Exclusive Interview With Tommy Petrogiannis, President of eSignLive

LTP recently had the pleasure of interviewing Tommy Petrogiannis, President of eSignLive (formerly Silanis Technologies), the world’s leading electronic signature provider. Since the company was founded in 1992, the software has automated business transactions that require secure, compliant and enforceable e-signatures. Recognized as the enterprise market leader, the company is responsible for processing more than 600 million documents annually – more than any other e-signature vendor.

LTP: Could you give us a brief about eSignLive journey? In terms of how it evolved itself to provide new age offerings to new-age clients starting way back in the early 90s.

Tommy Petrogiannis: eSignLive (formerly Silanis Technology) pioneered the e-signature market in 1992 with the goal of making it easier and more efficient to get documents signed. Since then, we have become the e-signature solution behind some of the world’s most trusted and security-conscious organizations. For example, the US Chiefs of Staff, who advise the Secretary of Defense and the US President on military matters, was one of eSignLive’s first clients and today still use e-signatures to help securely sign their mission-critical documents.

E-signatures have evolved over the last 20 years due to significant advances in cloud computing, security and mobile technologies. eSignLive has been at the forefront of bringing e-signature innovation to organizations around the world and delivers a solution that’s easy to use and balances the highest levels of security, compliance and scalability.

Select eSignLive Firsts:

  • 1994: First e-signatures for Microsoft Office (Word, Excel)
  • 1997: First e-signatures for PDF
  • 2001: First to offer a visual audit trail
  • 2004: First e-signature with end-to-end vaulting capabilities
  • 2007: First e-signature on a tablet
  • 2007: First e-signature via SMS authentication
  • 2012: First offline signing on mobile device
  • 2012: First mobile SDK
  • 2014: First to replace signature pad hardware devices with the smartphone
  • 2014: First cloud e-signature solution to complete SOC 2 security attestation
  • 2014: First to meet data residency needs with multiple global data centers
  • 2016: First FedRAMP compliant e-signature solution

Today, leading analysts such as Forrester and Gartner have recognized eSignLive as a leader in the e-signature space. This achievement is the result of our concerted efforts across the organization to provide the best experience ever to our customers and partners and doing what it takes to make them successful in the long term. That’s why eSignLive has the highest customer satisfaction (98%), customer retention (96%) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) in the industry.

LTP: Within the security-authentication service that you provide for FIs specifically, what are the major trends that you believe are shaping the demand for eSignLive's product?

TS: The majority of digital business transactions are faceless, conducted remotely with online and mobile customers. While there are tremendous benefits to offering customers, vendors and partners the ability to use e-signatures to do business online, clearly the organization initiating the transaction must know who they are transacting with. That’s why authentication and e-signatures go hand-in-hand. Financial institutions want to make sure they are able to authenticate their users to ensure they are transacting with the right person. eSignLive offers a wide range of out-of-the-box authentication options in its service such as Q&A, SMS and email. In addition, eSignLive also integrates with third-party identity verification services such as Equifax, as well as with strong, multi-factor authentication solutions such as DIGIPASS.

Today, eSignLive is part of VASCO Data Security (NASDAQ: VDSI), a global leader in digital solutions including identity, security, authentication and business productivity. Enabling trusted digital experiences requires security. With electronic signatures, it is increasingly important to take a broad view of security, from signer authentication to the security of the device and application that is delivering the experience.

Some other trends eSignLive has witnessed with financial institutions when it comes to adopting e-signatures:

  • Digitizing business processes – financial institutions want to improve the way they do business with their clients. They want to automate workflows and enforce business rules to enforce business rules and reduce errors. Some examples: decrease loan processing errors, reduce return customer visits and re-works, increase employee productivity, reducing document handling costs.
  • Deliver a memorable customer experience – financial institutions want to put their brand front and center to ensure their customers have a continuous and trusted experience from beginning to end. eSignLive offers white-labeling capability, allowing banks to fully brand the e-signing process to instill trust in customers.
  • Financial institutions are looking to integrate e-signatures into applications already being used in their organization. eSignLive offers pre-built connectors and an open API/SDKs to help integrate e-signatures into these organizations’ workflows.
  • Going mobile – the ability to sign from anywhere, anytime, and on any device. eSignLive offers a Mobile Signature capture option which helps banks give flexibility to their customers to e-sign documents from their mobile device. This makes completing documents convenient and fast for customers.
  • Compliance and security – being able to capture the steps throughout the e-signature process are important to financial institutions. eSignLive offers a static audit trail showing users what was signed and the steps taken throughout the e-signature process. e-Witness, unique to eSignLive, is an active audit trail gives a visual playback of the actions the signer took throughout the e-signature process.

To learn more about how financial institutions are using eSignLive e-signatures, please visit:

LTP: Do you have any specific product aimed at the corporate to corporate users? Since most of your products are currently consumer focused?

TS: eSignLive has an extensive customer footprint in regulated industries such as banking, insurance, government and healthcare. Organizations in these verticals are using our solution not only with their B2C (business-to-consumer) and B2B (business-to-business) applications, but also internally for HR approvals, and other internal signing use cases. Our eSignLive Professional Plan is ideal for organizations whose business users are responsible for sending documents for signing – whether that’s a contract, agreement or onboarding document. Included with the Professional Plan is access to eSignLive’s mobile apps and a wide range of third-party connectors that enable organizations to leverage eSignLive from the business apps they know and use every day, including SharePoint, Box, Salesforce and Dynamics CRM.

LTP: Within consumer security, what according to you are the major reasons/challenges faced by banks in terms of authentication?

TS: Today’s banks are going mobile and are digitizing the way they serve customers. With mobile and online banking, banks are giving customers the convenience to remotely conduct banking transactions from the comfort of their own home. But with cyberattacks, account takeovers and other fraudulent activity taking place online, banks are risk averse and want to ensure they are transacting with the correct person, especially when it comes to conducting high-value transactions with their customers online. According to eSignLive, these are some of the major challenges faced by banks in terms of authentication:

  • There is a fine balance between optimizing user experience while ensuring that all transactions are secure and customer privacy is protected – when it comes to consumer security, there are a couple of challenges banks face in terms of authentication. While making sure banks have the most robust authentication options to validate a customer’s identity, they also need to balance the user experience for customers and not make them feel like they are going through a burdensome experience when conducting banking transactions online. As an example, simple passwords may be easy for customers to login to a banking portal, however easy for fraudsters to compromise an account. Banks need to select from a number of authentication methods available (e.g., form factors, soft tokens, OTP tokens, challenge questions and answers, smart cards, etc.) – sometimes it’s difficult for banks to choose the ideal authentication method to balance security and user experience.
  • Defending against key threats – choosing a robust authentication method is not enough. Banks also need to ensure that they can prevent threats before they happen. All strong authentication solutions should be implemented as part of a larger and multi-layered approach which includes device profiling, malware forensics, transaction verification, and mutual authentication between the user and the application. This requires an integrated versatile authentication platform with real-time threat detection capabilities.

Too often, organizations fail to recognize that e-signature technology is more than just a signature and miss opportunities to influence e-signatures that are integrated within their existing identity and access management (IAM) framework. Forcing customers to authenticate themselves repeatedly and unnecessarily during the digital transaction impacts the quality of their experience. It’s, therefore, important to remember the need to balance security concerns with the usability of the solution. A good way to avoid over-engineering your security requirements is to recognize that your business processes (whether on paper or electronic) already have many security safeguards in place.

LTP: What according to eSignLive, do you see as the major uphill tasks going forward? Any details on your product roadmap? Enhanced biometric authentication? Major product upgrades in the offering?

TS: Being a technology solution provider, it is important to adapt to changing market trends and requirements from organizations and the challenge is to do this at an extremely fast pace.

At eSignLive, we’ve consistently brought to market e-signature innovations over the last 20 years based on requirements from regulated industries from all around the world.

eSignLive collaborates closely with customers, partners, analysts and key industry associations to deliver best-in-class e-signature capabilities to the market as a whole. Some of the key roadmap themes we continue to focus on include:

  • Ease of use – making it easy for all types of users, including senders, signers, developers and administrators.
  • Mobility – ensuring anywhere, anytime and any device signing via mobile web and mobile apps.
  • Connectors – establishing a bridge between more business apps (e.g., CRM, ERP, BPM, etc.) and eSignLive.
  • API/SDKs – enabling developers to easily integrate e-signing capabilities into their web and mobile apps.
  • Analytics – helping organizations leverage data and insights obtained during the signing process to improve customer experience.
  • Scalability – helping deliver a truly enterprise-grade solution across multiple lines of business, departments, channels and geographies.
  • Global – helping organizations meet data residency requirements through the launch of new data centers around the world.
  • Authentication – adding more capabilities and options to secure the identity of signers.

LTP: Do you see nimble small startups and their innovative offerings as an increased threat or you believe it creates more space for coexistence? (It could be both but depending on your analysis, you can say which is better for eSignLive).

TS: There are fresh news ideas and innovative technology created by startups daily. At eSignLive, we see this as an opportunity for co-existence and to create alliances and partnerships with these organizations. We’ve partnered with more than 50 partners to leverage eSignLive in new ways – including integrating our e-signature solution into a wide range of third-party applications – big and small – such as client onboarding, CRM, ERP, BPM and HR for example. We see this as an opportunity to work with our partners to bring the value of e-signatures to customers and extend our partners’ offerings.