An interview with Steven Kling,
Principal of Product Development at Praecipio Consulting
With DocuSign Momentum fast approaching, we sat down with Steven Kling, Principal of Product Development at Praecipio Consulting – makers of DocuSign for Atlassian – to learn about the experience of building a DocuSign integration and what he’s most looking forward to at this year’s Momentum conference.
Q: Tell us about what led Praecipio Consulting to build a DocuSign integration?
A: We use DocuSign extensively at Praecipio Consulting. From Statements of Work to contracts in our Sales team, to everything internally from HR to Legal. As an Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner, we use their suite exclusively for all of our processes, so an integration is something we wanted ourselves for Atlassian’s Confluence collaboration platform. We’re the experts in JIRA, Atlassian’s industry-dominating business, software, and service desk management platform, and we saw a huge potential market for regulatory compliance (FDA, SOX, etc) that required repetitive, signatures; especially given the various digital initiatives out there pushing adoption.
Q: What was the development process like?
A: I’m a veteran of many various integration efforts over the years; some more successful than others. One key factor is a strong partnership. DocuSign provided solid and reliable technical assistance the few times it was necessary to reach out. Nobody has a perfect API, but DocuSign’s is as close as I’ve seen with excellent documentation and a testing UI that made familiarization easy. It’s definitely one of the most well designed products I’ve worked with from an integration perspective.
Q: What lessons did you learn during the process that you can share with other people looking to build a DocuSign integration?
A: We learned a great deal about Adobe PDF, CSS and multipart http requests! We had thought we could rely on Atlassian’s bundled export utilities but these were not exposed APIs and we had to come up with our own export-to-PDF solution. It’s not something we had counted on. So make sure you know if the product you’re integrating with can hand you a pdf, or start cracking the books. As for multi-part http posts, we were caught between versions of Apache’s http offerings with wildly differing APIs for multi-part, which is required for sending documents. If you’re using Java you’re likely to use Apache, so go with the latest 4.5.x HttpComponents and be wary of which version when looking at examples and online documentation.
Q: What are the use cases and types of teams that can benefit from DocuSign for Atlassian?
A: We’ve got a suite of products to make any team that relies on signatures much more efficient and provide consistent traceability, built seamlessly into the Atlassian applications they use every day. My favorite example is an HR recruiter. Each new hire goes through stages of the hiring process that require signatures, but also captures a lot of personal information. Today’s standard at best is a repetitive set of documents sent via PDF in email attachments that, best case, are fillable but more typically must be printed, filled out, signed and scanned. The same information: Name, Address, Phone, SSN, etc entered each time. Depending on the HR team’s process, these will get saved to a share network drive or worse, printed and left on a desk or an unlocked filing cabinet. With DocuSign for JIRA, each needed document is sent automatically as the prospect’s JIRA is moved through the new hire workflow. Each DocuSign field (tab) filled in is captured as a JIRA field that can then populate subsequent documents further in the process and even on into the on-boarding tickets post-hire. Of course there are other use cases for Release Management, SOX Compliance, FDA CFR21 Part 11, Legal, and Sales – but the HR recruiter is as solid a value proposition I’ve seen. And its totally customizable to your current process. No major culture changes required!
Q: What can we look forward to seeing from you at Momentum 2017?
A: Well, on the developer track I’m going to focus on two things: First, a review of the use cases from requirements sign-off to release management for enterprise development teams and how DocuSign for Confluence, DocuSign for JIRA and DocuSign for HipChat (coming soon) can automate approvals and ensure traceably through the development life cycle. Then I’ll go into lessons learned, reviewing some of the technical challenges of integrating with DocuSign. I don’t think anyone has flexed the muscles of the DocuSign APIs as much as our team and we’re happy to pass on what we’ve learned!
See you at Momentum 2017
Make plans to catch Steven Kling’s presentation, Uniting Tech Giants: DocuSign for Atlassian (Thursday, May 4th at 10:00 AM – Developer Track) to learn more about how DocuSign for Atlassian can transform your approval processes, and to learn their best practices for DocuSign API integration.
Registration for developers is free. There are dozens of deep dive sessions on the DocuSign API, and a number of best practice sessions from customers and partners like Praecipio. Visit the DocuSign Momentum conference site and view the Developer Track Agenda.
Here are some additional resources to get you started with developing your DocuSign integrations: