Saturday, August 12, 2006

EchoSign is paperless solution

EchoSign is a neighbor to Meebo, this fact has nothing to do with this post.

Having paperless office has always been my dream. I have quickly checked out EchoSign's website and their online demo. The initial idea of helping people to organize agreement, signing and exchange of documents is great. It appears that this solution is moving up to enterprise level. The pricing isn't cheap; they are talking about $100/sender5 senders/month. There is no mention of storage I presume it's bottomless. EchoSign's logo is an infinity sign.

My mind goes one step further. Their solution is far bigger than just managing agreement and signing online. It could be a complete paperless solution. That was how I started to dream about paperless office some 4 years ago. Most companies or even home have fax machine, right?

In my last contract we have a hugh volume of documents. We write to our client our vendors/subcontractors write to us. As that was a big/high profile/fast track contract we, by default, fax our letters/transmittals/forms...anything basically and also post or hand deliver originals. People/companies that work for us do the same.

In my little project (article here), which was started in the middle of the run, we had to scan all the backlog and put them in one of our PC on the intranet. Due the size of the backlog we were only able to digitize important contractual documents, a small percentage of the whole lot....I'm talking about few full container load of pure papers. Incidentially we just cleared our site offices so we know the size of the forrest we have killed.

I'm talking about more than 100,000 records in our database, each record could be few pages of a letter or 50 pages of technical submissions full of calculations and drawings etc.

Going back in time we have duplicated our effort, i.e. we faxed the papers but had to scan them afterwards. If EchoSign was there 4 years ago we would have used their fax server as a node for the entire project, i.e. everyone faxes papers there and EchoSign manages the routing and distribution to the order of the sender.

Whether we like it or not we are still Microsoft-centric. We use outlook by default as email client. As I said in my note to the editor here I was thinking of writing add-in for outlook. This could be integrated with EchoSign's service. E.g. We fax it to EchoSign, an email is sent back to the responsible person of the team who will categorize the document, i.e. adding keywords, tags etc right inside the read email dialog, he/she then click a special reply button such that EchoSign gets those "filing information" automatically.

Last but not least the demo was a bit slow viewing from this part of the World. I guess local servers are needed when EchoSign gets enough customers for that region.


  1. Thank you for the great mention of EchoSign - these are great thoughts and inputs. Re: "The pricing isn’t cheap; they are talking about $100/sender/month. There is no mention of storage I presume it’s bottomless." - the basic version of EchoSign is 100% free. EchoSign Enterprise is $100/five senders/month, which adds corporate branding, heirarchical account sharing, and unlimited everything. But the basic account is truly 100% free . . .

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