Track Trouble Tickets in Outlook & SharePoint
Introducing Issue Tracking add-in for Outlook & SharePoint
- Raise trouble tickets from emails in Outlook to one or more SharePoint lists
- Export caller contacts, problem descriptions and attachments from emails to the SharePoint tickets
- Enforce service level agreements (SLA), assign technician and due date
- Automatically track and add technician and caller email responses and replies to ticket
- Automatically send out notification alerts to caller or technician on ticket events
- Maintain a consolidated and hierarchical view of of email conversations in the ticket
- Edit or add comment to existing ticket directly from Outlook
- Automatically monitor due date lapse and notify technician and managers
- Automatically insert due date appointment into the calendar of the technician
- Update a SharePoint Calendar list, with all the ticket due date appointments
- Integrated Knowledge Base in Outlook and SharePoint
- Search and query tickets (stored on SharePoint) directly from Outlook
- Work on your assigned tickets directly from your Outlook, without ever opening your SharePoint site
- Integrated OLAP Statistics & Summary Report Generator tools
- Seamless Integration with Microsoft Outlook (2010, 2013, 2016, 2019)
Many organizations today are migrating their customer support mechanism to SharePoint, due to it’s relatively ease of access, collaboration and centralized storage and management features. However, the inbuilt issue tracking list template in SharePoint is only good for basic tracking requirement and lacks the automation and sophistication, to function as an effective helpdesk system. There is no direct and easy way to source the ticket information, say from your emails in Outlook, except to resort to copy-paste trick, which is time consuming and laborious, and not to mention, the precious human resources needed for data gathering.
Moreover, one of the important goals for a helpdesk is staying on top on the growing amount of support request emails from end-users. But without an organized and structured link between Outlook and SharePoint, caller and problem information from Outlook mails cannot be added or updated to SharePoint tickets in a timely manner. This can lead to delay in response time and even support requests falling through the crack. These limitations prevent many helpdesk teams from implementing an effective SharePoint based issue tracking system.
Issue Tracking System overcomes this limitation by extending your Outlook as an ideal platform to raise trouble tickets from emails to one or more SharePoint lists. With a click of a button in Outlook, it can analyze your emails and collect ticket specific information such as contact details and problem description.
It also allows the manager to add more information to the ticket, such as, the technician that will be responsible for solving the ticket, due date by which the issue should be resolved, and problem category and any number of custom metadata.
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 directly, but also prevents other technicians from generating a duplicate ticket.
Issue Tracker system leverages three of your existing investments in Microsoft – Outlook, Exchange and SharePoint for a consolidated incident ticket management in the organization. It provides an easy way for customer service staffs to collect ticket data from emails, assign technicians and problem areas, set due date and other custom metadata. And then use this information to generate trouble tickets in one of the administrator defined SharePoint lists, where these can be tracked and collaborated with other technicians and stakeholders.
And because of users’ familiarity with Microsoft Outlook and SharePoint, it requires no special training or skill sets, resulting in a high rate of user adoption in the organization.
how it works
Helpdesk add-in makes working on support requests very easy by seamlessly integrating the process of submitting, assigning, tracking and fulfilling support requests all inside Microsoft Outlook.
Before you and other technicians can start raising trouble tickets from Outlook mail items, the helpdesk manager need to choose destination SharePoint lists where the trouble tickets raised from Outlook emails can be collected and shared.
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.
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.
When you navigate to any Outlook mail folder, the Issue Tracker Technician toolbar and ribbon are available in the Outlook explorer and 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.
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.
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).
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.
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]
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.
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, no technicians are 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.
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 helpdesk staffs 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.
Issue Tracker technician 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.
A closed case can be a good source of future reference and technician can create a new knowledge base entry based on the case. It is then available in the list of articles under the integrated knowledge base, categorized and sorted, ready for your technicians to draw from when similar issues arise. Helpdesk administrator can publish these articles on to the Customer Web Service site for providing first level support to potential support requests from end-users.
To identify problem areas and increase helpdesk efficiency, senior management runs the statistical tool from time to time, collecting valuable intelligence and trends and generating meaningful reports.
For day to day knowledge of the helpdesk, they can generate summary reports to get appraisal on the current happenings on the helpdesk and track recent cases generated, worked, closed or reopened.