Summary

Save the Children is an international not-for-profit which provides services to transform the lives of children, from lifesaving supplies to emotional support, globally.  The organization is funded by a combination of large and small donor partners, individual benefactors, and governments. As a result, Save the Children has a huge variety of agreements, from IT services to rental agreements.

A need arose for a system to secure, govern, and facilitate the management of agreements including, but not limited to contracts. These documents needed to be managed through all stages, from creation to archiving or destroying. The existing process was time consuming, opaque, and difficult to track due to manual processes.

Office 365 and SharePoint provided the foundations of the system and the Circle T Agreement Centre enhanced this functionality. The solution centralizes all “agreement content” into SharePoint to provide appropriate security boundaries, data governance, and reporting.  Content is searchable from within the Agreement Centre and within the SharePoint site.

The creation, co-authoring, signing, discovery, and management processes are streamlined, fast, and efficient. Above all, the solution ensures that data is secure, content is discoverable, reporting, workflow, and controls are applied, and financial risk is substantially reduced.

Challenge

Save the Children was using Office 365 internationally, with intranets across several countries, and knowledge management systems, though not for management of agreements. Agreements, including contracts, were being managed using a variety of systems, tools and processes, leading to difficulties searching and maintaining records, increasing inefficiency and potential financial risk.

They needed a solution that would handle the full lifecycle from the creation of agreements to securely co-authoring with internal and 3rd parties, and securely allowing easy access search and powerful reporting.

Strategy

Circle T had delivered several solutions for Save the Children, including intranet and policy and procedure management which leveraged Office 365.  Circle T is passionate about modernizing and extending on the foundation of this digital workplace at every opportunity.

Establishing very quickly that all agreement related content needed to come together, Microsoft 365 was the logical location, allowing Circle T to deliver not only a consistent user experience but also a consistent management and compliance experience.  All final documents and the necessary collaboration required to draft the documents is controlled centrally by a set of rules in the security and compliance center. This is a key enabler for data governance and legal discovery.

There were several key requirements for the solution, each of which reinforced Microsot 365 as the superior solution.

To start, it was vital that agreement content could be found efficiently and quickly, with clear indication of the state or status. SharePoint search enabled this outcome, and Circle T extended this functionality in several ways. The Circle T Agreement Centre provides a dedicated, intelligent search interface and the ability to read and understand agreements in the context of their status, ownership, and categorization. Beyond this, agreements can be discovered and consumed from Circle T’s intranet Smart Search bar.

As a second requirement, agreements needed to be available anywhere and anytime, from any device, including international and field-based workers. Office 365 and SharePoint online solved for this requirement.

Finally, the solution needed to securely support co-authoring of content with 3rd parties, including a streamlined revision process. Microsoft 365 provides the ideal functionality to secure the content internally and provide secure guest access to 3rd parties.

Circle T expanded upon these requirements and delivered digital signing of contracts. This was achieved by integrating a 3rd party digital signing tool, initiated from the contract administrator’s workflow. This combination of technologies has delivered the capability to execute compliant online contract signing with the complexities of the signing process managed in ‘best of breed’ tools.

Results

The Circle T Agreement Centre has delivered a step-change in the way Save the Children manages agreements. Creation, co-authoring, finalization, signing, discovering, retaining and renewing agreements is smooth, fast and easy.

Content can be co-authored in real time and worked on by 3rd parties, reducing the email traffic and complexity usually associated with working on multiple copies of a file, and the risks in merging them.

The streamlined signing process has removed complex manual workflows previously required in the signing process, vastly reducing the time to signature.

The ability to find any agreement is now immediate and complete.  Agreements at all stages of drafting and execution can be found from one location, and search results are returned instantly.  The signed agreement, once executed, is stored with the working version and related documents to ensure all relevant collateral is managed and presented as a single ‘file’.

Content is appropriately managed with version control, retention, and full legal discoverability with the appropriate use of Security and Compliance.

Lifecycle governance improved because agreements are consistently and clearly marked with a status, ownership and actionable dates. Together with BI reporting and flows based on this data, the risk of non-compliant or expired agreements has been greatly reduced.