Learfield IMG College turns digital workflows into a team sport with Adobe

Adobe Sign on laptop, tablet and mobile device

A lot of work goes into creating a thrilling college sports experience – from ticketing and concessions to marketing, licensing, and sponsorship agreements. Many leading colleges and universities rely on Learfield IMG College to bring it all together. Through its seven subsidiaries, the collegiate media and technology company manages the multi-media rights for more than 200 top collegiate brands, conferences, and arenas.

As a fully integrated media agency for college athletics, Learfield IMG College helps clients elevate their brands in an increasingly digital world. It is putting the digital tools and processes in place to make that vision a reality. That includes moving the entire enterprise to Adobe Document Cloud and streamlining processes essential to its success, including supplier management, hire to retire, and sales.

“We adopted Adobe Sign and Adobe Acrobat DC at an enterprise level to accelerate our digital transformation and create a better experience for employees, clients, and suppliers,” says Qiana Levy, director of procurement and strategic sourcing at Learfield IMG College.

Learfield IMG College rolled out Adobe Sign and Adobe Acrobat DC during the COVID-19 pandemic. With closing offices nationally and supporting employees as they quickly shifted to working from home, it had become significantly crucial for Learfield IMG College to improve processes and make the most of its resources. And with most employees and suppliers working remotely, there was a real opportunity to streamline processes – making their lives easier and helping them work smarter, not harder.

Adobe Sign transforms supplier management

Levy led the implementation, rolling out Adobe Document Cloud to Learfield IMG College and its seven subsidiaries in less than eight weeks. The first area she tackled was supplier management. When Learfield IMG College brings on new suppliers, several legal documents need to be drawn up, signed, and stored for future reference. In the past, suppliers were required to print, sign, scan, and return documents – a tedious process that could take weeks. With Adobe Sign, that paper-based process is a thing of the past.

“With Adobe Sign, our supplier management process is exceptionally faster,” says Levy. “Now, there is an efficient process in place that mitigates the risks of missing data and documents and lack of visibility into the workflow – what previously took weeks now takes a matter of minutes.”

Learfield IMG College used the Workflow Designer feature within Adobe Sign to create a smooth, standardized process that applies to every supplier. Each new supplier receives a set of documents – contracts, W-9 forms and supplier onboarding forms – and can quickly sign directly within the agreements, from anywhere.

As a result, contracts are signed faster, even when people are on vacation or don’t have access to a printer. This is especially important for high-value supplier agreements, which depend on many different stakeholders to authorize, approve, and sign.

“As a company, we’re focused on content digitization, automation and actionable insights, so it is imperative to have a central document repository, automated workflows, digital signatures, and all related systems need to be integrated and transparent,” says Levy. “In the five months since implementation, we’ve processed thousands of documents through Adobe Sign, and that number will continue to grow.”

Creating and collaborating with Adobe Acrobat

Learfield IMG College relies on Adobe Acrobat DC to collaborate on documents, using its review and editing capabilities to provide feedback, make corrections, track changes, and manage version control. That eliminates the often-overwhelming amount of back-and-forth of emails.

“Adobe Acrobat DC is a great collaboration tool for us, helping us increase the efficiency of document creation, review, and approval,” says Levy. “Other divisions across Learfield IMG College have been inspired to model our workflow, unlocking deeper efficiencies across the enterprise.”

The workflow goes even further than e-signatures and document creation. Learfield IMG College has integrated the Adobe tools within its Microsoft environment using Adobe Sign APIs. This enables employees to sign documents in Microsoft Word or even directly within Microsoft Outlook – with the simple click of a button. The Outlook integration is especially handy for approving invoices, enabling managers to sign and forward them to Accounts Payable, all from their inbox.

Plus, Levy has found a new way to keep contracts safe and accessible in the company’s SharePoint drive, without asking people to perform an extra step. “In the past, we reminded employees to save their contracts in SharePoint so we could refer to them when needed,” Levy says. “By integrating Adobe Sign with Microsoft SharePoint, our digital workflow will automatically save every finalized contract in the right folder, along with a copy for procurement.”

When the Procurement team needs to consult a particular document at a later date, the reliable central repository makes it much easier to find. This is a big difference from when they had to search through emails to find the right documents. With Adobe Sign reporting, they can look for specific terms and conditions highlighted across documents and not open files one by one. As a result, it frees time for other vital activities such as driving value, supplier innovation, and maximizing return on investment.

Sales and HR go all-in with Adobe Sign

Sales teams have embraced Adobe Sign as well – prior to Adobe Sign, having a document signed was time intensive, which negatively affected the customer experience. Digitizing the process saves the Sales teams on average 3.5 hours per agreement and has led to higher levels of customer satisfaction. Even people Levy expected to be resistant to the technology were immediately on board, becoming Adobe evangelists and driving adoption among their colleagues.

“One manager commented that contracts appear more professional with the digital signatures,” says Levy. With the digital signatures it’s easier for him to use Ctrl-F to search for specific language, whereas before he would have to read the entire document, which could be 30 pages.”

Learfield IMG College employees also have instant access to forms such as non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) or purchase orders. They access Adobe Sign, which acts as a one-stop-shop for documents – no one is waiting for someone to email a file.

In HR, Adobe Sign creates a frustration-free experience for candidates and employees. “Our Chief HR Officer (CHRO) is a champion for automation,” Levy says. “She and her team quickly became advocates and use Adobe Sign throughout the hire to retire process.”

Reducing manual signatures and digitizing enrollment eliminates inefficiencies – preparing, printing, mailing, faxing and tracking documents manually. With Adobe Sign, HR spends more time on the things that matter – people not paper.

For Levy, the strong adoption in sales and HR is a big step toward enterprise-wide adoption. She’s working with Adobe to roll out training and support, from Adobe Sign learning modules and LinkedIn Learning resources to scheduled Adobe days and one-on-one sessions.

As more people adopt Adobe Sign and Adobe Acrobat across Learfield IMG College, there’s enormous potential for continuing optimization and efficiency. That’s good for employees, suppliers, and most of all, clients – who depend on the company to keep team spirit high.