Agreement Process Automation Yields Major ROI, Finds Independent Study

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Study Analyzes and Quantifies Reduced Costs, Lower Risks, and Improved Customer Experience

While most companies remain hindered by manual, legacy agreement processes, companies that automate the way they handle agreements with customers, vendors, and employees can do business faster, at less cost, with lower risk, and a better customer experience. That’s according to The State of Systems of Agreement, 2019, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of DocuSign.

The study examines the benefits of companies’ connecting and automating their systems of agreement—that is, the way they prepare, sign, act-on and manage the agreements that are critical to their business. It surveyed 605 business and technology leaders in organizations across North America, Europe, Asia, and South America with between 250 to more than 20,000 employees responsible for document-intensive processes.

According to the study, 97% of the companies surveyed had issues completing and working with their agreements. Principal among the challenges was the inability to index and search the content, manage their security and confidentiality, gain insight in the data contained in the agreements, store and manage them centrally, and ensure regulatory compliance. However, the study also showed that companies which had started to implement technologies like e-signature to remove the barrier of the physical signature were quickly seeing improvements.

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For example, as part of the study, the digital transformation lead for a financial services company commented: “It’s six times faster to deliver an order form to our customers using our digital experience versus our legacy one. We process orders three times faster in the digital experience versus the old one.”

A global service manager at a pharmaceutical company also noted within the study: “We’re finding that it takes about 15 minutes to get a contract signed, where it used to take days to weeks. In terms of cost savings, each digital envelope saves the company $25, multiplied by over 300,000 envelopes sent last year.”

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Additional findings of the Forrester Consulting study include:

  • Manual agreement processes are negatively impacting businesses: In the past year, 46% of respondents have had the start of projects delayed, 45% have delivered poor customer experiences, 42% have had delays in recognizing revenue, and 39% have had unnecessary printing, mailing, and faxing costs.
  • The benefits of automated agreement processes directly align with business priorities:
  • The top business priority of 2019 for companies surveyed is improving customer experience, with 74% citing it as “high” or “critical.” Strengthening security and compliance (72%), increasing employee productivity (69%), and increasing business agility (68%) follow closely after. Each of these can be directly addressed by automating agreement processes.
  • There remains work to do in digitization: Most organizations have adopted some degree of automation, but their processes still involve significant manual tasks that result in extra work, errors, unnecessary costs, execution delays, and security and compliance risks. Only 13% of the organizations surveyed are considered “leaders” that have achieved significant efficiencies through every phase of the agreement lifecycle.

“Agreements are key to the moments that matter—from opening a bank account, to accepting a job offer, to applying for a building permit, to buying a new home,” said Scott Olrich, chief operating officer at DocuSign. “We believe this study illustrates the opportunities for organizations to modernize their systems of agreement, allowing them to do business faster, at less cost, with a better customer experience.”

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