Charlie Loo is a Solutions Consultant from Docusign. In this article, he has discussed digitalizing agreements with data design and technology.
When we think of agreements, we think of a few pieces of paper we must read, review, understand, and sign to continue with a contract or work. It sounds simple, but many manual processes are involved, and in larger organizations or complex situations, it is not simple.
When we talk of digitization, it’s never just about technology; it is also going to dovetail very much back into the broader umbrella of digital transformation, where we have to align people, processes, and technology across the business and have a very good perspective on how to manage that, from a mindset shift of getting buy-in from our stakeholders, as well as to manage the change management along the way. This is going to be a fundamental change in the way we operate, the way we go to market. And most importantly, it will be a change in how we serve our customers and bring value to them.
Transformation is not a one-day affair; it is a journey that all of us will have to go through. Companies that need records have invested heavily in ERP, CRM, etc. This is an attempt to connect the back office and the front office. This will help them to break down data into silos to automate their business processes and generate reports, give them insights to help them decide what and where to optimize their supply chains and inventory management, and rigorously streamline their finance and accounting processes driving greater efficiency across the organization.
It also helped the organizations with customer engagement, looking at their digital interactions.
COVID disrupted a lot of businesses. Many times, organization processes rely a lot on agreements to get things moving. Onboarding new staff and entering new markets, suppliers, and vendors require agreements. Back then, when agreements were not digital, things came to a standstill. This was a catalyst to accelerate digital transformation.
So, if digital transformation were to be a journey, I feel that transforming our system of agreements should be our next destination. Because regardless of the challenging times or whatsoever may happen in the near future, I feel that connecting the business, getting the deals done, and getting the agreements signed should still be able to continue, even in the toughest hours of human history.
System of Agreement
The agreement journey will comprise a few stages, from preparing the agreement, generating contracts, reviewing terms and conditions, and getting the contract reviewed, signed, executed, and managed.
Most challenges do not happen at the signing stage; they occur at the preparation stage. Versioning is also an issue when it comes to hard copies. This leads to a fragmented agreement journey.
This can have severe ramifications for the business at many different levels. Manual correction of data entry impacts productivity. A customer getting an incorrect contract leads to a poor customer experience.
The agreement journey can be grouped into four pillars –
Customers or companies are moving away from paper-based agreements into electronic formats. This helps them reduce costs, not just the usage of paper. Revisions and review comments can be maintained and accessed easily in the digital format. Electronic signatures are also more acceptable now across the globe. Multiple signatories across locations can easily access and attest a document electronically. These contracts can be stored and managed at center locations, and everyone concerned will have access to the latest versions and copies.
So, if you aspire to transform, you can have a data-design-technology framework to design a smarter documentation process and improve productivity.