Town of Gilbert, Arizona Creates a Center of Excellence for Using DocuSign

Located in Southeast Metro-Phoenix, Arizona, the Town of Gilbert is the fifth-largest municipality in Arizona, with a population of over 280,000.

In 2019, the town made the decision to proactively use DocuSign eSignature to overcome antiquated processes and best provide services for its citizens and employees. With a self-service model in mind, the city wanted to empower users to create their own forms without needing support from the IT team.

The town also needed robust and predefined workflows to remove the human element from its forms, along with detailed auditing to ensure that the documents were signed accordingly. 

Taking the idea of leveraging eSignature to the next level, the town developed a Center of Excellence (COE), which empowered employees to find innovative and new ways to improve overall processes. It also created an overall better user experience for employees and citizens.

We recently sat down with John McVay, Application Analyst II at Town of Gilbert, to gain perspective on building a COE. McVay oversees the town’s ERP system, as well as the usage and implementation of SharePoint and DocuSign.

Below are some highlights and commentary from this discussion. 

How did the Town of Gilbert build a business case for an eSignature solution?

The town established five requirements for providing optimal services to citizens and employees. The solution had to be platform agnostic, as well as self-administered and maintained. It also needed to offer robust workflows, reporting and detailed auditing capabilities. 

“Back in 2019, our town's then Mayor asked us what our plans were for using e-signature and for updating our existing electronic documents,” said McVay. “We explored our options with multiple vendors with these requirements in mind.”

The town also needed to fully enhance its overall processes. 

“Our existing process at the time was a badly antiquated system that was barely being held together by shoestrings and hope,” added McVay.  “Or, it was a PDF that we would ask people to print and then bring into the office for processing. Either way, we needed something better and we found that in the DocuSign eSignature solution.”

How did implementing DocuSign eSignature lead to the creation of a COE?

As the town wanted to be proactive in leveraging a solution that streamlines all workflows, they wanted to quickly adopt DocuSign eSignature. Since the solution was launched during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, the town chose to prioritize digitizing those critical forms that kept business running.

“As we transitioned into a remote and hybrid work environment, it was critical to identify those forms that were still being handled on paper and bring them into DocuSign – especially forms that were being submitted by the public,” said McVay. “After that, we started targeting forms that people were filling out and then emailing for processing. If we can fill out a form electronically, why can't we include a workflow and e-signature at the same time and save ourselves some time?”

During this discovery process, they also found that many of the same questions about the forms that needed to be digitized were brought up, such as usage, whether or not it was public facing, and who owns the forms.

To consolidate and centralize the intake and ranking prioritization process, McVay decided to create a COE.

What was the purpose of the Center of Excellence and how has it helped drive adoption of the DocuSign eSignature solution?

To bring the COE to life, McVay created a SharePoint site that serves as a place to disseminate information about DocuSign eSignature, such as training documents and other resources.

In addition to empowering employees to digitize their own forms, and use the e-signature solution to streamline their processes, McVay wanted to create a resource that eliminated all barriers, was easy-to-use and accessible for non-tech-savvy users. 

“We created a SharePoint site targeted specifically for eSignature that included information about the program, training materials, and a list where people could ‘register’ their forms to be created in eSignature,” said McVay.

For the roll-out of the COE on an internal website, McVay and his team met with all internal departments, championed power users and relied on internal “word of mouth” to enhance usage. In fact, one power user created 25 templates for warrants and other citizen-facing forms, and has helped others to embrace the solution. 

What advice would you give to other government leaders when setting up a COE for using an eSignature solution?

McVay created a ranking system for processing how forms get digitized, and was thoughtful about what to consider when digitizing forms. 

This system asked the right data classification questions around volume and usage, determining the user experience for citizen- and non-citizen facing documents, understanding the type of data being collected and how to best handle the data being input in the forms.

“I would recommend that people engage with their stakeholders and project managers, gather details about where they are at and where they want to end up,” said McVay. “Then, showcase the benefits of eSignature for achieving buy-in from your various groups, and work with your power users to achieve success.”

Is there an example that stands out for how DocuSign has improved what was a previously slow and complex workflow?

The town is using DocuSign eSignature for managing and streamlining the medical forms necessary for the annual physicals of its firefighters. 

Previously, these paper-based forms would get lost or damaged, creating additional work for both the doctors and the firefighters themselves. 

By using eSignature, the firefighters can digitally fill out the forms and share them with the medical offices. Conversely, the physical completion and verification forms are digitally shared with town offices after each appointment.

Why a DocuSign Center of Excellence?

A DocuSign Center of Excellence helps to facilitate and expedite enablement and knowledge sharing, which helps bridge gaps and ensure meaningful implementation across organizations.

It is a central repository that can be customized to your organization’s needs and can generally be rolled out using your organization's intranet or other internal communication infrastructure.

Learn more about DocuSign for Government.