SBM Email responses - Transition via email buttons

over 6 years ago

Since the beginning, SBM has offered email notifications to alert users of things happening within the workflows that they are involved with. And for about as long, users have been asking for the ability to directly take action from within the email itself.  Over the years, the Serena Services and Field organizations have delivered this capability using various forms of customization, none of which were ideal and most of which involved TeamScripts/AppScripts which were challenging for customers to modify and maintain.

With the release of SBM 10.1.3, this functionality is now available out of the box, and setting it up is straightforward and requires no scripting or customization.  There wasn't a lot of fanfare around this feature, and many customers don't realize that they have it available to them.  This post will walk through setting this up, and an example of what it looks like.  

The email notification template used in this example is taken directly from the SBM documentation, and is available in chapter 11 of the Application Administrator guide under the "E-mail template tags\Notification Tags" section (see $EMAILRESPONSE).

The overall steps are pretty easy, and are as follows:

  1. First, configure your workflow and define where you want email responses to occur.  The only requirement is that they are a quick-transition.  They don't have to be specific to e-mail responses as a transition configured for use with E-mail responses can also be invoked as normal via the UI assuming it's made available and users have permissions.
  2. Next, configure the Notification itself for E-mail responses.  This maps the response aliases to the transitions you define in step 1.
  3. Lastly, configure your email notification template to include the $EMAILRESPONSE tag.  This creates the links within the e-mail for your users to take action.

Let's walk through it:

First, we setup a sample workflow to test this out.  In my case, it's pretty simple and has a "New" state, from which we can either approve or reject.


Next, we move on to configuring our notification.  This is done as per usual (in this case setting up an email to notify when a user becomes an owner of this sample ticket), and for email response we take one additional step.  Assuming the channel that we've selected for the notification is "send email", there is a new menu option available to us on the left-hand navigation.  Clicking into that, we have the ability to create response mappings.  Each response mapping consists of three fields:

  • Name (or alias).  This name can be whatever we'd like, and is the name we will use when configuring our email template.
  • State - this is the state the record is currently in.  In our case this is the "New" state.
  • Transition name - this is the name of the transition (quick-transition) that we want to invoke when the response is clicked.


Once I have the mappings created (in this case just two, for Approve and Reject), I can modify my email template.  For this example we are using the sample template provided in the Application Administrator guide, and the relevant part for the E-mail response is the $EMAILRESPONSE tag, as follows:

  • a href="$EMAILRESPONSE(Approve, external)"...., and 
  • a href="$EMAILRESPONSE(Reject, external)".....

The $EMAILRESPONSE tag takes two parameters.  The first is the alias name you specified when configuring the Notification (in our example "Approve" and "Reject"), and the second is either internal or external, and this tells the notification server which SBM URL to use (inside or outside the firewall).

Putting this all together, if we submit a new ticket into our sample process we get a new ticket in the New state.


Our user also gets an email notification and in that notification there are now two buttons, one for approve and one for reject.


If we click the "Approve" button within our email, a new browser window will open showing us the results of our action:

And finally, if we look at our ticket in SBM we can see that it was transitioned to the Approved state.


This is an example of leveraging the $EMAILRESPONSE feature that was introduced in SBM 10.1.3, and offers a good deal of flexibility to enable your users to take actions directly from their emails without having to log in to the SBM interface.


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