Author: Jim Lundy Date: December 16, 2015
Topic: Digital Transaction Management (DTM) Research Note Number: 2015-46
Issue: Who are the vendors that are battling to lead the Digital Transaction Management revolution?
Summary: Digital Transaction Management (DTM) consists of managing document-based transactions in a completely electronic manner. We evaluate ten key providers who are leading the charge in the DTM market.
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Traditionally, paper has been the way that business has been conducted. Now in the digital era, electronic documents are the norm. While Digital Transaction Management (DTM) is all about doing transactions digitally, it is more importantly about the process of keeping document processes fully digital, including, but not limited to, the electronic signature. This research note evaluates 10 providers who are at various stages of DTM enablement.
The race to the digital workplace is about eliminating analog processes. DTM applications use cloud-based software and services to digitally-manage a wide range of document-centric business processes involving people, documents, data, and transactions both inside and outside the firewall. As more processes move to the digital domain, we will see a reduction in the use of paper as the sole record to complete those processes. The issue isn’t that paper will not be used; it’s that the need to print documents is decreasing.
There are three reasons to embrace the shift to DTM: business automation, faster time to revenue, and overall cost reduction. The primary driver for the rise in DTM is the need to make business processes faster. Using electronic documents instead of paper to conduct business transactions is inherently faster because there are fewer steps to complete before, during, and after the signing process.
Paper-based processes remain one of the largest cost centers in the enterprise. When evaluating the total cost to produce paper, it is in the range of 1-2% of enterprise revenues. The sheer volume of paper transactions that exist today also means that DTM is poised for growth. Aragon expects that DTM is poised to grow into a $30-billion market by 2020 (See Figure 1).
Digital transformation is about the speed of business. DTM is about making business transactions fully digital. In many cases, getting rid of paper is tactical, but the impact on the business is strategic. This is why we feel that DTM is just the tip of the spear when it comes to an overall digital transformation initiative.
Enterprises increasingly understand that ensuring content is completely digital speeds up transactions; this signifies that the shift to going fully digital is already starting to occur. The challenge is that as more content moves to DTM, the need to manage that content outside of the narrow scope of a specific transaction event (e.g., a decision, approval and/or signature) becomes greater.
Of the many ways to manage content, most involve a content management system of some sort. However, there are different levels of need in DTM. Compliance, or contract-related content, needs to be stored securely. For many, the records management module of an ECM (Enterprise Content Management) platform will be fine, and over time more DTM providers will integrate with ECM and RM (Records Management). But sometimes this is not enough.
Prediction: By YE 2017, 65 percent of enterprises will retire legacy paper-based processes in favor of those based on DTM, leading to the proliferation of DTM platforms.
Business Leaders Driving Change
The race to compete in the digital era means the rate of change and innovation in enterprises will reach unprecedented levels. CEOs and their senior executives are driving the shift to digital processes, meaning an extreme makeover of processes. Doing business faster is one of those shifts. In many cases, Aragon has witnessed CEOs pushing for DTM-based processes because they have seen DTM in action in other markets. The key reasons for pushing DTM at the executive level include:
- Accelerating revenue
- Driving efficiencies
- Improving profitability
- Enhancing the customer experience
- Ensuring compliance
Security is Front and Center
More than anything, conducting business digitally means security must be at the heart of any DTM process. This includes everything from identity, to cloud security, to mobile apps and content storage and replication.
One of the key things which Aragon sees as a must-have for DTM providers is to replicate content in multiple locations (i.e. separate data centers). Today, leading providers are offering this, but enterprises still need to examine Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to ensure that the terms of the content storage and replication meet their requirements.
Mobile Apps and DTM
Leading providers have helped to make the transition to DTM faster, by allowing non-users to sign documents for free – whether on a PC or a mobile device. The ease with which DTM mobile apps are allowing basic document transactions to be conducted entirely on the go will increase. We have seen this with numerous Sales organizations who have migrated to tablet computers and need to do many types of DTM applications.
DTM is maturing and is thereby expanding beyond just the initial focus on the signature. Workflow, content management and the rise of Asset Management are all forcing providers to get more focused on the document lifecycle of the content that it’s tied to or that comprises the transaction.
Process Complexity Can Vary
Some paper processes are easy to convert to digital, while others have challenges. In 2015, Aragon estimates that less than 12% of all document processes are fully digital. The sales process in high tech is clearly an area where there has been significant traction, as well as the overall category of real estate – one of the most paper-intensive processes outside of insurance contracts.
Basic DTM is all about replicating a paper process electronically, including the use of eSignatures. Taking the electronic version of a document and allowing people to sign it online is what we consider Basic DTM, and it is a great way for an enterprise to get started.
Sales contracts that are signed digitally can have a dramatic effect on time to sign and, as a result, can accelerate booked revenue and accounts receivables. Many firms that have deployed basic e-signature have seen a dramatic reduction in the time it takes to get a contract signed.
Advanced DTM involves complex document processes, including, but not limited to, document assembly, routing, integration into other applications, and workflow both upstream and downstream from the decision, approval, or signature. Enterprises have many legacy applications in place that can be converted to DTM if the document related part of the process can be made electronic. Integrating eSignature capabilities into legacy applications is made easier with providers that have open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and SDKs (Software Development Kits).
In advanced DTM, some documents, such as mortgages and leases, have asset value in and of themselves, and can subsequently be monetized as assets. Aragon calls this DTM Asset Management, and it requires special processes because of the special nature of these documents.
DTM and the Cloud
While enterprises increasingly understand that ensuring content is fully digital speeds up transactions, the challenge is that as more content shifts to DTM, the need to manage that content outside the narrow scope of a specific event (e.g., signing the deal) becomes greater. Of the many ways to manage content, most involve a Content Management system of some sort. However, there are different levels of need in DTM. As previously stated, compliance (or contract-related content) needs to be stored securely, with ‘always-on’ availability. Doing so in the cloud requires the ability to protect and safeguard critical content. That is one reason that content replication (storing documents in more than one cloud data center) is becoming a key evaluation criteria that enterprises need to carefully consider.
DTM Market Overview
Key Aspects of Digital Transaction Management
Some of the keys aspects of Digital Transaction Management include the use of various forms of Cloud (Public, Private, Hybrid) services to digitally manage a wide range of document- centric business processes involving people, documents, data and transactions both inside and outside the firewall. DTM goes beyond content and document management to include e-signatures, authentication and nonrepudiation; document transfer and certification; workflow; data and forms integration and management; secure archiving that goes beyond records management; and a variety of meta-processes around managing electronic transactions and the documents associated with them.
The key things that buyers are looking for in a DTM Platform include:
- Core eSignature capabilities
- Ability to assemble a document or a series of documents for signature
- Document routing and workflow automation
- Basic and advanced analytics based on organizational level
- Integration with leading Content Management and other Line Of Business (LOB) platforms and systems
- Mobile Apps (Remote, in-person and offline signing, managing)
- Asset Management
The need to look at which document processes should be all-digital is a critical step. Making it easy for end users is also critical. That is why it is important to separate the technical backbone of how things happen vs. what users need to accomplish.
Tech Spectrum Overview
The Aragon Research Tech Spectrum is our newest market evaluation tool that graphically represents analysis of both emerging and mature markets and the vendors that participate in them. We use a rigorous analysis of each vendor using two dimensions that enable comparative evaluation of the participants in a given market.
The Tech Spectrum looks at a focused set of criteria that helps enterprise planners understand and navigate the market of technology provider options.
The Aragon Research Tech Spectrum for Digital Transaction Management is segmented into three sectors, representing high and low on both the Product/Service and performance dimensions. Vendors fit into one of the following sectors:
Leaders are the providers who have comprehensive strategies and products/services that align with industry direction and market demand, and who effectively perform against that strategic backdrop. Leaders help to drive a market and in a majority of cases, have a vision for the future.
Contenders are those providers with strong performance, but with more limited or less complete strategies. Their performance positions them well to challenge for leadership by expanding their strategic focus.
Providers who are Promising have strong strategic understanding and objectives, but have yet to perform effectively across all elements of that strategy. This includes breakout or emerging players who maybe focusing on specific capabilities.
The following parameters are tracked in this analysis:
Performance represents a vendor’s effectiveness in executing its defined strategy. This includes selling and supporting the defined product offering or service. The performance evaluation includes:
- Awareness: Market awareness of the firm and its product.
- Customer experience: Feedback on the product, installs, upgrades and overall satisfaction.
- Viability: Financial viability of the provider as measured by financial statements.
- Pricing and Packaging: Is the offering priced and packaged competitively?
- Product: The mix of features tied to the frequency and quality of releases and updates.
- R&D: Investment in research and development as evidenced by overall architecture.
Strategy reflects the degree to which a vendor has the market understanding and strategic intent that are at the forefront of market direction. That includes providing the capabilities that customers want in the current offering and recognizing where the market is heading. The strategy evaluation includes:
- Product strategy
- Market understanding and how well product roadmaps reflect that understanding
- Management team, including time in the job and understanding of the market
The Aragon Research Tech Spectrum for Digital Transaction Management, 2015 will help clients differentiate the many vendors who offer services to let enterprises manage their internal and external business transactions in an all digital fashion.
The inclusion criteria for this Aragon Research Tech Spectrum are:
- Revenue: a minimum of $4 million in primary revenue for Digital Transaction Management or a minimum of $10 million in revenue in a related market (Content Management, Workflow or Portal/UX Software).
- Shipping product: product must be announced and available.
(As of December 16, 2015)
Figure 2: The Tech Spectrum™ for Digital Transaction Management, 2015
DocuSign, based in San Francisco, has been a driving force in the shift to Digital Transaction Management. The company pioneered the shift to mobile via its intuitive mobile app that allows anyone to sign and return documents for free. This approach has driven broad international awareness and rapid growth to the point where the company’s name is almost a verb. Additionally, due to DocuSign’s focus on its APIs and SDKs, it has become a de facto DTM platform, putting it on par with other platform offerings such as Google, Microsoft and Salesforce.
Over the last year, DocuSign has expanded significantly through acquisitions (OpenTrust, ARX, Comprova) and organic growth. Its cloud data centers deliver bank-grade security and carrier-grade reliability. The built-in redundancy of its cloud service stores multiple copies of contracts in three different data centers, thereby ensuring organizations have the redundancy required for critical transactions. Given the large investments that have been made, we expect DocuSign to IPO in 2016.
· Ease of Use
· Cloud Redundancy
· Mobile (iOS, Android, Windows, in-person/offline)
|· Complex DTM Processes
eOriginal based in Baltimore, focuses on lightweight and more complex DTM Processes. An early pioneer in DTM technology, eOriginal is entrenched in many banks and financial services organizations. This is due in part to their Asset Management offering, which is the system of record for many loan providers, due to its ability to track all aspects of the lifecycle of a Digital Transaction.
Besides Asset Management and its own e-Signature product, eOriginal has also been innovating with its new Datalytics™ solution – Datalytics™ collects advanced analytics to allow an enterprise to understand how Digital Transactions are impacting the business. Finally, eOriginal’s biometric capabilities allow for alternative methods of e-Signature, including Voice Signing, which attaches to contracts or other high-value documents through a compliant and legally verifiable methodology.
|· DTM platform
· Asset management
· Integrates with other eSignature Providers
|· Awareness outside of financial services
Kofax, based in Orange County, Calif., is now part of Lexmark Enterprise Software. In 2013, Kofax purchased Germany-based Softpro for its e-Signature offering. The Softpro install base and its advanced security capabilities make it a solid choice in Financial Services.
Kofax offers strong capabilities in Document Workflow, Imaging and Content Management, making it an ideal choice for Advanced DTM initiatives. The company’s expertise is in the complex workflows associated with mission critical document processes, and its legacy install base in large enterprises positions Kofax well for DTM.
· Advanced DTM
|· Mobile App
eSignLive (formerly Silanis Technology), based in Montreal, is now a wholly owned subsidiary of VASCO Data Security International, Inc. eSignLive has had traditional strengths in financial services and government globally and has been broadening its customer install base, particularly in large global accounts. One of the reasons for this is their ability to support both public, private and hybrid DTM deployments with data centers around the world to satisfy in-country data residency requirements.
eSignLive also offers asset management capabilities, which going forward we expect to be more critical. While offering a full complement of SDKs for Java, .NET and iOS, the eSignLive Mobile App has been offered primarily for government customers. eSignLive indicated it plans to launch a full commercial Mobile App soon.
· Cloud offerings
· Asset Management
|· Mobile App
Adobe bought EchoSign win 2011 with plans to integrate e-signatures into its Document Services solution, which is now being marketed as the Adobe Document Cloud (Adobe DC). In March 2015, Adobe announced its new Adobe Document Cloud, a portfolio of secure digital document solutions that focused on accelerating business with 100% digital workflows. The portfolio includes Acrobat DC and Adobe eSign Services (formerly EchoSign).
Adobe eSign services, which is now integrated with Acrobat DC, is an easy-to-use solution that has an intuitive Mobile App that is updated regularly. Adobe eSign Services is integrated with several leading line-of-business systems, delivering native e-signature capabilities from within Salesforce, Workday, Ariba, Apttus and more. While Acrobat PDF is one of the document standards in the industry, the challenges of competing in the overall Content Management and DTM Markets requires market focus.
· Mobile Content Management
|· Overall focus on DTM
AssureSign has been in the DTM market for a long time and focuses on DTM for the Mid Market. With mature APIs, AssureSign makes it easy to embed its capability into existing legacy processes. Like others, Assure Sign integrates with CRM offerings, such as Salesforce.com to make it easy to integrate into Sales or Support Contracts.
AssureSign also supports multiple Cloud deployment options. Their Private Cloud option in particular is popular with enterprises that have most of their legacy content stored on-premise. Finally, AssureSign’s growing Partner Channel is helping it to expand its install base.
|· SMB and Enterprise focus
· Cloud deployment options
· Partner channel
|· Market Awareness
Citrix bought RightSignature in 2014, but the two firms were working together as early as 2013, when they partnered to offer an integrated solution. Combined with its Citrix ShareFile Mobile Content Management offering, Citrix now has a compelling DTM package for large and small enterprises who need to implement basic DTM.
While RightSignature is still marketing its offering on a standalone basis, it is also part of the ShareFile Platinum Edition, which provides customers with secure data management and document workflow capabilities. Citrix indicated the planned spinout of the GoToMeeting division should not impact ShareFile and RightSignature.
|· Citrix brand
· Mobile Content Management
|· Awareness of DTM offering
Topaz Systems, a longtime provider of DTM Solutions, has a strong hold in the area of physical signatures due to its tablet-based signature pads. For years, these offerings have been popular in certain types of transactions, but now with the Cloud, all Electronic DTM offerings are growing faster, due to the demand for speed and flexibility
Topaz has reacted to this change by offering more capabilities, including alliances and plugins for Adobe DC. Its large reseller network has helped it enter multiple industries, including, but not limited to automotive.
· Install base
· Reseller Network
|· Install base is primarily signing devices
CudaSign, formerly known as SignNow, was purchased by Barracuda Software in 2014. CudaSign is an attractive option for enterprises that are looking for value. As such CudaSign is focused on the lightweight DTM process. It even allows for In-App purchases via the iTunes App Store.
Like DocuSign, CudaSign has a freemium version that helps to drive awareness. Because of its focus on growing market share, CudaSign has ignited somewhat of a price war with its value pricing.
· Mobile app
· In-App Purchase Option
|· Brand Awareness
HelloSign, based in San Francisco, is a DTM provider that primarily markets its offering online and via the Google App Exchange. HelloSign is also known for its HelloFax legacy product offering. That said, the combination of the two makes for a greater focus on doing document processes electronically.
HelloSign has different offerings for both consumers and business users. Its mobile app is still catching up to the functionality offered in the web browser version of the offering. The ease of integrating HelloSign into a Google Docs-based document process is one of the more innovative capabilities. The company’s primary focus is on user experience and this is evident in both the user interface and the developer-friendly API documentation. HelloSign offers fast, simple and secure eSignatures for teams and an easy to integrate eSignature API for developers.
|· Ease of Use with Google Drive
|· Overall Awareness
· Mobile App
- Enterprises need to look at both short term and long term DTM needs when selecting a provider.
- Enterprises need to ensure that any DTM provider meets security standards for Identity, Cloud and Content Storage and Replication.
- Enterprises need to look at their mobile needs for DTM as strategic, since more business will be conducted on mobile devices going forward.
The paper era is winding down. DTM has emerged as the most effective way to speed up document based processes and reduce cost at the same time. Enterprises should evaluate the DTM providers in this report to see how they can drive and increase business results.
Copyright © 2015 Aragon Research Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.