Business computing has evolved a great deal since the phrase "paperless office" first appeared many years ago, yet the paperless vision remains an almost mythical ideal. Unfortunately, it's likely to remain so in the wake of the new federal "e-Sign" law, which went into effect this past Oct. 1. A more accurate description of the new environment in which imaging, document management, electronic signatures and digital signatures will operate in 2001 is "less paper."

Nonetheless, some truly remarkable technology exists for streamlining both business-to-business (B-to-B) and in-house business processes, enabling faster, more convenient interaction with customers. During the past few years, companies have witnessed a rapid evolution in imaging and document management solutions. Today, the rate of evolution accelerates because the Electronic Signatures in Global Commerce Act-the official name of the e-Sign bill-almost eliminates concerns about the legality of electronically consumated transactions.

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