While most documents generated by the government have made the transition from paper to digital, there are still a few hiccups in the process, notably contracts and other documents that require signatures.
The General Services Administration is looking for an agencywide service that can obviate the need for pen-and-ink signatures and move the contracting process entirely online, according to documents posted on Monday. GSA now uses a variety of procedures to obtain signatures, some of which include a mix of electronic and pen-and-ink, or what the agency calls “wet” signatures. Transitioning fully to digital signatures would raise GSA’s efficiency and reduce costs, the agency said.
The document, posted on the Federal Business Opportunities Contracting site, is a sources sought notice, which means GSA wants to gather feedback from industry about possible products but isn’t seeking bids yet. The agency expects to issue a formal solicitation and award a contract before the end of 2015, the notice said.
An e-signature vendor would have to manage a workload of up to 900 signatures per hour and be able to integrate with a diverse array of existing GSA systems provided by Google, Microsoft and other vendors, the notice said.
GSA is seeking input on various types of e-signature systems, including systems that would live on GSA’s infrastructure, systems that would live on vendors’ servers and be accessed remotely and systems that would live on a third-party computer cloud.