DocuSign goes from strength to strength in Asia-Pacific
Originally published in The Australian Financial Review
Written by, Tom Richardson
As corporate Australia eyes a fully-vaxxed return to the office later this year around 40 per cent of all S&P/ASX 200 companies are now paying users of document management and electronic signature group DocuSign.
The San Francisco-headquartered $US54 billion enterprise software business has imitated the fortunes of Slack and Zoom as a huge winner from the shift to remote work as companies dump paperwork in favour of e-signatures and digital workflows stored on one cloud-based document management platform.
“What’s come about is that organisations found themselves - particularly at the beginning of 2020 - in a situation where unless they digitised agreements, the risk they ran is that their business was literally going to grind to a stop,” says DocuSign’s Asia Pacific general manager Dan Bognar.
Using its product some Commonwealth Bank customers can sign mortgage documents electronically, while some of Australia’s largest tax and consulting firms now have clients sign tax returns on DocuSign. Real estate agents like Sotheby’s Sydney International now exchange contracts on the platform and say clients like it as there’s no risk of catching the coronavirus, unlike with a physical exchange.
Graphic design business Canva, which boasts 55 million monthly active users, also uses DocuSign. Its runaway success means it now boasts 1.05 million global enterprise customers, with 714 of them spending more than $US300,000 per year. The software is sold on a subscription and volume-based pricing model over recurring terms.
Mr Bognar said clients find it cuts costs, saves time, lifts productivity, and improves the employee or customer experience. In the second quarter of financial 2022 international revenue grew 71 per cent year-on-year, but still represents just 22 per cent of revenue outside the US.
In Australia and overseas concerns have been raised whether an e-signature is a legally enforceable contract in the event of a dispute. Mr Bognar said The Electronic Transaction Act 1999 provides for e-signatures’ legal enforceability, with some exemptions where additional due diligence may suffice to deliver it.
The public sector is a significant part of DocuSign’s business in Australia and Mr Bognar acknowledged that it actively lobbies federal and state government for the broader acceptance of e-signatures as part of the government’s commitment to provide services online wherever possible.
In June, the assistant minister to the prime minister and cabinet Ben Morton said around 4.5 million deeds and 3.8 million statutory declarations are completed every year in Australia by small to medium-sized enterprises. “His assumption was that if there was an electronic way of digitising and executing those agreements that would unlock $400 million in direct cost savings and productivity each year,” said Mr Bognar.
Aside from the pandemic-era tailwinds, much of DocuSign’s growth has come about as its product can be bundled into the solutions of customer-facing software giants like Salesforce, Microsoft, or SAP.
Since March 2020, it’s grown Australian employees by 30 per cent with most working in sales, marketing, and client service functions. Product development is largely out of California and DocuSign’s heavy investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning mean the future of work could see software read or help write contracts to free-up more time for lawyers as cost centres who often bill by the hour.
“When we pivoted from electronic signature to the agreement cloud and then opened up additional markets like document generation and artificial intelligence, that really doubled our estimates of the total addressable market, so that’s now $US50 billion globally. That’s what we’re going after,” said Mr Bognar.
Corporates’ rush to digitally transform has already helped DocuSign double revenue from $US701 million in FY 2019 to $US1.45 billion in FY 2021, with its valuation up almost 20 times in the last five years.
To learn more about how DocuSign can help your organisation, contact our sales team.