5 Key Recommendations from Forrester State of Systems of Agreement Study 2020

98% of organisations have problems with their contract and agreement process, according to The State of Systems of Agreement, 2020, a study commissioned by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Docusign. So, why are only 2% of organisations successfully managing their contract lifecycle management process? 

The majority of business leaders said that manual tasks hampered their agreements. They highlighted several issues, including poor customer experiences, delays in realising revenue or project start dates, and unnecessary costs. 

In this post, we explore the problems organisations are facing and include five key recommendations from Forrester for those that are keen to improve their systems of agreement and contract process.

Challenges in the contract and agreement process 

Forrester surveyed 954 global technology purchasing decision-makers to understand how well responders had digitised their critical business agreements. It’s clear that organisations are facing a plethora of challenges and problems. Sales contracts, employee offer letters and other agreements keep business moving. Without a smooth contract process, business can be delayed, which can often have detrimental consequences.

The table below highlights the type of hurdles businesses are facing at each stage of the agreement process. Organisations say they are having to rework contracts when preparing them due to manual errors, and they lack the ability to search the contents of contracts that are already signed.

agreement lifecycle graph

The main reason these issues keep arising is because the process includes manual tasks, paperwork and inefficient processes. 9 out of 10 companies manually input information into contracts, and they have to create new agreements from scratch. In addition, organisations have begun the digital transformation process and started to adopt digital solutions like Docusign eSignature, but there are manual points in the process, preventing full progress. Most organisations do not have an end-to-end automation strategy in place. 

Modernising systems of agreement for a smoother contract process

While many organisations haven’t modernised their full systems of agreement, some are already reaping the benefits of digitising parts of their agreement processes: 

  • 55% said that they improved customer experience
  • 51% said they were experiencing faster deal cycles
  • 48% said they had lower error rates
State of systems of agreement



Automating the contract and agreement process

When companies automate further parts of the contract and agreement process, they experience additional benefits. So where should organisations start with digitisation and automation? In the study, Forrester suggests five key recommendations for organisations that want to improve their systems of agreement:

  1. Adopting Docusign eSignature is a critical step in end-to-end automation and forms a fundamental part of an overall automated process.
  2. Your digital agreement solutions should be planned to integrate with other parts of your automation portfolio to provide automation at the scale required to solve challenges.
  3. Focus on business goals, including desired outcomes and benefits for employees and customers. Then look at how the technology available can support those goals. Business goals first, technology second.
  4. Create a governance strategy that assumes deployment of a technology stack across the organisation that will drive change and require automation at a scale not yet achieved. 
  5. Drive standardisation to support digital transformation. Standardisation is vital when you need to link processes across a large number of users and multiple stakeholders. Consider security, compliance, privacy, integrations with other systems and training. It’s important to set foundations to address each area or department’s automation challenges.

Discover more about the Forrester findings, by reading the full study—or learn more about how you can start automating your agreement process by contacting us.