The “Customer Spotlight” series shines the light on DocuSign customers who are benefiting from digitising their processes with eSignature.
We recently sat down with Mike, Nathan, and Paul from UD Group to find out how they grew the company from a two-man garage operation to an international energy and utility software solutions provider.
Q: Can you tell us about your organisation and your relationship with DocuSign?
Paul: We created the first, and only, website where end users could search for a business energy price, do a comparison, and accept a contract online. I think we were one of the first, if not the first, DocuSign customer in the UK. We adopted the product in 2009, implementing electronic signature within an online transactional tool for switching business energy customers.
Q: And why is going digital important to you?
Paul: We just felt that digital was the way forward. People were moving away from wet signatures for legal reasons; for compliance; it became the norm for us as a business.
Q: What challenges was UD Group trying to overcome with electronic signature?
Mike: The energy market in the UK, maybe even worldwide, hasn’t caught up with the amount of data and the ability to use data that you expect from other parts of everyday life. Our solutions are pulling the energy market into line and using electronic signature is a way of distinguishing us from our competitors.
Q: When you were looking for a solution, what was most important to you?
Paul: We did our research and looked at a competitor, but because of the legal requirements associated with energy supplier contracts we felt it looked quite breakable. It didn’t have the security wrapped around it like DocuSign does.
Ease of use was certainly a factor. We also picked up on the eSignature API capabilities from day one. And it was important for us that the data be hosted in Europe, so all those aspects pointed us to DocuSign.
Q: What was your experience like working with DocuSign’s eSignature API?
Mike: The API was key for us to absorb DocuSign into our systems. We’re very happy with it. We’ve managed to quickly and easily recreate contracts and formats within DocuSign as they come through.
In the past two years in the UK, we’ve seen a big change in the market. For a while there were very few suppliers, but as some of the regulations changed we’ve seen more suppliers come in. Between 25 to 30 new suppliers have surfaced where we’ve had to pick up their pricing and contract terms, put them online and convert them into DocuSign. We’re able to do that without disruption, and we’re adding these to our service constantly. The eSignature API helps us turn those around in a matter of days. When we get news of a new entry into the market, we can have their prices and contracts on our platforms almost before customers know they’ve arrived. We don’t have to spend weeks or longer developing anything to get it online.
Q: Do you have any tangible results from using eSignature that you can share?
Nathan: Essentially, we couldn’t have launched our software solutions without DocuSign. We couldn’t have launched our range of products without the online signing aspect.
Paul: We measure success by the size and growth of the business, the size and number of our clients, and our ability to expand outside of the UK. Originally, there were two of us when I started the company out of a garage. Now, we are growing to over 50 employees over the next couple of years and have at least doubled in terms of turnover year on year, and have an enviable portfolio of clients. As we speak, we are entering the US market in a similar fashion, building out our core functions of pricing, meter validation, commissions management and, of course, eSignature from DocuSign. This allows us to scale our platform to be replicated in different regions and we plan to be in the European market in the near future also.
Mike: To add to that, just in 2016 to date, we’ve provided around 2.5 million gas and power quotations in the UK, upwards of 300,000 meter-lookup validations and over 50,000 supplier contracts. The amount of volume that’s going through our systems is quite impressive and could easily double in 2017. We wouldn’t be looking at that level of growth if we weren’t including DocuSign as part of the proposal. It helps complete the package of the platform with its ability to get prices, get your information validated and get the contract completed online. It’s currently our unique selling point as companies are coming to us now because we’ve solved the problems that they’ve not been able to solve.
Q: Do you have any interesting ‘DocuStories’?
Paul: Steve Woodward, a DocuSign employee who came to the UK and helped us set it up deserves a mention. Without him, it might not have to came to fruition.
Nathan: Yes, have you seen the Simpsons episode where they’re building a monorail? We’d gathered the meanest security people in a room and I walked in there and thought, “They’re never going to go for this,” and by the end of it, they were singing his praises. They were all like, “DocuSign! DocuSign! DocuSign!” It was very funny.
Q: To finish, what three words come to mind when you think of DocuSign?
Paul: Secure. Ease. Transparent.
Mike: And innovative.
Awesome, thanks, guys. It was great talking to you!
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