This is the second article of three reviewing the functionality behind the Create Communication action on the ticket-based applications. The first article introduced the Create Communication dialog and the three tabs that you get when you open the To field’s Select Value to look up a recipient of the email. In the article we showed how a simple Service Request acknowledgement email could be generated using two new Roles and a Communication Template. You can find the article here –  https://maximosecrets.com/2021/12/02/ticket-communications-1/

In this second article we will be looking at how a Person Group based Role evaluates the set of recipients. A Ticket may exist at System, Organization or Site level and the members of a Person Group can also exist at different levels. This is going to get a bit complicated and so I would recommend you start with the first article. Towards the bottom of this article, we examine sending attachments and web pages with the email.

There is a third article which mainly looks at the provided ticket-based Communication Templates and Roles, some of which are used to keep people informed when there has been a Global Issue.  

Create Communication using Person Group Role

Broadcast Enabled

While you can select one or more Person Groups in the Person Groups tab this will broadcast to all relevant team members. If you use a Role based on a Person Group, you can still broadcast, but you can also send the communication to just one member of the Person Group based on who is available.

In the Roles application, one of the 6 types of Roles is a Person Group. The evaluation of the Person Group can either be a set value as we have here, the Value field is set to SAFETY. Alternatively, you can make this based on an Object and then pick a field that would be a person group. For example, for the object SR we could choose the OWNERGROUP field.

The Broadcast checkbox is selected meaning that it will send the email communication to all relevant persons in the SAFETY Person Group.

For Service Request 1336 when we use the Create Communication action we can select the SAFETY role from the Roles tab, this should send the email to all relevant members of the SAFETY Person Group

The result was andrew.jeffery@znapz.com, Rebecca.Allen@maximodemo.com, Tom.Kazmier@maximodemo.com, Michael.Small@maximodemo.com, Tory.Little@maximodemo.com . This is the same set of 5 recipients as we saw at the end of the first article. Service Request 1336 is still against Site BEDFORD. 

I verified that we got the same results when I removed the Site BEDFORD (it removes the Organization), only Tory Little was included for the email. When the Organization was EAGLENA, the same results again, with Rebecca Allen, Mike Small and Tory Little being the recipients.

I then added several other people to the Person Group and with Broadcast enabled on the SAFETY Role I found that when there was no Organization or Site on the Service Request then the person who is marked as the Group Default was also a recipient of the email. I verified the same result when the Person Group is selected (not via a role) and made the amendment in the Summary of the last section of the first article.

The conclusion is that no matter whether you are choosing a Person Group or a Role that points to the Person Group when the Broadcast is enabled, Maximo behaves in the same way.

Broadcast Disabled

In the Roles application we have removed the broadcast setting for the SAFETY role. Only one person will now be selected from the associated Person Group, and this is where the sequence and calendar of the people in the Person Group will play a part.

From the IBM Documentation for the Types of Roles, it says “If the broadcast option is selected, then assignments and notifications are sent to all members of the group. If this option is not selected, then the assignment or notification is sent to either the first available group member based on calendar and shift, or to the individual who is the default group assignee.” https://www.ibm.com/docs/en/mam/7.6.1.2?topic=overview-types-roles

We know that the first statement about broadcast is only partially true as the organization and site settings on the Service Request also play a part with the Use for Organization and Use for Site values.

I’ve spent several hours trying to prove the part of the statement when the role is not broadcasting and hopefully, in the next few screenshots you’ll see what I discovered. We’ll start by stripping the Person Group back to just one person KAZMIER – Tom Kazmier, who is the Group Default and has a calendar/shift of EVENING/EVENING. Note. If you do similar tests make sure that your calendars/shifts have work periods that include the day you run the tests, because Maximo is going to look for today’s work period record.

The current time is 11:38 and we are in the DAY/DAY shift, so normally Tom Kazmier would not be selected. There is no Site or Organization on Service Request 1336, so on that count Tom Kazmier who is marked as Use for Site – BEDFORD would not be selected either. Therefore, his email is found because he is the Group Default for the Person Group.

In the SAFETY Person Group, I’ve change KAZMIER to be sequence 11 and added SMALL – Mike Small as Sequence 1 with a Use for Organization of EAGLENA. Mike works in the DAY/DAY shift.

On Service Request 1336 I selected Vendor BURSAW, and this set the Organization to EAGLENA. I first ran a test selecting Person Group SAFETY rather than the role of the same name, and Mike Small was the only person to be emailed. This is because when you are working at the Organization or Site level the broadcast no longer includes the Group Default.

When I used Create Communication and selected the role SAFETY then SMALL was not selected, although his calendar/shift fits, and he has a sequence number that means he would be considered before KAZMIER. It is Tom Kazmier whose email appears, and he must still be selected based on the Group Default setting.

To remind ourselves of what the documentation says, “…then the assignment or notification is sent to either the first available group member based on calendar and shift, or to the individual who is the default group assignee.”. SMALL is the first available group member, but it does look as if the people in the Person Group with a Use for Organization setting might be ignored although they would be broadcast to by the same role if the broadcast setting was set on.

In Person Groups I’ve added AJE – Andrew Jeffery with a Use for Site of BEDFORD and marked as Site Default. Andrew works the DAY/DAY calendar/shift. The sequence for this record is 2 and would be considered before KAZMIER.

On the Service Requests application, using the Create Communication and picking the SAFETY Person Group, then it selected all three persons, but picking the SAFETY role only Tom Kazmier was selected, the Group Default.

The conclusion was that the Use for Organization and Use for Site fields in the Person Group has the effect that these persons were excluded from receiving an email when broadcast was disabled for the role, although they would receive the email if you were broadcasting. This did not make sense and a case has been raised with IBM Support.

In the Person Group I have removed the Use for Organization and Use for Site settings for SMALL and AJE. To do this you have to add new records and remove the old records. A person cannot exist in a Person Group multiple times at different levels, you would receive the error message “BMXAA3133E – A person may be at either group level, organization level, or site level, but they cannot be at more than one level.”

As Mike Small and Andrew Jeffery have both a DAY/DAY shift and they are now working at the group level one would expect one of these to receive the email instead of KAZMIER and it should be SMALL as his sequence is 1 compared with AJE with a sequence of 2.

I performed the test on Service Request 1336 with no Organization or Site, with Organization EAGLENA, and with Site BEDFORD, and in all three cases the email was sent to Mike Small. The selection of the email recipient is based on the time of day that the Create Communication is used, and it is checked against the calendar/shift work period to see if time now is within that work period. 

In the People application I have given SMALL – Mike Small the day off today (30-Nov-21), using the Modify Person Availability action and giving a reason code of VAC.

When you run the same test on Service Request 1336 it is Andrew Jeffery’s email that is selected. Mike Small is not available and is then not selected, Maximo then looks to the next person who is available based on their calendar and shift.

I double-checked that it gave the same results if Service Request referenced no Organization or Site, Organization EAGLENA or Site BEDFORD, and in all three cases the email was for Andrew Jeffery.

Summary

The IBM documentation when broadcast is disabled for a Person Group based Role says “If this option is not selected, then the assignment or notification is sent to either the first available group member based on calendar and shift, or to the individual who is the default group assignee.”. This is largely correct, but it is a little more nuanced than that.

When you pick Role SAFETY and the Broadcast field is unchecked, only one person is selected from the associated Person Group. This is the person with the lowest sequence number that is not associated with a Use With Organization or Use With Site, and who either has no calendar/shift or time now is within their calendar/shift and the person is available. This is irrespective of Group, Organization or Site default settings, and irrespective of whether the Service Request references an Organization or Site.

What seems strange to me is that when the Role is set not to broadcast that Use for Organization and Use for Site fields in the Person Group seem to be completely ignored when the Service Request references an Organization or Site. People who would receive an email if the role was set to broadcast, are not even considered when broadcast is disabled. You would think it should be finding the best person from the set of people who would receive the email when set to broadcast. Additionally, if there were multiple persons who could be eligible for the organization or site based on their availability, then before deciding who to send an email to, based on the sequence, it should send the email to the person who is marked as Organization Default or Site Default, if there is one.

Create Communication with Attachments

When you use the Create Communication action you can attach documents or provide links to web pages in the email communication.

In the Service Requests application, I am logged on as AJE – Andrew Jeffery and on SR 1336 when I use the Create Communication action the Send From is set to my normal business email andrew.jeffery@znapz.com. From the To field’s Select Value I will look for my other email address from the People tab, the one that will send to maximosecrets@gmail.com.

To test emails in Maximo whether through Workflow, Escalations or through the Create Communication action ideally you want 2 or 3 email addresses, one to send from and at least one to send to.

The Subject is – Attachment Test from SR 1336. The message is – Here is an attachment for your article and the link to the Role Types. Good Luck – Andrew.

I did do a test using the Rich Text Formatting (RTF) toolbar and some red text and some boldened text, and both the email seen from the Communication Log and the received email in the maximosecrets@gmail.com inbox received the same formatting.

Scrolling further down the Create Communication dialog is the Attachments table window with two buttons for Attach File and Attach Web Page. I have used the Attach File, created a Name – TKTCOMM01 – and a description – Ticket Communications – Screenshot, I then selected the file from my laptop, the file is the first screenshot in this article.

After pressing OK, a record is entered in the Attachments table window with the Name and Description you gave.

Using the Attach Web Page button you again need to enter a Name – ROLETYPE – and a description – Maximo Role Types, then provide a URL for the web page – https://www.ibm.com/docs/en/mam/7.6.1.2?topic=overview-types-roles.

After pressing OK, a second record is created in the Attachments table window. We are now ready to test by using the Send button.

The two attachments you sent are stored as Document Links to the Service Request which you can see from the paperclip icon (Attachments), in the top right of the main Service Request tab. Both files are stored under an Application called COMMLOG, there is no Maximo application of that name that you can launch.

From the Communication Log tab under the Log tab, you can find a record of the sent email – Attachment Test from SR 1336 and it shows the two Attachments records which you can launch to view the attached file or web page.

In my email system I did receive a new email on the maximosecrets@gmail.com inbox, with the subject and message text we had entered and with a screenshot which is the attachment to the email, and a link to the Role Types web page found on the IBM Maximo website.

I did run a test selecting multiple attachments using the new feature of Maximo 7.6.1.2 which allows multiple files to be selected in one action and I received the error message “BMXAA4195E – A value is required for the URL / File Name field on the DOCLINKS object.”. A case has been raised with IBM Support.