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Strength in breadth

The launch of the DocuSign Agreeement Cloud brings new opportunities for the channel, as Mark Register, SVP Business Development & Channels, explains to James Goulding

Earlier this year, DocuSign announced the DocuSign Agreement Cloud, a suite of products that businesses can use to change how they prepare, sign, act on and manage agreements.

The suite, which takes DocuSign from a single-product cloud to a multi-product cloud, includes the company’s flagship eSignature product; SpringCM (now DocuSign CLM) for contract lifecycle management; hundreds of integrations with other applications that touch the agreement process, notably Salesforce, SAP, Microsoft and Google; and three new products.

These are DocuSign Gen for Salesforce, for generating signature-ready contracts from within Salesforce; DocuSign Click, which enables organisations, with one click, to capture consent to no-signature required agreement terms on websites; and DocuSign ID Verification, which automates the verification of government-issued IDs so that when opening a bank account, for example, individuals don’t have to present a photo ID in person but can verify their identity on a mobile device instead.

Bigger footprint

The launch of DocuSign Agreement Cloud marks a big expansion of the company’s footprint from e-signatures to the whole agreement process. As well as doubling its addressable market to an estimated $50 billion globally, it represents a significant opportunity for channel partners, which DocuSign has identified as one of its three main growth drivers.

To discuss the growing role of ISVs and other developments at the fast growing company (revenue up 35% in fiscal 2019), Technology Reseller spoke to Mark Register, SVP Business Development & Channels, following October’s DocuSign Momentum events in London and Paris.

He pointed out that with its acquisition of SpringCM this time last year, DocuSign – already the market leader in e-signatures, with “probably ten times the market share of our nearest competitor” – can now enable customers to modernise what DocuSign calls their ‘systems of agreement’.

“To date we have been in the sign space, which is the act of coming to agreement. Now, with our acquisition of SpringCM and the partnerships we have developed with other organisations, we have a full DocuSign Agreement Cloud to help modernise companies’ systems of agreement, whether that is preparing documents, signing them, acting in them, managing them in a contract lifecycle management solution or even analysing them using a product we have called Intelligent Insights by Sealed Software. So, we’ve now got a full lifecycle offering,” explained Register.

“That’s exciting if you think about the strength of DocuSign around sign. We’ve got a very, very robust cloud; we work across 537,000 paying customers; and we work with organisations from the very biggest in the world all the way down to individual real estate agents. As we have broadened to the Docusign Agreement Cloud, we are finding that our customers are moving with us.”

What Register finds particularly gratifying, given his job title, is the interest from systems integrators.

“They see the opportunity to add substantial value to their customers by helping them to modify their systems of agreement, which today are mostly based on paper,” he said. “Think about the number of agreements that are still scanned and couriered or scanned and faxed and then sit in some filing cabinet. Even if they are digitised and dropped into a Box or a SharePoint folder or into a folder on a laptop, that is still not a modern system of agreement. Our ability to modernise those systems of agreement and cut the time taken to turn an agreement round from days to hours and, in some cases, minutes is really exciting the channel.”

Channel reach

DocuSign works with four major partner types:

*ISVs, from the world’s largest (e.g. SAP, Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft, Google) to smaller industry vertical ISVs, of which more than 350 have integrated DocuSign’s Sign solution into their products/solutions;

*Resale relationships, with the likes of Ingram, from a distribution perspective, and numerous single-tier resellers, with a growing emphasis on higher value reseller partners that have a services capability to help customers implement the DocuSign Agreement Cloud;

*Consulting and implementation partners that are investing in building DocuSign Agreement Cloud practices so that they can meet demand from customers for more modern systems of agreement that help them understand their liabilities and, where necessary, make changes to agreements through a full contract lifecycle solution; and

Partnerships with businesses whose services DocuSign resells, e.g. identity clients when customers need a high level, advanced or qualified level of signature.

DocuSign has always sold its products direct, as well as through partners, but Register expects the channel to become more important in the future

“DocuSign grew up as a direct business, but over the last four years we have been on a journey to identify opportunities and capture opportunities where partners can help broaden what we do and broaden our reach. Now we are a business that fully embraces partnerships around the world to help us get broader reach into customers,” he said.

Land and expand

The reseller partners DocuSign is particularly interested in are ones that have a ‘land and expand’ mentality, which Register says is essential for success when selling cloud solutions.

“In the world of on-premise software, a deal is done, the seller moves on and perhaps an account manager is assigned to re-engage with the customer three months before a maintenance renewal is due. But, essentially, the deal is done. In the world of cloud, getting a footprint in a customer is only the start of the journey, and the expansion of that footprint is based on adoption.

“We are very fortunate that the solutions we have, particularly the e-signature solution, are very easy to adopt and to implement. The challenge with channel is to encourage them not just to sell that first solution, that footprint, into HR, into legal, into finance, but to go back to the customer and constantly work with them to look for new use cases and to encourage them to think broadly.”

For Register, this is not just a question of extending Sign from one department to another, from HR to finance, but of moving a customer on to some of the broader enterprise products in the DocuSign Agreement Cloud, such as DocuSign Gen for Salesforce and Salesforce Negotiate. “Partners who focus on that are going to be very successful,” he said.

“The e-signature element will be at the heart of what we do, because it is the point of coming to agreement, but we do see an increasingly large number of deployments happening in the contract lifecycle management (CLM) space, which is becoming a great opportunity for customers to broaden what they are doing with DocuSign Agreement Cloud. That is where we are seeing great new opportunities for our partners.”

Tiered programme

So that all partners can generate demand for CLM and share in the profits, Register is encouraging resellers that are primarily focused on a resale motion to partner up with integrators that have implementation and consulting skills.

“It is really encouraging to see that happening in Europe. During our partner days at Momentum, a lot of resellers were networking with consulting partners, wanting to team up on CLM and DocuSign Agreement Cloud deployments so that they can offer the full range of solutions,” he said

“In February, we are going to be introducing a tiered partner programme – a revision to the existing partner programme – to support resellers and channel partners that are either partnering with implementation partners or have their own implementation skills, particularly around CLM and our Intelligent Insights offering. eSign will continue to be available to all resellers via our distributors and tier one providers, but for our higher value solutions that are more implementation and adoption-centric we’ll have a programme that specifically supports that type of partner.”

Cultural change

In the meantime, DocuSign is continuing to invest to help drive uptake of its solutions, from simple e-signing, which provides a cost-saving of £27 per document, to broader contract lifecycle management solutions.

“This a cultural change and cultural change does take time,” explained Register. “The opportunity we’ve got is to continue to lead that change. I first learnt about DocuSign when I used it in a couple of property transactions and I never want to go back. It becomes part of what you do and what you expect. I expect to be able to review and sign partner agreements on the train going to work in the morning; I expect to be able to sign an agreement for a licence deal on a United flight when travelling to the US or Australia. I now expect that; it has become part of my business culture.

“It takes time to get that level of certainty, but we have made massive investments in our security and our datacentres and that confidence has led to 537,000 plus customers using DocuSign as part of their everyday life. The good news for us and the market in general is that this is a big, big market. The e-sign market is estimated at $25 billion alone; then, with the broader DocuSign Agreement Cloud, the addressable market doubles to $50 billion. Our opportunity is to accelerate that culture change because we have the strength, the partner ecosystem and the solutions to do that.” agreement-cloud

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TechnologyReseller: 2021