The best experiences start with the basics.

From digital transformation to experience business in a few simple steps.

J ason Shaeffer saw an opportunity to move faster. As vice president of Online Education, he knew that his department lived on the bleeding edge of the highly connected digital era. But there were still the bottlenecks that always exist in century-old universities.

His employer, Academy of Art University, had a rich tradition in paper — a natural affinity for an art school, but many at the school also understood that not all paper is valuable. “With a student body of over 12,000 and a faculty of nearly 1,500, we had a superhighway of triplicates,” admitted Shaeffer, with a smile.

Shaeffer is not alone. Many of us want to do more than keep up with the migration to digital. We want to transform our companies. We want to make our business so engaging that people can’t help but get caught up in our energy.

The reason is because deep down we all understand that great experiences are the heart of progress. Everyone — from customers and students to partners and employees — expects every interaction to be seamless, from mobile to desktop. They want it to be engaging. And convenient. And deeply connected. Their expectations are limitless.

But resources for most businesses are not. That’s why we have to find ways to make a big impact without making a big investment — because the experience touches every aspect of our business as we’re digitally transforming. This mindset of change is critical to transforming from a regular business into an experience business that puts the experience at the core of everything.

According to Gartner and Walker Information, customer experience is the new battlefield and by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key differentiator. They also cite that 86 per cent of customers will pay more for a customised experience. That’s why you need to become an experience business.

The experience starts where the document does.

The first thing you must decide is where to start. For Schaeffer and many other companies, a small but effective change was how they dealt with the experience of paperwork. 

This paper challenge is familiar to organisations everywhere. In fact, 80 per cent of all business processes still involve paper. While the paper mountain might seem like an immovable roadblock on your path to digital transformation — it’s actually your opportunity to make a big change without making a big effort. 

You probably don’t think of documents as experiences. But consider this. Documents are the forms that gather your customer data. The proposals that win the big projects. The contracts that grow your business. The vehicles that drive business forward. Employees create, route, update, approve them. Customers fill them out, sign them, send them back. And every time anyone interacts with a document, it’s a chance to deliver a great experience. 

Today, though, the experience of dealing with paper is not great. And it’s costing companies time, money and talent. According to IDC, the typical worker will spend a frustrating one-third of every workday searching for documents, sifting through emails, copying and pasting information and doing countless manual tasks. Each will use a staggering 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year. Those sheets that don’t end up crumpled in the recycling bin will be copied between 9 and 11 times. And for every 12 filing cabinets, an additional employee is required to maintain them. Bad for employees, bad for business. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

E-signatures are simple. Their impact is powerful.

According to consensus research from Forrester, Aberdeen and Smart Selling Tools, organisations that adopt digital document workflows and e-signatures say it’s technology they can’t live without. The convenience, efficiency, ease of use and security are just some of the benefits that have positively impacted the way early adopters operate. And since the technology touches all verticals, departments and business units within an organisation, the improvements are equally felt throughout the entire company.

In fact, according to Forrester, when you integrate all-digital documents into your processes, your organisation can save an average of $175 on paper costs per worker, every year and cut time spent working on documents by 50 hours per worker, every year. E-signatures can you save an average of 1.3 hours and $11 per signing transaction. And, because digital documents can be password-protected, standardised and tracked, your organisation can save $150 per user, every year through improved security and compliance. 

Meet the experts who are leading the way.

Once you’ve made the decision to make change and become an experience business, you join forces with a group of leaders who have the vision and understand the impact of transforming their organisations through experiences. We call them experience makers. And you can learn a lot from their stories.

For example, Shaeffer and Academy of Art University began their digital transformation with Adobe Sign, an Adobe Document Cloud solution. They reported an immediate impact. “We have a tremendous number of instructors that we hire on a semester to semester basis, each of which require an employee contract,” Shaeffer says. “Adobe Sign plus Workday is supporting unprecedented speed and oversight.”

And Academy of Art University isn’t the only one. There are many other organisations that are changing the way they work with documents and workflows. Like the County of Hawaii.

Todd Nacapuy, chief information officer for the County of Hawaii, chose digital documents and e-signatures to reduce the 42,000 pages his state previously generated on a daily basis. 

But rather than mandate wholesale adoption of e-signatures for his employees, which could have alienated a significant portion of his workforce, Nacapuy simply said, “There may be a better, more efficient way for you to do your job.” Doing so cut the turnaround time for paperwork in half, he says and sometimes even reduced it to mere minutes. 

In addition to its notable efficacy gains, Nacapuy was especially interested in using technology as a recruiting tool for younger talent who place a premium on convenient, mobile experiences. “We wanted to attract new talent into the County,” he says. “And when we show them that we are able to sign documents digitally, it makes it attractive for them to come work for us.”

Like the County of Hawaii, Australia’s leading online real estate advertising company also turned to e-signatures for the productivity gains as much as the experiential ones. “We’ve gained enormous efficiency after adopting Adobe Sign, but we’ve also created a much more digital and improved customer experience,” explains Norm Duce, executive manager of business services at REA Group

“We’ve had extremely positive customer feedback,” Duce adds, while referencing the high number of daily transactions and contracts his company needs to vet, sign and approve before the next step in the process. “It’s easy technology because we can digitally sign from any device with just a click,” he says. 

Similar to Nacapuy’s experience, “Adding electronic signatures also allows our company to create a great first impression to new hires,” Duce concludes. “Overall, Adobe Sign is a key part of our digital transformation and our pursuit of becoming a seamless experience business.”

A simple step in your digital transformation. A giant leap for experience.

Across industries, around the world, the statistics prove it. The experts bring it to life. And Adobe Document Cloud solutions make it possible. With minimal effort or expense, you can turn slow, manual processes into fast, all-digital experiences. 

Employees click to launch automated processes, where the right documents move to the right people, collecting information and approvals in the right order. Customers fill in digital forms from anywhere, then tap to sign and return from their phones. And your organisation evolves with confidence through a digital transformation that starts with removing paper and ends with great experiences for customers and employees.

Faster turnaround times, more productive employees, reduced printing costs, paperless operations and most importantly, better experiences are just a click away. You can do this.

Experience really does start here.