What holds true, regardless of whether you build your business management system in Office 365 and SharePoint or on another platform, is that many pieces of your end product will depend on reports. Whether its performance tracking, ROI evaluation, status overviews, revenue targeting, etc…managing the business depends on the ability to produce meaningful reports that help the business assess a KPI and take action against a goal. Sales Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) is no exception.
Now, reading the word “report” may conjure up images of highly visual graphic displays powered by complex business intelligence systems, but that’s not where Sales is headed to start. They’ll get there, but for now, they really just need a quick and accurate way to gauge the status, stage, and date-ranges of sales contracts. They also need a way to assess the status of contract lifecycle tasks, their owners, and any approvals that are open.
Presently, when Sales opens their Sales Contracts document library, they see the following:
And, when opening the Sales Contract Lifecycle Tasks list:
A Quick Peek at SharePoint List Filters
There are dozens of Sales Contracts, and their are hundreds of tasks. They are out of order and, simply, too much information is displayed to be usable. First, let’s acknowledge that SharePoint provides very effective and intuitive ways to filter and sort documents and items in libraries and lists. This can be done on a column-by-column basis or by using the filters pane (both highlighted in red below):
Moving the Filters into SharePoint List Views to make a Report for Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM)
But, Sales doesn’t want to apply these filters and sorts every time they visit the list, and some “reports” they want involve multiple filters that aren’t so simple to reapply over-and-over. They need these reports, a.k.a. SharePoint list/library views, to be saved and sharable so they and their teammates can run and switch between them effectively. Let’s look at how Sales does this.
The first report they want, which again is common to many business management scenarios, is a report on Sales Contracts by Stage. There are five stages: Creation, Collaboration, Execution Administration, and Closeout. So, they will create 5 views where each is filtered by a specific stage, and in all cases they will also order the results in ascending order by the Expire Date of the contract, and then again ascending by the Customer Name.
- Control Gear > Library Settings
- Scroll down to the bottom of the page > “Create view”
- Start from an existing view > All Documents
- Now, from here, you’ll want to provide a useful name for the View and then specify the appropriate filters and sorting:
Sales follows the same steps for each of the remaining four stages and now have several quick “reports” they can run on sales contracts by stage, sorted by Expire Date and and Customer Name. Also, for each of the remaining four views, they no longer use Start from an existing view > All Documents. They instead start from one of the new views so that they only have to specify a unique title and change one parameter (i.e. the Stage filter); this saves time and reduces the chance of making a mistake:
Sales will also be creating reports for the Sales Contract Lifeycle Tasks list with SharePoint views. However, with tasks, the most important view will be those items assigned to “me”, that is, the currently logged in user. Let’s look at how they accomplish that. Watch until the very end and you’ll see an improvement made by the Modern UI where only one-click is necessary to make this new “My Tasks” report/view the default view for this list. When set as the default, this will be what users see when they first enter the list instead of All Items:
As with many of the examples in this blog…this is a simple demonstration. Take these basics and expand on them to create multiple, powerful views: tasks sorted by stage, start removing unwanted columns from the views, sort by approval decision, filter by customer, etc.
An Important Note about Views (especially for Tasks)
Also, one important note about business management systems like this which manage processes and tasks: you will eventually NEED views. As these lists and libraries start to exceed 5,000 items, which will happen quickly with tasks in a Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) system, SharePoint will reach what’s referred to as a view threshold and start failing to load views. You’ll need views to filter down the number of items that are displayed to work within this constraint. Read here for more information – https://support.office.com/en-us/article/manage-large-lists-and-libraries-in-sharepoint-b8588dae-9387-48c2-9248-c24122f07c59
Next, you’ll see how Sales starts to work with improving and customizing the home page of the CLM site.