Regarded by many as the technology capitol of the world, the city of San Francisco nonetheless found itself facing challenges related to the delivery of its public services. The increasingly digital world has changed how customers expect to interact with organizations and their communities. This is especially the case in the bustling hub of business and culture that is San Francisco.
The international tourist destination is renowned for its thriving culinary scene and scenery. It is also known as the home of prominent tech entrepreneurs, who helm ventures of all shapes and sizes.
Between the years 2010 and 2015, the city experienced a massive influx of both established technology enterprises and innovative startups. It had welcomed over 2,000 new tech companies by 2014. By the following year, technology firms paid 60 percent of all leases in the city.
Despite the city’s bourgeoning reputation as a global technology capitol, San Francisco’s method of completing business registration for new ventures was a major source of complaints. The drawn-out, tedious process was just one marker of an outdated, disconnected system of public services that had begun to inconvenience city taxpayers and employees alike.
That’s why the city of San Francisco decided to go paperless, harnessing the power of DocuSign to fulfill a digital transformation more than a decade in the making.
As a city with a thriving business sector and a daytime population of 1.3 million, San Francisco used a massive amount of paper. The issues that accompanied the management of hundreds of filing cabinets were numerous. This was especially true for paper-intensive departments, such as the Office of Document Administration and the Tax Collector’s Office.
One issue was the time and financial cost of the city’s completely physical file storage system. Additionally, San Francisco also had to contend with the issue of finding adequate real estate for such a massive amount of paper.
City officials considered these factors alongside others, such as the potential cost of lost files and the logistics of transferring files for executive signatures and review. Then, internal audit found that each paper file cabinet cost the city approximately $50,000 to maintain and operate per year.
Furthermore, San Francisco’s paper filing system only exacerbated the city’s siloed organizational structure. Its various municipal departments operated independently, without potentially useful cross-reference or collaboration.
As a result, citizens found themselves filling out numerous redundant hard copy forms at several physical agency offices to complete what could have been a relatively simple service request. Departmental silos had resulted in time-consuming, frustrating experiences for many taxpayers.
Some agencies had begun to take advantage of emerging digital tools. However, they implemented separate solutions at varying rates. This created an even more fragmented network of services.
All of these factors combined to create a tedious, often confusing user experience. This heavily contrasted with San Francisco’s innovative and entrepreneurial culture. With the help of DocuSign, the city’s administration set out to make a change.
As described by Miguel Gamino, San Francisco’s Chief Information Officer and Director of Technology, the city began its digital transformation by seeking to “organize the disorganized.”
Gamino and his colleagues had observed the large-scale potential of DocuSign, as some of the city’s departments had adopted the technology on an individual basis. They set out to harness the product to connect these departments while streamlining their inefficient paper systems.
DocuSign’s applications in business sectors such as insurance and real estate are widely known. However, San Francisco’s digital transformation is an excellent reminder of DocuSign’s benefits for government agencies.
In addition to reducing the time, cost, and potential risk of error associated with printing and faxing, DocuSign also bolsters agencies’ security and compliance. Additionally, it allows organizations to modernize their existing IT systems without overhauling their infrastructure.
When applied to government processes such as public health administration, permitting, and housing programs, DocuSign can help communities provide more convenient access to services. That will reassure taxpayers that their funds are being put to good use.
One of San Francisco’s main charters is to serve the public. As demonstrated by San Francisco’s award-winning business portal, the city succeeded in leveraging DocuSign to make its processes more convenient for constituents and employees alike.
Its administrators have indeed provided improved public services that are more convenient and easily accessible. This led to the implementation of processes that citizens can access at practically any time and location.
Since adopting DocuSign, the city has seen its digital portal engagement increase by a factor of 13. It is also generated monetary savings of a factor of ten.
Transitioning away from paper intensive processes also helped the city achieve measurable improvements in efficiency. After integrating DocuSign APIs, the office of the Tax Collector was able to process 30,000 business registrations in just 60 days. Previously, it completed just 10,000 per year.