Florida State University Graduates Its Digital Experience With Docusign eSignature

  • 100K+

    Documents flowing through DocuSign every month
  • 90%

    Successful transaction rate
  • Accelerated turnaround time on campus documents—from days to min

Florida State University has produced Academy Award winners, governors, astronauts and the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire. But it’s best known as one of the nation’s preeminent research hubs and, for the last four years, a Top 20 Public University. Jonathan Fozard, Deputy CIO, is building on FSU’s momentum by moving the university in a digital-forward direction. 

“In higher ed, it’s important to stay on the cutting edge,” Fozard said. “If we’re really serious about attracting the next Nobel prize winners, about being seen as innovative, we have to demonstrate that in our day-to-day operations.” Docusign eSignature helps FSU increase efficiencies while enabling the seamless digital experiences students, staff and its growing community of researchers expect.

Boosting eSignature adoption across the university

Before making the move from paper to electronic signatures, FSU experienced some of the same bottlenecks and workflow challenges common to many other higher educational institutions. These manual workflows were not only a drag on overhead, they also had a big impact on turnaround time—especially for documents going outside of the main campus.“There were so many documents that needed to be signed and rubbed-stamped, the campus actually had staff that physically shuttled packets from department to department,” he said. 

According to Fozard, the turning point came when FSU leadership spearheaded the push to bring Docusign eSignature to the campus. “That’s when IT came along for the journey and thought about all of the areas of the university that could benefit from the technology,” he said. 

Phase one was focused on finding Docusign champions and growing adoption in small pockets of the campus—including administrative departments like HR, procurement and several academic areas—before rolling the solution out at a wider scale. Throughout it all, the team leveraged eSignature’s reporting capabilities to gauge usage and get insights into where they can better target their efforts. The Deputy CIO attributes FSU’s success to his team’s start small, data-driven approach.

“Today, we have around 100-200,000 envelopes flowing through Docusign every month and a successful transaction rate of about 90%,” said Fozard.

Enabling seamless digital experiences across the university by connecting Docusign and enterprise tools

FSU has more than doubled the number of active users since it first launched Docusign eSignature. Documents that used to take days to flow through campus are now completed in minutes. But the intangible benefits are just as valuable: the research grant proposal that’s processed faster, the seamless application process for digital-native students, and the productivity boost for staff. 

Docusign eSignature has freed up everyone’s time to focus on the right things instead of worrying about paperwork, compliance and checking the right box.
Jonathan Fozard
Deputy CIO
Florida State University

The university’s vision for Docusign goes beyond uploading documents and getting signatures. “Our focus now is integrating eSignature with our campus platforms to improve processes,” said Fozard. That includes Workday, Oracle, OnBase, Canvas, SciQuest and even Salesforce.

“We have several campus platforms that work well—but we’re thinking, how can we do better? How can we move the needle not just in terms of efficiency but also the user experience,” said Fozard.

Exceeding expectations

FSU’s short-term goals include getting people away from the desktop and using mobile-friendly tools like Docusign eSignature from its myFSU app. But its long-term goals are much loftier, and are inspired by what Fozard refers to as the technology renaissance happening right now. FSU, he said, has the opportunity to not only seize on the technology renaissance but to redefine the digital experience at the university. 

That vision includes a fully connected student experience created by leveraging AI and through a deeper integration between technologies like Salesforce and Docusign across the university. “During the pandemic, we were really focused on keeping operations afloat,” said Fozard. “What we’re thinking about now is: how can we exceed everyone’s expectations?”