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DocuSign vs Adobe Sign: In-Depth Comparison of Leading E-Signature Platforms

Businesses today need to sign an ever-growing mountain of documents to operate – from sales contracts to employment agreements. By moving signatures fully digital, companies save huge time and costs while enabling remote work.

That seismic shift is why the worldwide market for electronic signature solutions is exploding.

Global E-Signature Industry Growth Statistics:

  • $19+ billion market size by 2024 (Forrester)
  • Over 60% CAGR since 2019 (Mordor Intelligence)
  • Billions of documents processed annually

Spurred by legislative acts like ESIGN (US) and eIDAS (EU) that enshrine digital signatures legally on par with wet ink, no business can afford outdated manual signature workflows.

Among over 200 e-signature tools competing in this booming category, two highly capable options lead the pack:

DocuSign – The e-signature pioneer trusted by over a million businesses

Adobe Sign – Intuitive platform from software leader Adobe

This guide offers an in-depth comparison of DocuSign and Adobe Sign capabilities to help determine which solution best meets your needs.

Evaluating E-Signature Software

Let‘s first broadly explore key factors to examine when assessing enterprise-grade electronic signature systems:

  • Integrations – Connectors to existing apps like G Suite, Salesforce, Office 365
  • Compliance – Adherence to legal standards globally
  • Workflows – Match routing rules to organizational structure
  • Identification – Support signer authentication methods
  • Analytics – Insights from agreement data via business intelligence
  • APIs & SDKs – Integration and customization options
  • Security – Protect documents and user credentials
  • Global Use – Platform localization and multi-language support

With those vital items in mind, let’s dive into our detailed DocuSign versus Adobe Sign comparison.

DocuSign Details

DocuSign logo

DocuSign dominates the e-signature space. Powering billions of digital transactions annually for over a million paying entities of all sizes and across all industries.


Founded – 2003 in Seattle, public since 2018 (DOCU)

Users – Over a billion signers in 188 countries

Certifications – ISO 27001, SOC 2 Type 2

Unique Capabilities – Contract process automation, identity verification, extensive analytics

Integrations – 350+ apps via open API

Pricing – Volume discounts available, starting at $10/month

Key Details

As the e-signature pioneer that coined the System of Agreement concept, DocuSign concentrates tremendous R&D into perfecting digital transaction lifecycle management.

The company continues aggressive innovation to maintain its lead. For example, the DocuSign Agreement Cloud introduced at the end of 2020 condenses all signature components into a single platform.

Unmatched Security

DocuSign prioritizes security and compliance in its architecture, critical for customers in fields like healthcare and finance with highly sensitive data.

The platform leverages AI, fraud detection patterns and authentication gateways to achieve robust protection and earn prestigious ISO 27001 and SOC 2 Type 2 certifications.

Agreement Process Automation

Beyond e-signatures, DocuSign automates complex document-centric workflows thanks to integration capabilities:

DocuSign Agreement Process Automation Diagram

Whether routing contracts, linking forms to databases or collecting legally binding consent, DocuSign manages the entire System of Agreement end-to-end.

Customization and Integrations

DocuSign connects billions of data points enterprise-wide via 350+ turnkey integrations with apps like:

  • Microsoft, Google, Oracle and SAP
  • Salesforce, NetSuite, ServiceNow
  • Box, Dropbox, Evernote and more

Developers take advantage of open APIs and SDKs in eight languages to build custom integrations optimizing any unique workflow.

Identity Management

Knowing exactly who is signing documents is imperative. DocuSign offers multiple identity verification methods like multi-factor authentication requiring SMS or biometric confirmation.

Analytics and Visibility

DocuSign Capture analytics dashboards provide visibility into agreement performance – by timeframe, tags, custom fields and other filters. Business leaders gain actionable intelligence to accelerate contracts through the pipeline.

Best Use Cases

DocuSign shines for enterprise initiatives like:

  • Global insurance networks securing client consent (HIPAA/PCI)
  • Higher education systems enabling applicant enrollment
  • Worldwide retailer supply chains managing many suppliers
  • Professional services firms closing sales faster
  • Fast-scaling tech unicorns maintaining compliance

Where advanced workflows, airtight security and global scale matter most, DocuSign leads the pack.

Adobe Sign Details

Adobe Sign logo

Adobe Sign delivers capable e-signature capabilities tightly integrated into the broader Adobe Document Cloud universe used by over 75 million globally.


Founded – As EchoSign in 2011, rebranded Adobe Sign in 2018

Users – 75 million in Adobe Document Cloud

Certifications – ISO 27001, SOC 2

Unique Capabilities – Built-in document editing, some automation

Integrations – Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft, Google

Pricing – Discounts over 20 users, starting at $9.99/month

Key Details

Sign amalgamates directly into PDF services through:

  • Adobe Acrobat – Leading PDF editor
  • Adobe Reader – Most ubiquitous PDF reader
  • Adobe Scan – Mobile scanning app
  • Adobe Fill & Sign – DC app enabling signatures

This tight bundling allows executing signatures fluidly alongside other document actions.

Yet Adobe Sign also operates independently as a secure cloud service, not reliant on Adobe software. Integrations do focus heavily on Creative Cloud and Microsoft ecosystems.

Adobe Sensei AI

Recently Adobe infused Sign (and Document Cloud broadly) with Sensei artificial intelligence to recommend next steps based on historical activity and detect form fields for quick document preparation.

On-Premise Option

Unlike DocuSign, Adobe enables deploying Sign server-based on customer infrastructure for those requiring extra data control.

Mobile Capabilities

Adobe Sign mobile apps facilitate signing on-the-go with mobile capture from built-in cameras. This helps field teams close contracts faster from any location.

Adobe I/O API

External systems integrate via RESTful API with client SDKs available in Java, .Net and more. Expanding automation possibilities.

Best Use Cases

Adobe Sign suits:

  • Creative agencies signing production SOWs in Adobe CC
  • Independent consultants closing NDAs with clients via PDF
  • Mobile sales pros finishing deals on-site
  • Small office teams approving purchases in Acrobat
  • Marketing departments onboarding influencers

For lighter workflows fully immersed in Adobe and Microsoft tools, Adobe Sign performs excellently.

Let‘s now contrast DocuSign and Adobe Sign feature-by-feature.

Side-By-Side Comparison

DocuSign Adobe Sign
Integrations 350+ apps via open API Emphasis on Adobe CC and Microsoft
Template Creation Form fields, tags and branding Advanced PDF editor
Signer Authentication Multi-factor authentication with biometrics Standard MFA
Template Types Word, PDF + XML schemas PDF, Microsoft Office
Analytics Real-time dashboards and reports spanning billions of transactions More basic
On-Premise Option DocuSign eSignature server architecture available Yes – Adobe Sign server on internal infrastructure
Compliance ISO 27001 certified, SOC 2 Type 2 audited, HIPAA capable ISO 27001 certified, SOC 2 audited
Customer Support 24/7 phone, chat and email Business hours phone, chat and email
Language Support 43 languages 33 languages
Mobile Apps DocuSign mobile app for signing + Gen for Sales app for realtime contract creation Adobe Sign + Adobe Scan with photo capture for signing

Unique Workflows

Both platforms enable robust routing rules, fields and form logic tailored to enterprises. DocuSign provides more leeway for more complex documents and data flows.

DocuSign Specialized Capabilities Adobe Sign Specialized Capabilities
Contract process lifecycle automation Built-in PDF editing
Conditional recipients Adobe Sensei AI recommendations
Formula fields Some process automation
Payment gateways More here-and-now mobile enablement

Pricing Comparison

DocuSign and Adobe Sign offer volume discounts for large organizations with 20+ users. Below shows list rates:

DocuSign and Adobe Sign pricing table

DocuSign justifies higher prices through superior security, integrations and customization capabilities. Adobe Sign costs less for more basic needs.

Both vendors provide free trials to discern if capabilities satisfy requirements.

Expert Recommendations

Industry analysts view electronic signatures becoming as ubiquitous as email across all enterprises. Invest now to reap productivity dividends.

“Digitization of document processes is an irresistible tide. Progressive organizations are deploying e-signatures enterprise-wide to remove friction and complete transactions faster.” – R “Ray” Wang, Principal Analyst and Founder, Constellation Research

When evaluating options, seek tools addressing current and future complexity across business units, not just one team.

With cross-department power users leveraging advanced fields, conditional rules and data integrations – DocuSign pulls ahead.

Adobe Sign offers smoother sailing for smaller workgroups immersed in Acrobat and Microsoft Office.

Those using Adobe Creative Cloud broadly may prefer Adobe Sign for its nativeness. But even creative shops hitting growth limits may graduate toward DocuSign’s wider scope.

"Adobe Sign makes sense blended into existing Adobe Document Cloud and Microsoft productivity suites for smaller teams with basic needs. For advanced workflows, integrations and security policies at enterprise scale, DocuSign leads.” – Aragon Research

Unless organizations run 100% on Adobe and Microsoft stacks, DocuSign‘s greater connectivity makes it indispensable long-term.

Use Cases Showing Platforms’ Sweet Spots

While e-signature software provides one fundamental function – secure digital signing – use applications abound across diverse verticals.

Let‘s examine some examples showcasing ideal conditions for Adobe Sign and DocuSign individually:

Adobe Sign Wins For:

  • Real estate brokerages enabling agents to sign listing contracts via mobile apps while on property visits
  • Non-profit organizations granting volunteer IDs and capturing donor consent
  • University research departments complying with GDPR while collaborating with international journals
  • State and local governments allowing citizens to sign applications online for various services through PDF forms
  • Digital marketing agencies facilitating fast turnaround on client SOWs within Adobe Creative Cloud

DocuSign Excels At:

  • Multinational engineering conglomerates managing supply chain contracts across thousands of vendors under strict data privacy regulations
  • Global 100 insurance carriers securing customer consent online to access health records in compliance with HIPAA and HITECH mandates
  • Oil & gas companies reacting quickly to price volatility by renegotiating complex supplier agreements
  • Top 10 hedge funds incorporating risk factors into investment management agreements with algorithmic logic
  • Worldwide retailers onboarding tens of thousands seasonal staff efficiently each holiday year-end

This diversity of implementations will only expand as e-signature adoption proliferates into the mainstream.

Already 85% of businesses use some form of digital transaction management – whether a basic Adobe PDF email or advanced DocuSign workflow.

The Future of Digital Transactions

As Gartner predicts, by 2025 over 70% of enterprises will move the vast majority of paper-based processes to digital operations using e-signature solutions at their core.

A few forthcoming developments as propelling forces:

  • Regulations embracing digital transformation – supporting innovation in financial services, healthcare, government and beyond
  • 5G and mobile maturation – allowing instant secure signing from anywhere globally
  • Rise of virtual work – elevating expectations for seamless digital experiences
  • Generational shifts – as digital natives comprise more leadership roles
  • Post-pandemic expectation – that complete digital business is not only possible but preferential

DocuSign and Adobe Sign both deliver on core e-signing functionality yet take divergent strategic paths.

Adobe Sign concentrates within Adobe’s stack – excelling on universal PDF manipulation andBorn-in-the-cloud SaaS delivery.

DocuSign thinks bigger – providing complete System of Agreement automation spanning organizational boundaries and third-party apps.

As enterprises demand increasing speed and intelligence codifying agreements into data, the deciders must take the long view.

While Adobe Sign integrates agreements into documents – DocuSign integrates agreements into business operations – where the greatest efficiency gains emerge.

Final Recommendation

Adobe Sign fits simpler requirements by smaller teams already bought into Adobe and Microsoft products.

DocuSign matches advanced workflows, global firms and future extensibility through best-in-class integrations.

But every situation warrants evaluation.

If currently functioning fine on manual signatures or basic PDF signatures – incremental improvement may suffice initially through Adobe Sign.

But even enterprises adopting Adobe Sign may feel gravitational pull toward DocuSign as needs mature or if sudden M&A spurred expansion requires rapid adjustments.

With the System of Agreement revolution charging ahead, laggard organizations risk displacement by nimbler competitors racing to operationalize digitization end-to-end. Procrastination plants the seeds of peril.

That means proactively building a foundation to electronically unify business processes with customers, employees, partners and vendors.

E-signature software provides that cornerstone – forging binding connections across technologies.

While Adobe Sign and DocuSign take slightly different paths at this fork -both direction lead toward the inevitable death of paper.

Key Takeaways

  • Adobe Sign focuses on enhancing PDFs and thrives among Adobe-centric users
  • DocuSign automates end-to-end agreement processes with broader reach
  • Consider future extensibility beyond current department requirements
  • Integrations make the difference for enterprise scale and security
  • Move agreements from paperwork to digital workflows ASAP

The only constant is change. With the right partnerships, technology fuels transformation rather than inhibits progress.

Whether Adobe Sign or DocuSign secures your company’s digital signature needs today – rest assured electronic agreements become the certain standard of tomorrow.