To DocuSign or Not to DocuSign | Information Technology | University of Pittsburgh
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To DocuSign or Not to DocuSign

A few good things have come out of spending the last 15 months in our homes. I’ve rediscovered my love of the Bard. And the pandemic spurred everyone into putting their paper-based processes online. Now, I can complete a form, sign it, and submit it … all using my phone from my couch! There are important differences between the many digital signature apps now available, but I’ve found some of Shakespeare’s best quotes to explain why you should use eSignature (DocuSign) at Pitt.

1. “But the comfort is, you shall be called to no more payments.” Cymbeline

Pitt has an institutional license with DocuSign, so it’s free to use for all departments, faculty, and staff. This is a no-brainer benefit as you consider ways to trim your budget of unnecessary expenses. No need to spend the money for licensing some other app, when Pitt IT provides DocuSign at no cost.

2. “If we are true to ourselves, we cannot be false to anyone.” Hamlet

How can you know that the person who completes the form is the person that they claim to be? DocuSign and Adobe Sign both meet the security requirements set forth by law for a legally binding electronic signature. But at Pitt, DocuSign goes a step further. DocuSign is tied to your Pitt identity, and access is controlled by Pitt IT security policies. Users must sign in through Pitt Passport and provide Duo multifactor authentication before they can access, complete, and sign documents. This adds an additional layer of identity verification and security.

3. “Never anything can be amiss, when simpleness and duty tender it.” Midsummer Night’s Dream

Signatures—hand-written or digital—are meant to certify a formal agreement. From certifying that the information you have provided is true or agreeing to pay for a benefit or service, to signing a business contract with a third-party vendor, verified signatures are legally binding. The Office of University Counsel has reviewed and approved DocuSign as a legally binding electronic signature provider for the University of Pittsburgh.

4. “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” Merry Wives of Windsor

DocuSign does more than let a person complete, sign, and submit a form. It can also be set up to send automatic reminders to people who forgot. If a document needs to go through several people to be processed, it can also route automatically to the next person in the chain, so nothing falls through the cracks. This is invaluable to keep form processing moving along quickly and efficiently.

5. “The wheel is come full circle.” King Lear

The more systems work with each other, the easier a process is. DocuSign is integrated with Contraxx, the contract management software used in the Office of University Counsel, Purchasing, and many other departments. This integration makes it much simpler to send, upload, and process electronic documents for official University business. It’s all connected!

6. “One foot on sea, and one on shore, To one thing constant never” Much Ado About Nothing

Have device, will travel! DocuSign has a superior mobile platform compared to many other signature apps. It is ideal if you are getting signatures at events in real time, if you are signing a document while traveling, or when making a form available in a mobile app. DocuSign works great on a computer, smart phone, or tablet. Users can connect via a web browser or using the DocuSign mobile app (available from the Apple App Store or Google Play).

7.  "A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” As You Like It

Learning to use an app is the biggest hurdle in adopting new technology. Having an accessible user interface is an important logistical factor. If people have difficulty creating or completing forms, it will slow everything down. DocuSign has a simple interface that you do not have to be an expert to understand, which puts it ahead of many other services. Plus, as a supported Pitt service, Pitt IT offers DocuSign training and the analysts at the Pitt IT 24/7 Help Desk can provide hands-on help if you run into a snag.

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” Twelfth Night

I, for one, am hoping the convenience of online processes and electronic signatures is here to stay! It makes life so much easier for you and your users, and saves a lot of wasted paper. DocuSign is secure, easy, convenient, and legal. What more could you ask? It’s great—get started with it today!

-- Karen Beaudway, Pitt IT Blogger