DocuSign is bringing its electronic signature apps to Office 365. While it’s not a game-changer for Microsoft given Office 365’s traction in the enterprise, it will likely create heightened interest among businesses that might normally have an aversion to cloud computing.
Most business deals that are done through the cloud also need to be signed off with an e-signature cloud application like DocuSign or Adobe’s EchoSign app for Reader — a fact often overlooked.
The Paperless Office
But e-signature apps are becoming increasingly popular. While there has been a lot of talk over the years in document management about the paperless office and how to achieve it, multiple research studies have shown that businesses are not making a lot of progress in achieving this.
Research by AIIM last year shows we're using more paper than ever before, particularly for records. Still, 50 percent of all managers believe digital workers are more productive and consider burrowing through mountains of paper files a waste of time.
Similar research by Adobe showed that not only does paper create problems internally, it is also perceived as something that makes it difficult to attract customers. Some of the figures that emerged from the Adobe research include:
- Digital workflow makes filing and managing documents easier (51 percent)
- Working digitally is cheaper than working with paper (61 percent)
- Digital processes facilitate customer wins and helps develop new business (32 percent)
So why do organizations still insist on so much paper? The answer to this goes to the heart of the Office 365 and DocuSign integration and why it will be such a potentially profitable deal for both companies.
Essentially, both AIIM and Adobe showed that companies are still concerned about security in the cloud and worry whether electronic contracts are secure. The research also pointed to contracts and contract signing as one of the areas that caused most difficulties when it came to paper.
Despite the fact that e-signatures have been available for a long time, it also showed most companies still haven't made the jump to digital signatures.
Office 365 and DocuSign
For Microsoft to push Office 365 into the very lucrative e-signing market -- think business contracts and deals, legal submissions, compliance reports or board meeting minutes, among others -- is where DocuSign comes in.
Office 365 with DocuSign integration
Starting in March, Office 365 users will be able to use DocuSign’s e-signature apps. They will be available the Office Store, offering users the ability to submit and sign documents without leaving Microsoft applications.
It will also enable users access and work on documents in a place that they are already creating documents, collaborating on them and sharing them.
The new apps will include integration within Outlook, Word, SharePoint Online and SharePoint Server 2013 and offer the possibility of single sign-on, secured storage in Microsoft OneDrive and easy administration, not to mention the continued development of the apps with Microsoft.
The final point worth noting -- and one to watch -- is the steady growth of DocuSign itself and the funding it has managed to raise through a number of rounds since it set up in San Francisco in 2003.
While e-signature depends to a large extent now on how much trust businesses have it the cloud, as cloud computing has developed, so too has DocuSign.
In fact, in the Series D funding round of 2012 DocuSign received an unspecified amount of money from Google Ventures, but also from Accel Partners, Comcast Ventures and SAP Ventures.
DocuSign noted at the time it would use the funding to grow its SaaS platform, to accelerate international expansion and invest in more research.
However, no one really anticipated how fast the company would grow. According to recent media reports, it is in the process of raising another $100 million, which would bring its valuation to as high as $1.5 billion. It has also doubled its workforce to 650 people and plans to add more this year.
Meanwhile, there has also been talk of it going public. While there has been nothing definite, Chief Financial Officer Mike Dinsdale told the Dow Jones VentureWire recently an IPO would be a logical step for the company.
Title image by Spirit of America (Shutterstock).