This article was originally published on bold - The Future of Documents.

The global pandemic in 2020 disrupted complete business strategies, models and processes. Since many years, companies all sizes are investing into the digitization of workflows and document processes. But the pandemic is a catalyst for a change that accelerates this process.

The integration of digital document processing solutions including collaboration, document sharing and electronic signature processes help successful companies to serve their customers and support business continuity.

In a recently published paper1, Forrester Consulting analyzes a survey with 450 senior IT and business decision makers based in the United States, Western Europe and Asia Pacific with responsibilities for digital document processing at their organizations.

Key Findings

Forrester extracted 3 key findings in their survey:

  1. Digital document processes help companies to maintain continuity.
    72% of respondents agree that digital document processes help their organizations to maintain business resilience.
  2. Digitizing document processes opens up business opportunities.
    47% of respondents say that digital document processes enable opportunities to serve customers in a better way during the crisis.
  3. Digital document processes becoming a standard.
    More than half of the respondents claim that new procedures and processes will last beyond the pandemic.

77% of respondents with organizations in North America say e-signature is very important or a critical requirement to support business resilience.

The Importance Of Digital Document Processes

Having digital processes implemented in business workflows has a huge impact on how successful a company is and will be - not only during a pandemic. The main motivating argument to implement digital document processes was saving costs, but the current situation shows that those processes have a strategic impact on businesses.

  1. Increased customer satisfaction.
    40% of respondents say that digital document processes increased customer satisfaction rates.
  2. Electronic signatures.
    77% of respondents in the United States say that electronic signatures are important or a critical requirement.

Typical digital document processes include document sharing, document workflow automation, document collaboration and document signing. The survey rates these processes by its importance.

The following chart shows the significance of these processes:

Most Important Digital Document Processes

Digital document processes such as electronic signatures enable companies to serve their customers and positions companies with a digital strategy to gain a drastic competitive advantage over others. 56% of respondents say that they see accelerated workflows based on digital documents as the key to keep businesses running. And 55% describe that these improvements are the most important benefits after this pandemic.

Electronic Signatures

Electronic signatures will become the standard in future business transaction processes. Typical industries for an accelerated adoption are "document-heavy" industries such as financial services, insurance and title management, education and government.

46% of respondents say that this is becoming a standard protocol that will be offered to customers and business partners to accelerate these transactions.

55% of business leaders said that the pandemic has accelerated user adoption of e-signatures in their organizations.

The survey also shows that organizations recognize the importance of integrating electronic signatures into standard procedures.

  1. Electronic document signatures are growing.
    58% of respondents said that the pandemic accelerated the user adoption of electronic signatures.
  2. United States has the largest adoption.
    With 88%, Unites States respondents said that their organizations used electronic signatures before the pandemic. 79% reported an acceleration of these processes.


It looks like the pandemic enables opportunities to acknowledge, implement and use digital document processes in business workflows. Implementing digital document processes protects businesses and helps companies to serve their customers in a better, innovative way.

1 How Digital Document Processes Are Shifting From Best Practice To Business Necessity, Forrester Consulting, 2020