SDSU Moves to Efficient Digital Workflows Using Adobe Sign

by Craig Peasley

posted on 12-12-2019

With more than 34,000 students and 3,000 faculty and staff, keeping things running smoothly at San Diego State University (SDSU) is a big job, with a lot of moving parts. That’s why, a few years ago, the university started going digital with its document workflows—from HR to enrollment and beyond.

“Using Adobe Sign, we’re creating a paperless campus, so we can work much more efficiently and make everyday interactions smoother and easier,” says Ed Legaspi, IT Consultant at SDSU.

Ed and Kent McKelvey, IT Division Sr. Director at SDSU, were key proponents of creating a digital campus with Adobe Document Cloud, including Adobe Sign and Adobe Acrobat DC, and the IT Division took the lead in implementation and administration. Their efforts paid off.

Today, several departments including Enrollment Services, Business and Financial Affairs, College of Education, Fowler College of Business, Instructional Technology Services, and College of Arts and Letters use Adobe Acrobat DC to create digital forms that can be routed, tracked, and signed using Adobe Sign, allowing people to sign documents in seconds from any device. The result is an outstanding experience for anyone interacting with the university, from students to faculty to donors.

But it wasn’t always so easy to complete paperwork.

Streamlining class add/drop processes with Adobe Sign

Corey Polant, Assistant Director, Community Engagement and Development, remembers when he balanced being both an employee and a part-time graduate student at SDSU.

“I needed to register for a class after the add/drop deadline, and getting the petition filled out was a frustrating experience,” Corey says. “I had to take the form to multiple department heads across campus, waiting for each person to sign before taking it to the next person.”

It took three or four weeks for Corey to get enrolled in the right course. In the end, his experience spurred him to action.

“I met with the head of enrollment services and told her it would be so much more convenient to use Adobe Sign,” says Corey. “That way, graduate students could fill out a form, take it to a single location, and let the office gather signatures digitally.”

That exchange set the wheels in motion, and now the add/drop class petition process is fully digital with Adobe Sign. Forms automatically route from one signer to the next, and administrators can electronically sign from anywhere, with no special software needed. Today, forms are completed in 93% less time—on a scale of one or two days rather than close to a month.

For students like Corey, digital enrollment has made their lives much easier—no more making multiple trips to campus, and they can track the status in real time.

A more efficient way to onboard new employees

The HR department is also a major beneficiary of digital workflows, generating about 30% of total Adobe Sign transactions at the university. A large portion of HR documents are related to the onboarding process.

“In the past, we had new hires come to the office to fill out paper forms, which took 30 minutes,” says Rachael Stalmann, Human Resources Technician at SDSU. “With Adobe Sign, new employees now spend just 10 minutes in our office.”

That’s a significant time savings, especially considering that onboarding accounts for roughly 12,000 transactions every year. Digital workflows have become indispensable for other HR forms as well, including compliance documents, tax withholding updates, offer letters, name change updates, and student hiring documentation.

Digital workflows spread across campus

Adobe Sign has also become a go-to tool for critical processes such as travel authorization forms and donor forms.

“Faculty can get their university-sponsored travel plans approved in 96% less time—in hours rather than days,” says Ed. “And signing a donation agreement is easier than ever because the CFO, university vice presidents, and donors can all electronically sign from wherever they are.”

Indeed, large donations can be signed off on within a day instead of a week, and Adobe Sign provides the audit trail and security to support SDSU’s compliance requirements.

SDSU plans to keep expanding its use of Adobe Sign and Adobe Acrobat DC, and the potential is enormous.

“The implementation of Adobe Sign is a first big first step in creating more seamless digital experiences for everyone who comes into contact with the university,” Ed says.

Topics: Future of Work, Digital Transformation

Products: Sign, Acrobat DC