Does Your Agreement Stack Have Too Many Single-Purpose Tools?
In the last few years, organizations have overcome a series of unexpected challenges: a global pandemic, supply chain disruptions, a broad economic slowdown, sudden shifts to remote work, etc. The biggest lessons of that volatile period (and today) are that any business in any industry can experience a shock at any time and that technology can play a critical role in getting through adversity.
To respond to difficult circumstances, organizations purchased several short-term point solutions. There wasn’t time to develop a long-term plan (or conduct thorough diligence) so individual lines of business bought tools to manage their specific everyday tasks in the remote work landscape. These technologies were effective at solving specific problems, but generally unhelpful outside of that narrow scope.
Now that the rush of pandemic adjustments has faded and a clearer picture of the modern workplace has emerged, those point solutions need to be reevaluated. The most common problem is that they don’t fit into the bigger picture of the team’s infrastructure. As IT teams review the broader technology toolkit of their organization, they’re finding a fragmented ecosystem pieced together from redundant and disjointed solutions. Each one is configured differently, which results in a fractured administrative structure and unique security risks.
In the near term, IT teams are auditing their organization’s tech stack to make decisions about which tools to keep permanently. With the realities of the remote/hybrid workplace becoming clear, IT has a unique opportunity to add value by laying out a clear vision for modern work. From that blueprint, they can architect a cohesive technology system that solves complex problems in simple ways.
Questions to assess the value of point solutions
To start, IT teams need to conduct an infrastructure assessment to answer important questions. Which technologies integrate with each other? Where is the most valuable organizational data stored? Which people, accounts and devices can access that information? How risky is the current infrastructure? Are there redundant tools that are needlessly increasing costs?
From that audit, the IT team should be able to see if the system has vulnerabilities or inefficiencies. It should also become clear which technologies are providing broad value and which are only supporting one-off use cases. By measuring that value against the cost of each tool, IT teams can make strategic decisions about which one-off solutions to continue using and which to replace with more general-purpose enterprise solutions.
If your team is looking to consolidate technologies and build a more cohesive infrastructure, here are the critical questions to ask before you remove any point solutions:
Will any functionality be lost?
Any new technology needs to cover the range of use cases that the point solutions are currently managing. If you’re going to remove a tool from your stack, you need to make sure that the replacement technology fills any gaps that are left.
Are there opportunities to gain from integration?
Because of their narrow scope, point solutions rarely work well with other critical business systems. Looking at the entire workflow, the most valuable replacement technologies can create additional value by sharing information with up- and downstream activities.
Does a new technology connect business processes or teams?
Beyond basic hardware and software connections, technology solutions should connect different lines of business and common workflows. When more employees can align workflows using a tool, it simplifies admin work and reduces overall costs.
How long will it take to implement a replacement?
Before any technology can be of value to a team, it needs to be installed and employees need to be trained. If you’re looking to replace a point solution, try to find an alternative with a short, simple adoption process.
The business benefits of comprehensive solutions
Once the backward-looking analysis is complete and the unnecessary tools have been identified, IT teams can map out a forward-looking infrastructure that optimizes efficiency and productivity. In general, the best way to do this is with comprehensive systems—technologies designed for a wide range of workflows, lines of business and use cases.
Streamlining your tech stack to fewer, more powerful tools is an easy way to eliminate the problems of disconnected, redundant tools. It’s also an opportunity to create new benefits. Here are a few ways that enterprise-level solutions can improve the entire organization:
Improve IT productivity
With fewer tools to support, IT teams can dedicate more time and resources to managing each one. A broad deployment also improves your status in the relationship with a vendor, increasing the likelihood of assistance or customization to meet your team’s needs. It also guarantees that individual technology deployments around the company have the same level of security and performance.
Defend against security threats
Every tool in an organization's stack is another avenue for accidental or malicious activity that could put critical information in jeopardy. A reduction in technologies generally means less exposure to potential security breaches. It’s usually the case that technology built for use across the enterprise has stronger built-in security capabilities.
Gain economies of scale
Increasing the number of people using a particular technology is a shortcut to getting more efficiency out of that tool. It improves communication and visibility, giving each new user a simple connection to more colleagues. Since it’s generally cheaper to buy seats in bulk, enterprise tools mean lower marginal costs to add new users.
Futureproof your IT infrastructure
Implementing scalable technology is a surefire way to prepare your organization against future shocks, like another pandemic or economic downturn. More centrally managed tools are also an easy way to avoid the minor disruptions that come with decentralized administration, like slower response times or gaps when an employee leaves the company.
A simple solution to contract management point solutions
The e-signature process usually involves multiple steps. As teams reacted to the novel circumstances of the last few years, each of those steps proved to be an opportunity to use single-purpose point solutions. At scale, those one-off tools are proving to be inefficient. It’s time to consolidate around a powerful central technology that can manage every step of the process.
DocuSign eSignature is the world’s leading way to digitally send and sign documents. It offers seamless integrations to the most important tools in your everyday tech stack (Salesforce, Microsoft, Google, Zoom and more) and has a range of powerful add-on features to let you customize the signing experience even further.
To make the process even better, your team can build a roadmap to simplify even more of the agreement process. DocuSign offers CLM Essentials to do just that. It’s a powerful central repository that simplifies other common agreement activities (negotiation, storage, search, etc.) on a single platform to create more efficiencies. It’s a single tool that can organize all the agreements across your organization, automate the busywork and simplify collaboration across teams.
To learn more about how your team can remove inefficient point solutions and build a cohesive, connected agreement workflow, talk to one of our experts.