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Out with the Old, In with the New: How Digital Agreements Redefine the Present of Work

Office, hybrid, remote, and agile working is not only the future but also the present of work. Ronan Copeland, GVP General Manager, EMEA, DocuSign explores how the right digital tools enable employees to create, collaborate, and innovate from anywhere.

The fundamental nature of the office is changing. The last two years have undergone an incredible array of upheaval, forcing businesses to not only overhaul current ways of working but also redefine future growth strategies.

For many, this meant ensuring the right digital processes were in place, enabling the continuation of work regardless of location. Now, as the world of work starts to reopen, organisations of all sizes are looking at the role of the workplace and how digital tools, such as digital contract lifecycle management, and even e-signatures, can reinforce smarter ways of remote, hybrid, and on-premises working.

The Anywhere Economy Made Reality

The last 50 years have seen the birth and rise of the information economy. Personal computers, the Internet, and mobile devices have increasingly impacted and changed the way the world operates. This change accelerated over the last two years, recognisably morphing from the information economy into the anywhere economy.

At its core, the anywhere economy is driven by the Internet delivering goods and services at any time and in any location. This means being able to make the most of cloud-based technologies, such as Slack or Google Drive for collaboration and file sharing, or managing all of the agreements and documentation required throughout the work lifecycle using Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) software, such as DocuSign CLM.

A CLM system is designed to manage contracts throughout all stages of the process, replacing the assorted Word documents, spreadsheets, email chains, local and off-site hard drive storage, and other ad hoc processes teams and organisations find themselves organically relying on. Such systems were never intended to manage the lifecycle of contracts, and as such are incapable of scaling and raising to meet the challenge as contract volumes and complexities increase.

In essence, CLM allows team members to quickly organise their existing library of caseloads, while at the same time defining the process for all ongoing and future contracts. It’s a seamless way for different departments to collaborate, with clearly outlined and agreed contract steps, as well as automated handoff points. The result will be a faster, more efficient, and more secure way of processing business transactions.

It can be used as a standalone solution, or as we increasingly are seeing, used as a central hub to manage all contract-related processes, from automating workflows, and generating new documents, to negotiating terms, while at the same delivering complete transparency to the business.

For growing small and medium-sized businesses there is the perfect starting point in the form of CLM Essentials. Designed to offer a quick setup using best-practice and legally approved templates, users can generate contracts with a click, helping keep contracts organised, in one place, and easily accessible.

As a Gartner research report outlined, “once a business process is converted from paper processes to digital workflows, it will become ‘the new normal’—reflecting the next stage of the digital transformation.”

Ultimately, the automation of manual tasks improves complex workflows, eliminates errors and potential threats, and has standardised business processes, enabling remote and hybrid working to drive the growth of the anywhere economy.

Contract Lifecycle Management for Smarter Ways of Working

There are numerous reasons why organisations have become comfortable trusting digital tools to complete a variety of modern transactions. The right solutions in the right places go beyond adding just flexible work patterns, they deliver efficiency, cost savings, and enhanced security across the value chain.

Security of data plays an increasingly important role across any organisation. Forrester’s research and interviews with DocuSign customers found that implementing an enterprise contract lifecycle management solution can reduce the risk of exposure due to increased contract visibility, valued at £389,000, and reduce contract value leakage by identifying redundant vendor contracts and opportunities for volume discounting, valued at £1 million.

Whether it’s processing a new hire, invoicing, or authenticating a sales contract, 80% of contract management professionals regularly share sensitive agreements over email, which is vulnerable to cyber-attack. By moving away from traditional linear ways of working and embracing digital tools, a business can not only replace old, manual, paper-based systems but also boost productivity and deliver improved information sharing and security, thereby elevating their cybersecurity awareness.

Contract Lifecycle Management tools are not just for legal teams, as the technology offers greater flexibility when used alongside other systems. Linking a CLM to e-signature tools, such as DocuSign eSignature, all but eliminates outdated paper-based contract management processes, while simultaneously representing a practical, cost-effective, and legally-valid way to process and execute documents, making contract completion faster and more secure.

Agreements only move at the speed of the slowest component, so if ‘wet’ signatures are used at any part of the contract procedure, the entire process is slowed. E-signatures allow critical papers to be encrypted, sent, and delivered by-passing outmoded ways of paperwork processing. At the same time delivering a complete, automated history of every activity, including viewing, printing, sending, signing, or declining to sign a document.

The last two years have been challenging, but by transforming manual processes into digital automated workflows, the pace of doing business has accelerated, compliance has increased, and unnecessary risk eliminated. Contract lifecycle management tools have made this possible, redefining the presence of work, and keeping documents confidential, while increasing convenience and security.

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