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How to get 'alternative' data (not necessarily already added to a ticket)

Paul Alexander

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We are looking for a way for people to order a mobile phone from the Portal. We would then like an automatic email to be sent to the supplier with the following info:

  • Product code for whichever phone is selected from the portal (at the moment, one of 3 different options)
  • The Air Time contract code for the Division which the requester is employed by (we have around 30 Divisions all with different contract codes)
  • The Hardware Account code for the Division which the requester is employed by.

I have added the Division contract details (hardware and air time details) in our Organisation data, and added 3 mobile phone types as assets, with their respective product codes.

What I need now is a way to get this information in a BPM so that I can add it to an email.....and i can't see a way of doing this. 

Does anyone have any idea how to go about this please? Is there a way of querying a table based on variables which aren't necessarily added to a ticket, but which come from related information? 


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Hi @paul.alexander@vinci.plc.u

The data which you can include in the email templates which can be fired from a business process automatically can include extended data of the related entities to the primary entity, in this scenario the primary entity would be the Request, so here we can include attributes of related entities to the Request namely:

* Customer

* Organisation 

* Service

* Owner

* Raised By

* Team 

Now in your given example it sounds like there maybe an approach which can be discussed, but this maybe subject to where you currently hold the information about the following (outside of Service Manager).

* The Air Time contract code for each division and the division the customers customer belongs too

* The Hardware Account code for each division and the division the customer belongs too

Now if we can use a combination of our import utilities (LDAP & SQL) we could map this information into the custom fields of your supported customers and then as we have this information in those attribute fields for the customer of the request we can use them as variables in the email template:

Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 11.28.34.png

There are  a number of things to discuss and aspects which are specific and may rely on where your data resides, so i have spoken with the Product Specialist who is working with you and he will go through the options with you tomorrow afternoon on your next session to see if this approach is applicable to your requirement.

The question about the asset product code might also be one to pick up with your product specialist, as i am not clear on how you are presenting the Asset options, as it sounds like you are looking for a shopping cart type experience, where you can pick a product / products and order them? unfortunately we don't have this type of functionality at the moment. 

In the absence of the above, one approach could be to use a custom question in progressive capture to see which type of mobile they require, and then once the request is raised, you can evaluate the answer given in your Business Process (GetRequest Question > Decision > Custom Expression > UpdateRequest - Custom Fields (**Available in next Service Manager build), and if it was Mobile option 1 - then update custom field 1 of the request with a specific product code 1, if it was Mobile option 2 - then update custom field 1 of the request with the specific product code 2 etc etc 

Once you have a product code in the custom field of the request, then it can be included in an email template as a variable.

The above maybe feasible where the options are limited, but i am not sure it would scale but i just wanted to propose something for further discussion.


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Hi @Steven Boardman

Thanks for the quick reply!

Currently I have added the Air Time and Hardware Contract codes to each division, so by the sounds of it this info will need to be updated in every user (customer) record too?

The custom question option for the 'type' of item required sounds feasible...as long as we stick to only 3 options! Any more than that might make things a little tricky I think!

Is there any scope for a 'new' item in the BPM, a node which can execute simple SQL queries on a single table and which brings back a limited number of results? 


thanks again....



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Yep the idea would be to hold the information in the customer attributes as this is then available to be included in the email template as an email variable.

We are always adding to and expanding the Business Process nodes and operations, we are trying to provide an environment which is parameter driven and we have evolved the options which you see today based on customer feedback.  Whilst we might not a SQL query solution there might be other options we can look at which provide the same result, if we can understand the use cases?

An example of this is our next step into automation and orchestration in the business process engine which we will be updating our customers on in the coming months. 

This was discussed already on the forum here, re an alpha WebCall which is not for production but gives you an idea that we are busily working in this area and will be able to talk more about this evolution soon.


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@Steven Boardman

I think what I'm looking for is something where I can take info from one table, and use it to collect info from another table....for instance:

Take the customer record, find out which Division that person works for, use that Division info to lookup a separate field in another table, and use that data to update a field in the ticket.

This would mean that I wouldn't need to have the same information (in this case Airtime Contract and Hardware Contract)  in every contact record, because I could just look it up in the Division table.

The Web Call node looks very interesting and will really open things up....if you can get it to answer the phones for us and log tickets through voice recognition we could half our IT department!;) 



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@Paul Alexander So it sounds like we could achieve what you are looking for by expanding on the Get Request Information BPM options we already have.  We currently have the Get Customer Details and the Get Organisation Details (which looks at the customer to work out which organisation details to retrieve)

Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 15.32.18.png

We could look at adding a Customer Grouping option, maybe with input parameters which you specific the grouping type: Cost centre, Division, Department, Company etc - and you just decide which grouping type you want to get the info for (i.e. the one which contains the attributes where you would hold the codes).  And then following this node you would use an Update Request > Custom fields to write these values to the required custom fields of the request, and so could be used in the email templates. 

There are some challenges with this, such as a customer belonging to multiple departments or divisions, so there is a bit to consider. 

This change is not currently in our deliverable list, but i will post back here once it gets scheduled and we can progress it


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@Paul Alexander

From a design point of view, the BPM is foundational to our "codeless" customisation model, which would also include coding SQL.  On that basis we are never going to expose either coding interface or SQL through the BPM. Instead we would seek to expand existing parameter driven functions or indeed create new ones to meet the requirements.  Appreciate this does not contribute to the actual solution but as you mentioned looking for an SQL node I thought I would just jump in a replay the design intent behind BPM. 


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@Steven Boardman, @Gerry

Thanks for the updates...and I completely understand why a 'free' SQL node isn't available (and the possible mess it could cause if it was available!).

As it is though, it's great that I'm not just being told 'no, you can't do that....' and that, only a couple of hours after first voicing my problem, suggestions and information is already sent my way to let me know I've been listened to and some options and ideas have been forthcoming. 

So...kudos to you all and I look forward to seeing what comes out of it!




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@Paul Alexander

Hornbill only exists because of our customers, we would be mad not to listen and thats a culture I have tried to create around our cloud offering. Of course we cant do everything and we need to create space to allow us to innovate and drive forwards too, always a difficult thing to balance so, on the odd occasion we also have the somewhat unenviable task of having to say no too, in order to keep us generally on the correct path.  I would hope though, on balance the level of innovation and progress we are able to achieve would far outweigh the odd thing that we cant deliver.

Thanks for your feedback re our community, its nice to hear. 


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  • 4 months later...

Hi @Paul Alexander

Hope you're well!

We have completed developing an enhancement to Entity > Requests > Get Request Information > Customer Details automated task to return a customer's Division, Costcenter, Department and Company information.



This includes the custom fields that are defined against each Organisational Data type . For example, the Company form has 6 custom fields - You can reference to field 1 in Company form with Company Custom 1.



In your example, a custom field against a Division contained information that you wish to access through the BPM. If I wanted to reference Attribute1 (in the following example) using the Variable Picker through the BPM, I would simply drag Division Custom 1.



We aim to make this available in the week commencing 25th September. Please look out for this enhancement in the Release Notes.




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