Tivo Records Business Gains With E-Signatures

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print

Media firm Tivo turns to electronic signatures to transition from paper to pixels, and ushers in new efficiencies and cost savings.

Digital business models have created new, more efficient ways to manage processes and workflows. Yet, many organizations in a variety of industries continue to rely on inefficient handwritten signatures to approve documents and contracts.

In contrast, Tivo, the manufacturer of digital video recording devices for television, has jumped on the e-signature bandwagon. The company, which got its start in 1999, works with a spate of partners and resellers to develop and sell its technology. This includes mega-retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy.

"In 2010, we realized that we had a lot of highly fragmented and manual processes in place and that just about everything we were doing involved paper," recalls Mark Nishihara, project manager for Tivo. "It could take a month or two for someone to receive a contract, print it out, sign it, and either fax or email mail it back—especially if an executive was travelling. We had people walking between offices and from one building to another with rubber stamps to close all the loops."

The firm's business and legal teams recognized a pressing need to streamline, simplify and speed approvals, all while standardizing the delivery, execution, and distribution of contracts and other documents. As a result, In November 2011, Tivo turned to Adobe EchoSign, which incorporates high-grade encryption.

"The simplicity of how the system worked was extremely attractive," Nishihara explains. After staff set up a series of templates and provided minimal training to employees, the system was up and running.

Now, when a document (which can range from a nondisclosure agreement to a sales contract) requires a signature, the recipient is notified by email. The individual can view the document on whatever device he or she is using, including a tablet. The recipient then adds any pertinent information—such as job title, address and/or date—and taps to sign the document.

Tivo is using EchoSign across various departments, including human resources. For example, "We previously kept hard copies of all employment applications in file cabinets and boxes, and the storage costs were significant," Nishihara notes. However, that's no longer the case.

The firm has realized significant cost savings and efficiency gains with its system, while ratcheting up its audit trails and compliance. Nishihira says that Tivo has accelerated contract cycle time for reseller agreements and other documents from upward of 45 days to only a few days—and, in some cases, a few hours.

It's also possible to obtain immediate approvals from the board of directors for meeting minutes, and to produce product information and previews for major exhibitions, such as the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Guests can sign a nondisclosure agreement on the spot and view content instantly.

"The original intent was to use e-signatures for legal contracts," Nishihara says, "but, along the way, we have discovered that the technology has broad applications across the company. We have achieved a 90-plus percent reduction in paper since turning to the EchoSign system. Desks are no longer covered in paper, we've cut costs, and we're able to track documents and contracts better."

This article was originally published on 2014-03-05

Samuel Greengard is a contributing writer for Baseline.

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