3 lessons learned when managing Docusign templates in large organisations

By Andrew Melotti, Lead Customer Success Manager, Docusign

In any large organisation, getting a new system or process off the ground can take time. And a lot of effort. Trust me, I’ve seen it. When you’re managing multiple business units and dealing with disparate teams, things can get pretty messy — fast. 

But something I’ve also seen? Time and again, the organisations that set things up right from the start tend to get ahead. 

This is particularly true when it comes to implementing a tool as useful and ubiquitous as Docusign Templates. Our templates are designed to help streamline the sending process when you frequently send the same or similar documents, or send documents to the same group of people. But many organisations don’t reap the full time-saving benefits of templates — simply because of the way they’re managing them. Instead, they grapple with unauthorised changes that expose their company to risk, version control issues, inappropriate usage and more. 

The good news? Getting the most out of Docusign templates is easy. Drawing on years of experience in helping large enterprises succeed with Docusign, I want to share three best-practice tips that could help your organisation to leverage templates to their full potential. 

1. Consider who owns and builds your templates 

As with the adoption of any new technology, governance plays a key role in ensuring both smooth implementation and ongoing success. As a starting point, we recommend setting up a Docusign Centre of Excellence (COE) — which puts you in good stead for expanding your Docusign adoption throughout the business. 

When deciding who will own and maintain your templates, this can vary depending on your business set-up and how you plan to use the templates. For example, a large insurance company I work with has set up an operational model whereby each individual business unit owns their own forms/templates, but only once those templates have been set up, tested and implemented by the central COE. This allows for scale, while ensuring the right guardrails and best practices remain in place. 

Weigh up whether to adopt a centralised or distributed model — that is, whether you manage Docusign activity within a central team, or you let each business unit manage their usage. You might delegate administrator roles to manage templates across your organisation, appointing one person within each department to take charge here. 

DocuSign Models - Templates

With these two models, there’s no right or wrong. The route you take will depend on a few things. If your industry deals with a lot of compliance and red tape, then you’ll be more likely to adopt a centralised model where one team maintains full control. If your priority is to get templates up and running quickly, or you're low on central resources, then a distributed model may be better.   

2. “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest”

So said Benjamin Franklin in the late 1700s, and his observation still stands today. Education is key to getting the most out of any technology investment. 

To get the most out of templates within your organisation, you need to educate employees on how to use them. You’ve got a range of options here, including: 

Indeed, in an ASX100 listed Financial Services company I work with, they only assign permission to a person to create templates once that user has successfully completed Docusign University’s Create and Manage Templates self-paced course. This way, leaders are assured that the employees charged with managing templates know exactly what they are doing. 

3. Setting the ground rules for managing templates

Whether you put ownership squarely in business units’ camps, or within a central COE, or adopt a hybrid of the centralised and distributed models, you should keep in mind the following:  

  • Version control. Be clear about how to name and date versions, and educate everyone about naming conventions. The last thing you want is for someone to make approved changes to a template, only for the rest of the team to keep using an older version.
  • Sharing. Do you need to share templates across multiple teams? If so, consider permission profiles and shared access; as well as how to set up your folders and user groups to ensure the right people have the right levels of input. 
  • Controls. For mission-critical templates, you’ll want to set up strict guidelines around who can make changes and what procedures are required to get those changes approved. For simple use cases, like a straightforward HR agreement, you may not need to assign such tight controls. 

Excellence starts here

Agreements keep the wheels of business in motion. By thinking about the people, tools and processes you need to make these agreements happen — along with ways you can streamline and safeguard these processes using templates and automation — you’re on your way to success. 

For inspiration when setting up your COE, check out this case study on AIA Australia. While not just about templates, it showcases how the insurer has put processes in place to get the most out of the Docusign ecosystem, and might just inspire you to do the same.

Or explore our user guide for more information about working with Docusign templates.

Andrew Melotti Headshot
Andrew Melotti
Lead Customer Success Manager