SCSM Exchange Connector via SMlets
This PowerShell script leverages the SMlets module to build an open and flexible Exchange Connector for controlling Microsoft System Center Service Manager 2012+
So what is this for?
The stock Exchange Connector is a seperate download for SCSM 2012+ that enables SCSM deployments to leverage an Exchange mailbox to process updates to work items. While incredibly useful, some feel limited by its inability to be customized given its nature as a sealed management pack. This PowerShell script replicates all functionality of Exchange Connector 3.1, introduces several new features, and most importantly enables SCSM Administrators to customize the solution to their needs.
Who is this for?
This is aimed at SCSM administrators looking to further push the automation limits of what their SCSM deployment can do with inbound email processing. As such, you should be comfortable with PowerShell and navigating SCSM via SMlets.
What new things can it do?
|Language Translation for New Work Items with Azure Translation (v1.6)|
|Remove the barriers to communication from Affected Users with integration to Azure Translate. When enabled, New Work Items will see the immediate creation of an End User Comment on the Action Log in a default language of your choosing. Ready to close the loop so the Assigned User can work with the Affected User in their native language? A new complimentary project has arrived so Comments left on the Action Log area translated, and then the other party is notified of the translated comment. Get the Advanced Action Log Notify management pack over here. Read up on Azure Translate pricing here and view the list of supported languages here|
|Intelligent Routing and Classification with Azure Machine Learning (v1.5)|
|Further compliment "Dynamic Work Item Analyst Assignment" and "Azure Cognitive Services" features with integration for Azure Machine Learning. Using AML, you can now train Azure's artificial intelligence on your SCSM environment using your very own SCSM Data Warehouse to autonomously choose Work Item Type (Incident or Service Request), Work Item Classification, and Work Item Support Group on brand new Work Items that the connector creates. Azure pricing can be found here and how to configure it for your environment/connector can be found here.|
|Dynamic Work Item Analyst Assignment on New Work Item (v1.5)|
|When New Work Items are created, you can optionally enable the connector to assign them out to Analysts contained within the Default Template's Support Group. This can be done through several means - completely random, least assigned open Work Items, or in conjunction with the SCSM Out of Office Management pack to prevent assignment when Analysts are out of the office. (Requires at least the free Cireson SCSM Portal to establish the relationship between Support Groups and Analysts)|
|Enhanced Action Logging (v1.4)|
|Now when using the [resolved], [closed], [take], and other relevant keywords the Work Item's Action Log matches the visual style of these actions as opposed to simply leaving an Analyst Comment.|
More Keyword functionality for Manual Activites (v1.4)
- You can now use the [take] keyword against Manual Activites.
Set First Response Date on Request Offering/Knowledge Article Suggestion (v1.4)
- If you've enabled Suggested Request Offerings from your Service Catalog or Knowledge Articles from your Knowledge Base, this feature can now optionally set the First Response Date when the connector sends suggestions back to the Affected User giving you more data points to report against.
|Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services integration (v1.4)|
|Ever wish you could create an Incident or Service Request based on the nature of the email? How about using the suggested Knowledge Article/Request Offering feature of this connector, but achieve even faster processing times? Leveraging the power of Azure Cognitive Services emails can now be optionally run through Keyword Analysis for more concise search results and/or Sentiment Analysis for dynamic creation of an Incident or Service Request based on the Affected User's perceived attitude. Microsoft pricing information can be found here. Not ready for Azure? You can alternatively define a list of keywords that will control whether or not an Incident or Service Request is created.|
Create Problems or Change Requests by Default (v1.4)
- Whether you're dealing with external vendors or streamlining process, you can now configure the connector to create either Problems or Change Requests by default.
Process multiple mailboxes with unique templates and default ticket types (v1.4)
- Redirect multiple mailboxes to a single inbox and this connector can process each message based on the default work item type and templates for the original mailbox, as though it was directly connected to each. This can be helpful for multiple teams that each have their own mailbox, for example, but does not require many instances of the connector running against all mailboxes as the MS Exchange Connector did. In addition, it can also process those mailboxes should be they be featured on the CC or BCC lines.
Generate a new, related work item when comments are emailed to closed tickets (v1.4)
- Was the affected user on vacation? Did they try to add to an old incident ticket for a new instance of the same issue? Now you can optionally generate Work Items when a user comments on a closed ticket. If enabled, a new work item will be generated that is related to the old work item and contains many of the same properties, but also contains the new details from their email message.
More Keyword functionality for Service Requests (v1.4)
- Service Requests can now use the [acknowledge] and [hold] keywords.
[take] Keyword can now optionally test for membership in the Support Group (v1.4)
- If this feature is enabled, the sender's membership in the current Support Group will be tested before they are assigned to a ticket (Incident, Service Request. Manual Activity and Change Request require a class extension). This requires the Cireson Analyst Portal and in turn Cireson Portal Group Mapping in order to establish relationship between Support Groups/Analysts.
File Attachment Limits (v1.4)
- Now you can optionally enforce settings for attachments per Work Item type as seen in the Administration -> Settings pane for maximum size and attachment count
Search Cireson Portal Service Catalog (v1.3)
- When enabled this feature will email the Affected User suggested Cireson Portal Request Offerings within the Affected User's Service Catalog permission scope based on the content of their email when a New Work Item is generated. This feature has been tested and confirmed working with v7.x and v8.x of their SCSM portal. If both this and the "Search Cireson HTML Knowledge Base" feature are enabled, only a single summarized email will be sent to the Affected User containing links to Knowledge Articles and Request Offerings.
|Digitally Signed and Encrypted Emails (v1.3)|
|Leveraging the open source MimeKit project by Jeffrey Stedfast, the connector can now process digitally signed or encrypted emails just like regular mail. This requires an appropriate certificate in either the user's personal cert store or the local machine's personal cert store.|
System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) Integration (v1.3)
- Using the configurable [health] keyword in the subject, authorized users (as defined individually or through an Active Directory group) can request the overall Health and Alert counts of a [Distributed Application] by placing it in the body of the email. Unauthorized users will have New Default Work Items created within SCSM.
Merge Replies from Related Users instead of Creating New Default Work Items (v1.2)
- If a user emails the SCSM Workflow Account and also adds additional users to the To/CC lines those related users are automatically added to the Related Items tab of a New Work Item. However in these scenarios, it's possible that one or more of those users could reply within the same processing loop of the Exchange Connector. As a result, they will queue more emails to be turned into New Default Work Items. This feature aims to address the scenario by querying Exchange Inbox/Deleted Items for matching Conversation Topics and ConversationIDs, finding the original item in the thread, searching for the Work Item that already exists in SCSM, and then appending their Reply to its Action Log
|Schedule Work Items (v1.2)|
|It's now possible to interact with SCSM via Outlook Calendar Meetings! When a Calendar Meeting is sent, the Scheduled Start Date and Scheduled End Date will be set on the Work Item based on the start/end times of the meeting. If the work item cannot be found/does not exist, a new default work item is created and it's scheduled start/end times set accordingly. Upon success, the meeting will be accepted onto the workflow account's calendar and the requester will receive confirmation of the booking. This introduces the possibility of leveraging the workflow's calendar as a central place to see all Scheduled Work Items. Using Cireson's Outlook Plugin. When setting a Work Item reminder in Outlook, you can now CC your workflow account to update values on the Work Item.|
Minimum File Attachment Size
- You can set a minimum size in KB. In doing so, files less than the defined size will not be added to the work item (i.e. corporate signature graphics won't be added)
|File Attachment "Attached by"|
|When an email is sent with attachments, the "File Attachment Added By User" relationship will be set based on the Sender if the user is found in the CMDB|
|Incident, Service Request, Change Request, Problem|
|[Take] - When emailing your workflow account, it will assign the Incident, Service Request, Change Request, or Problem to you (from address) when this keyword is featured in the body of the email.|
|[Reactivate] - When submitted to a Resolved Incident, it will be reactivated. When submitted to a Closed Incident, a New Incident will be created and the two related to one another.|
|[Hold] - Place the Change Request On-Hold when this keyword is featured in the body of the email|
|[Cancel] - Cancel the Change Request when this keyword is featured in the body of the email|
- [Skipped] - Skip the activity when this keyword is featured in the body of the email
- Misc - Anyone who is not the implementer will have their email appended to the "Notes" area of the MA
- Misc - If the Implementer leaves a comment that is not [Skipped] or [Completed] the comment is added to the highest level Parent Work Item
- Any reviewer who leaves a comment that doesn't contain [Approved] or [Rejected] will have their comment added to the highest level Parent Work Item. This addresses a scenario where users not familiar with SCSM (i.e. departments outside of IT) respond back to the email thinking someone is reading the message on your workflow account. Now their comments aren't simply lost, but instead given the visibility they deserve!
|Incident and Service Request|
|#private - When the message is attached to the Action Log, it will be marked as private if #private is featured in the body of the message. This keyword is configurable.|
Assigned To/Affected User relationships on the Action Log
- When someone who isn't the Assigned To/Affected User leaves a comment on the Action Log the comment's "IsPrivate" flag is marked as null (this is a bug in the EC v3.0 and v3.1 that has yet to be addressed by Microsoft). As such Cireson's Action Log Notify has no qualifier to go of off. With this script, the same functionality is present but now can be altered to get in line with SCSM and Cireson's MP.
Search Cireson HTML Knowledge Base
- If you're a customer of Cireson and this feature is enabled, your respective Cireson Portal HTML KB will be searched when a New Work item is generated using its title and description. The Sender will be sent a summarized HTML email with links directly to those knowledge articles about their recently created Work Item using the Exchange EWS API defined therein. As an example email, I've included an email body that features a [Resolved] and [Cancelled] link should the Affected User wish to mark their Incident/Service Request accordingly in the event the KB addresses their request. It should be noted, this is using the Cireson Web API to get KB through a now deprecated function. While this works, it goes without saying if Cireson drops this in coming versions it would cease to work. It has been tested and confirmed working with v7.x of their SCSM HTML KB portal.