HelloSign moves into digital workflow with new HelloWorks product – TechCrunch
HelloSign, founded in 2011, has been best known to this point as an e-signature company, but today it announced something a bit more substantial, a new product called HelloWorks, which allows the company to move into workflow, digitizing processes that involve complex forms.
For many years now, HelloSign CEO Joseph Walla said, the way we moved paper processes into the digital realm was simply taking aÂ paper form and converting itÂ to a pdf. HelloWorks aims to change that. âWeâve created a brand new platform that gets rid of digital paper-pushingâ Walla said.
Company COO Whitney Bouck, who previously had stints with EMC Documentum and Box, saidÂ itâs really about transforming the flow of paper to digital and removing the pdf once and for all. âWorkflow designed to automate complex document workflows historically relied on pdf. Weâve substituted more of a guided tour,â she explained.
That means they ask you questions up front, automatically populate data when possible and provide a more streamlined experience. As with any good cloud service, BouckÂ said it is attempting to hide the process complexity behind the scenes.
For starters, they are looking at paper-heavy tasks like insurance claims, mortgage applications, house-sale closings, HR on-boarding â and that ilk. âWhere we shine is in helping automate complex document-centric processes that need legal binding to complete,â she said. Bouck made it clear that this isnât about becoming a general workflow engine that can do anything. They are concentrating on critical business processes that are generally tied to revenue, butÂ which have been traditionally done on paper or pdf.
Alan Lepofsky, an analyst with Constellation Research, saidÂ this approach could work for certain types of workflow. âIf HelloWorks makes it easy to create the input forms, and they are engaging for the people using them, then I think it could be useful for structured content â contracts, applications [and so forth],â he said.
But Lepofsky would like to see some built-in intelligence to helpÂ guide in creation, suggested responses, finding similar content and fact checking. Walla saidÂ simplifyingÂ the entry processÂ for the user is definitely the goal, whether thatâs filling in information the system knows from other encounters or hiding questions that arenât relevant based on previous answers.
For starters, the companyÂ will be helping customersÂ redesign their paper processes into digital ones in HelloWorks, but some time later this year, itÂ will be releasing an API that enables developers to build these workflows themselves without HelloSignâs help.
HelloWorks will also likely have to move information in and out of legacy systems to access and share information inside the processes they are trying to automate, and will have to deal with the complexity of handling those interactions, while ensuring that the various programs whichÂ have access to this information fall within compliance guidelines.Â Walla said that they are aware of these kinds of requirements, and have taken them into accountÂ as they have developed the product.
This shift isnât insignificant in Lepofskyâs view, who likens it to when Box moved from a point solution to a broader enterprise platform play. âItâs similar to Box shifting from file-sync to content-centric collaboration,â he said. Similarly to Box, which had ambition beyond file storage, HelloSign appears to have greater aspirations thanÂ e-signatures â and this could be a first step to getting there.
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