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HOW IT WORKS

Team Knowledgebase for Outlook & SharePoint is a groupware solution consisting of two portions – Admin and User install.

 

 

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the Admin install is for managers and administrators, who would perform the global configuration of the knowledge base, choose and setup SharePoint KB lists, and map fields between Outlook and SharePoint.
 

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the User install is for individual staff that will be making use of the KB articles stored in one or more of the Administrator chosen SharePoint lists, from Outlook. Note that, User install is a subset of Admin Install, and hence, if you have installed the admin tool, you need not install the User tool.
 

 

Step 1: Administrator configures SharePoint KB lists and performs mappings

The first step is for the administrator to choose a SharePoint site, under which a new list ‘TeamKBSettings’ would be created, to store the KB metadata, mappings and other configuration data.

 

This special list will act as a central KB settings data source, so that support staffs scattered in different geographical locations can still access the mappings and other administrative defined configurations by all members of the support staffs.

 

In short, this list will act as a KB Settings data source, and other users with their Team KnowledgeBase User add-in would connect to it.

 

Why store the KB settings dat in a special SharePoint list?
Because your team members can be scattered in different geographical locations, and might not have access to the company’s local network remotely, using a network database or shared folder won’t be feasible. Instead, in Team KnowledgeBase, the KB configuration and settings data are stored in a special SharePoint list (having the name 'TeamKBSettings') which is accessible to all staffs, on the local network, WAN or via the WWW.
 

Choosing SharePoint KB Lists and Mappings
Before you and other staffs can start searching and choosing KB articles from SharePoint and insert to outgoing email replies in Outlook, the KB Administrator needs to choose destination SharePoint lists where the KB articles will be collected and shared.


Admin chosen SharePoint lists containing KB articles:


 

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.
 



Each KB article can also be tagged with a Category and Type. Typically, administrator will gather all the problem areas that the support team will be attending to and feed them into the categories list. Further each category can have their own list of types. So, what you have will be nested tiers of categories/types which are complete representation of your organization's support model and act as somewhat of a guiding decision tree for publishing and searching KB articles.

 

 

 

Step 2: Team members install Team KB User tool
 To be able to access and make use of the KB articles from SharePoint in their Outlook, every team member must install the Team KnowledgeBase User tool (TeamKBUserSPSetup.exe) in their system.


Once installed, the user will be prompted to specify the KB Settings Data Source, which is nothing, but a special SharePoint list having the title 'TeamKBSettings', which was configured previously by your administrator.

If the ‘Configure KB Settings Data Source’ panel does not show up, you can invoke from the Outlook > Team KB toolbar > My Options menu

Click 'Browse...' to specify the SharePoint site where the 'TeamKBSettings' list is located

 

Enter the SharePoint URL site to show all available sub-sites and lists. If your administrator had already configured Team KnowledgeBase, there would be a list 'TeamKBSettings' that stores KB configurations including destination SharePoint lists and their corresponding mapping settings. Select that list to maintain a permanent link between the Team KnowledgeBase User add-in and the KB data source.

 

Now, click the Save button, to confirm the selected KB Settings Data Source, such that Team KnowledgeBase User add-in can connect to this list and retrieve the KB logic and settings data to the local system automatically.

 

 

Step 3: Accessing KB articles from Outlook and inserting to email replies


Even though KB articles are stored on your SharePoint list, every technician can make use of it in Microsoft Outlook to reply to emails in a snap. When you navigate to any Outlook mail folder, the Team KnowledgeBase toolbar and ribbon are available in the Outlook explorer and inspector window. With the ‘Reply with a KB’ button, you can choose one of the relevant KB article directly for replying to tickets or emails.


KB articles, stored on a particular SharePoint list, grouped and arranged in by category and type:

 

Team KnowledgeBase specific ribbon available in the Home tab of the Outlook Explorer window.

 


Team KnowledgeBase specific ribbon available in the Message tab of the Outlook mail inspector window

 

A pop-up dialog box allows you to browse through the existing knowledge base articles, and select the relevant article to be embedded either as attachment, inline or as URL into the email reply.

 

You can insert selected KB article in 3 ways to outgoing email:


1. Inserting chosen KB article as PDF or XPS file attachment to the email reply
Selected KB article can be applied or inserted into the replied email in varied format. You can choose to insert as attachment in the form of a word document (*.doc), Adobe PDF (*.pdf), Microsoft XPS (*.xps) or as single file MHTML (*.mht).
 

 

 

 

2. Inserting chosen KB article as inline content to the email reply
You can also embed the selected KB article directly into the body of the email reply. Any inline images and formatting are preserved in its original state in the reply also.




3. Inserting chosen KB article as hyperlink URL into the email reply

Alternatively, if your SharePoint site is opened (i.e., accessible via the web), then you can also insert the hyperlink or URL of the selected KB article into the reply, so that the recipient can simply click the hyperlink to open the relevant article in their web browser.

 

 
 
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