2016: The Inevitable Changing Perception of Digital Transaction Management

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Ch-ch-ch-changes /Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older / Time may change me / But I can’t trace time

David Bowie knew about a lot of things, including music, fashion and securitization. However, as his career showed us, he may have most keenly understood that change is inevitable and we must be able to adapt to our times. As we have already seen with increased volatility in China and in the spiraling oil market, 2016 will be another year filled with change.

change-671374_960_720One of the changes I expect to see is in the perception of digital transaction management (DTM) and the move to fully digital business processes. For many CEOs, CFOs and Vice Presidents, our conversations in recent years always began with questions about the confidence in the security and legal verifiability of a signature.

However, during 2015, we began to see a shift in the conversation. The discussion was no longer just about if eSignature is secure enough, but rather how can eSignature and DTM integrate to actually enhance the security surrounding business processes. The recent Forrester report, S&R Pros Must Play An Outsized Role In Selecting And Implementing E-Signature by Enza Iannopollo, Andras Cser and their team did an excellent job exposing this change.

“S&R [security and risk] professionals must insert themselves into the selection process so they can determine how they will integrate e-signature, particularly with the firm’s identity and access management capabilities, and use it to enhance the firm’s overall data protection capabilities,” they wrote. The report noted that S&R pros have a “golden opportunity” to enhance audit trails and archiving for compliance, make processes more agile, and improve data security and encryption, while increasing mobile security.

This shift in perception is also pushing eSignature to a tipping point. Electronic and digital signatures are rapidly becoming commonplace and gaining wide acceptance. Consequently, eSignatures are starting to be viewed as a commodity in the market, both in terms of pricing and availability. As a result, we hear fewer questions about the signature and more and more questions about what happens to a document or a package of documents after eSignatures have been applied. Aragon Research observed this trend in its recently released 2015 DTM Tech Spectrum:

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 compromises the transaction.

The rock star securitizer Bowie sang, “Time may change me / But I can’t trace time.”  While it has always been questioned what Bowie meant by trace time, I have always interpreted that – besides a play on words on an old saying – as we cannot map out time as it marches forward. It will always remain a mystery. However, what we can do is understand the past so we can better prepare for the future. That means looking beyond eSignature and starting to look into the real power of DTM technologies and how they can positively impact modern business processes.