At least from my perspective, one short coming of the Rule Base Email engine (RBE) is that crucial information is lost in the process:
- Contact List (to, cc…)
- And of course the formatting
And once the email is processed by the engine it is literally obliterated. Of course, there is always the possibility to forward, at the exchange level, a copy, somewhere, for your support staff to dig in if they desperately need it.
In a nutshell, forget about any (proper) email follow-up. You have stepped into the ITSM Realm and there is no way back.
And while a "it’s for your own good" pitch might be ok internally, with customers… well, it is another story. Sometimes they just don’t buy in. They insist in sending you emails and expect you to reply them back, period! And in the end, customer is king.
Even if it is today so much more than a simple email management tool, the roots of ITSM4Outlook can definitely be traced back to the above conundrum. How did we address it? It couldn’t be any simpler: by just keeping the email message file as an attachment in the work log!
Then, when we first started rolling out the solution, a frequent interrogation was: "What about RBE? What about all the effort that was put into it? Shall we toss it all out?!"
And yes, when you have spent thousands of hours on something, this is the last thing you want to hear. So we did what we do best. We got creative!
Just how to prevent information from being lost in translation? Simple, just keep it as it is! And as a matter of fact, it happens to be very simple to keep the raw (EML formatted) email file as an attachment in RBE too.
So if like me you do believe that Form do mater, well, here is the little neat trick!
Cut to the chase!
Although it was originally design to enact a better symbiosis between ITSM4Outlook and RBE, this customization stands on its own and play nicely with the existing classic or Smart-IT interfaces. Don’t hesitate to give it a shot!
OOTB RBE Processing
Out of the box RBE rely on 2 filter plugins:
- REMEDY.ARF.HTML2TEXT - will transform the HTML body into plain text
- REMEDY.ARF.ZIPATTACHMENTS - will extract the attachments from the email and zip-attach them into the work info (attachments.zip)
The picture bellow shows the end result of the OOTB RBE translation.
Bypassing the ZIPATTACHMENTS plugin
In our approach, we will get rid of the attachment zip altogether and replace it with the original ".eml" file.
We can achieve that by hijacking the "RBE:Transaction-ZIPATT-ZIP Attachments" filter guide and by injecting our "Replace with Original Email" filter in it. Here is an overview of the attached "def" file. How simple is that?!
As you can see, the $Email$ field contains the email file in MINE format. From this proof of concept, you can of course tune the workflows to better fit your needs.
The end result is an attached ".eml" file, that any mail client can open & reply to. You can even leverage the email template replies of ITSM4Outlook’s.