• 85%

    of AstraZeneca's agreements now take less than one day
  • 16%

    increase in customer satisfaction scores
  • 80%

    improvement in critical system stability

One of AstraZeneca’s three strategic priorities is “accelerate innovative science.” For the £18 billion biopharmaceutical company and its 57,000 employees, that means faster development of potentially life-changing prescription medications. According to Dave Smoley, chief information officer at AstraZeneca, bringing a product to market faster not only equates to tens-of-millions of dollars of increased revenue, but delivering patients with the critical treatments they need sooner. A key part of accelerating innovation, according to AstraZeneca, is using digital technology to “enable new insights, accelerated processes and an improved patient experience.”

So, back in 2014, AstraZeneca embarked on a transformation initiative, identifying obsolete processes within the business that needed a digital makeover. However, to gain buy-in and adoption across the organisation, AstraZeneca decided to start small and use DocuSign eSignature to digitise a single, critical procurement process: obtaining signatures on supplier request forms. The success of this first use case led to the creation of a DocuSign Centre of Excellence that drove DocuSign eSignature’s vast global expansion at AstraZeneca to the HR, procurement and sales departments.

Developing a More Modern Approach to Agreements

Before moving forward with DocuSign, AstraZeneca needed to assess not only how eSignature could improve its workflow and deliver ROI, but whether it would satisfy the healthcare industry’s strict regulatory requirements. To that end, AstraZeneca enlisted the help of the DocuSign Customer Success Architect (CSA) program, as well as validation services for Part 11, an FDA regulatory requirement, from USDM Life Sciences, a DocuSign partner. 

After confirming that DocuSign met its set of security, privacy, and compliance requirements, AstraZeneca’s CSA helped define a set of use cases that would deliver the best results, starting with digitising supplier forms for its procurement department.

Quickly, the company began to see results. By digitising supplier agreements and relying on electronic signatures instead of wet-signed documents, AstraZeneca significantly reduced the amount of time necessary to complete contracts. With eSignature, 85% of its agreements are now signed in less than one day—a process that once took days or weeks. 

"We're very speed-oriented and DocuSign eSignature is a product that gives us speed,” said Smoley. 

And, because agreements were signed faster and in a simpler way, customer experience improved—the company saw a 16% increase in customer satisfaction scores.  “AstraZeneca has simplified clinical operations, decreased development costs and reduced risk in security and compliance to bring treatments to market sooner and more efficiently,” according to Smoley.

Expanding eSignature Use and Ensuring Long-Term Success

Following AstraZeneca’s successful integration of DocuSign eSignature into its procurement department, the company saw an opportunity to expand usage throughout the organisation. 

To speed up adoption internally, AstraZeneca set up a DocuSign Center of Excellence, a central governance structure that would manage DocuSign usage, train and provide access to employees, deliver support for the development of new use cases, and track project ROI.

AstraZeneca also created two new roles—a project manager and a service manager. The project manager went through DocuSign training to get CSA certified and become an internal eSignature expert, capable of identifying promising use cases and helping new users get started. Meanwhile, the service manager became a Certified Workflow Manager, tasked with training others in the organisation on providing DocuSign support. 

As a result of its effort to make DocuSign eSignature accessible and valuable to its vast team, AstraZeneca has successfully rolled out eSignature to its HR and sales teams in addition to procurement—and continues to see promising results. With DocuSign’s robust partner ecosystem and flexible APIs, AstraZeneca can integrate DocuSign eSignature with existing technology investments, enabling the company to improve the experience of internal and external stakeholders.

DocuSign fits right in as one of the tools that drives simplification, drives speed, and drives value clearly. It's an enabler.
Dave Smoley
Chief Information Officer
AstraZeneca