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Handling non-standard responses to MA and RA.

Adam_DzyackyAdam_Dzyacky Product Owner Contributor Monkey ✭✭✭✭✭
edited July 2016 in Service Manager
I think all SCSM admins are familiar with how the Exchange Connector works when it comes to updating work items (IR/SR) and furthermore we know that action can be taken on MA/RA when things like [approved], [rejected], and [completed] are sent back.

But the above assumes one thing of all environments and deployments - every single employee will read their email and hopefully understand that if they just reply to an MA/RA (based on the context of the message) nothing will happen. I'm curious how if at all, anyone is tackling this "blackhole" of responses.

I can only really think of a few ways out of this:
1. SMA runbook that acts as a secondary Exchange Connector looking for responses to MA/RA and then updates the parent WI.
2. SMA runbook that acts as a secondary Exchange Connector looking for responses to MA/RA and then updates a group of people (because in a cross-departmental SR, no one may be Assigned To the SR)
3. Include a link in the MA/RA notification that says "Responses are unmonitored, Click here to create a new request." and features similiar completed/rejected/completed HTML mailto links to generate an email that doesn't feature the work item number so at least the question gets created

It really seems like there isn't a universally good way out of this, but something is more than nothing. I'm just not sure what that something should be in this particular regard.

Best Answers


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    Adam_DzyackyAdam_Dzyacky Product Owner Contributor Monkey ✭✭✭✭✭
    It did occur to me, that probably a number of deployments are using scenario 1 but instead of using the activity number in the notification subject they are probably leveraging the Parent WI (SR/CR) number.

    This said, i may have answered my own question since it now seems some SMA runbook could be created to do Action Log Notify based on a support group (instead of Assigned To, where it doesn't exist for a cross-departmental request) as I don't believe Action Log Notify notifies Support Groups?
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    Tony_CollettTony_Collett Cireson Support Super IT Monkey ✭✭✭✭✭
    The way we handled it at my previous job was to not announce that you could respond to emails that were sent via SCSM and that it was assumed that responses were being lost in the the nether. Some of our End Users responded to Incident or Service Request emails and found they could work that way, end users also never received Manual or Review Activities. 

    We ensured that our Analysts worked from the console/portal and used emails as a reference that work has come in. We provided links to the work item with in the email that directed people to the Portal.
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    Billy_WilsonBilly_Wilson Member Ninja IT Monkey ✭✭✭✭
    If you want to be able to do Approvals/Completions via email response you could add hyperlinks into your Notification templates that do the formatting work for the recipient. For example, to complete an MA:

    To complete this activity, click <a href="mailto:scsmmailbox@MyDomain.com?subject=[$Context/Property[Type='WorkItem!System.WorkItem']/Id$]&body=[Completed]"><b>Mark as Complete</b></a> then send.

    or to Approve an RA:

    To approve, click <a href="mailto:scsmmailbox@MyDomain.com?subject=[$Context/Property[Type='WorkItem!System.WorkItem']/Id$]&body=[Approved]"><b>Approve</b></a> then send.

    Hope this helps.
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    Brett_MoffettBrett_Moffett Cireson PACE Super IT Monkey ✭✭✭✭✭
    Tough one @Adam_Dzyacky.

    The solution that @Billy_Wilson describes above is great to get the status changed for an activity, but if someone just responds with some notes, assuming that it will update some action log within the MA then this will not help this issue.

    An SMA, PowerShell or Orchestrator automation solution could help but adds a lot of complexity to the system for you to maintain.
    The solution @Tony_Collett suggests is a more business process approach and might be a cleaner and more efficient way of solving the problem because if you try to make the tool fit the way people do work now without taking a long hard look at the way work is done, then you could be chasing your own backside for ever.

    this is not an easy one.
    Good luck

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