IBM eSIGN-It Simplifies the Client Contract Experience

Jodi Schechter, May 6, 2016

What do you do if your organization develops a reputation for being difficult to do business with? You find a way to fix it – by simplifying and expediting your processes, and creating an easier customer experience. As part of a larger enterprise transformation, IBM has put some serious focus on their client contracting experience. One of the ways they are doing that is by meeting customers on their terms, giving them the ability to sign documents on their mobile device, anytime, anywhere.

Why e-Contracting?

When IBM started to question the status quo, they saw an opportunity in contracting where processes are highly administrative and paper-intensive. Going digital would simplify workflows and make contracts easier to manage and execute. In addition, once digitized, contracting stats would feed IBM’s analytics department and fuel its cognitive computing engine.

Digital Transformation at IBM: An E-Contracting Success Story

A customized mobile app for IBM's global sales force delights customers with paperless efficiency!


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Pulling from three separate organizations within the company, legal, sales transformation and operations, an agile team was assembled to identify ways to simplify documents and agreements – and to eliminate barriers to digitization. The impressive results:

  • Radically simplified contracts (from 30 pages down to 4)
  • Introduction of client-favorable provisos based on the most negotiated terms
  • Alignment of contract decision-making to client teams, increasing deal velocity
  • Implementation of e-signatures, making the signing process a breeze

To implement electronic signatures, IBM worked closely with eSignLive to deliver a corporate-branded (white label) app that was put into the hands of IBM sellers worldwide. The responsive app is simple for senders. IBM’s global sales force prepares contracting documents on an iPad and in a few taps, send them out for e-signature.

The IBM e-sign process is either face-to-face with the client, remote or a combination of both. In some cases, the IBM seller meets with a client and captures the first of a series of signatures on the iPad, and the document is then routed to a second signer who may sign on their smartphone.

Mobile, Cloud and Analytics

What’s distinctive about the IBM e-contract implementation is that is finesses beautifully with the company’s three global core initiatives: mobile, cloud and analytics.

  • Mobile

Mobile is now the primary mode of interaction today, and must be at the core of all IT solutions. The shift to mobile-first means rethinking the client experience. Enterprise processes must be agile, less complex and meet customers where they are.

  • Cloud

IBM recognizes that business is accelerating quickly. Clients want anywhere, anytime access to transactions. The company is highlighting the rise of cloud offerings across their brand and creating new opportunities for business. Globally, transactions running on IBM SoftLayer in countries with data residency requirements maintain compliance by keeping data in country.

  • Analytics

IBM’s commitment to cognitive analytics is fueled by digitization and the massive amounts of data amassed as a result. Recognizing that data is the world’s newest resource, IBM has ushered in the cognitive era of computing – levering information to competitive advantage by enabling more accurate forecasting and in turn, better decision-making.

With the e-contracting solution being rolled out globally to all IBM sellers, Collen Arnold, Senior Vice President, IBM Sales, said:

"The convenience of digitally signing IBM contacts on any device, combined with the work we’ve done to radically simplify our contracts, is a force multiplier for speed and the client experience."

At IBM, adding e-signatures to their worldwide contracting experience has become the poster child for other digital processes; recognizing that digitizing a signing process helps reap the full benefit of investments in other systems. It speaks (loudly) to IBM’s commitment to agile, digitized processes across all lines of business.  

This article presents highlights from a recent webcast: Digital Transformation at IBM – An E-Contracting Success Story.