It's interesting therefore to learn from DocuSign that its customers are no longer stopping to make a business case based on cost savings. Now it's all about the revenue opportunity and accelerating time to value, says Neil Hudspith, President of Worldwide Field Operations:
It used to be held up dramatically by six months of business case preparation. It's now, time to value isn't just a buzzword, it has to be there.
Hudspith was in London recently for the vendor's EMEA conference, ready with examples of value delivered for customers. One such story comes from the wealth management sector, where the time taken to transfer a client from one provider to another has been reduced from 44 days to just 11 hours on average through using an all-digital process. In general, metrics collected in the UK market show that DocuSign customers realize an average £28 ($37) benefit on every transaction moved through the digital platform, he says.
Even if you did 25% of that, whatever outlay you might have, the technology pays for itself in an incredibly short period of time.
Payments and comments
DocuSign's latest release, launched earlier in September, adds two new features designed to help speed up processes even more. One expands support for adding a payment step after signatures have been completed. DocuSign Payments supports connections to several payment gateways, including Stripe, Authorize.Net and Braintree, as well as bank transfer through ACH in the US. More will be added soon, says Hudspith.
The second feature is DocuSign Comments, which allows senders and signers to exchange comments relating to a document awaiting signature. Often a question comes up when someone is on the point of signing a document, and in the past the only way to resolve the issue was to come out of the app and send an email, make a phone call or start a message thread. Now the query can be raised and resolved without having to leave the e-signature process. It's an important addition to the app, says Hudspith.
If you're in a technology platform and you have to leave it to go and do X, it takes away from how I think most people think about a digital event that used to be analog.
Now to be able to do it all real-time within the solution, from a productivity perspective, I think is just a phenomenal game changer for us.
For many of DocuSign's customers, the battle to eradicate paper-based processes is still in its early stages. Few have gone as far as Microsoft, whose Digitopia initiative helped "all but eradicate paper from their company," says Hudspith, with DocuSign contributing to 300 different use cases. There's still plenty of potential elsewhere.
If I think of paper particularly, we just haven't scratched the surface. I think if we were 1-2% penetrated, I'd be surprised, [compared to] what I really believe we can do.
If I think about the 325,000 customers we have, many of them are very early in the journey and are probably going through what I would call more of a POC. So many of those customers are really in infancy.
I think the opportunity's only going to become bigger going forward.
The push to realize this opportunity is now being led by DocuSign's CEO Dan Springer, appointed in January this year after a protracted search. Previously CEO at email marketing provider Responsys for a decade, his "primary focus in his career has been on customer success," says Hudspith. That focus is continuing at DocuSign, he goes on.
Investments continue really around customer success. The biggest investment that we're making is to have people know what they're talking about, who have domain expertise and can help our customers, particularly around adoption.
We are investing ahead of the curve, across the globe, not just in international markets in Europe, to make sure we have the people on the ground that can drive best practice to enable the value to be realized sooner rather than later.
This also means building up the DocuSign partner ecosystem to extend its reach into more specialized solutions, he adds.
From one perspective, digital signatures are a very small component of a process. But separating this very small act from the need to send pieces of paper around has a huge impact on the time taken to complete any process.
The challenge for DocuSign is to persuade its customers to move more radically toward eliminating paper-based signing, by helping them see how to automate processes and shorten time to value. It's not just a matter of providing the enabling technology. Organizations need help too in understanding how best to apply it.