Over the years, the method in which companies conduct business has steadily changed. Technology impacts how we interact and perform certain functions and has essentially increased reach and accelerated growth for many businesses, including with remote working.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, it transformed how we work as a society in several significant ways, with many experts believing the change will be permanent.
This brings us to the concept of the “anywhere economy.” While the traditional economy concept has stalled and fluctuated during the pandemic, the anywhere economy has skyrocketed, and it is driving significant changes and decisions for businesses throughout practically every industry.
But what exactly is the anywhere economy? Perhaps more importantly, how do things like electronic signatures support this kind of rapid economic growth and continued business improvement?
Below, we’ll take a deeper dive into this critical post-COVID-19 economic change and explore the vital role that e-signatures play in it.
What is the Anywhere Economy?
The anywhere economy is a term used to describe a way of working and doing business that allows goods and services to be provided anywhere and anytime. This isn’t a concept that’s relegated to a particular sector; it’s an approach that concerns all forms of business worldwide.
While the anywhere economy developed out of necessity during 2020’s pandemic, experts believe this more remote and technologically supported method of providing goods and services isn’t going away. In survey results released by Forbes in February of this year, 74% of working professionals stated that remote work would become standard, and a similar 76% of entrepreneurs polled mirrored the same feelings. In a different Forbes report from 2019, it’s expected that by the year 2020, “Two-thirds of all customer experience initiatives will use IT by 2022, a jump from half in 2017.”
Because the anywhere economy represents the idea that business can be conducted anywhere, by anyone, it has provided a way of changing the way we think about work to connect more businesses and consumers together prosperously.
Examples of the Functioning Anywhere Economy
Let’s first consider the number of people working from home; CNBC reports that 1 in 4 Americans will be working remotely by the end of 2021. While many companies made the switch to more remote work in the past year due to the ongoing pandemic, there has been a steady shift in this direction for some time.
To support the continued growth in remote work and consumer solutions, more tech solutions than ever are relied on to help promote remote collaboration and business efforts. These solutions are focused on things like remote communication, joint tasks, scheduling, cybersecurity, cloud storage, eCommerce, and digital document completion through electronic signatures.
In 2020, companies that directly support the ability to conduct business anywhere saw tremendous growth. Zoom sales skyrocketed by 326%, data warehousing company Snowflake saw 124% sales growth, and Etsy was up by 111%. In the electronic signature industry, incredible growth from $1.83 billion to over $2.8 billion was seen with no predicted slow down; by 2026, a 31.0% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) is expected.
The continued presence and expansion of these solutions is what drives the anywhere economy worldwide. In fact, certain aspects simply aren’t even possible without e-signatures.
What Role do Electronic Signatures Play in the Anywhere Economy and with Remote Working?
A dedicated e-signature solution allows companies and clients who are working and communicating remotely to complete transactions, sales, and various business and legal processes through signing a document or other item through their computer. Essentially, the crucial role that e-signatures play within the anywhere economy is the ability to sign most documents from anywhere.
In the post-COVID-19 economy, more businesses than ever have turned to continue the completion of daily tasks by allowing remote working. Electronic signatures have been helpful in this transition as essential business documents can be easily and quickly completed, such as:
- HR documents
- New hire forms
- Legal contracts
- Tax forms
- Non-disclosure agreements
- And more
But the usefulness of electronic signatures in the anywhere economy and with remote working doesn’t end with internal transactions. Companies and organizations have found that electronic signatures are pivotal in completing essential functions with customers and vendors, such as:
- Establishing new vendors
- Closing sales deals
- Signing real estate contracts
- Securing HIPAA forms
- Obtaining new patient intake forms
- Completing legal documents
- Prescribing medications
- And more
In years such as 2020, many of the everyday processes such as those listed above simply wouldn’t have been able to be completed were it not for digital signatures. E-signatures have genuinely supported the anywhere economy and the continuance thereof with practices such as remote working and electronic services being made easier and more sustainable.
The Benefits of Electronic Signatures in the Anywhere Economy and Beyond
Electronic signatures won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Not only did this form of digital technology help keep businesses running during one of the most challenging economic years in modern history, but they’ve securely cemented themselves as part of the process for the foreseeable future due to their considerable benefits for remote working.
Electronic signatures enable paperwork to be completed in a matter of minutes instead of days. This allows businesses and organizations to close sales deals faster, approve agreements the same day, heighten the speed of medical approvals, and more.
Mistakes, changes, and corrections are bound to happen with paperwork. With traditional pen-and-ink paperwork, any updates needed can delay the entire process while paperwork is corrected, reprinted, and delivered. With electronic signatures on digital documents, updates can be completed often in seconds and quickly resent to parties for a signature.
Paperwork can easily be lost, misplaced, stolen, copied, and forged. Electronic signatures and digital documents better protect sensitive data with features like certificates of completion, tamper-evident seals, secure storage in trusted SSAE16 data centers, encryption to prevent unapproved access, and detailed audit trails.
Organizations are finding that compliance to necessary industry regulations is easier and more reliable than ever with e-signatures. Key features like signing certificates, digital signatures, audit trails, and enhanced visibility controls are helping businesses and organizations stay compliant more efficiently and effectively.
With the power to complete important documents electronically, businesses are finding that they’re no longer limited by distance. Contracts, agreements, and approvals can now be signed and completed in a matter of seconds from anywhere in the world, truly contributing to an anywhere economy.
Virtual collaboration allows colleagues, coworkers, and businesses to collaborate from anywhere easily. Medical charts can be shared, procedures and surgeries approved, new contracts signed, and more.
By incorporating electronic signatures into the daily process, companies no longer experience slowdowns or restrictions when trying to scale up. Employee onboarding paperwork, contracts, notifications, and more can be sent out and signed quickly and easily.
For many companies, monitoring progress and tracking the movement of essential documents is priority. Accurately auditing history with physical paperwork can be difficult, to say the least. With electronic records, businesses have the capability to view each access, sending and receiving, sharing, and document completion with the click of a button.
Businesses everywhere see improved satisfaction rates with their customers due to the elements of speed, convenience, and ease that electronic signatures add to practically any process or transaction.
Printing supplies, mailing supplies, and physical document storage costs can add up quickly for businesses. When efforts are made to digitize the paperwork process and switch to paperless systems, business owners can quickly see the cost savings and improvement to their budget’s bottom line.
How Foxit eSign Supports the Anywhere Economy
At Foxit eSign, we provide cost-effective, secure, and compliant electronic signature solutions for businesses across all industries working remotely. We pride ourselves on providing the right kind of solution for anyone in the anywhere economy today.
From healthcare providers to education or legal services, our signature solutions help businesses and organizations who are working remotely to quickly and securely complete processes anywhere in the world. Each day, companies choose Foxit eSign as their electronic signature solution because:
- We have the fastest ROI in the industry
- We are SOC 2 Type 2 audited and compliant with strict adherence to security, availability, confidentiality, processing integrity, and privacy
- Our award-winning software is user-friendly and easily learned
- We have dedicated customer support available for quick resolution and expert guidance
- Our complete API allows for easy, total integration into any software
- We help our customers meet and maintain legal and industry-required compliance regulations such as HIPAA, FERPA, ESIGN, UETA, eIDAS, FINRA, and more