Manual no more: PNG DataCo’s paperless journey

Image created by DALL·E 3.

In the digital era, reliance on paper-based transactions presents a notable contrast. After all, paper can be misplaced, damaged, destroyed, or even stolen. 

Provided that there are still uses for paper-based documents—such as court filings and physical receipts—enterprises should embrace the ease and convenience of going paperless, especially if it solves a lot of operational bottlenecks.

Such is the case for PNG DataCo, a state-owned entity providing wholesale telecommunication services to the information and communication industry in Papua New Guinea. PNG DataCo previously relied on manual processes and physical documents, which brought them numerous unnecessary headaches.

Slow is a no-no

As an internet provider, PNG DataCo prioritises speed, security, and efficiency in its day-to-day operations. Slow or intermittent internet access can not only disrupt people’s lives but also cripple enterprises and entire industries.

David Mba, General Manager ICT & Cloud Services, PNG DataCo Ltd. Image courtesy of PNG DataCo Ltd.

Therefore, the company recognised the importance of modernising every aspect of its operations, especially its most fundamental processes.

PNG DataCo previously struggled with excessive paperwork and manual labour. Its challenges involved excessive printing, tedious procedures, difficulties in keeping all documents in check, and challenges in obtaining physical signatures, particularly when working with third parties like contractors.

“Our staff had to print and organise paper contracts for customers ahead of time, leading to extensive manual work and checks before they could input the information into the online system. This process was prone to human errors. On top of this, when engaging with contractors, approval procedures for low-priority tasks could stretch over days or even weeks. Furthermore, there was a constant risk of documents being misplaced,” recalled David Mba, General Manager ICT & Cloud Services, PNG DataCo Ltd.

To address the situation, the company needed a reliable partner to streamline its document needs. Upon surveying several vendors, PNG DataCo chose to collaborate with DocuSign.

According to Mba, the introduction of DocuSign’s e-signature services and contract lifecycle management system was a game-changer in terms of service delivery, and something that their organisation would benefit immensely from.

Bridging the gap

Prior to engaging DocuSign, PNG DataCo already made efforts to reduce its reliance on paper-based processes — an initiative which made the transition easier, noted Kartik Krishnamurthy, DocuSign Area Vice President, Asia.

“With groundwork laid and supported by DocuSign’s robust integrations for all workflows, incorporating our solutions into their platforms was seamless,” he said.

Kartik Krishnamurthy, Area Vice President, Asia, DocuSign. Image courtesy of DocuSign.

Guided by its data privacy requirements, as well as its security and compliance standards, DocuSign implemented its solutions to address the issues identified by PNG DataCo.

“We integrated solutions with systems and workflows using our APIs to create a suitable experience — both for internal staff and external parties like customers and contractors. We also offer live and online training courses, as well as 24/7 live chat support, providing assistance whenever needed. We attribute the swift and smooth implementation to the collaborative efforts of both teams,” Krishnamurthy added.

At the moment, various PNG DataCo offices and personnel across different locations can efficiently approve requisitions and asset processes, making the company more mobile and agile.

“Documents such as non-disclosure agreements, contracts, renewals, and service agreements are now swiftly tracked and addressed within hours and across multiple devices, leading to an overall efficiency improvement of 98%. Additionally, this has bolstered our security measures,” Mba said.

Additionally, this newfound agility on DocuSign’s digital- and mobile-first platform has enabled PNG DataCo’s internal staff to alleviate their operational burden, and also provided external customers with a more streamlined service from the company.

“Operational expenses have decreased by 20%, and with time to savings, billing processes have accelerated, positively impacting revenue,” the PNG DataCo GM added.

Connecting to the future

Looking ahead, PNG DataCo aims to lead in digital innovation, supporting the development and growth of Papua New Guinea.

“Having seen the knock-on effect of productivity and efficiency with the adoption of DocuSign eSignature, we’re at present transitioning other departments, such as our HR team, onto DocuSign and incorporating CLM into more of our processes. Additionally, we are conducting internal audits to identify the additional digital tools and partnerships necessary for us to achieve our overarching goal,” Mba said.

Meanwhile, DocuSign is focused on three strategic pillars moving forward: increased product innovation, revamping go-to-market plans, and strengthening operational efficiency. “While we cannot share at this junction the exact details, we can assure you that we are continuing our focus on R&D investments and speeding up our product development cycle,” Krishnamurthy remarked.

Recently, DocuSign launched “WhatsApp Delivery,” the newest expansion in its multi-channel delivery offering.

“This feature allows users to send real-time notifications that link directly to agreements and enable quick, secure signing on WhatsApp. This aligns with the shift in consumer preferences towards mobile usage. In fact, WhatsApp is the most used social media platform in Singapore, with 83.2% of those aged 16 to 64 utilising it. It is our aim to reach signers more rapidly in their preferred manner,” he concluded.