Guest post by Robert Albert, Collaboration Specialist, AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is one of the world’s largest biopharmaceutical companies. We develop and deliver prescription medications for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammatory, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neurological diseases. We believe the best way we can help patients is to focus on breakthrough science in order to uncover disease mechanisms and develop novel, targeted therapies that interact with them. This is at the heart of our purpose as a company. We strive to push the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines.

While we’ll talk more about the services engagement in this piece, you can learn more about the broader AstraZeneca and DocuSign story from our Chief Information Officer, Dave Smoley, below.

Let’s set the scene with the DocuSign engagement. It all started as many new IT services do in enterprises today: with one group using it and becoming an internal advocate. In our case it was Procurement. They used DocuSign to get supplier request forms completed and loved it so much that we decided to consider it for other uses across the business.

Below I’ll describe how we got started and how we implemented our own in-house Centre of Excellence (COE) to accelerate eSignature adoption. We hope our experience can help others out there too.

Step 1: Evaluating the Solution

To determine if DocuSign would meet our requirements for an electronic signature solution, we needed to assess its capabilities as an enterprise solution. Also, whether it met our industry regulatory requirements, and whether we could build a business case to show we’d get the right ROI from the solution.

AstraZeneca utilised the help of the DocuSign Customer Success Architect (CSA) programme, as well as validation services for Part 11, an FDA regulatory requirement, from USDM Life Sciences, a DocuSign partner. We had our own set of security, privacy, and compliance requirements to ensure DocuSign met our rigorous in-house quality standards. We also successfully undertook a global legal assessment to ensure that DocuSign eSignature was valid in all of the countries (>110) in which we operate.

Step 2: Developing In-House Expertise

Once we decided to move forward with electronic signature, we determined that our goal should be making the process of getting a DocuSign account as simple and fast as possible. We felt that the most effective way to speed internal eSignature adoption was to get people using DocuSign immediately. To experience the benefit of the tool, our first investment was in getting the right people and skills in place to help us do that. We created two core roles to drive our eSignature adoption strategy – a Project Manager and a Service Manager.

First, we assigned a dedicated Project Manager and had him learn as much as possible about the platform. By doing so, he could become our own internal expert for DocuSign. He worked with the early adopter departments to identify ideal use cases that they should implement and got the service up and running. DocuSign offers a CSA Certification, which is the same training their own CSAs go through and helps customers become use case adoption experts. Our Project Manager became a Certified CSA, a Certified Workflow Manager, and an overall DocuSign guru.

Our second critical role was our Service Manager, who went through the DocuSign University classes to become a Certified Workflow Manager. This provided her the training she needed so that she could help others on her team to understand how to offer the correct level of support for future requests. She was going to be with the DocuSign programme over the long term, so we needed her to become the resident expert that other departments could come to for advice and guidance on how best to use DocuSign.

Step 3: Building our Centre of Excellence

Finally, we established a Centre of Excellence. This would be our central governance structure that would manage the overall DocuSign project. It ensured employees could get access and training, providing support for the development of new use cases, and tracking project ROI.

The Centre of Excellence consists of three groups, two of which provide support and one that is administrative. The first support group developed was the Training Group. They are responsible for all of the demos and general information requests.

The second group created was the Service Group, led by the Service Manager. They are responsible for workflow support. This includes workflow design for new use cases, template creation for existing use cases, and specialised user training requests. In addition to the support groups, we also set up an Administrative Group. It is their responsibility to ensure that all new requests are in compliance with AstraZeneca policies. In that group, we have representation from legal, compliance, security, privacy and quality management.

eSignature Adoption: Conclusion

DocuSign has helped revolutionise how we sign agreements at AstraZeneca. Our Customer Success Architect (CSA) and other partner services enabled us to successfully adopt the technology, while also ensuring the changes to our business processes adhered to regulatory guidelines.

Investing in core resources and developing a Centre of Excellence were critical elements. They helped us scale across a global company and ensure we maximise the value we are getting out of DocuSign.

Some advice for those who are just getting started:

  • Identify an internal champion – someone who will care about the success of the programme.
  • Pick a key metric for success – preferably tied to a business metric.
  • Create a centralised governance team – those who can act as the in-house experts, track eSignature adoption, and help groups across the company be successful.
  • Don’t be afraid to get help! – DocuSign and their partners can assist in identifying the right place to start and get you up and running quickly.

Delight your customers, partners, and employees with a better way of doing business. Learn about DocuSign for enterprises.

Electronic signature allows you to quickly and securely make every agreement and approval process digital