DocuSign versus Contract Signatures for Confluence: Which Should You Use?

DocuSign vs Contract Signatures for Confluence Header Image

The right e-signature platform is key to making remote business easier, your company greener, and your documents more secure.

In this article we’re comparing the hugely popular DocuSign with our own app, Contract Signatures for Confluence, a newbie to the e-signature market.

DocuSign Pros and Cons

What is DocuSign?

DocuSign is one of the leading electronic signature tools, with a huge user base and thousands of positive reviews. It lets you easily upload all sorts of documents, from a variety of different platforms, and send them for online signing.

Pros

  • DocuSign integrates with a lot of major partners, enabling you to upload Microsoft Word, PDF, and other common document formats either from your computer or from file-sharing sites such as Dropbox and Google Drive. This means, if your contracts are coming from many sources in lots of different formats, DocuSign is great at cleaning up the mess and making all those documents uniform.
  • A simple drag-and-drop tool lets you place signature, date, and other input fields on your documents.
  • The signing process itself is very easy and streamlined. Signees receive an email linking to a read-only version of the contract. Once they have opened the contract they can write/upload their signature.
  • You can use DocuSign on any device and write your signature with your finger on a touchscreen phone or tablet.
  • DocuSign lets you save your signature for the next time you sign a contract.
  • DocuSign creates and gives you access to an audit trail for documenting and legal purposes.

Cons

  • DocuSign is an e-signature tool. It’s not for making documents. You can’t write your agreements in DocuSign; you have to do that in Confluence, Google Docs, or some other documentation system.
  • The fact that you have to upload your documents to DocuSign means you’re moving your contracts out of the platform you wrote them in. This puts your contractual information in two places and stops your company achieving a single source of truth.
  • The audit trail is not in the platform you’re using to create your contracts; it’s in DocuSign.
  • DocuSign does not have an integration with Confluence. This means, if you’re using Confluence to write contracts, you’d need to export them to PDF or Word to use DocuSign.
  • Using DocuSign is more labor-intensive than signing contracts in the platform they were created in. First, when you’re writing the contract in Word or Google Docs, you need to leave empty spaces wherever you need an input from a signee. Then you need to upload your document to DocuSign. And then you need to go back into that document and drag and drop input fields in all those empty spaces.
  • Since it’s not a text editor, you can’t change a document once you’ve uploaded it to DocuSign. So if you send a document for signing and the signee wants to amend the agreement, you’ll have to go back to the platform where the contract was created to make the amendment. Then you’ll need to upload the document to DocuSign again.
  • If there’s no integration with DocuSign, as is the case with Confluence, then there’s a further administrative step you have to perform: having to convert the document to a DocuSign-compatible format.
  • Because DocuSign is not for writing documents, different departments within an organization may be using different e-signature tools, which means those organizations’ agreements are in lots of different places, making them difficult to keep track of.
  • If the writing and signing of contracts happens in different places, there’s more scope for error. For example, you might upload the wrong version of a contract to DocuSign. And if the platform you’re writing contracts in doesn’t have live collaborative editing or version control like Confluence does, there’s even more scope for administrative mix-ups on the journey to DocuSign.

Contract Signatures for Confluence Pros and Cons

What is Contract Signatures for Confluence?

Contract Signatures for Confluence is an e-signature tool sold on the Atlassian Marketplace. It is a Confluence add-on that allows documents to be signed directly within Confluence, even if the signee is not on your Confluence instance.

Confluence page with signature and date fields inserted using the Contract Signatures macro
Confluence page with signature and date fields inserted using the Contract Signatures macro
What the external signee sees
How the ready-for-signing Confluence page looks to an external signee

Pros

  • Contract Signatures for Confluence enables the signing process to happen inside Confluence. This means your contracts can be written, managed, signed, and stored all in one place, making Confluence the single source of truth for your agreements.
  • There’s no need to convert or upload your agreements to a different place. Just create them in Confluence and, when you’re finished, send the document by email from inside Confluence to the signees you specify.
  • Adding input fields to your contracts is much quicker and easier. It’s a macro you can add to any document while you’re working on it in the Confluence editor. Just hit /signature and a signature field will appear, which you can easily change to a date, initials, text, or checkbox field and specify Person A, Person B, etc. In Confluence you can have a finished contract that’s ready for signing the moment you hit “publish”.
  • If the contract needs to be amended further after it’s been sent, just make the change in Confluence and let the signee know. You don’t even need to send the agreement again, because the read-only version the signee receives will update automatically with the changes.
  • The signing process itself is very easy and streamlined. Signees receive an email linking to a read-only version of the Confluence contract. Once they have opened the contract they can write/upload their signature.
  • You can use Contract Signatures for Confluence on any device and write your signature with your finger on a touchscreen phone or tablet.
  • Signees do not have to be on your Confluence instance.
  • Contract Signatures generates an audit trail for documenting and legal purposes in the platform where you’re making and storing your contracts: Confluence.
  • The app will encourage all departments across the organization to use Confluence for making and managing contracts, which is good because Confluence’s automation, collaboration, and storage facilities make it an excellent contract management tool.

Cons

  • Contract Signatures for Confluence only integrates with Confluence, but this isn’t really a con, because Confluence is a much better place to be writing, managing, and storing your contracts than Google Docs, Word, or SharePoint.
  • Contract Signatures doesn’t yet let you save your signature for the next time you sign a contract, but we’re working on it.
Signed document in Contract Signatures
Contract Signatures Audit Certificate
Audit certificate received by email when a contract is signed

So which is better? DocuSign or Contract Signatures for Confluence?

When it comes to the signing process for signees, DocuSign and Contract Signatures for Confluence are pretty much on a par. When signees receive the agreement, they can add their signature by uploading a scanned signature from their computer or by “drawing” their signature live using their mouse or touchscreen. Both apps also come with full mobile support, which means you can make agreements and approve projects on the move from your phone.

But when it comes to contract creation and management, Contract Signatures for Confluence is streets ahead. DocuSign doesn’t let you make or collaborate on contracts. You have to come to DocuSign with a ready-made agreement that you’ve written and finalized elsewhere. And if you’ve used Word or Google Docs, you’ll have missed out on all the benefits that come with Confluence. Like its collaborative document editor, full page history, automation and dynamic content options, power to make contract templates using page variables, unlimited storage, and group access permissions.

DocuSign also requires more admin than Contract Signatures for Confluence. You have to upload finalized documents and sometimes even convert them to something else if there’s no integration. You have to leave empty spaces in your finalized agreement for signee inputs and then go back in and add input fields once the document’s been uploaded to DocuSign. And if a signee wants to make an amendment after it’s been sent for signing (as often happens), you’ll have to go back to Google Docs or Word, make a new version, and upload the damn thing again.

None of this is necessary with Contract Signatures. You simply add your signature and input fields while you’re writing, and end up with a document ready for signing when you publish it. And if it needs further amends, make the change in Confluence and the contract will auto-update. If multiple changes are required, using Contract Signatures makes for a much smoother and quicker back and forth than DocuSign.

Most importantly, however, is the fact that DocuSign is a barrier to achieving a single source of truth. Because it does not let you sign contracts in the platform you wrote them in, your contract data and audit trails are split across two databases. Possibly three if you wrote the agreement in Confluence, then had to convert it to Word, and then had to upload it DocuSign. It’s much better and more efficient to have all of your contract-related processes and information in one place. And frankly, there’s no better place than Confluence.

Christopher is a self-confessed nerd who’d probably take the cake on Mastermind if Star Trek: Voyager was his specialist subject. He writes fiction about time travel, conspiracies and aliens; loves roller coasters, hiking and Christmas; and hates carpet, rom-coms and anything with chilli in it. He’s written extensively for technology companies and Atlassian partners and specializes in translating complicated technical concepts, specs and jargon into readable, benefits-driven copy that casual readers will understand.