The Future of Agreements
Top takeaways from Momentum 2023
Agreements play a central role in many of the most important moments in our lives. Some are simple—like signing an offer letter or corporate IT policy. Others are complex and require negotiation over months or years, with millions of dollars potentially on the line. Some are truly life-changing—like buying a new home or adopting a child.
Every agreement is a new beginning. Each one signifies the start of something important. When we make the agreement process better, we make each of those moments better too. That’s the motivation behind our drive to make agreements smarter, easier, more secure and more accessible.
At DocuSign Momentum 2023, customers in Santa Clara, California (plus 3,000 tuning in virtually) experienced a new beginning for digital agreements. DocuSign illustrated that we are on the verge of fundamentally better agreement workflows that can take advantage of new artificial intelligence breakthroughs. Our team was joined by trailblazing customers like NVIDIA, Uber and the Forest Stewardship Council to share their own transformation stories.
Here are some of the main takeaways from the event.
The future of agreements will be fueled by data, AI and orchestration
DocuSign chief product officer Inhi Cho Suh shared an inspiring vision of the intelligent agreement future that her team is building—a workflow that can generate a new agreement using a few clicks and some rules-based AI. Verifying a customer’s identity will be as quick as taking a picture on your phone. Contract negotiations will be informed by AI-guided language. Data models will analyze your business dictionary and instantly translate that information into easy-to-understand terms. Secure agreement repositories will radically simplify search and analysis capabilities.
To get to that intelligent future state, Suh outlined we need three key capabilities:
- Unlocking agreement data. Every agreement contains important data and metadata that describes your organization’s operations and relationships; parties, start/end dates, terms, conditions, obligations and more. Unfortunately, it's often difficult to use that data because it’s trapped in a static PDF or file. All that data needs to be readily available so it can be used to power better experiences for customers, partners and employees.
- Enabling agreement intelligence. There’s an incredible amount of data to analyze across your agreement library including specific terms in any individual document, trend data across multiple agreements and even metadata about the agreement process in general. Insights from all those data points should be accessible in moments using a single search bar or recommendations from an AI-guided search assistant.
- Automating agreement orchestration. The platform you use to compose and manage your agreement workflows needs to integrate with the systems that run your business including HR systems, ERP tools and CRMs. With orchestration, you can capture data, reuse it, automate actions and design intelligent workflows. You can streamline negotiations, approvals or common actions (e.g. automatically provision an account after signature or trigger an auto-renewal payment).
Integrations with existing systems drive productivity
NVIDIA is at the center of the AI boom—powering self-driving cars, medical imaging technologies and the most advanced supercomputers in the world.
Nebo Ceprnic, VP of strategic sourcing and corporate procurement at NVIDIA, shared his team’s story of transforming the procurement process. The project scope was enormous, involving global operations, disparate processes and 200,000+ contracts.
A key takeaway from Ceprnic’s story was the integration of digital agreement workflows into core source systems like Salesforce, Coupa, Workday and SAP to improve efficiency and controls.
He had this advice for his peers: “Always put the employee in the driver’s seat. Make sure that when they’re working with agreements, they can focus on higher-value activities and eliminate manual and redundant processes.”
Templates help scale efficiently
Our next customer to take the stage (and accept a Customer Award for Innovation) was Jonathan Johnson-Swagel, senior legal and business operations manager at Uber.
The Legal Operations team at Uber needed more efficiency in their agreement processes. They had disparate processes and tools across teams and needed help globalizing and collaborating on agreements.
Their first step was to create agreement templates and implement them across 80 countries as quickly as possible. They identified the need for 420+ unique agreement templates to support their lines of business across the globe. Johnson-Swagel shared: “When you have templates that allow for self-service, it saves time for attorneys, their business partners and counterparties.”
People will save our planet, but technology can help
Wrapping up the mainstage keynote was Scot McQueen, senior technology officer and the founder of the Tech Consortium at the Forest Stewardship Council, a DocuSign IMPACT partner.
He reminded the audience that there are more forest products consumed in daily life than just those used to create paper and building materials. So much of modern culture requires these resources, like the coffee cup you may be holding while reading this blog.
FSC is on a mission to ensure that all our forests are safeguarded through sustainable forest management processes that enable them to thrive environmentally, socially and economically. When forest owners or timber companies become FSC-certified, it means they are managing forests in responsible ways that protect biodiversity, workers, Indigenous People’s rights and the livelihoods of thousands of community forest managers all around the world.
While FSC tackled global problems like deforestation, fraud, and workers’ violations, they realized that these problems require technology to solve. FSC works with a consortium of core technology companies such as DocuSign, Microsoft and Salesforce, to share problems and find solutions. Together, DocuSign and FSC sponsor hackathons to create new eco-friendly technology to support their programs.
FSC’s tree-checkmark logo on paper-based products ensures the materials used haven’t been illegally harvested and are deforestation-free.
Learn more about the future of agreements
Check-out the product roadmap features that we announced at Momentum.
See more customer stories of transformation.
Lastly, thank you to our fantastic partner sponsors who made Momentum 2023 a success!