New uses for DocuSign at UT expanding in support of hybrid work

Sheilagh O’Hare, Records and Information Management Services (RIMS) senior business analyst, has seen use cases for DocuSign increase steadily since the document management service was launched at the university in 2017. DocuSign enables a workflow that is entirely digital, including signatures. RIMS and ITS Applications support the service.

“Early on, we weren’t sure DocuSign would take off as well as it has,” O’Hare said. “But it makes sense that people would want to use it. In 2020, more people wanted it as a tool for handling university business remotely.”

According to Maryrose Hightower-Coyle, RIMS records management officer and director, the annual volume of DocuSign envelopes--a single instance of routing one or more digital documents--has risen from approximately 49,000 in 2017 to more than 233,000 in 2020.

Elista Street, RIMS records and information specialist, noted that departments like using DocuSign for several reasons, including the simplified means of obtaining signatures.

“People don’t have to have their department head in their suite,” Street said. “They don’t even have to come to campus, which works well with the hybrid environment we have now.”

Official Occasion Expense Form

One frequent use of DocuSign is the Official Occasion Expense Form (OOEF) which captures information around departmental official events. Units can create their own version of the form so long as it allows entry of the same information required on the Payment Services version. They can add fields, for example.

“DocuSign versions of these forms have been used successfully about 2,800 times in the last three years,” O’Hare said. “RIMS can help units set up their own OOEF.”

Operational Support Forms

Intended to improve business processes, converting Workday operational support forms to DocuSign forms was a major effort over the past three years. Cynthia Steiner, Enterprise Business Information Technology Solutions (eBITS) senior business analyst, explained that many of these forms have to be initiated, signed by an authorized signer and then sent to Workday. Examples are forms to cancel or rescind a business process.

“Most operational support services require a form,” Steiner said. “These have typically been PDFs. In the past, the process involved filling out, printing, scanning, signing, scanning again and sending to Workday. On April 1 this year, those who wished to do so could start using the DocuSign forms. These are easier to fill out and to receive notifications needed to complete routing.”

DocuSign versions of the forms are now available on the Support Services Menu of the Operational Support Services webpage. Units can continue to use PDF or Excel versions of the forms if they prefer.

Converting the forms was a collaborative process. Over many months, Elista Street, RIMS records and information specialist, created the DocuSign templates, while O’Hare and Street met frequently with eBITS staff. Both worked closely with Lisa Cartier, eBITS principal senior business analyst, as well as with Cynthia Steiner, eBITS senior business analyst, and Emily Cauthen, eBITS support manager. The RIMS and eBITS teams ensured that the forms met Workday operational support needs as well as DocuSign requirements.

Steiner noted that in addition to improving business processes, the transition to DocuSign added security. The completed forms are behind UT security, and similar to using UT Box, the information is in one secure place.

According to Steiner the operational support forms have been well-received, especially during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.


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July 9, 2021
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