e-SignLive is an awkwardly named tool that allows organizations and individuals to sign documentation electronically. The product, itself a division of Silanis, is the most widely used e-signature solution in the world and processes close to 1 billion documents every year. For those who haven't yet experienced it, electronic signing is a revelation and avoids the annoying cycle of printing, signing, and scanning documents that we've all grown accustomed to.
But e-signatures are a sensitive issue, mired in legal questions and regulatory conditions, which is why e-SignLive is today broadening the geographical options that it has. Leveraging SoftLayer, the cloud platform owned by IBM, e-SignLive is rolling out its software to six new international markets. Beginning in Australia and continuing through Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Brazil, both public and private instances of e-SignLive will be available on IBM Cloud's SoftLayer infrastructure to support global e-signature adoption and meet customers' data requirements in regulated markets.
It seems a little counter-intuitive. The whole idea of electronic signatures is that it opens up the document signing process over the internet and hence is, by its very nature, distributed and global. But if you are, for example, a government organization in Australia, you've likely still got some requirements for data to be stored locally - with this new offering, you can enable digital signatures, but do so with your data staying local.
"As the leader for e-signatures in regulated markets, including banking, insurance, and government, our customers have identified in-country data residency as an important factor in taking their businesses digital," said e-SignLive CEO, Tommy Petrogiannis. "IBM Cloud offers a level of transparency and granular control that is key for customers who find it important to know exactly where their data resides in detail, right down to the city, data center, and even the serial number of the server."
And as e-SignLive broadens its footprint in regulated markets such as financial services, this in-country data residency requirement becomes more important. Indeed, e-SignLive has signed on Canadian financial services organizations Tangerine Bank and FundSERV, which met in-country data residency requirements using the public cloud, and a leading Australian bank, which is using a private instance.
This is a good win for IBM. SoftLayer is a good platform, but in order for IBM to prove its differentiated value against the big cloud players - Google, Microsoft and especially Amazon Web Services (AWS) - they need to find good use cases that need both geographic granularity and a hybrid offering. This e-SignLive example is a perfect candidate.
"Our global network of IBM Cloud data center locations, along with on-the-ground expertise, will provide customers with the best support and the most reliable availability, security and performance for their local and worldwide business transactions," said Jim Comfort, IBM General Manager for GTS Cloud Development and Delivery.
This is both a good case study for the growth of electronic signatures and, perhaps more importantly, the sort of story that IBM needs to keep telling. If only they'd spend more cycles on this and less on bashing the competition's revenue figures, the industry would be a better place.
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