• > 78%

    Reduced processing time for grants and procurement contracts
  • 80%

    Boost in user adoption versus OnBase

Over two-thirds of Missouri’s jobs are expected to require some level of training or post-secondary education by 2028. But less than half of the state’s working age population currently has the necessary credentials. The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development (MDHEWD) is on a mission to close the skills gap.

MDHEWD administers funds for a variety of programs aimed at removing barriers to education and building the state’s talent pipeline. When the department underwent a strategic realignment in 2019, it set out to revamp processes that slowed time to funding. And it turned to Docusign to make it happen. 

“We realized that the system we were using to manage grants and contracts played a big factor in things getting held up,” said Rachel Hogrefe, assistant director of contracts. 

By using Docusign CLM to streamline complex workflows, Hogrefe’s small team of two shaved weeks off of processing time while simplifying annual reporting.

Creating a simpler user experience—from start to award

Every year, the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development helps over 550,000 Missourians skill up, get an education and find meaningful employment. Managing all of the partnerships and funding that make its programs a success is no small task. 

“A lot of our documents are time sensitive,” said Hogrefe. Previously, the department was using OnBase for contract management. But its lack of power and flexibility bogged staff down and created funding delays. “We didn’t have the ability to create forms or templates. And if we needed to change coding midway through, we had to start over from the beginning.”

The turning point came when Hogrefe and team saw a demo of Docusign CLM and immediately knew it would suit their needs. From the onset, the biggest gain was in speed. The department deals heavily with discretionary projects, where workflows involve over a dozen steps and multiple people, including program approvers, grants managers and the contracts team. After streamlining tasks with CLM, time to funding improved significantly.

We’ve gone from taking weeks or sometimes a month to move things through the old system to completing contracts within three days with Docusign CLM.
Rachel Hogrefe
Assistant Director of Contracts
Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development

Another plus is having the flexibility to change workflows on the fly—for example, automating an additional approval step for transactions over a certain dollar amount.

Making reporting effortless

Today, about 90% of MDHEWD’s documents flow through Docusign, including project scopes, budgets, Notices of Obligations and Memorandums of Understanding. “We’re always finding new ways to use Docusign,” said Hogrefe. That’s a significant shift from before, when usage topped at 10% with the old system. 

CLM’s ease of use plays a major factor. A side benefit of that has been less reliance on IT. “That’s been the best thing about Docusign for me,” said Hogrefe.

Having a central hub for contracts has made tracking and reporting a lot easier for Hogrefe’s team, too. Every year, Missouri receives a number of guaranteed awards to fund Job Centers and other employment-related programs throughout the state. As part of the grants process, the department needs to report various metrics back to the federal agencies that award them. 

In the past, annual reporting measures put a strain on staff. “It would take us days just to figure out things like average time to award,” Hogrefe said. “Now, we can pull reports in less than 30 minutes with a few clicks of a button.” 

Building on success with Docusign

Nearly two years after transforming contract processes with CLM, MDHEWD is ready to take it to the next level. For Hogrefe, that means a not-too-distant future where every document that needs a signature goes through Docusign. Short-term goals also include getting a bird’s-eye view of contracts by type, dollar amount and a number of other attributes using CLM dashboards.

MDHEWD partnered with the Docusign Customer Success team to bring that vision to life. The one-on-one engagements help ensure the department is realizing the full potential of CLM—now and into the future. “The people are amazing and really know what they’re doing,” Hogrefe said. “There were very few things we were told couldn’t be done.”