Let's talk about email attachments. Not very exciting, but used every day, by nearly everyone. In fact we are going to discuss email attachments and Jira Service Desk. Now, not only do we strongly recommend Atlassian’s Jira Service Desk (JSD) to our customers, but we also extensively use it ourselves.
For internal IT requests, to our finance help desk (which manages employee purchases and expenses), employee onboarding, holiday requests and so on, we use JSD to manage most of our internal business processes, but by far two of the most important things that we manage are enquiries from prospects and support requests from our customers.
We expose JSD’s Portal and Help Center so that our customers can use the web interface to raise requests, but the vast majority of the issues we receive and handle are via email. It is convenient for prospects and customers, and for us too.
Atlassian do a superb job of developing JSD which meets the needs of thousands of customers but not every customer’s needs are exactly the same. The balancing act that Atlassian performs is to weigh addressing these edge cases against the needs of the majority. It would not be sensible to make changes that would affect all customers to address the needs of a few.
Fortunately, Atlassian provide developers with extension points to change the behaviour of the applications and add new functionality, and the Atlassian Marketplace provides a convenient way to distribute these apps to customers, allowing them to try apps for 30 days and buy them securely.
As mentioned, we are great proponents of JSD but there are some things about using the product we wish were different and we have started to developing to address these issues.
In his essay The Mail Must Get Through, open-source software advocate Eric S Raymond said that “every good work of software starts by scratching a developer’s personal itch”. Or to put it another way, a developer has a greater chance of developing a good app if they will use the software themselves to address a problem they have.
We plan to release several apps to the Marketplace for both Server and Cloud scratching some of these “itches”.
Easy Email Attachments for Jira Service Desk
Our first app is Easy Email Attachments for Jira Service Desk and addresses a need that JSD Server customers will be familiar with. In fact, there is a 4 and half year old suggestion on Atlassian’s issue tracker with 417 votes and 246 watchers asking for this specific functionality: JSDSERVER-3371.
When responding to a request with a comment including a file attachment, the notification email that customer receives does not contain the file as an actual attachment. Instead, there is a link to the file which takes the customer to the JSD instance, where they must login to access the file. Often our external users will not have set up an account or even if they have they have they have forgotten the password. This additional step sometimes really frustrates them, after all they just want to read the attachment and get on with resolving the problem.
We also have several customers who only want to communicate with their users via email and not expose the portal outside their firewall. The stock JSD functionality would mean that they couldn’t use attachments at all and would have to send the files a different way, via Dropbox for example.
There are some solutions that workaround this issue but they involve installing and configuring complex add-ons or change how Agents have to work by adding new UI into the comment screen.
However, we felt that this issue needed an app that an admin could be install easily with minimal configuration and be up and running in a few minutes. Oh, and no re-training how agents work.
Our new app allows users to send mail attachments in your customer notification emails from Jira Service Desk - simple and easy.
Here is an overview video:
Customers receive real attachments, no more portal links
Full attachment in the email, instead of a link that the user has to download:
- Notification emails work as your customers expect.
- Allows instances behind the firewall to send attachments to external users
- Easier email conversations, faster resolutions, and customers don't have to remember yet another login.
- Works with Outlook, Gmail, iOS and all standard mail clients
Easy to setup
- Get up and running in minutes
- Configuration is on a per-project basis from the Project Settings page for each project
- Uses the same template approach and variables as Jira Service Desk itself
- Simply copy over your existing configuration
Agents work as usual
No changes to the way agents work:
- No changes to the Jira Service Desk comment interface
- Agents drag in issue attachments as normal - no additional training required
Try the app free for 30 days from the Atlassian Marketplace
Getting started documentation is available from our help centre and here is a video showing how easy it is to configure:
We provide support during the 30 day trial period and for customers who have a current license for the app.
Also, we welcome feedback and suggestions from JSD users about the app. Please contact us and let us know your thoughts.