DocuSign Spotlight: Lalith Subramanian - VP, Product Development
We sat down with Lalith Subramanian -- vice president, product development -- to learn about his team and why now is a good time to join DocuSign engineering.
Last year, DocuSign acquired Seal Software, a pioneer in AI-driven contract analytics. Can you tell us more about what this means for DocuSign and building the DocuSign Agreement Cloud?
DocuSign’s vision for the Agreement Cloud is to completely reshape how the world handles agreements – from how they are negotiated to what goes into their approval and signature, to how the terms are fulfilled over the life of the contract. For example, Seal’s powerful natural language processing, machine learning and AI technology can extract deep insights from text contracts, determine penalties in dollars/euros enforced for various delays, or if an unusual issue, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, triggers specific terms. These sorts of insights transform an agreement from a static document intended for human reading to a “smart contract” that can automatically trigger actions or influence workflows, optimizing how businesses work. DocuSign acquired Seal in order to accelerate the path to achieving this vision.
What excites you most about the work you and your team do?
At Seal, we knew that we had the best technology to gain insights into contracts, and this helped our customers minimize risk, achieve optimal supplier terms, etc. At DocuSign, we found the perfect home! With DocuSign’s electronic signature and contract lifecycle management capabilities and the Agreement Cloud vision, we now stand on a much larger platform and can have a bigger impact. That’s truly exciting!
How would you describe the culture of your team to prospective job candidates?
Just like many other fast-paced teams, my team is smart. We’re also quite low-ego, very open and collaborative. The positive culture has made it easier for us to nearly double the team’s size over the past year.
Why is working on your team a great opportunity for engineers?
In earlier stages of my career, the most satisfying positions I had were those where I was not only working on the coolest technologies but could also understand the impact of my work. For example, in one instance we helped medicines get to market sooner. In our group today, we work on virtually every modern technology – deep/machine learning, natural language processing, and containerized deployments in GCP. We apply them towards transforming how we contract for virtually anything -- homes to car leases to a lot more. We’re growing rapidly too, which means that there will be plenty of opportunities for professional growth.
When it comes to leading people, what are your guiding principles?
I value people who truly believe that enthusiastic collaboration leads to the best outcomes. I see my role as creating a diverse environment, giving teams plenty of room to be creative and intellectually open, eliminating obstacles that may hold them back and let great things happen!
What sets engineering at DocuSign apart from other companies?
The culture of DocuSign’s engineering really sets it apart. From the very top, the focus is on results, and an open, collaborative culture that fosters diversity of opinion. Seal was acquired right at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and we have not been in any DocuSign office since then. Yet we have been able to deliver to our roadmap and integrate into DocuSign. I attribute our being able to do this entirely to the culture that made us feel part of the team right away.
What is one question we didn’t ask that you think engineers would want to know about DocuSign or your team?
Where is your team located? Our team is highly distributed and is located in Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area, Gothenburg, Sweden and Cairo, Egypt. Yes, that’s right, *that* Cairo. I try to keep the teams in each location as complete as possible so they can collaborate on essential aspects while not being over-burdened by time-zone induced challenges.
Interested in doing the work of your life at DocuSign? Check out our openings. We’d love to talk more.