Blog series: Building a CLM–Power Automate custom connector
Have you needed a flexible and reliable connector for making API calls to DocuSign CLM? Perhaps you wanted to use the Wait for Signal workflow step from within CLM or an external system. Maybe you wanted a graceful way to move documents and metadata in and out of CLM. Maybe you needed an external system to start a Doc Gen form, possibly with prefilled values. Perhaps you wanted an external system to start a workflow, with or without data in Params. You may have a need to query CLM directly from a chatbot. If you have attempted to do any of these things, you know how difficult it has been, until now.
By the end of this blog series, you will have everything you need to do all of the above and more. In fact, the last installment is dedicated to showing how all of the above can be done with the connector you will build. This connector can be reused quickly and safely so that any system can easily interact with CLM through the Microsoft Power Automate tool.
The purpose of this blog series is to give you the theoretical background, knowledge of the pitfalls and best practices, practical experience, and examples of how to build safe, efficient, reliable, versatile, and easy-to-deploy Power Automate custom connectors for CLM. The purposes of this post are to ensure that you are the right reader and to clarify what you can expect from this series.
The rest of this article will set expectations: what you can expect from this series and what is expected of you to be able to build and deploy a safe, simple, and versatile Power Automate connector to CLM. Let’s start by talking about who you are, the reader.
You are likely a technologist, familiar with CLM, and have some familiarity with API usage. You have seen how powerful your solutions can be if only you can easily interact with CLM from other systems. You want to know how you can use Power Automate to simplify solutions that utilize CLM, without requiring each user to authenticate regularly (this is key). You might want to build a system-wide solution that end users are blind to, a solution that “just works” silently in the background, serving business needs while simplifying user’s lives. You may have tried to deploy such a solution within Power Automate or other middleware solutions, but encountered frustrations with the solutions not supporting the DocuSign JWT authentication flow. If this is you, then you have come to the right place.
You can expect to learn several things from this series, and I expect several things of you.
First, you should expect to discover authentication challenges, both in general and in relation to accessing CLM from Power Automate. You can expect to learn not just the challenges, but what architectural decisions helped create the challenges. You should expect to comprehend the different approaches to handling authentication with DocuSign along with the risks and benefits associated with each. You should expect to grasp how Power Automate handles connectors and authentication. Finally, you can expect to build a CLM custom connector and use it in different scenarios, confident that you can deploy connectors quickly and safely in the future.
As the author, I have some expectations of you in terms of tooling experience and general technology experience. With tooling, I expect you to be familiar with DocuSign CLM, particularly document generation (Doc Gen) and workflows. I also expect you to be familiar with Power Automate and that you have previously built several flows. Finally, I expect you to be familiar with Postman, specifically around requests, collections, and variables. In addition to tooling, I expect you to have some experience with programming in general, systems administration experience, and experience with making REST API calls. If you lack the above tooling familiarity and experiences, please stop right now and go gain that familiarity and experience before reading further. It is critical to have the right experience in order to gain the most benefit from this series.
Above, I made some bold promises about what you will be able to do in this blog series. You will know how to deploy Power Automate custom connectors to interact with CLM via the API, opening possibilities previously unavailable or impractical. This series will provide experience and confidence to deploy safe, efficient, reliable, versatile, and easy to deploy connectors for connecting to CLM in ways you may have never imagined.
In the next installment, you will learn where so many API implementations go awry, what causes problems in the real world, and how to avoid those problems when building your custom connector.