RISMEDIA, September 15, 2010—It’s been a busy year for DocuSign. Already leaders in the electronic signature space, the company has taken a cue from its customers and jumped into the mobile market, never looking back. Since last fall, the company has not only created the ability to electronically sign documents via smartphone, but has now just launched apps for the iPhone and iPad that will change their business as they know it. In this interview with Tom Gonser, founder and chief of strategy for DocuSign, find out how the apps work, why the company decided to take this leap of faith and just how deep you can go on your mobile phone.
Stephanie Andre: DocuSign has had a very busy year, especially related to mobile platforms and applications.
Tom Gonser: Yes, we’ve certainly been busy. But what’s important to note is that everything we do is for a reason and based on the customer feedback we get. Every six months, we sit down with our Executive Customer Council, which is made up of actual customers, and discuss what they’d like to see from us, what we can improve, etc. The meetings are great because they help us prioritize.
At our meeting in spring 2009, mobile was quite clearly the most important thing on our customers’ minds. What they were saying was that more and more people are using smartphones…why not create the ability for them to sign agreements.
While we did have a mobile-enabled website, creating something like this was entirely different. After looking at a few things, we decided that we’d need to create a new view to the sign-in process that was designed just for mobile use.
By last fall, it was ready. Now, whatever smartphone device you have, we offer that capability.
SA: Obviously, on an iPhone or Android, you have the use of a touch screen to sign. But how does it work on a BlackBerry or Palm device?
TG: The application automatically changes according to the type of device you have. With an iPhone, you’d select “click here to apply signature,” tap on the field and sign. With a BlackBerry, for example, instead of signing on a touch screen, it will take you to a different area to complete your information.
That said, we believe that as these devices to continue to evolve, these behaviors will become more similar.
SA: Have you seen a lot of customer usage?
TG: Yes. What’s funny about that was when we first launched the mobile application last fall we decided to make it so people would have to opt in. We thought our customers might be bothered by the fact that they’d been opted in automatically. However, we then started getting complaints from customers saying we needed better mobile capabilities. We then realized that those folks had not opted in and were using our old mobile-enabled website. So, we eventually opted everyone in and are seeing great usage and results.
SA: I understand that you now have an app designed specifically for the iPhone and iPad that is downloadable from the Apple store.
TG: Yes, we do. As soon as the iPad came on the scene, we started getting lots of calls and questions about it. It seems like a natural fit for us to have an app for the iPad since it’s literally the size of a piece of paper.
So, several months ago, we went into production to build a special app for the iPhone and iPad. The iPad app is really amazing. It allows the user to dig as far into their DocuSign account as they could on a regular computer. With it, the customer can drill all the way down to the contract on someone’s desk. They can see if the contract is missing signatures, if it has been viewed but not signed—all with an iPad view.
In fact, the customer can even correct a contract by taking a photo with the iPhone. That’s pretty powerful. In the normal world, you’d need to bring your documents to a scanner and upload a contract. Now, with the iPhone, you can literally take a picture of the contract and it converts it into a document and adds it to your DocuSign account.
Additionally, you can also upload your documents in Google Docs via the iPhone and iPad apps.
We will eventually have an Android app as well; it will be very similar to iPhone and iPad apps.
SA: Given the short time frame in which you’ve created and launched these products, where do you see the business going?
TG: What all of this means is that we’re headed in an important direction—where any document, in any format, on any device can be accessed and signed online. You could be any place in the world and it wouldn’t matter as long as you had a cell phone signal or Internet connection.
This is just a symptom of the rapid growth of the mobile device; it’s all very innovative. We’re doing incredibly powerful things. At DocuSign, we’re taking a very complex process—a transaction in real estate—and making it as simple as possible.
There’s so much going on with streamlining and making mobile more efficient; it’s a tall order but we’re ready for it. The advancements we’re seeing on mobile devices are really exciting.
For us, the iPhone and iPad platforms are really important because the iPad, for example, is the same size as a piece of paper. It’s important that we make that a top–notch experience.
For more information, visit www.docusign.com.