Office 365 and SharePoint – Sales Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) – An Organizational Approach to Site Structure

Sales has been given the green-light to build a Sales Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) system in Office 365 and SharePoint to address the concerns and issues plaguing their team, and by association, the entire organization. Given the understanding of the true impact of their project, they aren’t only focused on building the CLM system. They’re focused on improving Westmorr’s overall presence and utilization of SharePoint and O365 to manage the business. Sales will consider ways to improve content discoverability, enhance user experience, deliver automation and reduced overhead, surface useful reporting and metrics solutions, and align the organization on a common taxonomy. They’ll do that in scale first, and after demonstrating success, work on driving architectural changes to all of Office 365 and SharePoint business management initiatives.

Using the Organizational Structure to define Site Structure

Sales considers the people, “things”, objects, and moving parts involved in a Contract Lifecycle Management system:

  • Westmorr’s employees in Sales and all other departments
  • Westmorr’s customers…existing and future
  • Contract documents and the ways in which they’ll be stored and managed
  • A way of tracking contract document lifecycle state through various stages, gates, and execution of tasks
  • Communications with customers and coworkers in various departments

In managing a contract’s lifecycle, the Sales team will be collaborating with coworkers in every division. They’ll need to make sure that users outside of their immediate department-and-division have access to the CLM related content; that’s not only to read it, but to make changes to contracts, move contracts through stages, and contribute to the overall process. While granting access, they also need to make sure that internal and sales-team-only documents remain secure and are not shared with the wrong members of the organization. They’ll start by working with the organization to design and launch a new Intranet.

Note: there’s a lot that goes behind launching an Intranet. It’s not as cut and dry as I’m making it for the purposes of this blog series. Just want to make that disclaimer.

Many Intranets have their sites separated into an information architecture that reflects the structure of the overall organization division/department construct (similar to what was shown here https://westmorr.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/orgstructure.png). And that’s going to work well for Westmorr Consulting too. Sales meets with divisional heads from most departments to come up with a simple site structure which represents the layout and permissions for the core Intranet as well as specific access for the Sales Division; other divisions will implement a similar structure as appropriate.

Creating the Site Collection and First Site

Let’s walk through how to do this in O365. You’ll need to be a SharePoint Administrator in order to complete these upcoming steps (you can read here for more details on what that means).

  • Navigate to your Microsoft Office 365 Portal and login.
  • In the left hand navigation pane, expand “Admin centers” and click “SharePoint”
  • In the ribbon, choose Site Collections > New > Private Site Collection
  • Specify all appropriate values
    • Use “Team site (classic experience)” for the “Template Selection” option.
    • Specify yourself as the administrator.
    • Don’t forget: this is a simplified example for a blog post
      • In a real life scenario, there would be more space allocated than what’s shown in the image below
      • You may use a different template
      • The Intranet might be branded and may not be in the “/sites” site collection, etc.
      • Let’s not derail…follow along, and you’ll learn principles that you can review with your team and consultants to make the right/best decisions for your company.
  • Press OK

After the site collection is created, go and visit the URL. For example, https://mycompany.sharepoint.com/sites/intranet. It should look something like the following, which is the default layout for the “Team site (classic experience)” template you chose when creating the Intranet.

I promise that I will limit disclaimers, especially as more posts come out, but do want to point this out again: we’ll be making decisions around security for the sake of our example and to learn a couple of essential tasks involving site management – decisions like these should be reviewed with your peers and other owners of the Intranet.

Open the Control Gear and choose “Site Settings”. Then, choose “Site permissions” from underneath the “Users and Permissions” group of settings options.

Click the text “Intranet Visitors” so you can edit who in the organization is allowed to Read content in the Intranet. Referring to our diagram above, the decision was that all employees should be granted “Read” access.

You can see other groups too, “Intranet Owners” and “Intranet Members”. We’ll cover those later. There’s also a button reading “Access Request Settings” which we’ll get into when we create Departmental sites.

Click “Intranet Visitors”…

In SharePoint Online, there are two preset groups available for you to use which address your need to add “everyone” to a given group. Those are appropriately named “Everyone” and “Everyone except external users“. You want to specify the latter, “Everyone Except External Users”, in the Intranet Visitors group to give all employees access while excluding those who are not part of your organization’s employee base (i.e. external users).

After clicking “Intranet Visitors”, choose New > Add Users. Then, in the dialog that appears, UNCHECK “Send an email invitation”, start typing “Everyone exc….”, and choose “Everyone except external users” when the group name auto resolves. Finally, press “Share”:

Congratulations! You (and Westmorr Consulting) now have an “Intranet” site collection with a top-level site. During creation, you granted “Read” level access to the Intranet to everyone in the organization.

In the next post, we’ll go through creating the Sales Division top level site and its sub sites.

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Categories: Business, Business Management, Contract Lifecycle Management, Office 365 and O365, SharePoint

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  1. Office 365 and SharePoint – Creating the Sales Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) Site and Setting Unique Permissions – Westmorr Consulting

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