To mark European football’s Transfer Deadline Day, Adobe Document Cloud is today reminding business of the potential long-term costs from holding on to traditional office processes. Famously a day of huge excitement in European football, the end of the January transfer habitually sees big money player moves between clubs across the region.

Surprisingly however, these high-stake deals still often hang on paper documentation – with players and club representatives required to finalise terms ‘in person’.

Almost as widely reported as the deals that are signed, are those that collapse due to an antiquated transfer process. For example, Manchester United’s star goalkeeper David de Gea famously had his multi-million pounds move to Real Madrid ruined at the eleventh hour due to a broken fax machine.

A Wake-up Call for UK Businesses

The issues faced by football clubs and player’s agents is indicative of the wider problems inefficient processes are having on UK businesses. A survey, conducted by Adobe Document Cloud asked 2,002 members of the UK general public showed that a big contributor to these poor experiences comes from signing contracts by hand with two thirds of office workers (61 per cent) claiming that chasing these is a waste of their time.

In fact, nearly half (47 per cent) of UK workers have never used an e-signature – which could simplify processes and maximise productivity. The famed signature mishaps of transfer deadline day serve as a timely reminder to businesses who are still reliant on paper-based processes to update their systems to save time and money.

The Case for New Technology

Football clubs however, are not alone in sticking with a more traditional form of contract signing process. The reasons for the reluctance towards adopting new technologies and improving workplace experiences, such as e-signatures, can often be attributed to more ‘emotional’ factors. For 86 per cent of Brits surveyed, signing documents by hand still holds a huge sense of importance to them when it comes to giving their consent and proving their identity.

With the average age of creating a signature being 15 years old, many still feel like it’s a part of who they are. However, the tide may be turning. Seventy-nine per cent of people agree that they use handwritten signatures much less nowadays than they did previously with nearly half (49 per cent) saying they would feel comfortable using digital or e-signatures going forward.

Some of the barriers to e-signature adoption are also related to a lack of understanding. More than a third (38 per cent) feel e-signatures can be easily copied and similarly, 36 per cent don’t think they are secure. Just over a quarter (26 per cent) say they would not trust e-signatures because they don’t feel people check them properly.

Work, therefore, still needs to be done to ensure that the benefits of adopting e-signatures are clear. The potential is there, with a third (34 per cent) saying using e-signatures is less time consuming and 28 per cent saying it will help them approve things on the move, across multiple devices.

Mark Greenaway, head of emerging business, EMEA, Adobe, says, ‘Every time transfer deadline day rolls around, I’m amazed at the stories that emerge involving archaic office processes like handwritten signatures and fax machines ruining big player moves. Not only are these experiences inefficient and cumbersome for users, but they’re also less secure than creating a digital record.

‘In the modern game, football clubs are global businesses, often worth millions of pounds, and getting the basics right is integral to their success. Creating good experiences for employees can not only make them happier and more productive, but ensure that costly business errors due to inefficient processes are avoided.’

Further reading on Transfer Deadline Day

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