Automating the Contract Management Process for a Leading Healthcare Network
Case Study: Microsoft SharePoint Contract Management System
The legal department of a large U.S. healthcare network with over 100 physicians and clinics was experiencing inefficiencies in managing and tracking the department’s documents, including contracts. While portions of their contract management system were up and running, the company only utilized Microsoft SharePoint’s out-of-the-box functionality, and needed help in gaining a better understanding of the full extent of SharePoint’s capabilities and customizing the system to meet their unique needs. The company contacted Aciron for SharePoint consulting services to fast-track development, to ensure the contract management system was running as efficiently as possible, and to assist with customization and development of the system.
Aciron began the engagement by performing a current state assessment to gain a thorough understanding of the company’s pain points, the functionality of the current SharePoint contract management system, and the requirements for customizing the system. Aciron worked collaboratively with the client’s key stakeholders, and together they decided to take a phased approach to the development of the system. This approach was chosen because it would enable the client to use the system for their most critical needs sooner.
To begin the project, Aciron worked with the client’s key stakeholders on an extensive requirements gathering phase. During this phase, the Aciron team defined and prioritized the functionality for the application. The Aciron team also developed a series of process flow diagrams and storyboard mock-ups that allowed the client to gain an understanding of the look and feel of the customized Microsoft SharePoint system. During this phase, Aciron created a roadmap for the future development phases of the project to ensure that the first phase of development produced a minimum viable product that the client could start using as soon as possible.
Following an agile development approach, Aciron engaged key stakeholders and provided regular status updates, delivering complete visibility into the progress of the project. Once development and internal testing were completed, the client was able to perform user acceptance testing (“UAT”) and provide feedback on the overall design and functionality of the system. Tweaks and modifications to the systems’ design and functionality were implemented in order to ensure an optimized user experience. Since the implementation of the minimum viable application, additional functionality has been added to the system based on the prioritization completed in the initial requirements gathering phase of the project.
Aciron designed, developed, and implemented a custom SharePoint contract management system to enable the client to track and manage the company’s contract documents effectively and efficiently.
The user-friendly and intuitive SharePoint solution allows the client to create, track, and manage contract documents, as well as aggregate notes on negotiation and contract discussion activities. Additionally, the system automates the contract approval process by automatically routing documents to the various signatories required for contract approval.
Other features of the contract management system include:
- Contract status workflow: Allows authorized users to track the contract approval process and provides visibility into any bottlenecks a contract may encounter. Logs all contract changes (document changes, status changes, etc.)
- Document library: All users who have access to a contract can upload, edit, and save documents.
- Request change feature: Allows users to suggest changes and edits for contract documents.
- Contract forms (templates): Standardizes contract documentation. Customized templates for each contract type allow users to capture the contracts’ metadata, thus improving search results relevance.
- Discussion board: Allows users to have discussions with one another within a contract.
- Custom notifications: Notifies designated users of all status changes to contracts. System also sends custom notifications when the contract is reaching its expiration date.
- Approve by email functionality: Authorized approvers are sent an email in which they can approve a contract without having to open the application.
- Advanced search functionality: Enables Export to Excel for user searches.
Aciron developed the system to be scalable and flexible, such that extended functionality and enhancements can easily be implemented into the system in future builds. The customized SharePoint contract management system is anticipated to decrease the amount of time it takes to complete the contract approval process, improve the organization of the contract documents and related information, increase visibility into the contract approval process, and promote collaboration amongst contract stakeholders while finalizing contract documents.