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How It Works

 

 

Step 1: Perform configuration & administration

The first step is to install the Issue Tracker Personal Edition (IssueTrackerPersonalSetup_xXX.exe). Installation is few clicks, and there is no extra configuration needed in Outlook or SharePoint.
 

Before you can start raising trouble tickets from Outlook mail items, you need to choose destination SharePoint lists where the trouble tickets raised from Outlook emails can be collected and shared.


Screenshot: Chosen SharePoint lists for collecting trouble tickets raised from your emails in Outlook.


It is followed by fields mapping between the Outlook mail and SharePoint list. A mapping is nothing but an association between an Outlook field (e.g., subject of the mail item) to a specific SharePoint list field (e.g., Title). You have complete control over which data goes to the SharePoint list from Outlook.

Screenshot: Fields mapping tool where the mail fields are mapped to SharePoint List Fields


Through the mapping tool, you can easily choose which fields from the Outlook items are to be published to the SharePoint list, and map fields between Outlook and the SharePoint list. This mapping feature also allows you to dynamically create new field of the relevant data type in the SharePoint list, so that you can associate it with an Outlook field.

 

To be able to add extra meaningful information to trouble tickets, apart from the ones extracted from the email, you can compile and maintain a list of problem categories and types, statuses and any number of custom fields drop down values in the helpdesk settings data source list. So that these drop down lists are available in your Outlook, for tagging new trouble ticket when it is raised from an email.

Screenshot: You can compile the problem categories and types to tag trouble tickets for better organization and management

 

With advanced team specific settings, you can also control and streamline the behavior on how trouble tickets are raised, escalated and tracked from Outlook to SharePoint.

Screenshot: You can control how tickets are collected, enable automation features, set attachment policy and set notifications

 

 

Step 2: Raise trouble tickets from emails to SharePoint

When you navigate to any Outlook mail folder, the Issue Tracker toolbar and ribbon are available in the Outlook explorer and inspector window.

Screenshot: Issue Tracker specific ribbon available in the Home tab of the Outlook Explorer window.

 

Screenshot: Issue Tracker specific ribbon available in the Message tab of the Outlook mail inspector window

 

To raise a trouble ticket, simply select one or more mail items, and click the ' Raise Ticket in ' drop down menu to show all the available administrator specified SharePoint lists. Choose and click the particular SharePoint list under which the ticket item will be generated.

Screenshot: To raise a trouble ticket in SharePoint from an email, click a SharePoint list from the 'Raise Ticket in' drop down list.


When you do this, relevant metadata such as caller and problem details, attachments etc. will be extracted from the email to the ticket item. You can add further details to the ticket to be generated such as, the technician that will be responsible for solving the ticket, due date by which the issue should be resolved, and problem category, type and status and any number of custom metadata.

 


Screenshot: Manager can add more information on the problem, caller etc. to the generated ticket

Once a trouble ticket is generated successfully in the chosen SharePoint list, information regarding the ticket, such as the ticket ID, data/time and the URL to the SharePoint ticket are tagged and embedded into the email item in Outlook. This not only provides an easy way to go to the ticket item in the SharePoint site directly, but also prevents other technicians from generating a duplicate ticket, from the same email (a possible scenario on shared mailboxes and mail-enabled public folders).

Screenshot: After a ticket is created, the mail item is tagged with information on the trouble ticket such as Ticket ID and URL

 

In the SharePoint ticket item, most of the fields are populated with the metadata information extracted from the Outlook mail item. For example, the caller contacts detail, the problem description, subject, attachments, formatting and style, inline images and links are retained in the ticket. Also notice that, further information fed by the manager in Outlook, such as the responsible technician, due date, problem category, type and status and other custom fields data are also available in this ticket.
 

Screenshot: This is how the trouble ticket in the SharePoint list looks like

 

Step 3: Escalation and automatic update of the SharePoint ticket
In the email from which a ticket was raised, you will notice that, in the subject portion, there is an embedded phrase within brackets, enclosing the SharePoint list code and the ticket ID of the raised ticket item. For example: [CMA-4]

Screenshot: Tracking tag and code are automatically embedded into the original email


This phrase is embedded to the original email for tracking purpose on subsequent email conversations that might happen. As long as this phrase is intact when sending out response to caller, or when caller replies back to the helpdesk, Issue Tracker System will automatically track and associate it with the correct SharePoint list and ticket item.

Screenshot: The tracking code remains intact in the subject of the outgoing email, thus allowing for automatic tracking and update of ticket

This means, the ticket item and description field will be updated live automatically, as and when the email is sent out or received. This greatly enhances the productivity of the helpdesk because, you are not required anymore to monitor the mailbox for new replies from caller, nor there is need to add and update the new information to the relevant ticket manually. Issue Tracker system automatically does that for you.

Screenshot: The SharePoint ticket item is updated when any email response is sent out from the helpdesk, or received to the helpdesk.

Automated notification emails are sent out to the caller, confirming about the ticket allotment. A snippet entry is available in the description field, that informs what the type of notification was sent, when it was sent, and to whom it was sent. Notification about the ticket assignment is also sent out to the responsible staff.
 

 

 

When further email responses are sent out to the caller from the helpdesk, the description field of the SharePoint ticket is automatically updated, to show the response made to the caller, and by whom.
 

 

 

When the caller replies back to the helpdesk, the ticket information is automatically updated again.
 

 

 

Step 4: Automatic raising of trouble tickets

Issue Tracker add-in provides a way for automatic raising of trouble tickets on a particular SharePoint list from new incoming emails, without requiring your intervention. This is achieved by real-time monitoring of user chosen Outlook mail folders or mailboxes. Such automation comes very handy and productive, if you have dedicated mail folders or mailboxes that are solely for support purposes. This spares you from having to do that laborious work of selecting emails and clicking a SharePoint list from the drop down to raise tickets.

Screenshot: Automatic live publishing of trouble tickets from mailboxes and mail enabled public folders

 

 
 
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