New document management system at Save the Children enables delivery of vital services

Published on April 19, 2021


Save the Children is an international not-for-profit, providing services that help to transform the lives of children – from lifesaving supplies to emotional support. The organization is funded by large and small donor partners, individual benefactors, and governments. As a result, Save the Children has many agreements and contracts – such as IT services and rental agreements.

Save the Children needed a system to secure, govern, and facilitate the management of agreements including, but not limited to, contracts. Employees needed to manage agreements through their full lifecycle – from creation to archival or destruction – and the existing, manual process was time-consuming, opaque, and difficult to track.

Combining Microsoft 365 and the Circle T Agreement Centre, Circle T provided Save the Children with a solution that gave them necessary security boundaries, data governance, and reporting for all their agreements. Information workers can now easily find relevant content by searching within the Agreement Centre or within the SharePoint site.

Additionally, workers can now more quickly and efficiently create, co-author, sign, discover, and manage contracts. They can also ensure that their data is secure, that reporting, workflow, and controls are applied, and be confident in reducing financial risk.


Save the Children was using Microsoft 365 internationally, with intranets and knowledge management systems across several countries. They were managing agreements, including contracts, using a variety of manual systems, tools, and processes. This led to difficulties in searching and maintaining records, reducing efficiency, and increasing potential financial risk.

Save the Children needed a solution that could oversee the full lifecycle – from creating agreements to securely co-authoring with internal and external users, as well as enabling secure and easy access, search, and powerful reporting.


Save the Children looked to Circle T for help, having worked with them in the past to implement solutions such as intranets, policy management, and procedure management.

Because all agreement-related content needed to come together, Save the Children and Circle T concluded that Microsoft 365 was the logical solution, allowing the team to deliver not only a consistent user experience, but a consistent management and compliance experience as well. All final documents and the necessary collaboration required to draft content can now be controlled centrally by a set of rules in the security and compliance center, which is a key enabler for data governance and legal discovery.

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

To start, it was vital that users could find agreement content efficiently and quickly, with clear indication of the state or status. Microsoft Search and Circle T’s Agreement Center were chosen to meet these needs. Microsoft Search delivers, and Circle’s T’s Agreement Center provides a dedicated, intelligent search interface and the ability to read and understand agreements in the context of their status, ownership, and categorization. Additionally, users can now discover and access agreements from Circle T’s intranet Smart Search bar.

Save the Children also needed agreements to be available anywhere at any time, from any device, including those working internationally and in the field. SharePoint was chosen to provide a mobile and flexible solution suitable for all work environments. SharePoint hosts and publishes all agreements across mobile, web, and Microsoft 365 apps, ensuring users now have access to agreements when and where they need them.

Finally, the solution needed to securely support co-authoring of content with external users, including a streamlined revision process. Microsoft 365 was chosen to keep content secure while improving collaboration processes. Microsoft 365 provides the ideal functionality to protect internal content and provide secure guest access to external users.

Circle T built on this foundation to add contract e-signatures. They integrated a third-party digital signing tool, initiated from the contract administrator’s workflow. This combination of technologies has enabled Save the Children to execute compliant online contract signing with all the complexities of the signing process managed within ‘best of breed’ tools.

With the combined solutions provided by Circle T and Microsoft, employees at Save the Children can now ensure all agreements are consistently and clearly marked with a status, ownership, and actionable dates. Integrations to Power Automate and Power BI have enabled Save the Children to reduce the risk of non-compliant or expired agreements.


The Circle T Agreement Center and Microsoft 365 have reshaped the way Save the Children manages agreements. Creation, co-authoring, finalization, signing, discovering, retaining, and renewing agreements are now quick and easy processes.

Internal and external users can co-author content in real time, reducing the email traffic and complexity typically 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. From one location, users can now find agreements at all stages of drafting and execution, and users get search results instantly. Signed agreements are stored with the working version and related documents to ensure all relevant collateral is managed and presented as a single ‘file.’

Save the Children staff can manage content with version control, retention, and full legal discoverability enriched with Microsoft 365 Security and Compliance.

Finally, contract lifecycle management, based on metadata, is enhanced by integrating Power Platform solutions for reporting and workflow – reducing the risk of non-compliant or expired agreements.