Tips for Successful Technology Adoption: How Edrington drove global adoption of eSignature

How to create a technology adoption strategy that works

Digital solutions have become essential to business operations. While the shift from paper to digital has been ongoing for years, the pandemic has forced many organisations to re-evaluate how they operate and accelerate digitisation plans. 

While choosing the right tools and solutions is vital, making sure that there is strategy in place to encourage adoption and acceptance of the tool is sometimes overlooked. Here, Manuel Milian, Technology Project Manager from Edrington—who has played a leading role in the successful deployment and adoption of eSignature across a multitude of Edrington’s teams and geographies, shares his tips on how to drive user adoption of new technologies.

Edrington decide to overhaul paper-based signing processes 

Edrington is one of the most important whiskey makers in Scotland, with a dedication to crafting spirit brands of the highest quality. The organisation has an extremely prestigious portfolio of spirits including Macallan whiskey,  Brugal rum, Tequila Partida and Wyoming Whiskey and Noble Oak Bourbon.

With an intense focus on becoming the world's leading builder of ultra-premium spirit brands, the organisation is leveraging innovation technology such as Docusign eSignature to improve internal and external processes and to help strengthen its environmental commitment. Here are Edrington's tips to other organisations on how to create a technology adoption strategy that works:

Understand the needs of the Business 

It is crucial to understand what challenge you are trying to solve with technology, and where in the business the solution is needed prior to deployment. Edrington’s dedicated business relationship management (BRM) team works with stakeholders across the business to identify needs and requirements. This team pinpointed the need for an electronic signing solution in order to streamline their contract process. 

The BRM team analysed the business and identified the departments and document types that would benefit most from eSignature—this strategic planning meant that once eSignature was implemented there was not an influx of requests as the needs had already been assessed. This added a level of control and forecasting that would not have been possible otherwise. 

Educate Key Stakeholders

Edrington is now using eSignature for 11 different use cases (including HR, Treasury, Legal, Finance)—identified by the BRM team. Once the department was identified, one person from each team was chosen to lead the development of eSignature, acting as the point of contact for the project and attending training. 

Having these stakeholders has been pivotal to the success of eSignature. It means that if someone has a query around the solution, they have a Docusign champion within their department who has good knowledge and understanding of eSignature and how to use it. 

Develop and Deploy a Comprehensive Communication Strategy 

Edrington’s Docusign champions then meet bi-weekly to share insights and best practices with each other. Communication is key in keeping different teams engaged with the project no matter what department they’re in or where they’re based. During each of these sessions Manuel shares a tip on a new way that eSignature can be leveraged—keeping lines of communication open and encouraging engagement through continuous education. 

Additionally, Edrington created an internal homepage where anybody across the business can access Docusign learnings from Docusign University, and demo videos.  

Buy-in and Engagement from Senior Leaders

Manuel points out a common problem with technology deployment—"oftentimes the request for technology is made but once it is ready to be used, people are reluctant to change and so continue operating in the same, outdated way." 

In order to drive successful adoption across the organisation, it needed to be endorsed by senior leaders. Manuel and the project team orchestrated training sessions with the board, showing them how to use eSignature. As well as board members, Edrington’s CIO, CFO and head of sustainability are all Docusign eSignature champions—recognising the important role it has played in facilitating employees to work from home, but also because of the impact that electronic signing has had on contract turnaround times, and the enhanced security of contracts.  

Creating familiarity and building traction 

It is not uncommon for people to resist unfamiliar technology. Driving adoption is all about building trust and familiarity with a tool. In this sentiment, the project team sought to make Docusign as visible as possible by having it featured on the Edrington homepage and in the news feed. They encouraged users to access additional resources and support via Docusign University. What the Edrington team noticed is that as familiarity with the tool developed, so did adoption. 

Since inputting a deployment and adoption strategy, eSignature is being used to execute 11 different contract types, across a multitude of departments including legal, treasury, finance and HR.