefit from a single workspace that becomes more valuable with Citrix-supported integrations (third-party or service based).
Challenges: Support for advanced signatures and eIDAS compliance would expand the range of document use cases that can be executed via Citrix RightSignature. This additional compliance, along with more language support, would morph this solution into a more globally viable one.
DocuSign has been a leader in the e-signature space for the past two decades, developing into a platform focusing on enterprise support and global compliance. In addition to its core e-signature offering, other products provided by this vendor include DocuSign Agreement Cloud, CLM, Analyzer (contract analytics), and Gen (document generation).
DocuSign focuses on comprehensive compliance to ensure enterprises can support any use-case requirement with this solution. Beyond supporting ESIGN, UETA, and eIDAS, this vendor is a TSP in Europe, enabling native QES in addition to advanced and simple offerings. The highest level of compliance measures—such as GDPR, ISO 27001, SOC 2, and 256-bit encryption—are included via its Trust Center. Extensive user-authentication options with RBAC enable larger use cases to be deployed at scale via the cloud or on-premises with a custom installation.
The core e-signature solution consists of an extensive data configuration capability that allows users to add any data field (standard or custom) to a document. DocuSign supports digital form creation, PDF conversion with auto-recognition of fields, and pre-population mapping with third-party applications. Users can configure conditional formatting, visibility logic, and regex validation settings through a no-code UI.
Advanced workflow configuration is supported through its CLM add-on, enabling extensive customization via a BPM editor. Agreement Cloud helps store and integrate document processes with a comprehensive set of over 350 third-party applications, along with open APIs for custom development. For certain use cases, DocuSign also supports blockchain-enabled solutions for an efficient and decentralized implementation.
Advanced AI analytics capabilities leverage DocuSign data and provide users with customizable metric visualizations or predictive reporting. And given its enterprise focus, a comprehensive set of branding configuration options is available for white-labeling email addresses, creating landing pages, and redirecting to websites for an optimal signing experience.
Ease of use is impacted by the extent of functionality included in the application. Especially for large enterprise deployments, significant training time and effort are required to onboard the solution. Pricing flexibility is limited by small volume caps for SMB customers, and subscription add-ons can make this solution expensive.
Users can access features from any device, including feature-rich mobile options. Almost any file type is supported, along with native support for over 40 languages. And scalability is best-in-class for this segment, as the solution supports millions of interactions simultaneously.
Strengths: DocuSign delivers best-in-class signature compliance, advanced workflow, integration options, and extensive enterprise support. This vendor is now innovating in AI analytics and blockchain capabilities to lead the next generation of e-signature solution sets.
Challenges: This solution can be more expensive for simpler use cases because of add-ons and extensive administrative functionality that may not be required. Onboarding effort should be considered when onboarding new teams and users, as there is a vast amount of functionality to learn and adopt.
eversign is a Vienna-based vendor that was founded in 2015. Catering to simple signature use cases and the SMB market, this solution packages core e-signature functionality into a usable and affordable application.
eversign focuses on simple-signature execution and is fully compliant with ESIGN, UETA, and eIDAS regulations. This compliance includes providing audit trails of key request data and supporting multiple signee authentication options (SMS, email, and so on). While advanced-signature methods such as fingerprints are supported, advanced and qualified signatures requiring digital certificates are not supported. This solution offers standard security certifications, including GDPR, while also protecting documents with 256-bit encryption methods. Only cloud-based deployment is available.
Although focused on smaller use cases and SMBs, eversign can support multi-team and enterprise requirements. RBAC is enabled via configurable administrative functionality, along with user authentication (OAuth). Pricing plans are flexible for small to large use cases, including a cost-effective unlimited plan covering most SMB scenarios.
A simple data field interface allows users to drag and drop basic elements onto a previously uploaded document. Some configuration is available to validate syntax and define data labels for API calls that can extract metadata. Native document creation or more complex conditional logic is not supported, however.
In the same interface, users are able to configure workflow elements such as recipient contact details, authentication methods, signing orders, and add watchers. eversign also supports and tracks reassignment if required. Templates can be created that combine configured data fields and workflow details for efficient re-use.
A set of APIs and SDKs supports further efficiency for custom integration with business systems or through third-party applications provided by Zapier. Bulk send is now supported, allowing .csv files to be uploaded with up to 250 recipients, which are then pre-configured in the workflow details page.
Business customization allows enterprises to configure common UI elements with their logo, enables redirects to company pages, and offers other options via a business details configurator. A pre-configured dashboard is available for simple summaries and basic analytics support across teams.
eversign is available globally and natively supports 13 languages. Six common file types are supported for upload (including .pdf, .doc, .ppt, and .txt), along with additional types such as auto-converted images. A mobile website that optimizes key features is also available for on-the-go execution. Interfaces are easy to use given the simplicity of the feature set, with common menu elements, embedded processes, and iframe white label solutions allowing for quick onboarding and navigation.
Strengths: eversign offers a core e-signature solution for simple signatures that focuses on ease of use. Pricing is flexible and includes many options for unlimited documents that make this solution cost-effective for most SMB use cases.
Challenges: eversign does not offer advanced signatures as per eIDAS standards. Data field configuration does not have advanced features such as digital form creation, and eversign lacks customization for its basic analytics capability.
Foxit has been a leader in PDF capabilities for much of the last two decades. In Q4 2021, it acquired eSign Genie, expanding its e-signature offering. Rebranded as Foxit eSign, this standalone product supports end-to-end e-signature use cases through comprehensive document creation capabilities, workflow digitization, and application integration.
The Foxit eSign application supports native PDF creation and a broad data-field suite to address any use case. Most common fields are available via a drag-and-drop UI, while users can define custom fields as required. Customization includes images, hyperlinks, and action buttons. Users can define complex conditional logic and visibility rules, along with regex validation. The application also supports easy-to-configure webhooks that either pre-populate data fields during preparation or update post-execution in other domain applications. All configuration is saveable and shareable in template files.
Workflow is configurable through a no-code UI that allows users to specify recipients, sequence, documents, reminders, and other common parameters. Foxit eSign specializes in bulk-invite use cases via its mass signature solutions. These solutions enable users to import contact data into an email group with configurable templates and a near real-time (<10 seconds) bulk operations dashboard to track progress. Additional workflow add-ons such as post-execution payments or faxing are available through further integrations.
Foxit eSign has deep integration with PDF, allowing users to self-sign and produce digital certificates without distributing any files. Users can navigate and drill down into the data of the audit certificate, all within the same PDF reader. A full set of APIs is provided by Foxit eSign, along with integration of common third-party applications via Zapier.
Basic analytics is customizable via report APIs or an out-of-the-box dashboard that summarizes usage statistics. Foxit eSign additionally supports standard branding customization through UI banners, logos, and email address white-labeling.
It also supports a high level of enterprise access control customization to ensure teams have visibility only into appropriate data and functionality. A comprehensive admin view allows provisioned users to modify access at a granular level.
Advanced signatures are available in over 100 countries through ESIGN and eIDAS compliance, with native support for 11 languages. QES is not currently available but will be released in 2022. More than 10 file types are available for upload and secured with 256-bit SSL encryption and SOC 2 certification. Pricing is highly flexible, supporting small to large use cases and custom subscription requirements.
Strengths: Foxit eSign has a recognizable brand and is now an all-around capable solution specializing in deep PDF integration, advanced data configuration and automation, and bulk-send support.
Challenges: Although Foxit eSign does not have any significant gaps in functionality support, it should continue to invest in more expansive integration, QES support, and add-on capabilities to keep up with leaders in this space.
GetAccept is an e-signature solution focused on specialized support for sales use cases. The solution consists of an all-in-one content-creation configurator, a sales autopilot workflow solution, document tracking support, and additional sales-focused integrations. Started in 2015, it is headquartered in Sweden with offices across Europe and the US, and has experienced a 5x growth in headcount since 2019.
GetAccept has developed a digitally-native content capability to enhance end-to-end sales workflows. It allows users to create highly custom documents with novel content, such as videos or presentations, and to collaborate in dedicated digital salesrooms. A drag-and-drop, no-code, data configurator enables a standard set of data fields to be added to all requests. This functionality includes the ability to apply conditional formatting and regex validation to any part of a document. GetAccept also provides a library of deal and contract-focused templates to leverage as desired.
In addition, data-field configuration is supported by available integration with sales and CRM platforms such as Salesforce or Pipedrive. Through no-code configuration, GetAccept allows for the automation of data transmission, enabling pre-population of fields and automated updates to sales applications post-execution. GetAccept supports integration via its own APIs, endpoints via Workato, more than 10 third-party CRM platforms, and several payment applications (like Stripe, for example).
For bulk use cases, requests are limited to up to a dozen recipients with manual configuration of documents and workflow parameters. In addition, an analytics page helps aggregate all requests in a metric-focused summary but without the ability to customize either the metrics or ad-hoc reports that are available to export.
An AI-powered branding capability allows companies to align requests to their branding through automated UI configuration by simply providing their website. This branding feature adds company logos and allows for custom text throughout the request pages. For larger clients, white labeling email domains is available by request.
Support for advanced signatures is available across more than 50 countries, primarily in Europe and North America. QES is not supported as GetAccept focuses on SMB and sales use cases that don’t often require that level of signature. A wide range of file types are supported for upload, along with digitally native document creation support. The UI generally requires extended onboarding time for a user to be trained on how to navigate and use key features within the application. Pricing is full-featured and flexible based on users, volume, or subscription geared towards SMB clients.
Strengths: GetAccept excels in supporting SMB sales use cases through video support, CRM data integrations, and enhanced business customization for each request. Digital salesrooms help streamline processes across various countries in Europe and North America.
Challenges: GetAccept focuses on specific sales requirements and does not support other common use cases such as bulk invites. The general UI should be enhanced to reduce training effort, along with enhancing analytics features for more customization and advanced insight.
Founded in 2011, HelloSign (headquartered in California) was initially focused on its HelloFax product and then broadened out to e-signature support and HelloWorks, an intelligent form builder. Acquired by Dropbox in 2019, it has since provided native integration with core document storage capabilities. HelloSign offers a compelling combination of feature breadth and SMB accessibility.
Despite being SMB focused, HelloSign offers a comprehensive e-signature solution compliant in most jurisdictions (ESIGN, eIDAS) and can execute QES through two integrated EU-based providers. Over 30 languages are supported along with virtually any file type for upload.
An intuitive drag-and-drop data-field editor is available to quickly prepare documents with basic requirements. HelloWorks provides more advanced functionality through a dedicated form builder that can be mapped back to uploaded documents. This includes conditional formatting, visibility rules, and regex validation. Fields are built in this interface and then tagged in the target document. Configurations are saveable via templates as desired.
Standard workflow configuration is enabled by a no-code editor that allows users to specify multiple recipients, sequence, watchers, and multiple documents per request. Integration with HelloFax provides automation when physical documents are required. A bulk-send capability is available, requiring a .csv upload to collect a large number of recipients at once (more than 20).
HelloSign offers over 20 third-party integrations to embed e-signature functionality in a common workspace and facilitate collaboration and use of CRM applications. A set of APIs is also available for developer-led customization. Business customization is supported by standard UI editing features across logo uploads, email text, address white-labeling, and company redirect functionality.
A minimal set of analytics is available out-of-the-box, including a pre-configured reporting function for export. Dashboard visualizations are limited to basic usage summaries and restricted to designated admins and managers.
HelloSign specializes in SMB support through mobile-optimized interfaces and cost-effective, unlimited-volume pricing models. Interfaces are highly rated by users and require minimal time and effort to onboard. Enterprise use cases are supported as well through administrative features and custom subscription pricing. Two-factor authentication and RBAC features ensure multi-team implementations are securely provisioned with appropriate data and functionality.
Benefiting from close integration with Dropbox, this solution supports comprehensive security certifications such as SOC 2, ISO 27001, and 256-bit encryption for document storage, retrieval, and transmission. This is a SaaS-only offering (on-premises or hybrid deployment models are not supported).
Strengths: HelloSign offers an unlimited-volume and cost-effective option for SMBs that require advanced and QES level compliance. This solution optimizes core e-signature functionality through optimized mobile interfaces and easy-to-use feature sets.
Challenges: HelloSign has minimal analytics functionality, which may reduce the ability to support common analysis requirements. Standard data configuration and workflow features are sufficient for most SMB use cases but miss an opportunity to provide more differentiation.
Founded in 2005 in Australia, Nitro is now headquartered in San Francisco and has grown to 3 million licensed users and over 13,000 business customers in 157 countries. Nitro has been a leader in the PDF productivity space for decades and launched the Nitro Productivity Platform in 2020, offering eSigning and e-ID capabilities, extensive PDF productivity, and advanced analytics. In Q4 2021, it acquired Connective, strengthening its e-signature offering with additional enterprise features. Rebranded as Nitro Sign Premium, this eSignature solution is coupled with products specializing in identity services, document generation, workflow automation, integrations, and PDF capabilities for almost any use case. The vendor aims to develop Nitro Sign into an extensive platform offering that will include CLM, intelligent document processing, and other functions analogous to e-signatures.
Nitro Sign supports a highly secure and hyper-local e-signature solution and is now a native provider of SES, AES, and QES. Through a specialized Identity Services API, this solution integrates with central government authentication services such as suisseID and France Connect to ensure the highest level of compliance within each jurisdiction. This includes over 30 eID and smart card integrations across more than 20 countries. Nitro Sign also supports general requirements across ESIGN, UETA, and eIDAS regulations.
Dynamic document generation allows users to customize data capture from a broad set of common and bespoke field types. Through expansive integration options, documents can be created natively through digital form building and pre-populated with data from other business applications. Templates can save mapped data fields and automate updates either during preparation or post-execution back to the business domain. Other data field configuration includes visibility logic and regex validation.
Workflow configuration is driven through a no-code UI that allows users to specify common parameters such as recipients, sequence, and reminders. A sign API was released in Q2 2016 to allow for custom integration, along with native support for at least 48 third-party applications such as Salesforce, PowerAutomate, SAP, and Talentsoft. Bulk-send use cases are supported via the same workflow configurator, leveraging templates for mass outreach. Audit trails are available for all processes.
Analytics is supported by an integrated add-on and allows a user to customize dashboarding and reports to support business-specific objectives. These reports are configurable via no-code UIs. Business customization is also supported, allowing clients to apply branding elements to common signing-page UI elements and white-labeling email addresses or the entire eSigning experience.
Nitro Sign offers an expanding platform with a pricing plan that does not upcharge for premium features and is only debited when a signature is completed (versus simply being sent). This approach helps it compete in both SMB and enterprise markets. This solution can be leveraged globally, with native support for 16 languages and common file types. Nitro Sign is also compliant with extensive security credentials, such as GDPR, ISO 27001, HIPAA, SOC 2, and eIDAS Trust Service Provider requirements. Additionally, this solution applies tamper-proof seals per signature rather than only sealing the whole document, allowing more flexibility and security for multiple signee use cases.
Strengths: Nitro Sign specializes in local compliance, including direct integrations with central government services, best-in-class security provisions, and AES/QES native support. Pricing plans include all premium features and only count successful signatures towards the plan.
Challenges: Nitro Sign is an all-around capable solution but should continue to focus on platform expansion to enhance workflow configuration and differentiate further in this space.
OneSpan Sign was founded in 2015 through the acquisition of Silanis Technology via OneSpan (formerly VASCO Data Security). Capabilities include identity verification, electronic signature, authentication, fraud analysis, and mobile app security. OneSpan Sign is an innovative e-signature offering that uses ML and advanced security measures to offer best-in-class compliance.
OneSpan Sign can provide simple, advanced, and qualified signatures. This solution offers adaptive authentication, a feature that uses advanced analytics across transaction data to determine the risk scoring and associated levels of protection required for each workflow. This ensures the right level of signature is always applied in each type of document request. OneSpan is also compliant with the EU Payment Service Directive (PSD2), enabling strong consumer authentication (SCA) for payment providers.
The core e-signature product includes a drag-and-drop data-field configurator and a no-code workflow wizard that is standard for this market. A full list of common data fields is available, along with conditional logic and some ability to pre-populate fields such as signee name. Users can upload multiple file types or create digital forms natively within the application itself. Standard configurable workflow parameters include recipient details, signing order, watchers, reminders, and document visibility rules. A bulk-send feature is also available for mass outreach by uploading a .csv file with recipient details.
Being part of the OneSpan platform, OneSpan Sign supports over 50 third-party integrations across almost any sector. Key examples include common collaboration and CRM platforms, such as Workday and Salesforce, along with a recent partnership with Smart Communications, a consumer experience platform. Common branding elements such as logos, UI banners, email addresses, and company redirects are supported for enterprise requirements.
Basic analytics across document processes are enabled through a pre-configured dashboard and customizable reporting. Advanced analysis powered by ML is included as a platform offering, enhancing fraud detection and securing mobile-native transactions. The ML algorithm collects data across recipients, determining behavior patterns and highlighting risks, and/or increasing authentication requirements for enhanced compliance in any jurisdiction. This innovative feature helps OneSpan Sign deliver best-in-class compliance in the e-signature market.
OneSpan Sign is available in more than 10 languages and through any interface (mobile, desktop, web). SMB and enterprises are both supported through cloud-only or on-premises deployment options. Role-based access and administrative control are available for multi-team use cases. Pricing is flexible across various user-based packages, with add-ons for advanced functionality and developer support requiring a premium.
Strengths: OneSpan Sign supports all signature types (simple to qualified) in a platform that offers innovative ML-driven authentication features to help determine what method should be utilized for each request. It’s a highly flexible solution across many languages, mobile interfaces, and core e-signature features.
Challenges: While OneSpan Sign supports advanced analytics and compliance features, this solution could include more differentiating functionality across document preparation, workflow, and execution phases. This can include investing in more expansive data configuration functionality and more complex workflow capabilities.
Founded in Silicon Valley in 2014, PandaDoc is a well-rounded e-signature solution that caters to common document use cases and supports enterprise and SMB customers. Focusing on document generation, workflow automation, and service integration, PandaDoc continues to optimize core e-signature functionality, emphasizing ease of use.
PandaDoc offers a comprehensive document-generation capability with advanced data-field configuration. Users can choose from standard drag-and-drop options or customize with no-code variables that automatically pre-populate data from integrated source systems. Content creation can be automated further through a vast library of pre-configured templates, specializing in proposals, quotes, and contract-type documents. Other advanced capabilities include video support, automated pricing tables, and native digital-form creation.
Workflow is supported through a similar no-code UI that allows users to configure contact details, actions, sequence, and reminders. PandaDoc also supports role configuration, allowing for a single document to be sent to a group of signees when legally appropriate. Assignment can be applied to the data-field level, and individual audit trails are created per recipient. A dedicated bulk-send function is available to upload .csv files with recipient contact data and trigger mass outreach with a single click.
Automation across document generation and workflow is supported by a library of over 30 third-party applications and developer-focused APIs. Special focus is given to CRM, collaboration, and sales platforms. Analytics are supported through a pre-configured dashboard that allows users to drill-down into document instances or individual recipients. Visualizations support common usage metrics and can be customized by row or column filters.
PandaDoc offers flexible pricing plans with unlimited document benefits and different tiers. Smaller businesses may be able to use freeware options, but add-on functionality comes with a cost premium. Ease of use continues to be a strength, with a well-regarded UI that helps reduce onboarding time and a broad feature set.
Available in over 100 countries and seven languages, PandaDoc supports simple and advanced-signature requirements. QES is out of scope for this solution. Scalability is sufficient for thousands of simultaneous interactions and can support most common file types for upload. PandaDoc is compliant with standard security certifications such as SOC 2, GDPR, and HIPAA. This solution also supports enterprise requirements such as role-based authentication and access controls configurable by administrative users. Only cloud-based deployments are supported, however, as this is a SaaS-only application.
Strengths: PandaDoc is a recognized brand in the e-signature space with an easy-to-use interface and strong media-configuration capabilities. Pricing models allow for unlimited documents and vary only by feature set.
Challenges: PandaDoc strives to be a generalist but risks being too expensive for basic use cases (as feature add-ons can drive up the price) and not feature-rich enough for larger businesses. Continued maturation of core e-signature features with aggressive pricing options will help it continue to appeal to SMBs and enterprises alike.
Founded in 2008, Sertifi has developed an agreement and authorization platform catering to the hospitality and travel sectors. This solution combines e-signature functionality with deep payment integration for optimized e-commerce processes. Sertifi is headquartered in Chicago and has offices worldwide.
This solution consists of two main components: Sertifi Agreement Platform and Sertifi Authorization Platform. The Agreement Platform enables core e-signature execution along with native payment workflows. Compliant with eIDAS and ESIGN, Sertifi supports only simple signature types, with no support for digital certificates required by advanced or qualified signatures. Standard workflow configurability allows users to specify up to 10 levels of signees, watchers, reassignment ability, and more. A bulk-send capability is enabled through a standard Excel (.xlsx) upload function to gather many recipient details at once.
Once a document is executed, SertifiPay allows instant payment collection through an out-of-the-box credit card authorization and e-commerce processing capability. Compliant with payment card industry (PCI) standards, Sertifi can collect credit card information securely and bill signees with transparent pricing schemes. Credit card numbers are hidden unless appropriate role-based access is available. A separate queue to help users manage refunds and voided transactions is available alongside standard e-signature tracking and audit.
Through the Authorization Platform, Sertifi ensures each transaction is secured from fraud and handled efficiently with template availability. In addition to payment gateway integration, Sertifi supports other applications such as Salesforce and document generation tools (Nintex, Conga). Standard branding customization through logo upload and text edits is available on signing page UIs. Analytics is limited to pre-configured report exports and non-customizable summary visuals that are available only to administrators.
Document preparation is supported by a drag-and-drop editor that allows for selecting and attaching data fields, along with the ability to manually add field codes to the document before upload. Beyond common capture fields, there is limited customization and no conditional rules or visibility logic available. Users cannot set up pre-population, and the look and feel of each capture field is not editable.
While most functionality is mobile-friendly, Sertifi does not offer a mobile application. Due to basic interfaces and the requirement to leave the platform for common functions like data preparation, ease of use is also impacted. Sertifi supports over 20 languages, standard industry security certifications (SOC 2, GDPR), and common pricing options.
Strengths: Sertifi specializes in hospitality and travel use cases with native payment integration, direct e-commerce support, and a core, simple-signature offering. Both SMB and enterprises are supported with flexible pricing and branding customization.
Challenges: Sertifi is limited to simple-signature support alone and has a UI requiring the user to leave the platform for common functions. Data field configuration has limited customization options, and basic analytics are available only for administrators.
Founded in 2010, Signeasy is one of the original mobile-first applications in the e-signature space. Focusing on ease of use and core functionality, it supports SMB clients with a web and mobile app with available APIs specializing in simple-document use cases. The company is headquartered in Texas and has a global presence in over 100 countries and 10 million users.
Signeasy has optimized a specific e-signature use case, in which only simple signatures are required, and users engage via mobile devices, web apps, or other third-party software (Google, Microsoft, Salesforce). Signeasy includes best-fit features required to execute these types of documents. This includes a no-code workflow interface that configures common parameters such as recipient details, sequence, watchers, and reminders. A document preparation interface allows for similar customization of data-capture fields from a standard library or the ability to choose from pre-saved templates. Workflow templates allow saving of common signee roles and sequences as well. A summary view is available in a management queue, showing users what document processes are outstanding and at what stage, along with resulting audit trails for reference.
Advanced signatures are not supported as per eIDAS requirements; the typical processes supported by this solution don’t require digital certificates. While on the roadmap for 2022, there is currently no support for more complex workflows for bulk invites. Users must configure recipients individually, as typical simple use cases include no more than 10 individuals per request. A standard dashboard summarizing usage statistics is available but is not configurable outside of date-range parameters for more custom exporting requirements.
Signeasy supports integration with more than 10 common productivity applications and supports its own set of APIs. For example, recipient contact data stored in Google Workspaces can be available via drop-downs in the workflow configuration wizard for quick selection. These APIs also support branding customization allowing developers to configure UI elements and embed logos in the recipient signing page.
Although a web portal is available and popular with business plan customers, this solution is often downloaded via Android and iOS app stores, where it’s consistently rated highly as a top business application. Signeasy is also available on Google Workspace Marketplace, Microsoft App Source and Salesforce AppExchange. These high ratings are based primarily on ease of use. Users can configure and execute documents on any device quickly and seamlessly with straightforward interfaces. Signeasy also supports simplified pricing plans for smaller-scale businesses, along with minimal ramp up effort and cost to set up an initial implementation. Only SaaS deployments are supported at this time.
Signeasy supports over 20 languages across more than 100 countries. Scalability has increased to over 100,000 concurrent sessions, ensuring no service degradation globally. Signeasy is compliant with ESIGN, eIDAS, GDPR, and SOC 2, and supports simple administrator configuration given its SMB focus. RBAC is not currently supported but is on the roadmap for release in 2022.
Strengths: Signeasy is a purpose-built solution for small and medium businesses, excelling at ease of use, dedicated customer support, and transparent, flexible pricing. This solution is a compelling choice for simple-document use cases within single teams often operating by web-app interfaces.
Challenges: Lack of support for role-based access and advanced signatures will limit what use cases can be executed by Signeasy. Further simplification via more integration will ensure differentiation within the simple signature space.
SignNow is part of the airSlate business platform, founded in 2011 and later acquired by pdfFiller in 2017. Optimized for SMB usage while offering extensive compliance and feature breadth, SignNow has expanded around the globe with millions of users in over 100 countries. Integration with the broader airSlate Business Cloud allows this solution to offer extensive integration and innovative automation opportunities.
SignNow supports simple, advanced, and qualified electronic signatures. In addition, this vendor is a certificate authority, enabling a seamless and credible signature execution function. SignNow supports general security certifications including ISO 27001, SOC 2, and GDPR, and uses 256-bit encryption. This application also offers PCI certification, allowing payment execution as part of an e-signature request. Team configuration, role-based access, and administrator control allows enterprises and SMBs alike to leverage this solution.
Users have a broad range of workflow customization features when building a document request. A standard configurator allows customization of parameters such as recipient details, signing sequence, reminders, actions, and watchers. For more complex use cases, SignNow offers native, pre-configured bots powered by RPA that can be triggered based on conditional logic statements. These bots are integrated without any code and perform repetitive tasks such as payment collection or updating data values in business systems once signing is complete. Configuration is enabled by a BPM-type interface and bots are managed within the application itself.
SignNow leverages the airSlate Business Cloud for extensive integration with hundreds of third-party applications, along with its own APIs for custom development. Payments are a speciality, allowing for credit card authorization and fund collection automatically through the same document workflows.
A drag-and-drop data-field configurator includes a comprehensive list of field types, with some ability to configure visibility rules and native form creation. Bulk invite is also supported through a standard Excel (.xlsx) upload feature set. Analytics is not supported natively, with limited reporting functionality and no visualization. APIs are available for tracking aggregation in other business systems.
SignNow has a mobile-optimized application that allows users to access full feature sets from any interface. Ease of use is also a strength, with minimal onboarding times and a balance between complex functionality and streamlined, simple use case support. Multiple languages and a wide set of jurisdictions are supported via QES compliance. Pricing is flexible with various unlimited plans. Add-on functionality with airSlate requires a premium pricing package, however.
Strengths: SignNow offers a market-leading, workflow automation capability integrated well into its e-signature offering. With an expansive list of integrations, payment execution, native RPA support, and advanced-signature compliance, this solution is well positioned for a wide range of SMB and enterprise use cases.
Challenges: Analytics is not a focus and requires third-party integration for many commonly supported summary views. SignNow would benefit from more extensive data field configuration options to enable further differentiation.
6. Analyst’s Take
The e-signature market has seen a significant increase in demand since the COVID-19 pandemic and will experience accelerated change in the coming 18 months. Additional analogous function providers will merge with e-signature challengers to offer comprehensive platforms across the full document lifecycle. We’ve seen this trend already with recent acquisitions by Nitro, Dropbox, Foxit, and Box. Businesses will be able to integrate e-signature technology into virtually any part of their domain, enabling end-to-end workflow automation and significant efficiencies.
Some vendors will continue to focus on narrower innovation, maximizing differentiation in specific use cases such as sales, payments, or mass outreach. PandaDoc, SignNow, and OneSpan Sign will allow businesses to integrate functionality catering to their own requirements while not sacrificing any portion of the core e-signature feature set.
Data-field configuration offers significant value, transforming free-form documents into usable metadata. The ability to tag meta data and send updates directly to business systems is transformative for many end-to-end document processes. Businesses should also invest in domain system integrations to maximize automation opportunities from an e-signature solution.
Enterprises and SMBs should continue to invest in upskilling their users to operate increasingly complex, no-code applications. This will reduce adoption time and ensure full feature sets are leveraged. Businesses should also continue to invest in improving existing document infrastructure—such as how documents are stored, retrieved, and prioritized—to reduce instances when an e-signature solution may not support them.
Future innovation will focus on enabling higher levels of signature compliance without sacrificing efficiency. Currently, advanced and qualified signatures are complex as they require digital certificates produced by certificate authorities. Blockchain-supported signatures present an opportunity to transform this approach by allowing tamper-proof transactions without the need for these central authorities. Additionally, AI and ML will be applied more broadly to generate insights and further optimize processes by leveraging the data produced by these applications. Several vendors have these innovative capabilities on their roadmap that will soon become available.
A consistent track record of innovation, combined with increased regulatory support and market maturation, positions e-signature technology as a critical component of long-term digital business strategies.
7. About Bill WitterBill Witter
Bill is a technical analyst at GigaOm, focusing on the applications domain and covering a wide range of business-facing and configurable offerings. He’s driven large-scale digital transformation efforts across financial services, information technology, and operations enterprises; held senior technical product and program management roles; and led teams and consulted on high-profile projects involving fintech integration, workflow automation, and SaaS low-code configuration.
Bill has built and managed diverse teams across the US, UK, Poland, India, and Singapore. He’s a passionate innovation practitioner, empowering teams to continuously improve via Lean, Six Sigma, and OKR frameworks.
8. About GigaOm
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