Australia’s digital expectations: The threat of paper to big business

By Marcel Pitt - Head of Commercial, Docusign APAC

Can your organisation afford to appear outdated? Can you risk jeopardising customer relationships or, worse, losing customers over a bit of paperwork? The latest research from Docusign suggests that Australian businesses think not.

The findings of our recent market study – Digitise or die: Australia’s digital expectations – shows that the race to digitise transactions has well and truly begun. The key take-out? Don’t get left at the starting line.

We asked more than 100 businesses and 1000 consumers about their expectations and attitudes when it comes to the ‘paper vs digital’ debate. An overwhelming 89% of Australian businesses ranked digital transformation as a top priority. Indeed, for half of those surveyed, it is the number one priority.

The top three reasons for digitising business processes are all tied to customer experience, whether for new or existing customers. The main areas that businesses are trying to improve through the adoption of digital tools are:

  • Client satisfaction / experience (47%)
  • Conversion of new business leads (46%)
  • Customer relationship management (43%)

It makes sense. Customers are ahead of the curve when it comes to digitisation. They expect businesses to offer digital solutions to their problems – whether it is an app to manage their banking, an online form to sign up for insurance, or a website to book their next holiday.  Today, this expectation is carried across to other transactions, too.

So much so that if a customer – be it B2B or B2C – encounters a paper-based transaction, they are likely to consider it slow, unwieldy and annoying. As the research shows, we have passed a crucial tipping point: over half of customers (55%) would choose digital over paper for transactions. So, if you only offer paper but your main competitor has gone digital, you could be left behind.

Further, 85% of customers expect organisations to offer digital methods of signing agreements and purchasing products. If you don’t, it could make your organisation look like a proverbial dinosaur. And your brand could suffer.

Paperwork is outdated

Companies that are too far behind in the digital race put themselves at greater risk of damaging their brand reputation. According to the research, when a company requires that a customer complete a paper form:

  • 56% of people regard them as outdated
  • 28% question the company’s commitment to the environment
  • 24% feel the company is inconveniencing them

Companies are certainly aware of this issue – 71% agree that implementing the ability to complete agreements digitally is one of their top digital initiatives.

Question is, who steers the change? The research reveals an interesting point. Over half (53%) of senior decision makers have undertaken a digital project without having consulted the IT department. Increasingly within organisations, individual departments are taking responsibility for digital transformation – and, as the tools and enablers of transformation become ever-more accessible, this figure is certain to rise.

Winning the digital race

The research confirms that Australian organisations are in the race to the digital finishing line. The upshot? You either need to lace up or bow out.

Download the full report: Digitise or die: Australia’s digital expectations today.