Identifying files associated with a contract

New Contributor

Hi all


O365 has some great security and compliance features that allow global searching or data. 


However in my organisation we are very contract based. we have over 200 contracts with customers at the end of which we have to identify data created during the life of that contract and either archive, move or send to the customer. 


Currently that easy(ish) because ist all on a file server so we can take a copy. However when we move to a Sharepoint/OD4B/TEAMS environment that data could be all over the place. 


i need a way to quickly identify contract associated data so i can extract it in one hit. i dont want to have to identofy every user on the contract and search by each of them


The perfect solution would be the ability to tag any file created by a member of that contract with the contract ID. I've just been reading about Labels but these are (for me) too restrictive as far as i can tell. 


Labels also dont work for me as we're only an E3 currently and will be for the next 12-18 months at least. 


any thoughts folks? 


thanks in advance



8 Replies
I would say look into document sets. So you can keep documents together. But I’m not 100% sure they have really updated that for modern UI just yet.

You can use a central document library repository for your documents with metadata for a column with the contractID would work too but having people put everything there is the hurdle. You can link to that library from all your teams by using The website tab on each channel until the native file tab in teams supports SharePoint and metadata.


What Chris said, also optimize search for this so you can search for contract ID for example. Also good to set refiners for search..For example you can get a refiner for Project ID


/ Adam


Thanks Chris and Adam 

Doc sets woudl work fine if I had some kind of control but the data could be stored in any one of a hundred+ sites/OD4B folders. 

is there no way for O365 to tag a file with metadata no matter where it may be based, maybe, on a users group membership? 


You could also leverage managed metadata data/the term store of this.  A little easier/more flexible that labels to update and would work for content stored across the organization as long as the column linking to the managed metadata was added everywhere.


The content type hub could help for this as you could publish down a "contract" content type that had that metadata column associated with it.


As far default taking with a specific ID based on a group.  Nothing comes to mind off the top of my head.  You could maybe cobble something together with Flow to run everytime a file is added/edited and check if it has an id and if not assign one.  The downside is that if documents could be added everywhere, the Flow would have to look at every possible location a document could be stored.


Hello @Graham Rollerson,


To address your direct question about meta-data, O365 labels could accomplish this.


In Ignite this year you could really see the development, and key role Microsoft see labels playing for security and compliance cases like this.


With that said, labels is typically an e5 feature. If my company already had e5, or they were willing to cover the expense for them, 100% I would use them. This would work to solve your problem (assuming there was some end user training around applying the labels or parameters you could use to automatically apply them,) but given the increase in cost I think I would agree with Chris and Adam (great name btw), and just do something like insert a case number in every header/footer of a document, or email related to the work. 

You could also create shared mailboxes for the explicit purpose of this (from the email side).  You have a contract with company A, Project 7. Call it, and automatically include that in all communications. At the end of the project, everything in that box can be exported. Combine that with the document sets, and you would be good to go.


The risk here is all of these (less so with labels, but its still there), really require your users to make sure they take the appropriate steps. In the same way they needed to make sure everything was saved in this folder of the file share, you just need to do some end user education once you decide what solution works for you.



The issue I see with Labels, and from what I can tell, there isn't an easy way for end users to retrieve this data. I supposed you can act on the documents and move them into a central repository once the label date hits, that way you have a central location but you would have a gap there on the searching etc.

Agreed, I assumed an admin would be doing that for them at the completion of the project, but that could 100% be an incorrect assumption on my part.


Thanks Guys - really appreciate all your replies. 


Labels does sound like the best approach .... just need to convince the folks with the money to cough up for the licenses :)