Phased rollout


This documentation supports the 21.05 version of BMC Helix ITSM: Service Desk. To view an earlier version, select the version from the Product version menu.

Creating and updating records by using email

As a support agent, you can use email to create incident requests and to add work information to incident requests, problem investigations, known errors, tasks, and work orders. If your environment runs BMC Helix ITSM: Change Management, you can also approve change requests by using email. For more information about setting up email-based approvals, see  Configuring email-based approvals Open link .

Depending on how your system is configured, you can create or update the following record types by using your email service:

  • Incident request (create and add work information)
  • Problem investigation (add work information only)
  • Known Error (add work information only)
  • Work Order (add work information only)
  • Task (add work information only)

You can also add attachments to these email messages. Email Engine priorities are mapped to Microsoft Outlook priorities. When an email is sent with high importance, a ticket is created with the Urgency set to High, irrespective of the values defined in the template for the Priority and Urgency fields.

Related topics

Troubleshooting email record creation and updates

Configuring email-based approvals Open link

Configuring the Email Rule Engine Open link

Defining Email Rule Engine use cases Open link

Before you begin

To create and update records by email, an administrator must complete the following tasks:

  • Configure the Email Engine, as described in  Configuring Email Engine Open link .
  • Configure the Email Rule Engine, as described in  Configuring the Email Rule Engine Open link .
  • Configure BMC Helix ITSM: Service Desk to work with email-generated service requests and to apply an incident template to the incident using BMC Helix Cognitive Automation.

For you to create or update records using email, your email address must be recorded in the Email Address field of your People form record. If in doubt, check with your system administrator.

Because the email feature is highly configurable, the procedures in this topic provide only general instructions. Check with your system administrator for the specific information that applies to your email environment.

Workflow for creating an email record

After the email message arrives in the Email Engine mailbox, the Email Rule Engine evaluates the message based on a set of rules that are provided both out-of-the-box and by your system administrator. The email message must pass two sets of checks. The first check determines whether any text that appears in the subject line of the email message is on the  Excluded subjects list Open link . For example, if the subject line contains Delivery Error and that phrase is on the Excluded Subjects list, the email message is rejected.

If the email message passes the check for excluded subjects, the Email Rule Engine then evaluates the content of the email message according to the Email Rule Engine use cases, which your system administrator configures. When the Email Rule Engine matches the email message with a use case, it processes the message according to the rules associated with the use case. When the email message is matched to a use case, the Email Rule Engine stops the checking process. It runs only one use case against any given email message, even if other use cases might apply. If an email message does not match any of the configured or the default use cases, the Email Rule Engine rejects it.

The following diagram illustrates the workflow.

Example of creating a request and updating it by using email

In an environment that is configured to create and update records using email, an Email Rule Engine use case is defined as follows:

  • The keywords are locked and ID.
  • If the keywords are in the subject line, the Email Rule Engine creates an incident request from the Locked User ID template (this is an example template name; your system might have different templates).
  1. A customer submits an email message with the following text in the subject line: incident request, locked ID for user singhr.
  2. The Email Rule Engine receives the message and runs the following tasks:
    1. Scans the Subject field for an excluded subject and finds none
    2. Evaluates the email message according to the configured use cases
    3. Discovers that the content of the Subject field matches the criteria in one of the use cases
    4. Creates an incident request using the Locked User ID template
    5. Copies the details of the email message into the incident request's Work Information form.

  3. The Incident Management assignment rules assign the new incident request to a help desk analyst.
  4. The help desk analyst:
    1. Opens the new incident request, reviews the details, and has a question about some of the information in the request.
    2. Sends the question to the customer directly from the incident request using the Email function.
  5. The customer:
    1. Receives the email message and reads it.
    2. Answers and sends the response to the Help Desk Analyst.
  6. The Email Rule Engine:
    1. Adds the response to the incident request as a work information entry.
    2. Scans the Subject field.
    3. Verifies that the Subject field matches the criteria.
    4. Retrieves the incident request.
    5. Adds the response to the Work Info.
  7. The help desk analyst:
    1. Opens the incident request and reviews the work information.
    2. Closes the incident request with the information the customer provides.

The following diagram illustrates this example.

To create an incident request by using email

  1. Open your email editor and create a new email message.
  2. In the To field, enter the email account that is registered with the Email Engine to receive and generate incident requests.
  3. Complete the Subject field and the body text according to the rules configured by your system administrator.
  4. If you have an attachment, add it to the email message.
    The system adds attachments to the service request's Work Information form. If you add multiple attachments, the system creates a zip file and adds it to the Work Information form.
  5. Click Send.
    If BMC Helix Cognitive Automation is configured for your organization, a relevant template is applied to the incident. If your email system is configured to send acknowledgments, you receive a confirmation email message containing the incident request ID and a link to the most relevant knowledge article or the BMC Digital Workplace service catalog. BMC Helix Cognitive Automation also enables self-help by providing you with the links to the most relevant BMC Digital Workplace service catalog or knowledge articles. You can mark such tickets for closing and BMC Helix ITSM automatically resolves the tickets. See the following figures with work notes:

Template applied by BMC Helix Cognitive Automation

BMC Helix Cognitive Automation could not find relevant template

Administrators can configure BMC Helix Cognitive Automation for responding to your emails and resolving the tickets, automatically. For more details, see  Configuring BMC Helix Cognitive Automation Open link .

Adding work information to a request by using email

You can add work information to an existing records. Depending on how your system is configured, you can add work information to any of the following BMC Helix ITSM record types:

  • Incident request
  • Problem investigation
  • Known Error
  • Work Order
  • Service Requests (updates the Activity Log on the Service Request form)
  • Task

You can add work information by responding to a system-generated email message about the record, or you can create a new email message. You can only add work information notes to a record. You cannot update existing work information notes.

When you send the email message, ensure that the subject line starts with RE:. Otherwise, the Email Rule Engine rejects the message.

Also, make sure that the subject line contains the request ID. In some environments, the Email Rule Engine can parse the body of the email message for the request ID. If your system is configured to do this (check with your system administrator), you do not need to put the request ID in the subject line.

You can add an attachment to the email message, which is also added to the work information note. If you add more than one attachment, the email engine compresses the attachments into a zip file and attaches it to the work information note.

To add work information notes to a service request by using email

  1. Perform one of the following actions:

    • Reply to an existing email message about the record to which you want to add the work information note.

    • Create a new email message.

  2. If you are creating a new email message, ensure the To field contains the correct email address for your email server.

  3. Ensure that the Subject field starts with RE: and includes the request ID.

    Alternatively, if your system can read the request ID from the body of the email message, ensure the request ID appears in the body of the message.

    If you are unsure whether your system can read request IDs from the body of an email message, put the request ID in the Subject field.

  4. Type the work information text in the body of the email message.

  5. If you have any attachments, add those to the email message.

  6. Send the email message.

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