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GCN : August 2014
CASE STUDY ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES When the Nevada Transporta- tion Department issues a high- way construction contract, the process typically requires printing 300 pages of documents and collecting 60 sig- natures. Shipping the contract back and forth among contracting offices to collect 60 wet-ink signatures took an average of 25 days. "In that 25 days there was a lot of wasted movement and time," said Teresa Schlaffer, the depart- ment's business process analyst. Since the department's adop- tion of DocuSign's cloud-based Digital Transaction Management (DTM) platform, that process has been cut down to 4.8 days. "We were able to take out all of the back and forth," Schlaffer said. Taking the paper out of paper- work has been a dream in govern- ment since the signing (electroni- cally) of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act in 2000. Adoption has been slow, but advanc- es in technology -- including mobile and cloud computing -- and a growing comfort with online commerce have begun speed- ing up the process. In Wisconsin, the Department of Chil- dren and Families is saving $70,000 a year by digitizing contract paperwork, and Butte County, Colo., shaves precious time off the process of obtaining search war- rants by having them signed electronically, said DocuSign's director of public sector Sharon Hayes. State and local government still is only "a little past the beginner stage" in cloud adoption, Hayes said. But more activities are going online, and government can- not afford to create its own infrastructure for every need. Competition for qualified workers to maintain these services also is becoming more intense. These pressures are forcing governments to the cloud, and some states are establishing master service contracts for the services. "That shows that they recognize the value of it." Through DTM, the DOT can upload documents to the platform in MS Word, PDF or other common formats from a com- puter or file-sharing service. A workflow is designated, with the email addresses of required recipients, including those who must sign and the order of signing. Tags are added showing the location for each signature. Signers are notified by email, and the document is downloaded from a link in the email. The system generates a facsimile handwritten signature of the signer's name, linked to a secure alpha- numeric code, which can be applied to the document for signing. Users also can write their own signatures using a mouse or touchscreen to have it linked to the code and applied. The signed document then is uploaded for the next step in the workflow. DTM supports any type of Web- enabled device, from desktop to smartphone, without client soft- ware, and flexible licensing op- tions made implementing a pilot program within the DOT inex- pensive. This lowered the barrier of entry to electronic signing and was a major reason it was select- ed, Schlaffer said. "Low cost for us, no cost for our signers." About half of the department's contracts now are being signed through the system, and it is ex- pected to be fully implemented throughout the department by year's end. Savings from electronic signatures are difficult to determine because money saved in one area is spent in another, Schlaffer said. But, "we have been able to reallocate resources," and additional peo- ple have been hired. Building on DOT's experience, the DTM platform is being adopted in other Ne- vada state offices, including the Treasurer and the Comptroller. "There is pain in be- ing first," Schlaffer said. "But also a lot of satisfaction." • With the adoption of a cloud-based document management platform, Nevada DOT has cut contract administration by 20 days Nevada's DOT taking the paper out of paperwork BY WILLIAM JACKSON 30 GCN AUGUST 2014 • GCN.COM Using a cloud-based platform for its highway construction projects, Nevada cut the signature collection process from 25 to 4.8 days. FACEBOOK.COM/NEVADADOT