Using bots to build better procurement and finance processes on Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams


South Africa




Building better procurement and finance processes

CIVICUS is an international non-profit organisation, which describes itself as “a global alliance dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society around the world.” 


They use Microsoft Teams to connect their staff across 4 countries. Using The Bot Platform they’ve been building bespoke work applications and automated tools that improve supplier agreements, systems, policy and procedural processes.

The Challenge

CIVICUS’s Operations Team were looking for ways to save themselves time while simultaneously improving the speed and quality control of their operational and procedural processes.


The first challenge they wanted to look at was the procurement process around supplier agreements – they were often getting the same question 10 times a day from employees looking to procure new suppliers. Each time they received a question it took up the time of the Operations Team to answer it, but it also caused delays at the other side as staff had to wait for a response.


To remove this obstacle they wanted to build an automated system that would tell people what they needed to know when they needed to know it, and allow them to share policy information and processes in a far more effective, personalized and relevant way.


After looking at various solutions, each of which had their own limitations, CIVICUS came across The Bot Platform and started building a bespoke solution that would work exactly how they wanted it to, and could be easily integrated into the communication channels their staff already use.

“The Bot Platform is easy to use, intuitive, has all the options I’m looking for and integrates with all the products we currently use.”
Karen Botha
Operations Coordinator

The solution

So far CIVICUS have launched one bot on Microsoft Teams with two others soft launched and being tested by smaller internal teams before being rolled out to the whole organization. 


Procurement Process Clarification and Guidance 


The first bot that CIVICUS launched was called Alfred. Just like Alfred Pennyworth was a loyal and tireless butler, legal guardian and personal assistant for Bruce Wayne, AKA Batman, CIVICUS’s bot on Microsoft Teams is a similarly reliable automated assistant for staff looking to get guidance on all things related to supplier procurement. 


Alfred talks staff through the procurement policy and process, what happens at each stage and provides guidance based on the type of service provider staff are looking to work with. The flow of the bot is a linear process that provides the relevant information and directs staff to the correct policies. It can also instantly answer questions related to all things procurement using The Bot Platform’s keyword and message trigger functionality, meaning no matter the time of day if staff have questions then Alfred is there for them. 


CIVICUS’s Operations Team then monitor the Ignored Messages section and add new content or answers based on any new needs from staff. 

The bot was launched with a promotional video and introduction posts published on Microsoft Teams and Workplace communities. It was also promoted and talked about in the company All Hands and introductory broadcasts were sent out to all staff who might need to use the bot in the future.


It has also been added to new staff onboarding and induction materials, refresher sessions with existing staff, and every other relevant staff touchpoint to ensure it’s as accessible as possible to the people who need to use it.

“Alfred is incredibly useful because procurement is a headache for any organisation. It’s been met with fantastic feedback. It’s one of the best system changes we’ve implemented this year.”
Karen Botha
Operations Coordinator

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