With HelloWorks, HelloSign finds the holy grail of digitalization

It’s nice seeing a vendor move through the stages of innovations through to transformation. HelloWorks caps that off for this eSignature player.

hellosign send signature

Innovation often displays an interesting progression.

In its first stages we see an existing process or system being cloned in another medium. While this might drive process efficiencies, that’s about all it achieves. But with enough vision, off that foundation we can see innovation progress to peripheral functionality and, eventually, to fundamentally reinvent the way things are done. Having watched eSignature company HelloSign for the past few years has been a good example of this.

I first came across the company many years ago when I was in the unfortunate position of having to send a fax internationally. For many people the very concept of the fax machine will be a distant memory, but suffice it to say that it wasn’t that long ago that the fax was a critical business tool.

Being based in New Zealand, but working with many organizations in the U.S., I was often required to sign and send faxes internationally. That is where HelloFax came in, it was a simple tool that allowed faxes to be sent digitally, without paying toll charges, no matter where they were going.

Soon, however, faxing became a historical artifact, and HelloSign moved on to the broader eSigning opportunity, the service that I’ve been using pretty much since its inception. HelloSign rethought the lowly fax, digitized the entire document and enabled both form-filling and eSigning on the same platform. I use HelloSign all the time and it has been a huge time saver for me.

But what would happen if you could not just fill in a static form, but actually wrap an entire workflow around documents -- what would that look like? HelloSign is ideating on that question with the launch today of HelloWorks, a new software platform that is designed to end paper pushing -- be it analog or digital.

HelloWorks is a digital workflow product built on top of the existing HelloSign platform, but with an additional value proposition -- that of connecting related processes and tools into the document itself. The opportunity, and the need, are obvious. After all, many of today’s business processes rely on forms and documents in PDF format to gather information -- think business loan applications, new bank account openings, new hire onboarding, home purchases, and so on. These processes are typically high volume, directly relate to a business’ revenue stream, and yet are highly complex and error-prone.

Inefficiencies and delays in these processes impact on the bottom line of organizations. In a past life I was involved in a number of small businesses that either extended credit to other businesses, or applied for credit from suppliers. The time and hassle involved in credit applications is significant, and is just one example of a business process that desperately needs to be redesigned. In the case of credit applications, one vendor that I’ve been mentoring in a New Zealand incubator, 1Centre, has started to focus specifically on this distinct vertical, but for more general business process situations, HelloWorks provides the extensibility and flexibility to tie in with different systems.

Instacart is one example of a company using HelloWorks as a beta customer to change the way their systems works. As they explain:

"HelloWorks has helped to transform our process for onboarding new shoppers, enabling them to fill out shopper contracts and forms directly in our mobile app,” said Bill Babeaux, associate product manager at Instacart. “HelloWorks has significantly improved our completion rate for onboarding Shoppers over our previous PDF and email-based system. We’re now exploring other ways we can improve costly processes using HelloSign’s new platform.”

This isn’t about simply putting a paper-based form online -- it’s about driving fundamental change in terms of the way these things work. HelloWorks makes both documents and workflows dynamic, changing the questions asked, experience presented and even documents used based upon real-time inputs. It allows information that was once stuck in static PDFs to flow into whatever systems, applications, and databases need it.

HelloFax made my life a little bit easier and saved toll charges. HelloSign allowed me to give up on the concept of faxes and actually fill forms in completely digitally. But with HelloWorks, an entire realm of third-party developers and software vendors can embed processes deep into their organizations.

That’s game changing.

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