Case Study: IESC

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SharePoint Improves User Experience and Increases Productivity

Challenge: Automate the Process and Improve Information Architecture

As their number of external consultants increased, the International Executive Service Corps.(IESC) established a way to sustain their exponential growth by automating their contract approval process in SharePoint. But, the automation was limited, and a timely process caused users to circumvent the system.

Faced with a system wrought with delays and data integrity issues, as well as a severe loss in productivity, IESC needed a way to improve their contract approval process and their overall user interface. Simply—if staff didn’t like the system and understand it, they wouldn’t use it.

The solution? Putting the user experience (UX) first. IESC partnered with MainSpring to improve the user interface, restructure the information architecture, and create a new workflow to automate the approval process within SharePoint, which would dramatically reduce the number of steps and the amount of time spent on procurement.

Journey: Limited Process Frameworks
Limited Process Frameworks

With their number of external consultant engagements on the rise, IESC realized they needed a way to organize and simplify their onboarding process. So, in 2015, they established a new procurement system for submitting consulting contracts to their compliance director. Their system, however, was built using SharePoint’s preexisting ticket system, which is a limited process framework.

To work with the limitations of SharePoint’s ticket system workflow, most of IESC’s procurement process was completed manually. Once the contract was written, the compliance director/document approver would upload the pages into SharePoint. From there, the approver would download the files to a computer and convert them to PDFs. Then, the approver would merge the files together, upload it to SharePoint again, and link it back to the original ticket.

It didn’t take long for users to recognize the system’s shortfalls. So, when users began creating data integrity issues, IESC knew they needed to reevaluate their system with a formal review. They found that, not only was their procurement workflow poorly designed, but their user interface was deficient, and their information architecture was unsecure.

Collectively, these issues led users to believe that SharePoint was counterintuitive; in result, users began to bypass the process. Moreover, the compliance director was forced to allocate more time for the process, resulting in a severe loss of productivity.

This disconnected and time-consuming process prompted IESC to find a better solution. They knew they needed an automated workflow to help save time and allow them to complete their contracts entirely online, but they also wanted to improve the overall user experience (UX). Consequently, they reached out to their existing IT strategy and consulting firm, MainSpring, for help.

Around 30-40 hours were allocated for IESC’s discovery and planning phases. With this time, IESC was able to discuss the project and piece-meal it together from start to finish—giving them total control over their solutions.

Impact: Increase in Productivity Levels and a Secure Document Depository

In a little over 140 hours, IESC had a new solution in place. To the team, it simplified the systems, making them more intuitive. Some of the key benefits to IESC’s solution include:

  1. Greater accuracy
  1. Increased speed and improved usability
  1. Better transparency and oversight

By improving IESC’s automation processes and refining UX, MainSpring gave time back to the staff—increasing their productivity. Because of this, IESC was able to achieve return on investment (ROI) in just a few weeks’ time.

Background: Who is IESC?

Founded in 1964, IESC is a global nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. They design, execute, manage and evaluate economic growth programs under contracts and cooperative agreements. Their goal is to ensure sustainable job opportunities, generate increases in sales and facilitate economic growth. Since establishment, IESC has created over 1.5 million jobs across the world, while also completing more than 25,000 short-term and 250 long-term projects in 130 different countries. Talk about a global impact!

Solution: Out of the Box Workflows and a Better Platform

Frustrated with SharePoint and their procurement process, IESC identified their three main concerns: UXinformation architecture and workflow automation.

Frustrated with SharePoint

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