Office 365 and SharePoint – Contract Management (CLM) – Starting Workflow with SharePoint Designer

Stepping out of the scenario for a moment – I had planned to title this post “Business Management in Office 365 and SharePoint – Starting with Microsoft Flow”. But, after building this part of the solution with Microsoft Flow and writing much of the blog post, I just didn’t feel that it was the correct tool to recommend. For a straightforward Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) workflow, SharePoint Designer was the better choice.

Building a simple approval process with a few associated stage-gate tasks was too cumbersome and way too “expensive” in Microsoft Flow. This series is targeted at business users. Therefore, as soon as I started writing about creating custom OData filters and how to deal with the many idiosyncrasies of Microsoft Flow encountered when getting at list properties, I knew I couldn’t recommend Flow as the workflow tool for this part of the solution.

No, in SharePoint and O365, there’s more than one way to do it (TMTOWTDI), and SharePoint Designer workflows are much more suitable for building the Contract Lifecycle Management stage-gate tasks. We’ll see more about Microsoft Flow later for sure, but for now Sales will continue building onto their CLM site by using SharePoint Designer 2013. You’ll need to download SharePoint Designer 2013 from the Microsoft Download center if you’re following along.

Basic Workflow Design

Before getting into the workflow, Sales produces a simple drawing to communicate the CLM workflow design:


Sales just needs:

  • A workflow which will create tasks for the Sales Manager, District Sales Manager, and Director of Sales to push the contract through its stages and status.
  • A list to hold those tasks.
  • Also, they’ll need a new list which they can use within the workflow to determine who the Sales Manager, District Sales Manager, and Director of Sales is/are for a given customer.

Setting Up Additional SharePoint Lists for the Workflow

For the two new lists, Sales determined they do not need a new content type or new site columns due to the lack of need to reuse and/or to target search directly on these properties. They will be reusing existing site columns though.

Navigate to the CLM site and add the following lists.

Note: because you’ve been following along, I’m being a bit less specific in disclosing field definitions and list structures (such as default views). You should feel enabled to adjust and iterate as necessary to your exact solution.

The Sales Contract Lifecycle Tasks List:


The Sales Customer Representatives List:


Sales then populates the Sales Customer Representatives List:

*Pardon the example only having two names – this is being built on a test O365 tenant, and I have only allocated limited licenses.


Laying out the Workflow Logic

The way the workflow will basically function as follows:

  1. As a contract is changed
    • If its stage is Creation and
      • There is no existing “Sales Manager” task and
      • A customer name exists on the contract
      • Then create the first task in the series
    • Otherwise do nothing
  2. As tasks are changed
    • If it’s the “Sales Manager” task and
      • Its Approval Decision is set to “Approved”
      • Then change the Associated Contract Stage to “Collaboration” and its status to “Started”, also
      • Create the “District Sales Manager” task
    • Otherwise, if it’s the “District Sales Manager” task and
      • Its Approval Decision is set to “Approved”
      • Then change the Associated Contract stage to “Execution”, also
      • Create the “Director of Sales” task
    • Otherwise, if….and so-on
    • Any “Reject” decision sets the Contract stage to “Closeout” and the Status to “Completed”.

Something like this:


All of the above list definitions, swim lanes, and flow-charts are representative. As noted above, if you’ve followed this blog series, you should feel enabled to adjust and iterate as necessary to your exact solution.

Getting Started with CLM in SharePoint Designer (SPD) Workflow

At this point, Sales has their tasks list created, the customer representative list created, and has defined their workflow business logic. They move on to create the workflow using SharePoint Designer 2013.

  • Launch SPD
  • Click the Open Site Button
  • Specify the full URL to the Contract Lifecycle Management site in the Site name field
  • Press Open and specify your credentials if needed.


Select List Workflow > Sales Contracts



From here, let’s see what the basic requirements for building the first part of the workflow looks like:

Optionally, and highly recommended, is to add logging statements throughout using the Log to history list action:

O365 SharePoint Business Management add log.

O365 SharePoint Business Management add log.

Finally, there’s one step missing from the recording, and that’s to set the workflow to run automatically when the item is changed:

And, finally, to test:

In the next post, we’ll see how Sales moves on to work with the rest of the Sales Contract Lifecycle Management tasks.




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

Tags: , , ,

3 replies


  1. Office 365 and SharePoint – Sales Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) – Continuing Workflow with SharePoint Designer – Westmorr Consulting
  2. Office 365 and SharePoint – Sales Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) – Get Sales Contract Title into Search with SharePoint Deisgner Workflow – Westmorr Consulting
  3. Office 365 and SharePoint – Human Resources (HR) – Employee Onboarding with Microsoft Excel and SharePoint Designer (SPD) Workflow – Westmorr Consulting

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