🛠 Create Your Own - Internal Contract Request Workflow

Learn how to create a structured process to handle all the data input, approvals and setup actions required to get a new contract live in your Gatekeeper repository!


Take Control                                                      Estimated Read Time: 10 Minutes

                                                                                          Estimated Configuration Time: 1-3 hours



Sections in this Article

Introduction & Demonstration

Workflow Diagram


🎬 Walkthrough 🎬

🛠 Mandatory Configuration Steps 🛠

AutoCreate Contract Values

Contract Template Configuration

Assign Contract Negotiation Owners

Assign Reviewers

Specify Vendor Selection Type

🛠 Additional Configuration Steps 🛠

Enable Microsoft "Office For the Web"

Add Custom Data

Configure/Amend SLAs

Add Extra Phases

⚡️ Getting Started - How to start using your new workflow⚡️

📚 Additional Reading 📚



The Workflow - Overview & Demo


This workflow will allow you to fully digitise your process for the request-intake, negotiation, approval, and signing of all new contracts.

Via this workflow, you will realise a collaborative process to ensure that every new contract added to your Gatekeeper system has been reviewed and approved by the right people, contains all the appropriate metadata, and is accompanied by the full version history of the form itself AND of the executed contract document.



Workflow Diagram: XML / PDF




The Workflow - Configuration


To configure the workflow, taking it from a template into a functional process you can follow the below bullet points/videos which have been broken up into small, easy-to-follow steps

Adding the Template

Before you get started with the configuration, you will need to add the Template workflow to your tenant.

1) Head to the Workflows page

2) Hit Add > Workflow Template

3) Select the Internal Contract Requests  Template

4) If necessary, amend the new workflow's Title

5) Hit ✅ Create




🛠 Mandatory Configuration Steps 🛠

These are the basic steps required to make the workflow functional, and once you complete this chapter, your new workflow will work as an end-to-end process

The ⬇️ Additional Configuration ⬇️ steps are optional additions to change the scope of the process & adapt the workflow further to fit your organisation's practices & Gatekeeper subscription.


Configure AutoAction Values

Near the start of the workflow, there exists an automatic "Action" which take the contract metadata values from the request form and turn them into a record in your Contracts Repository.

You can configure how this action works, including which metadata values to take from the form vs which to set as default/placeholder values:

Step 1) Go to 🛠 AutoCreate Contract 🛠, expand it & hit Edit this Phase

Step 2) Navigate to the Actions tab

Step 3) For the enabled AutoAction, hit Edit AutoAction Values

Step 4) At the top, check the master ☑️ Take Value from Form box

Step 5) Set any "backup" values in case the form is left blank - especially paying attention to mandatory fields

Step 6) Uncheck ☑️ Take Value from Form for Status & Approval

Set these to Pipeline & Awaiting Approval*

*💡 This will ensure that - if users see the contract when browsing your repository - they will know that it has not yet been approved & executed!

Step 7) Hit ✅ Save


Contract Templates Configuration

This workflow can leverage eNegotiate contract templates to create the first version of a draft contract for you.

It can even generate these automatically based on the data provided by the requestor (& initial approver/s)

Part 1 - Creating your Templates

Step 1) Head to Settings > Configuration > eNegotiate Contract Templates

Step 2) Hit Add > MS Word Template

Step 3) Use the Handlebar Instructions document to set up all the sections of your template's dynamic/configurable content in Microsoft Word*

Step 4) Once finished, upload your MS Word template as the Document file along with the other values (like Title & Contract Type)

Set the Status to Live to make the template available for use in your workflow

Step 5) Hit ✅ Save to store this template

Step 6) Repeat Steps 2 - 5 until all your contract templates have been added

*This is an advanced task and we advise familiarising yourself with our templates feature

See 📖 Configuring Contract Templates

Part 2 - Applying the Templates to the workflow 

Step 1) Head to the 🛠 AutoCreate Draft 🛠 phase and hit Edit this Phase

Step 2) Navigate to the Actions tab

Step 3) Alongside AutoAction | Generate Draft from Contract, hit Edit AutoAction Values

Step 4) Choose the templates you wish to be selected by Gatekeeper for this action

Step 5) Hit ✅ Save

NB. Your users will also be able to manually select these templates on the Draft Review 📑 phase if the AutoAction does not generate a draft


Assign Contract Negotiation Owners

There are various steps of the contract setup & negotiation timeline which take place on this workflow

You should configure owners for the below phases to match how you normally assign responsibility in your organisation

Draft Review 📑

This is where the initial draft can be selected and marked up before it is sent to the Vendor to begin negotiations

If Gatekeeper has automatically created this draft (from your contract templates), the user/s here may only need to make final tweaks before it is sent to the Vendor for review

If a Gatekeeper contract template could not be used, the user/s here will need to assign "Draft Version 1"  (perhaps using a draft provided by the Vendor) then make edits/comments before it is sent to the Vendor for review

Internal eNegotiate 🧑‍💼

This is where the latest draft version will be reviewed/redlined

Draft Finalisations ☑️ ☑️ ☑️

This is where the final "Tidying up" of the draft takes place (such as accepting redlines, closing comments, correcting typos etc)  before the contract goes for final internal approval and Signatures

eSign ✍️

This is the phase where the eSign process will be initiated, including assigning signatories & configuring signatures on the document itself

This could involve signing via Gatekeeper eSign or via our DocuSign integration

External Signature ✍️

This phase exists to represent the contract signatures which may take place OUTSIDE of Gatekeeper (e.g. when the vendor insists on their eSign tool)


Step 1) Head to the phase where you wish to assign an owner & hit Edit This Phase

Step 2) Navigate to the Form Access tab

Step 3) Select the User/Group/s who should be responsible for the contract action at this phase

Step 4) Hit ✅ Save

Step 5) Repeat Steps 1 - 4  for all of the phases listed above

See the below article for all possible owners you can assign to these phases

📖 Form Access Masterclass



Assign Approver/s

The Final Approvals ✅ phase is your last chance to have any necessary internal stakeholders review the agreement before it is signed

Here you should consider:

  • Which budget holder will want to check over the commitment?
  • Which other teams will want to check & verify any compliance & risk mitigating clauses are approved?
  • Which execs may want to approve (especially for high cost contracts)?

Option 1: Simple Approval ✅

This setting can be used if only one user/group needs to provide final approval for new contracts

Step 1) Edit your approvals phase

Step 2) Head to the Approval tab to check that Approval is  🔘 Enabled & set to 🔘 Single

Step 3) Head to the Form Access tab

Step 4) Select the User/Group who should provide the approval and hit ✅ Save

Any of the users/groups you populate on the Form Access tab will be able to provide the single approval for the onboarding form to proceed  past this phase of the kanban board

Option 2: Parallel Approvals

This setting can be used if multiple users/groups need to approve new contracts forms

Step 1) Edit your approvals phase

Step 2) Head to the Approval tab to check that Approval is  🔘 Enabled

Step 3) Select 🔘 Parallel

Step 4) In the pop-out  Parallel Approvals view, select the required Users/Groups then hit ✅ Save

ALL of the users/groups you populate in the "Parallel Approvals" view will need to provide approval for onboarding forms to proceed  past this phase of the kanban board

Option 3: Conditional Parallel Approvals 

This setting can be used if multiple users/groups need to approve new contracts but these users/groups can change depending on the scope of the agreement

Step 1) Edit your approvals phase

Step 2) Head to the Approval tab to check that Approval is  🔘 Enabled and set to 🔘 Parallel


Step 4) In the pop-out  Parallel Approvals view, select the required Users/Groups, select 🔘 Conditional then hit ✅ Save

Step 5) Hit ➕ ADD to begin assigning conditions for the selected user/group to require approval

Step 6) Repeat Steps 3 - 5 until all conditional approvers are set

Gatekeeper will check the rules for all conditional approvals and apply those where the specific onboarding form matches.


Specify Vendor Selection Options 

You need to decide whether to allow your users to select new Vendors when requesting Contracts, or mandate that they can only select from Vendors that have already been added to Gatekeeper & Onboarded.

Your decision here will likely be influenced by whether you have a formalised "Vendor Onboarding" process (and of course, whether you have a Gatekeeper workflow to facilitate that process!)

Only Existing Vendors

If you have a significant focus on Vendor Management and Due Diligence, you may want to restrict your form so that users can only select a vendor which has already been added to Gatekeeper & onboarded

Step 1) Head to the New Contract Request Form phase and hit Edit this Phase

Step 2) Navigate to the Form tab

Step 3) Hit to edit the Vendor Name field

Step 4) Change the field type to 🔘 Select Existing Dropdown Values Only, then hit ✅ Save


See 📖 Only Onboarded Vendors for a full exploration of this scenario & other suggested guidance for your users

New OR Existing Vendors

If you wish to make the Contract Request process simpler for your users, you can opt to allow both cases.

However, for a valid Contract Record to be created with a NEW vendor, this vendor record must be created on the workflow

Luckily, this step can be automated:

Step 1) Navigate to the right hand side of the workflow board

Step 2) Next to New Phase, hit ADD

Step 3) Call this phase "🛠 AutoCreate Vendor 🛠", then hit ✅ Save

Step 4) Hit Reorder & Minimise to position this phase before AutoCreate Contract & check Minimise ☑️

Step 5) On the Actions tab, enable ⚙️ AutoAction | Create Vendor

Enable ☑️ Update Form on Action & ☑️ Submit Card on Action

Also use Edit AutoActon Values to set how Gatekeeper will populate new records

Step 6) On the Transitions tab, select 🔘 🛠 AutoCreate Contract 🛠 then hit ✅ Update 

Step 7) Now edit the for Initial Review ✅ phase, changing the "IF APPROVED" Transition to point to your new phase

NB. You do not have to worry about Gatekeeper creating duplicate Vendor records!

If the AutoAction notices that the Vendor already exists, it will skip the action and automatically proceed to the next step of the workflow

⚡️ Expert - New or Existing Vendors with Automated Onboarding

To remove friction you may want to allow your users to requests contracts with new vendors, but simultaneously trigger an onboarding process while setting up the contract

➡️ This means fewer delays and frustrations for your users when requesting contracts

➡️ It also means you can shorten the turnaround time for getting new relationships running contract negotiations & approvals alongside vendor Due Diligence checks


Step 1) Complete the addition of the AutoAction phase - ⬆️ same as above ⬆️

Step 2) For your Vendor Onboarding workflow, create a trigger to match the status flags from this AutoAction

Step 3) For your Contract workflow's Final Approvals ✅ phase, add a new Conditional Approval where the condition is that the Vendor is "Awaiting Approval"

See below articles for more guidance with the above scenarios & configuration

📖 Parallel Workflows - Contract Request ⓧ Vendor Onboarding

🛠 Create your own - Vendor Onboarding Workflow




🛠 Additional Configuration Steps 🛠

This chapter will contain optional steps to amend the scope  or preconfigured settings of the workflow so that it works optimally for your organisation & users



Add Custom Data

By default, the metadata included in this workflow will be the Contract & Supplier Core Data Model

However, if you have additional values you wish to capture during this process, they can be added as additional form sections

Adding Custom metadata fields serves 2 primary purposes

1) These fields - when entered in the workflow - become populated in your repository and are available for filtering/saving views & reporting later on

2) The values from these fields can be pulled into a contract document when generating a draft via your contract templates

Part 1 - Adding Metadata to your Data Model

See our dedicated article for more in-depth guidance: 📖 Configuring Custom Data 

Step 1) Head to Settings > Configuration > Custom Data

Step 2) To add a new group*, hit Add > Add Custom Group

Step 3) Name this group, then select Allocated to: Contract

If you wish, you can restrict the Contract Types for which this set of data should appear by selecting 🔘 Apply to specific Contract Types

*Depending on the type of data, you could add your new fields below to the pre-existing Groups:

"Contract Data" for general details

"Contract Dates" for details relating to the term

💡 These pre-existing groups can also be renamed, if desired 💡

Step 4) Within your custom group, hit Add > Add New Custom Field

Step 5) Create your new custom field, populating Label & Type

Step 6) Repeat Steps 2 - 5 until the data groups & fields are all added

After this step, your new fields will be available to add to your ⬆️ eNegotiate Templates ⬆️

Part 2 - Adding the New Metadata to the Workflow Form

Step 1) Navigate to the start phase of the workflow & hit Edit this Phase

Step 2) Navigate to the Form tab

Step 3) Scroll to the bottom and hit ADD SECTION

Step 4) Give the section a Name

This can  be the same as you chose for the Custom Data group, but does not need to be!

Step 5) Select Predefined: Contract, then for Custom Data Group choose the new group you created

Step 6) Hit ✅ Save, then use REORDER to drag & drop this new section to where you wish for it to appear in your form

Part 3 - Setting Visibility rules

Once you have added a section to your form, it will technically exist on every Phase. However, whether or not users can see or edit the section at every phase is something you should control

When you add a new section to a form,  by default it will be set to Read Only for all phases

Step 1) Choose a phase where you want to change the setting & hit Edit this Phase

Step 2) Navigate to the Form tab

Step 3) Find your form section and choose whether the section should be Visible ("Read Only"), Hidden or Editable for users at that phase

If a form section is editable, you can also make some or all of the fields mandatory

Step 4) Repeat Steps 1 - 3 for all phases of your workflow

Part 4 - Setting values in AutoActions

Step 1) Choose a phase where Contracts are created/updated & hit Edit this Phase

In this template, you can configure these actions on the following phases:

🛠 AutoCreate Contract 🛠

This phase exists near the start of the workflow to create the Contract metadata values before the draft document is created & eNegotiate begins

✅ Contract Executed ✅

This phase exists as the "Done" phase of the workflow - the action here will perform 2 tasks:

1) Take any data updates which were provided after the above (AutoCreate Contract) phase and publish these to your Contract repository record

2) Set the statuses of the Contract in the repository to Live & Approved

Step 2) Navigate to the Actions tab

Step 3) For the enabled AutoAction, hit Edit AutoAction Values

Step 4) For the new fields, check the corresponding ☑️ Take Value from Form box

Step 5) You can optionally also set a "backup" value in case the form is left blank

Step 6) Hit ✅ Save



Enable "Office for the Web"

Is you have a Microsoft business account and use Office for the Web (as opposed to the Desktop application of Microsoft Word) to review & edit Word documents, you can embed this in your workflow to streamline the draft revision cycle

Step 1) Head to an internal* phase where you wish to enable this feature & hit Edit this Phase

These phases include

Draft Review 📑

Internal eNegotiate 🧑‍💼

Draft Finalisations ☑️ ☑️ ☑️

Step 2) Navigate to the Actions tab

Step 3) Alongside the Submit Draft Action, check ☑️ Office for the Web

*Since this feature relies on users logging in to Gatekeeper to review the draft (and also on those users having Microsoft accounts), it should not be enabled for your Vendor Users' draft review phases



Amend SLAs

SLAs are timers used to set deadlines & automate escalations (via Conditional Transitions).

These have already been set for many phases of the workflow. You may want to change these to more closely fit your organisation's timelines

For more context, see this article: 📖 Workflow SLA Timers


Phase Default SLA Timer Transition After Expiry
Review Rejection 7 Days ❌ Contract Rejected ❌ [Done]
Initial Review ✅ 7 Days -
Draft Review 📑 7 Days -
Vendor eNegotiate 👷 8 Days Draft Finalisations ☑️ ☑️ ☑️
Internal eNegotiate 🧑‍💼 7 Days -
Draft Finalisations ☑️ ☑️ ☑️ 7 Days  -
Final Approvals ✅ 7 Days -
eSign ✍️ 7 Days -
External Signature ✍️ 7 Days -


Step 1) Go to a phase where you wish to set/change the SLA & hit Edit this Phase

Step 2) Navigate to the SLA tab

Step 3) Set an SLA by entering the Time value and Days/Hours as the Unit, then hit ✅ Save

NB. If you are interested in tracking performance/workload/bottlenecks, set SLAs to improve Card Age report


Add Extra Phases

This template has been configured to be a succinct as possible while leaving room for expansion of scope within the framework of pre-configured phases (e.g. there is a single Final Approval phase where you can have multiple reviews, approvals & actions take place) 

However, you may wish to add additional steps to your workflow for additional processes (or to re-structure the existing processes!)

Step 1) Navigate to the right hand side of the workflow board

Step 2) Next to New Phase, hit ADD

Step 3) Choose a phase title for your phase, then hit ✅ Save

Step 4) Hit Reorder & Minimise to move your phase to the point in the workflow where it fits your process

Step 5) Now configure the rest of your phase for its dedicated purpose

(This should include re-configuring other phase transition rules to include your new phase in the process!)

See our Knowledge Base article here for more guidance:

📖 Adding Phases to a Workflow


Example Demonstration: "Finance - Raise PO" Phase

If your finance team will also be using Gatekeeper as a resource for information on new vendors/contracts, it would make sense to add them into this process so they are aware of all new agreements which need paying & can confirm when this has been done!

Other Possible Additional Phases

Additional Approvals - e.g. "CEO Approval"

Combining all Approvals to run in parallel is the most efficient way to facilitate these - hence why the template workflow has a single Final Approvals ✅  phase before eSignatures

However, if you want a specific user/team to perform a review as a standalone step in the process, you could add a dedicated phase for this

Functional Phase Summary

A new phase only owned by one user/team with "Simple Approval" to be positions after the Final Approvals  ✅  phase

This phase could even be conditionally bypassed using Conditional Transitions based on contract details like Value, e.g.

If Contract Value is greater than £100,000 ➡️ Transition to CEO Approval

If Contract Value is less than £100,000 ➡️ Transition straight to ✍️ eSign


Fast Track - e.g. "Fast Track Completed [Done]"

The main use case for this workflow is contract requests which need a contract to be set up, negotiated, approved & signed in Gatekeeper

However, you may encounter users submitting requests which do not fit this standard requirement, such as:

a) Contracts which are small/simple/low-risk enough to not require approval/negotiation/signing

b) Contracts which are one-off &  small enough to not require storing in Gatekeeper in at all

Functional Phase Summary

A new [Done] phase for de-minimis agreements so these forms can be completed with no further tasks (after the "Initial Approval ✅" phase)

If you do want to capture these as Contract records in Gatekeeper (Scenario a, above), this phase could contain an AutoAction to instantly create the record

If not (Scenario b, above), you can skip this "Action" configuration!




⚡️ Getting started! ⚡️

If using the Employee Portal

Once your workflow is configured, it's ready to go

Your users can access their Submit Requests dashboard and initiate a new Contract Request


If you wish to embed the URL for this form elsewhere in Gatekeeper (or even in another system), you can obtain it by right-clicking the Request button:

If using a Public Form

Step 1) Head to the start phase of the workflow & hit Edit this Phase

Step 2) Navigate to the Form Access tab

Step 3) Here, you can find (& copy) the url for this workflow form to be shared with your users




Additional Reading 📚


⚡️ Gatekeeper Expert - Only Onboarded Vendors

Learn how to mandate that users onboard a vendor before a contract can be requested

💡 This is relevant to the ⬆️ above configuration decision ⬆️ relating to whether you allow Request Forms to be submitted for New or Existing vendors


⚡️ Gatekeeper Expert - Parallel Workflows 1

Learn how to automatically run a new vendor onboarding in tandem with this contract approval to shorten the delivery time for new relationships & services!

💡 This is relevant to the ⬆️ above configuration decision ⬆️ relating to whether you allow Request Forms to be submitted for New or Existing vendors


Creating a Contract Template

See a full overview guide of the feature for setting up contract draft template documents