Football transfer window: Retro tech in an ultra-modern world

Football match - football needs new technology
(Image credit: Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)

The clock is ticking as Deadline Day for the Summer transfer window in football looms ever closer; weeks of negotiating between English Premier League clubs as they all try and find the next multi-million-pound superstar which will win them matches and lead their team to glory.  

With never-ending media coverage of rumors, negotiations and deals, agents are flat-out speaking to buying clubs, exchanging contracts and bonus clauses to ensure their player’s personal terms are correctly submitted with the buying club.  The life of a football agent is high-tension, high-drama and high-risk. In busy moments like the end of the transfer window, agents are comforted to know they can rely on the immediacy of cutting-edge technology like….the fax machine

About the author

Mark Greenaway is Director of Digital Media Enterprise, Adobe (including Adobe Sign).

Despite the many millions on the table, the football industry really does still rely on outdated processes such as pen, paper, fax, and scanners. Can you imagine the stress? Do you have the right number? is their machine working? how near the top of the pile is your fax? Are your scanner drivers correctly installed? Stepping up for penalties is a breeze compared to this. 

Whatever your business, football, property, or produce, processing documents manually with paper, fax, scanning and shipping is rife with inefficiencies and opportunities for an own goal. Paperwork can get lost, damaged, intercepted, or simply take an anxiety inducing amount of time to arrive. With errors slowing the process down, wrong fax numbers and faulty equipment commonplace, many still haven’t clocked on and adopted more efficient processes.

E-signature solutions

The last 18 months has seen unprecedented growth in the use of digital signature technology as businesses of all types adapted to overcome lockdowns and social distancing. e-Signature solutions allow users to digitally send, sign, track and manage documents, in a secure, protected way. From expediting processes and freeing up allocation of resources to more value-added work, to improving regulatory compliance, data protection and customer satisfaction, choosing the right technology can provide benefits that go far beyond simple efficiencies. The best tools can even be used for wider purposes, such as gathering critical information from internal or web forms.  

During the pandemic, adoption of e-signatures surged as industries quickly shifted to enable digital solutions, witnessing at first hand the benefits. For example, TSB enabled e-signature software across 21 self-service forms on its website, for services including address changes, bereavement and overdraft enquires. Reducing the time spent, the number of forms needed and the potential for human error, the initiative processed 140,000 forms and saved 15,000 branch visits in just three months. The signees were able to access the resources they needed, wherever they were, unencumbered by the requirement to access a physical location. 

Environmental benefits

There are also a host of environmental benefits of switching to digital signatures, with savings around shipping, paper, ink, printers, scanners and fax machines. As part of their sustainability efforts, ITV estimates that using e-signature technology on documents for shows such as Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Saturday Night Takeaway and Love Island saves them almost 1.5 million sheets of paper. The process isn’t just dramatically more efficient for them, it translates to a saving of over 4,000kg of waste, or 600,000 liters of water.  

Similarly, the car dealership Lookers saved 16 million sheets of paper per year by reducing contract workflow from 17 manual signatures to one digital exchange. That simple change equates to a saving of 270,700kg of wood, or 6.5 million liters of water, enough to fill nearly three of the swimming pools being used at the Paralympics in Japan. 

Moving away from outdated paper-based processes to e-signature solutions provides businesses with a host of benefits and efficiencies across speed, security and certainty, as well as help achieve an organization's sustainability goals. It also means that you’re not sending your team out on to the pitch with their laces tied together. 

Mark Greenaway is Director of Digital Media Enterprise, Adobe (including Adobe Sign). Mark joined Adobe in 2005 and has led the UK Digital Media business since 2010, adding European responsibility in 2013 for the high growth Adobe Sign business, helping organizations take their document based processes into the digital world and now leads Adobe’s Emerging businesses for EMEA.