All of us at Simplus were thrilled to hear the announcement of the DocuSign Agreement Cloud, a collection of products and integrations that dramatically simplifies document and agreement processes. Simplus and DocuSign are the perfect pair for elevating your Salesforce instance and delivering better results to your end users. And with the DocuSign Agreement Cloud, that mission just got easier. To get our customers started, we’ve put together this blog to take a look at how we can modernize your system of agreement.
What do you think is your most out-of-date business process? Hopefully, it isn’t your system of record. Companies began modernizing their systems of record (e.g., CRM, ERP, HCM) more than 20 years ago, making huge investments to update their records and move them to the cloud. And hopefully it isn’t your system of engagement either—that transition has already come and gone.
Provided you’ve done everything right so far, your system of agreement is next in line for an overhaul—primarily because the way you prepare, sign, act on, and manage your agreements is either manual or just not up to speed with today’s digital world. DocuSign believes this represents the next great cloud opportunity, with a potential addressable market of more than $50 billion. So let’s talk more about these systems are, why yours needs to be modernized, and what makes a system of agreement successful.
What are systems of agreement?
The system of agreement is the process through which you create, sign, act on, and manage the agreements (e.g. contracts) that are critical to your business. Despite being a core process, this system has seen very little in the way of automation. Maybe you’ve asked yourself questions like the following while getting documents ready for clients:
– What template do I use for this document, where is it, and how am I sure it’s the latest?
– Who do I need to send it to?
– Who needs to approve pricing?
– Who needs to approve project terms?
– How do I make sure this is compliant?
– How do I make sure that diversity and other elements are included?
– How do I sign it easily?
The agreement process consists of four steps:
1. Prepare: This step involves all of the actions necessary to create a document prior to signing. Substeps may include writing the document from scratch or using industry-appropriate templates, pulling customer data from systems of record to auto-populate, and collaborating with colleagues to ensure accuracy and compliance with industry/legal standards.
2. Sign: This step involves setting up a system by which all necessary parties can access, sign, and return the document. Only three years ago, nearly 75 percent of survey respondents admitted that their contract process was not automated. Unfortunately, most companies are still in the same state and go through the same miserable process they always have: printing the document, searching for a scanner and fax machine, and returning the document—a manual process that eats time and halts progress.
3. Act: This step involves fulfilling the agreed-to terms of the document.
4. Manage: Once all terms have been fulfilled, the document must be logged for future use, whether it be for reference purposes or use as a template.
We’ve been using the same system of agreement for years now. Why should we update?
More likely than not, your legacy system of agreement is nothing more than a collection of disconnected parts haphazardly strung together by manual processes. None of these pieces were made to work with each other, and forcing them to do so is more trouble than it’s worth.
In 2015, Forrester Consulting asked IT and LOB leaders about the problems they faced with their analog processes. Their responses were as follows:
– Errors due to humans and analog processes – 50%
– Cumbersome paper-oriented tasks such as scanning and document management – 44%
– Difficulty collecting and managing documents from multiple sources – 42%
– Difficulty administering and controlling documents over time – 39%
– Lack of security over printed documents – 37%
– Difficulty maintaining visibility into the location and status of paper-based documents – 34%
Further, 98 percent of respondents reported some degree of revenue loss due to these issues, with 20 percent reporting a 6–10 percent loss and 37 percent reporting 11–25 percent.
In more general terms, when you are content to use your legacy system of agreement, you run the risk of the following:
– Wasting time
– Wasting money
– Losing revenue to competitors
– Damaging customer and employee satisfaction
– Risking legal and compliance exposure
What makes a modern system of agreement successful?
The solution is to find a platform that makes things simpler and easier, and with more than 475,000 paying customers around the world, we happen to think the DocuSign Agreement Cloud is the one. After all, Salesforce has used DocuSign to great success, with over 90 percent of Salesforce contracts being completed within the same day and 71 percent within an hour.
But you can’t adopt a new approach to your system of agreement based on results you haven’t seen yet. Instead, look for these traits that lay the foundation for greater success:
1. Legality. Does the system provide a reliable method of retrieving and maintaining signatures, and does it support the laws and rules of your respective industry?
2. Connectivity. Does the system allow connections with your existing systems, third-party enhancements, and customers?
3. Reliability. Does the system’s vendor have a history of downtime, or can you rely on them to be up and running consistently?
4. Security and Privacy. How does the platform protect itself and your information from outside attack? How many high-profile clients trust this provider with their information?
5. Deployment Flexibility. Though the trend is toward cloud-based documentation, does the platform allow you to conform to client needs by providing on-premise and hybrid options as well?
6. Adoption Flexibility. Does the platform allow you to adopt at your own pace?
7. Ease of Use. Is the platform easy and instinctive to use? After using the trial form, do you believe your clients will be able to navigate, sign, and submit documents without trouble?
The DocuSign Agreement Cloud comprises the suite of tools you need to modernize your system of agreement through the four steps (prepare, sign, act, manage)—including new products that help accelerate document generation, identify verification, and click-to-agree scenarios, as well as the company’s trademark eSignature solution. It’s the ideal setup for streamlining your processes and easily integrating with various other platforms.
Your system of agreement is just the latest in a long line of processes in need of automation—and it’s important enough to make sure it’s done correctly. For more information, read The Rise of Modern Systems of Agreement, or reach out to us today.