Agreements are the basis of all business. Whether you’re accepting a new job offer, applying for a mortgage or opening a bank account, they’re key to the moments that matter. And in today’s digital world, customer expectations are higher than ever before.

To be able to respond to this demand, organisations must improve the efficiency of their contractual processes on which their customer interactions are based. But what’s the best way to do this? By connecting and automating the entire agreement life cycle with a modern system of agreement.

What is a system of agreement?

Simply put, a system of agreement is the collection of technologies and processes a business uses for preparing, signing, acting on and managing agreements.

A businesses’ success is dependent on more than simply implementing these processes, though. They must ensure end-to-end automation wherever possible.

With this challenge in mind, we commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate how organisations are currently digitising and automating the ways they prepare, sign, act on and manage agreements. With input from 605 business leaders around the globe, the report reveals how today’s companies are undergoing a number of digital transformations with an aim to increase efficiency, improve customer satisfaction, and drive revenue.

However, while most companies have taken the first step of using an electronic signature, there are still myriad manual processes happening across businesses. These typically take place before and after the signature process. Not only do these processes waste time and money, but they’re risky and can ruin customer experience, too.

Here’s three key takeaways from the Forrester report which show why modernising your agreement process is key to success.

1. Inefficient manual agreement processes negatively impact business

According to the report, these are the top priorities for organisations today:

  • Strengthening security and compliance
  • Improving customer experience
  • Increasing business agility

DocuSign system of agreement

But there’s a problem. Inefficient, manual agreement processes get in the way of achieving these very priorities.

Organisations around the globe, from 250 employees to 20,000 found that disconnected systems of agreement lead to an array of problems. These include delays in starting projects, poor customer experiences, delays in recognising revenue, unnecessary costs of printing, mailing and faxing, and abandoned deals.

2. Automating contracts before e-signature accelerates the agreement process

While many organisations use e-signature as the first step in accelerating the agreement process, there’s room for improvement even before the agreement is sent out for signature.

Forrester research found that 90% of agreements are still prepared manually.

What’s more, manual processes are happening even when organisations already have all, or some of, the information required for the agreement in their existing records. Asking customers for information they already provided wastes time and creates a frustrating and impersonal experience.

Digitally advanced firms prepare agreements from templates, automatically integrating customer information from systems of record. They also leverage legal clause libraries to minimise review cycles and get to signature faster.

3. The opportunity to automate continues throughout the life of the contract

The final stages of the agreement lifecycle – storing, managing, and ultimately retiring agreements – are the phases where many organisations have the least sophisticated processes. Businesses rely on multiple systems to ensure seamless, end-to-end workflow but the result is that agreements can end up in various locations.

Organisations must be able to locate agreements quickly and understand what’s in them, so they can answer questions and respond to enquiries and audits in a timely manner.

They also need to track non-standard commitments and understand operational risks that lie within any subset of agreements. And yet respondents cited numerous challenges when managing completed agreements.

DocuSign system of agreement

To learn more about the benefits of modernisation and receive key recommendations for combating these challenges in your business, download the full report white paper, The State of Systems of Agreement, 2019.

Need more help?

The DocuSign Agreement Cloud automates and connects the entire agreement process to help organisations reach their business goals.

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