Inside the SAP DocuSign Deal
SAP Ventures recently invested in e-signature provider DocuSign. The press release didn’t mention how the investment will benefit SAP. Is this a pure investment play? How much did SAP Ventures invest? Will DocuSign somehow integrate with SAP products? I caught up with Andreas Weiskam, Managing Director, SAP Ventures to learn more.
“We always try to be smart investors and smart investors are typically value-add investors,” said Weiskam. “We seek out opportunities where we can not only put money to work but where we think we can help companies including the entire SAP ecosystem.”
Weiskam said SAP Venutres is primarily interested in “later stage” companies, ones with products and customers – criteria DocuSign definitely fulfills. From the press release:
DocuSign’s legally binding, secure, cloud-based platform helps consumers and businesses of all sizes and industries collect information and sign documents online – eliminating the hassles, costs, and lack of security in printing, faxing, scanning, and overnighting documents to capture information and signatures. Companies use DocuSign to create better customer experiences and save money by automating and streamlining their business processes.
Here’s why Weiskman believes DocuSign makes sense:
- Today, only a small portion of contracts are being signed online. Most are still handled offline, printed out, signed with ink and paper. Then it becomes a struggle to integrate contracts back into the workflow via scanning and faxing. “Going forward, the process of editing and collaborating on contracts is going to happen online,” said Weiskam. “The sending, signing and storing of contracts will also happen online.”
- More documents handled online, a driver for a cloud based solution. Rise in popularity around Dropbox and Google Docs and workflows being automated and integrated within most organizations.
- Increased accessibility of broadband and 3G. More people working on smartphones, mobile devices.
How does DocuSign tie back to SAP? Core adoption of e-signatures is mainly driven out of sales organizations, which means integration with CRM systems. So when you have thousands of different contracts being signed, or you’re trying to get them closed by the end of the quarter, being able to see if a customer opened a contract and signed it makes the CRM system extremely valuable, according to Weiskam. Potential e-signature synergies exist on the back end as well since managers can assess contract activity in different sales regions, for instance.
How much did SAP invest in DocuSign?
“It’s a meaningful investment,” said Weiskam. “We think it’s a big opportunity with many potential integration points with SAP.”