How Intouch helped Sightsavers be rated in the top 7 charities worldwide
“Intouch Business have been a vital partner in enabling process transformation across the Sightsavers organisation over the last 8 years by using their information management knowledge and agile Servizio software systems. January 2017 saw Sightsavers’ work in the area of Neglected Tropical Diseases recognised by the highly prestigious GiveWell organisation, rating Sightsavers amongst only 7 charities in the world that meet their exacting requirements in demonstrating effectiveness in improving lives whilst underpinned by great financial and project systems. This award put Sightsavers in a strong position in tough economic times to to attract new major donor funding to finance our important health systems and social inclusion work across the Global South.
The first project we did with Intouch was our Balanced Scorecard system (or what we call our SIM Card) back in 2009. We had large quotes from product suppliers in the high six figures to develop a system to meet our particular needs. Intouch were able to quickly and very cost-effectively develop our SIM Card using their Servizio software framework. Our SIM Card system enabled us to demonstrate transparency in our strategic performance and to share the impact of our programme work with our stakeholders.
Intouch went on to develop a suite of integrated financial and project management systems that have supported our growth in the management of significant multi million projects with major international donors over the last 5 years. Intouch have continually shown a strong understanding of our people and business, bringing their flare for technology with pragmatic solutions using their Servizio software. Their systems have enabled us to expand our management of projects extremely efficiently and cost effectively, and demonstrate value for money in our project delivery.
Intouch became our preferred Software Development partners back in 2013. I am delighted to say that our working partnership continues to develop helping Sightsavers effectively reach out and support our work with beneficiaries around the globe.”
Ken Moon, Director Finance and Performance, Sightsavers
Balanced Scorecard (SIM Card)
Our journey with Sightsavers began in 2009 with a Balanced Scorecard system called SIM (Strategy, Implementation and Management) Card.
DFID singled out our SIM system as the key factor in awarding Sightsavers £100m funding.
SIM Card supports the Sightsavers management with conception and review of objectives up until 2018, setting out their ultimate and shorter term aims.
SIM Card has four perspectives
• What Sightsavers must deliver for our beneficiaries
• What Sightsavers must excel at to do this
• Sightsavers’ learning and growth objectives
• Finding and best utilisation of resources
This increases the transparency of the charity, which is vital to donors. It allows those donating to the charity to see that their money is being used effectively; increasing donor confidence. This has supported Sightsavers in growing their donor base..
After the success of the Balanced Scorecard system Sightsavers came to us to develop a new procurement system. We built our Standard List system with them; a system with an Amazon style front end that allows an easy procurement process.
The challenges of an international charity meant that this had to be an effective online ordering platform even in low bandwidth areas.
Standard List works by sending requests through the already existing procurement software in bulk. This means that money is saved on orders, while only one license is needed.
The system is built to be as easy to use as possible, with automated updates to incorporate daily exchange and shipping rates. This project has been central to Sightsavers saving time, money and resources on procurement.
In 2010 Sightsavers came to us looking to build a fund management system to deal with their myriad of financial spreadsheets that were being dealt with in hard copies, manually. This led to human error in the charity’s fund planning system.
We built the Fund Management Framework (FMF) system for Sightsavers to deal with this issue. FMF is an advanced fund planning system, designed to allow Sightsavers to easily manage their financial data on a navigable, centralised programme.
Of key importance is the system’s ability to provide instant reports and metrics to users in a quick and easy to understand manner.
These reports allows Sightsavers management to make decisions with a company-wide, global outlook. In this sense FMF supports SIM Card, in aligning the company towards achieving its short and long term objectives.
In 2013 we released our next system for Sightsavers; Claims. Claims is a programme on which the charity and its country partners can keep track on all agreements and budgets.
Keeping this information on a cloud based system removes the potential human error associated with keeping budgets and their corresponding agreements in paper copy.
Budgets are centrally reviewed on Claims by Sightsavers before being accepted. Claims are then made against these budgets, and these too have to be accepted by central review.
This further shows how our systems work together to support Sightsavers in achieving their company-wide objectives with internal consistency.
Sightsavers came to us requesting a system that would allow them to effectively manage their projects on a global scale, using SharePoint 2013.
Our Programme Portal system achieves this. It allows for central project monitoring – subsequently cutting time and resources needed when making decisions with a global outlook.
Programme Portal has become an effective Programme Management environment that has allowed Sightsavers to make decisions with a company-wide, objectives driven overview.
Into the Future…
For the duration of our time working with Sightsavers, Intouch have provided support on the training and maintenance of the systems we have produced with them.
Maintaining a good relationship with our clients is vital to achieving good quality software systems. This is because software potential is always changing.
This is shown in our system upgrades. In 2013 we produced a major upgrade of Standard List, with a new interface and functionality. In 2015 we have worked to create a SIM Card upgrade. This has allowed us to bring older systems up to date with newer technologies.
Our next major development with Sightsavers will see us bring all of these systems into an intranet, accessible with a single log on. This will include a universal SharePoint search.
Our long term relationship with Sightsavers has been a key aspect in their growth as a charity, a period of time within which has seen not only the expanded funding to Sightsavers from DFID, but major grants from front running organisations such as The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to assist the government of Mali in the elimination of trachoma, The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and Helen Keller International.