Just Released: Exchange Connector and Send Email Solution (Update on “Resource Kit”)

Just Released: Exchange Connector and Send Email Solution (Update on “Resource Kit”)

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Awhile back I announced that there would be a “resource kit” for Service Manager which would include a bunch of things that we already had put out on the blogs like…

and some new things…

  • Exchange connector: Process emails sent to an email inbox on an Exchange server.  Convert new emails to new incidents and update incidents for replies to an email address.
  • Send message to a user related to the incident from the console.  Message can be optionally logged in the action log.
  • Visio diagram of the entire SCSM data model including classes, properties, and relationships.

We’ve decided that instead of packaging up all of this stuff as one downloadable “resource kit” package we would create a Tools/Downloads page on TechNet.  Then we can add to it whenever we want and point to all kinds of locations like CodePlex, third party software vendors, blogs with tools attached, and microsoft.com/downloads to get releases from Microsoft.  It will be one convenient place to get all the tools and solutions available for Service Manager and we can update it continuously without the overhead of a release.

While it will take just a couple more weeks to set up the Tools page on TechNet….

I’m pleased today to announce the release to microsoft.com/downloads the Exchange Connector and the Send Email solution!  You can get it from here:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=0b48d1f1-434a-4ee6-8017-fc13f4c16785&displaylang=en

Note: allow up to 30 minutes from the posting of this blog post for worldwide replication on the microsoft.com/downloads site.

Exchange Connector

It’s taken awhile to build these solutions because I had them thoroughly tested by about 15-20 customers.  These customers found bugs and submitted feature requests that I went ahead and implemented to expand the scope of the Exchange connector to include a lot of additional capabilities beyond the scope defined originally.  The Exchange Connector now features the following capabilities:

  • Create incident from email (replaces out of the box functionality; just turn it off)
    • The sending user is looked up in the CMDB and related to the incident as the affected user
    • The email subject becomes the incident title
    • The email body becomes the incident description
  • Update incident action log from email
  • Resolve or close incidents from email
  • Approve/reject change requests from email
  • Update change request “action log” from email
  • Mark manual activities completed from email
  • Add email file attachment to work items as attachments
  • Emails can be sent in from outside the organization
  • Emails can be sent from users which do not exist in the CMDB yet and a new user record will be created for them and related to the incident

Send Email Solution

The Send Email solution is a separate solution that I’ve packaged with the Exchange Connector for convenience, but it can be deployed with or without the Exchange connector technically.  When you have both of them deployed and configured correctly you can enable the end-to-end lifecycle for emails around incident management.  For example, an analyst can be looking at a ticket and click a ‘Send Email’ task to request additional information from the affected user.  When the user replies to that email with the additional information, the incident is automatically updated.

Important Notes

  • I really recommend using the included deployment guides.  Deploying both of these solutions can be tricky and really require reading the deployment guide.
  • These solutions are not officially supported by Microsoft and are not a part of the Service Manager product.  You can provide feedback, report bugs, request new features, etc. on the forums but there are no guarantees on anything.
  • For those of you that have been testing pre-official-release versions of these solutions please follow the upgrade steps in the deployment guides.  You may need to close the console or stop the System Center Management service to replace the DLLs.
  • The Exchange connector and Send Email solution are not localized.  You can however specify keywords in different languages for the Exchange connector to use to process emails with.

Thank You!

Lastly a big, huge thank you to all the community testers that made this possible.  You know who you are.  I really appreciate the effort you put in to test these solutions, provide feedback, and report bugs!  Thank You!

Enjoy!

Update: Chris Ross put together a nice demo video of installing, configuring, and testing the Exchange connector .  Thanks Chris!

http://vlog.myscsm.com/?p=171

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  • You just made my day! (or should I say month?)

    Thanks, Travis!! :)

  • Awesome news, Travis! What we've been waiting for a while!!!

  • YES YES and YES!  Have already downloaded, read the notes and will implement in 2-3 hours :-)  

    one question - any chance that it will be possible (perhaps in version 1.1) to handle fx. 5-8 different incomming email-adresses, so that we can dispatch the incidents to different ques based on with email adress the enduser have sendt the incident to.  

    We have 7 helpdesk departments one for each domain with 7 different email adresses, so we need to route the incomming mails to 7 different dispatchers if possible.

  • The email related stuff is nice, but Im still missing the database model.

  • @Dan_MS - the data model will be coming in the next couple of weeks.  It's done.  I just need to finish validating it for accuracy.

  • @Erling - I get this request quite often.  I need to look into it more, but it might not be possible until a needed improvement in the workflow infrastructure is completed in the R2 release.  As of right now it is the top feature on the list for a future version.

  • This is great...just have to upgrade my Exchange infrstructure now!!!! No way to get this to work in Exchange 2003?

  • Two mistake in "Deployment Guide for System Center Service Manager - Exchange Connector" document

    both in "CR Lifecycle, p.3"

    first: "If the configurable keyword for completion of the activity (example: ‘[Completed]’) is present " - where? in the subject or in the body?

    second: "Any file attachments are added as file attachments to the review activity". It must be "Any file attachments are added as file attachments to the manual activity" I'm think?

  • Using sendemail without the exchange connector, I've got the emails going out, but on return the update email is creating a new incident

  • ....unless the exchange connector can work with exchange 2003?

  • Hi. Is there any way to configure the connector without having autodiscovery in place?

  • @dootyfree - A new incident is likely being created because the incoming email doesnt have the work item ID in sqaure brackets in the subject.  Please take a look at the documentation. It explains this.

  • @Mikael Karlsson

    No sorry, the Exchange connector requires Auto Discovery.

  • This is a great solution Travis!! Nice One!

  • The AutoDiscovery service is working fine, it passes all the tests in Outlook 2010 when performing a "Test Email Autoconfiguration"

    However, the Exchange Connector fails with:

    "Exception Message: When making a request as an account that does not have a mailbox, you must specify the mailbox primary SMTP address for any distinguished folder Ids."

    Is there any further configuration required/available?