Deloitte & Docusign: Finding Value in Agreement Management

Deloitte & Docusign's report shows outdated agreement management processes will cost businesses nearly US$2tn yearly in global economic value

Deloitte & Docusign have worked together to publish the ‘Unlocking the Value of Agreement Management Report’, where the pair surveyed more than 1,000 businesses leaders across 10 countries - spanning organisations of all sizes, functions and maturities. 

Results from the report show that nearly half of businesses face significant hurdles due to delays, inefficiencies, and missed opportunities caused by outdated contract management processes. As a result, nearly half of the surveyed businesses report deterioration in relationships with partners and customers and substantial value loss in support functions like procurement.

The Key Findings

The report is based on perspectives from 1,000 global business and technology leaders involved in agreement management. They focused on a range of topics, including pain points, purchase criteria, functional value drivers and solution considerations. The countries involved include the Americas, EMEA and APAC, along with 17 leaders involved across agreement and lifecycle to supplement the data.

Key findings include:
  • Contract delays disrupt manufacturing schedules, leading to extended lead times and deterioration in relationships with partners and customers for nearly half of surveyed businesses
  • Poor contract management results in significant value loss in support functions like procurement, with 60% attributed to time wastage and operating costs
  • Limited visibility into agreement terms causes challenges for 51% of businesses in maximising contract value, leading to disruptions and missed opportunities
  • More than half of respondents struggle to find the latest approved vendor terms and rate cards, resulting in overpayments. Procurement teams could save in excess of US$1 million yearly from missed contractual incentives on average

“Our research shows that companies with disconnected agreement management workflows spend an extra 18% of time working on agreement,” adds Jonathan Jones, Managing Director, Deloitte Tax.

Jonathan Jones, Managing Director, Deloitte Tax (Credit: LinkedIn)

“These inefficiencies can have a material impact on a company’s productivity, employee morale, bottom line and long-term business outcomes.”

The lost opportunity

The report delves into the challenges organisations face in managing agreements efficiently and extracting critical information from them.

It highlights the substantial economic value lost due to ineffective agreement management processes, amounting to nearly US$2 trillion annually, with that figure expected to rise to US$2.3tn by 2030. The study identifies disconnected workflows as a significant contributor to poor agreement management, resulting in wasted time and increased costs.

How Docusign is planning to help

To address these challenges, Docusign is expanding its company strategy with the introduction of a new SaaS category — Intelligent Agreement Management (IAM) — and the launch of the new Docusign IAM platform.

Three IAM applications will be launched in the US on 30 May: IAM Core, IAM for Customer Experience, and IAM for Sales, aiming to make every step of the agreement process smarter and unlock value for businesses by accelerating revenue and reducing risk.

Regional variations in value destruction

Companies across the world experience these challenges differently due to regional nuances. For example, research shows that Asia Pacific organisations prefer extensive in-person negotiations, leading to longer delays in the sign stage. In contrast, European organisations must navigate various jurisdiction-specific terms and languages, leading to similarly large delays in the Analysis stage.

  • North America: Organisations process agreements 8% faster than the global average, primarily driven by higher digital maturity
  • Latin America (LATAM): Organisations process agreements 18% faster than the global average, completing the iteration-heavy develop and sign stages six hours faster
  • Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA): Organisations in EMEA process agreements the slowest among the four regions in consideration, with a 19% longer life cycle than the global average
  • Asia Pacific (APAC): Organisations process agreements 6% slower than the global average, likely due to their formal and multi-layered approach to agreements.
Docusign has agreed to acquire Lexion

Challenges across the agreement lifecycle

As with regional differences, each function of a business makes unique challenges across the agreement lifecycle.#

These challenges compound with increasing complexity and volume agreements, leading to laborious agreement management processes.

  • Sales and marketing: Delays and time wasted in managing agreements impact their ability to generate and close leads
  • Finance and IT: Face delayed revenue recognition and higher risk of increased agreement costs
  • Manufacturing: Supply chain & operations: Experience disrupted schedules and increased risk of higher production costs
  • Customer support: Spend more time answering agreement-related inquiries, leading to increased customer churn
  • Procurement: Struggle to optimise vendor selection, onboarding, costing and management
  • Human resources: Face delayed employee headcount growth and missed opportunities for renegotiation and cost savings
  • Legal: Encounter heightened exposure to financial penalties and reputational damage.

The business value of intelligent workflows

While most organisations, 92%, use one or more agreement management solutions, most do not measure, track or report their usage value. As the Head of Strategic Sourcing at a global marketplace organisation says, "I report on three main goals: savings, spend under management and number of contracts and projects. It's hard to quantify the value of technology we are using." Without proper ways to measure ROI, businesses often overlook that agreement management solutions can unlock meaningful value.

For example, the Head of Legal Operations for a major travel organisation anecdotally cited benefits such as freeing up 2,000 hours reviewing for compliance and the VP of Procurement at a leading healthcare organisation referenced a reduction in value at risk — from hundreds of millions of dollars to a few million dollars — which often go unmeasured.

The report delves into the challenges organisations face

The future of agreement management

The agreement management landscape is evolving rapidly due to increasing contract volumes and shifting organisational needs, driven by emerging technologies like Generative AI. More than half of surveyed respondents plan to increase spending on agreement management solutions over the next three years, highlighting the demand for compelling value propositions and strong product visions.

However, addressing challenges goes beyond technology alone. Organisations must strengthen non-technical dimensions such as assessing organisational needs, designing clear governance frameworks, championing AI-driven self-service capabilities and executing actionable intelligence to drive favourable outcomes.

For solution vendors, this entails understanding customer needs by function and persona, building flexible products that solve a range of problems and being easy to customise, extend and integrate.

How can these issues be addressed?

To address these challenges, the report suggests four critical capabilities for the next generation of agreement management solutions: seamless collaboration, AI-enabled search and analytics, integrations with other systems and persona-based workflows.

However, it emphasises that technology alone is not sufficient; a holistic approach that includes governance, strategy and process engineering is necessary to unlock the full value of agreement management solutions.

The study also identifies three key personas — buyers, process builders and end users — and their specific needs in adopting next-generation agreement management solutions.

“Enterprise leaders across companies of all regions, industries and sizes are looking for better ways to manage their agreements while navigating market changes,” adds Jonas McCormick, Principal at Deloitte Consulting.

Jonas McCormick, Principal at Deloitte Consulting

“To meet this moment, enterprises need to take a holistic approach to agreement management, considering elements such as technology, governance and strategy to drive favourable outcomes.”


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