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Workspace Email Client

Updated: Oct 21



I was looking up this functionality to better understand for a client and thought it was pretty interesting so I decided to share. I haven't heard a lot of buzz about this particular feature in the Workspace, but I know email is still used a lot within the Platform. For this post, I'm not going to make any distinction between Configurable/Now Experience and Agent Workspace, the functionality works pretty much the same in both.


As we all know, there's a number of ways in ServiceNow to accomplish a requirement. Communication has always been a big one that's had different scenarios implemented depending on process and the record type. Previously, the Platform UI you could use either comments or the Email Client to communicate back and forth between Callers/Requestors and Fulfillers. The Platform Email Client seemed very one way, i.e. you sent an email to a Caller, and configured inbound email actions to append their reply to the comments, then you reply either via comments or the Email Client again depending on what type of information you needed to send. It seems like ServiceNow worked on this gap with the new Workspace Email Client, because it allows you to communicate back and forth right from the Email record, without having to check the comments field to see what the user sent back.


As a caveat, this post focuses on a PDI without much configuration/customization done on how communication is sent/received with comments, inbound mail actions, etc. These features may differ for you on your instance depending on your communication process and prior development.


Setup


I'm not going to go into the setup, it's listed in the article I added in the resources section and is similar to the setup for the Platform Email Client. I did want to note that the Workspace Email Client is on Incident by default (and it seems Case in CSM) but you do have to enable it for other tables by adding the email_client attribute on the table itself. You may already have tables that have this attribute when configuring the Platform Email Client, but if you haven't added it, or are creating tables for your Workspace Experience, this is something to keep in mind.


I did notice that the Draft, Reply, Reply All, Forward buttons are not UI Actions, they seem to be embedded in specific widgets themselves on the Preview and Draft Email Pages, which house Now Email Client Viewer and Now Email Client Composer components, so it seems to me this functionality was purely created for Workspaces.


Drafts


I don't think you could do this in the Platform Email Client from what I mentioned above regarding the components and poking around in my PDI. Basically you had to be ready to send your communication when using that tool in the Platform UI. In Workspace you can create an email draft and it's saved in a table (sys_email_draft) for later. I think this is great because there's been so many times where I thought I had all of the information I needed, but then realized I needed to look at a few more things before I contacted my user. So then I had to save out whatever I typed in a notepad somewhere and go back to it later. I can see this being helpful and keeping more fulfillers in the tool and out of Outlook, etc.


I think this would be a good candidate to configure within Workspace Lists rather than leaving it up to users to add it to My Lists, but for this post I configured the following conditions in a personalized list in the CSM Configurable Workspace.


  1. Created a List called My Email Drafts

  2. Pointed it to the sys_email_draft table

  3. I just kept the columns it auto-populated but you can change these

  4. Conditions: Author (is dynamic) Me and State is In Progress




Quick Messages


Quick Messages have been a thing for a while. I will call them out because I think they should be used in lieu of Email Client Templates when possible for body content since a table can only have one Email Client Template and this can cause issues if you have multiple departments using an application such as Incident, etc. and have different wording needs. The same rules apply for creating Quick Messages for Workspace as they do in Platform UI, someone has to have a designed role to create them and they are created in the Platform UI under Email Client > Quick Messages instead of within the Workspace.


Flagging


This is pretty neat, I'm sure there's been custom development out there to do something like this, but it's nice to be able to do it out of the box. In a nutshell, you can flag your email as high priority right from the email form within the Workspace. It took me a minute to find the flag it's on the Subject line.



Replying


You can also view emails that you've sent, and received within the Workspace. I love this because it's all in one place. This will cut down on hopping out of ServiceNow and into something like Outlook when replying to emails. To be fair this can be done in the Platform as well, but the reply functionality is missing there. Emails can be viewed on the Related List of the record, Case has a relationship created out-of-the-box, but you can do this for other record types as well. This is probably going to be the easiest way to implement and use this feature. Here's an example of what I did for Incident, I just performed an Insert and Stay on the Case emails relationship under sys_relationship and then just added it to the Incident Workspace view under Related Lists.


Note: You may notice both a Workspace view and Workspace UIB view on your record type, Workspace is used mainly in Agent Workspace and Workspace UIB is used in Configurable Workspaces.



The documentation states you can create a list, but I think this is a little bit easier said than done, because there's not a lot on the sys_email table that will assist in creating conditions that state I'd like to see emails where I'm either the sender or the recipient. If you have ideas, please comment, but there doesn't seem to be a clean out-of-the-box way to set this up. You could configure the Email Client to put the sender in the CC field, but when the user replies and doesn't use reply all, the email goes back to the instance email, so unless they click reply all there's not a good way to catch when a user has replied to your emails in a list view versus viewing it on the record's related list.


So to go through this end to end, I created an Incident, and added my Emails relationship to the Workspace UIB view. I then opened that incident in a configurable workspace such as CSM Configurable Workspace.


I navigated to the Compose Email button, and my draft email came up. One thing to note, is you can add attachments from your computer or the record, which is nifty because I think and tested in my PDI and the Platform Email Client can only send records from your computer unless some customization is performed.



I sent that off, and waited for it to come into my inbox (I turned sending on in my PDI, but didn't use a test email address, and ensured my Caller had an email I had access to). In my inbox I replied back to the email and waited for it to come back into ServiceNow. Here's a screenshot of what the communication looks like in the related list.



In clicking on the received record at the top, which is the one I sent back as the Caller from my inbox, I can see the Reply, Reply All, and Forward buttons.



When I click Reply, a new window opens up, and my callers email is already listed for me. Making it super easy to reply back to their communication within the Workspace.



Summary


I like the enhancements ServiceNow made to the Workspace Email Client versus the Platform Email Client. It has some nice enhancements I think folks have been asking for regarding the draft, attachment, and reply features. I can see the need for some type of visual indicator to be applied to the record when an email comes in against a record type, perhaps this will come out-of-the-box in a future version or you may need to create some customization if you want this feature, unless you have something setup already for comments. I like the drafts feature as a nice to have, and really liked being able to do all of my communication in the Incident record within Workspace as the fulfiller while having the access to add additional recipients and attachments rather than having to use the comments field.


Resources


ServiceNow Product Documentation: Setting up the Workspace email client

ServiceNow Product Documentation: Communicating via email in Workspace

ServiceNow Product Documentation: Communicating with requesters and agents using Compose

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