Electronic signatures play a major role in most formal processes. A big process, an agreement signing, NDA documents… it’s everywhere. Teams has a dedicated feature for e-signs and it’s definitely worth checking. Although it’s limited to 2 providers it’s still a great enhancement in many cases. If you use electronic signatures using DocuSign this post is especially for you.
Approvals in Microsoft Teams are the main place for your requests and processes. You can create new approvals, view the ones sent your way, and see all of your previous approvals directly in the Teams client. The app was introduced a few years ago and has got many updates since then. Some of them were big and some were tiny little changes.
There is one particular feature that’s not so small but is unknown to many people. Each time I show it to my Clients I get their attention and many of them want it right away. It’s e-signatures in Teams.
The application supports two e-sign providers – Adobe Sign and DocuSign. I use DocuSign more often and I will show you how to use it directly from Teams (this is not a sponsored post). The steps and UX are almost the same for Adobe Sign although the signing process can be different.
1. Click on the DocuSign section in the Approvals application and then Sign in. You must have an active account and a valid license assigned to it. If you don’t have an account, you can create a trial version and test it for 30 days.
2. You can find all received and sent requests by DocuSign. You can also start a new approval request directly from this page. Click on the + New approval request.
3. Select DocuSign
4. Provide all required information for the request and click Prepare
- (1)Title of the request
- (2) Additional information (that’s not required)
- (3) Attachment – you can add a file from your OneDrive, a template from DocuSign, or a file from your computer.
- (4) Provide the name and e-mail address of the recipient. You can add more than one.
- (5) If you add more than one you can select the order of approvals
5. Now you should prepare the requested document in the DocuSign portal. The Teams Approval app allows you to do that directly from Teams, so you don’t need to switch between apps or browser tabs. In the beginning, it wasn’t so seamless, and you had to switch apps.
6. You can add fields to your document (for instance, the Sign field) and click the Send button.
7. The request is visible in the Sent section as the In progress item.
Work with approvals
Now let’s take a look at the process from the recipient’s perspective.
1. I’ve switched the account and logged in as my test user John. Now I can see the same request (1) but in the Received section. It means that it’s assigned to me and it’s waiting for my action. I also got a notification in my Activity section in Teams (2).
2. If I click on the request, I can check all details and review the document. To do this click on the Review button.
3. Now the main part – Signing. The document will open in Teams so you can review it and sign it directly from it. Again – no switching between apps.
4. The last step is to Finish the signing process.
5. That’s it – the request has been approved and the document is signed. I (as the requestor) can check the status.
6. When you click on the request you can check more information – who approved the request and when (1). You can also open the document (2) – take a look at the document URL; It’s saved in the DocuSign portal.
Both providers (Adobe Sign and DocuSign) are enabled by default in the approval application. If you use only one you can disable the second and hide it from the users’ menu option. To do this you need Teams Administrator rights. It’s a good idea to hide non-used providers to make navigation clearer and not confuse your users.
1. Navigate to Teams Admin center – https://admin.teams.microsoft.com/, open Teams apps section, and then Manage apps (1). In the search window (2), enter “approvals” to find the app and click on it.
2. Click on the Settings tab and manage e-signature providers. You can select the one that you want to use or hide them all if you don’t want them.
Approval with e-sign is a must in many business scenarios. This integration gives you an additional tool that you can use to deal with small and even medium cases. Although It won’t help you in every single task related to electronic signatures (big processes or complex ones require more advanced integration), it’s still a good idea to explore the tool.
Deep integration between DocuSign and Teams gives users easier and faster access to the e-sign tool and simplifies the whole process. It requires provider licenses but if you already have them, it’s no brainer – test it and use it if it helps you.
I’m waiting for the Teams Approval Graph API feature. It’s planned to be released in October 2023. It should give us quite a powerful tool to automate approvals and connect them with external systems. If the API supports e-signs, then it will change a lot (at least in my projects).