SMS Notifications using Dovetail Rulemanager
Gary Sherman
August 15, 2017

When employees are notified as part of a business rule action, the notification method is determined by the employee’s notification preference.

 

The default notification methods are:

  • Email
  • Notifier
  • Forward to my Supervisor
  • Tone Pager
  • Text Pager
  • Digital Pager
  • None

Dovetail Rulemanager recently added support for one additional option: SMS

An SMS notification will send an SMS message (text message) to an employee’s configured device, typically their mobile phone.

 

SMS Notification Message

 

Users can set their notification preferences for SMS, just like any other preference.

SMS Notification Preference

Couldn’t we do this before?

In the past, if you wanted to send SMS messages, we would typically use a custom replacement paging application for Rulemanager. This custom script would call into a 3rd party web service, or  use the cell provider’s email to SMS gateway. These solutions all required custom scripts, and ended up being additional processes that Rulemanager needed to start up. You can read more about those options in our knowledgebase

Now, SMS notifications are first-class notifications, natively built into Dovetail Rulemanager. No additional scripts or customizations necessary. 

Twilio

Dovetail Rulemanager uses Twilio as an SMS provider. You must have a Twilio account in order to use SMS notifications.

Twilio is widely regarded as a leader in telephony and communication software components, and we’ve always been thrilled with their software. It’s powerful, reliable, easy to use, and reasonably priced. Our first integration with Twilio was back in 2009! See this post: Can your CRM place a phone call?

 

What’s this Twilio stuff gonna cost me?

As of this writing, Twilio charges $1.00 per month for a phone number, and $0.0075 per SMS message sent.

For 1000 messages/month, the total monthly cost would be $8.50 ($1.00 for the phone number, plus $7.50 for 1000 messages).

I think that’s very reasonable!

 

Field for employee’s SMS/Mobile number

By default, Rulemanager will use the employee’s Pager number to send SMS messages.

By default, the label in the UI is “Pager”, and this maps to the beeper field on the employee table (table_employee.beeper)

If you wish to use a different field on the employee table, you can do so by editing the Sms.EmployeeSmsField configuration setting within the FChoice.RuleManager.WindowsService.exe.config file.

Example:

Phone Number formats

When sending SMS messages, Twilio is very forgiving with the format of a phone number (just one more in a long list of reasons we like Twilio).

The following phone number formats have been tested and all work successfully:

  • 5121234567
  • 512-123-4567
  • 512.123.4567
  • +1-512-123-4567
  • +1 512-123-4567
  • 512 123 4567

 

Business Rule – Pager message

When sending a SMS message as a result of a business rule, Rulemanager will use the “Pager Message” from the business rule action for the message body.

If the Pager Message field is empty, then the regular “Message” will be used.

Business Rule Action with a Pager Message

SMS Responses

If an employee responds to an SMS message, we can define the message that they get back.

By default, nothing within Clarify/Dovetail happens with any messages that they send back, so we want to inform them of this. This is configured within Twilio, and is easy to setup. The Dovetail Rulemanager documentation walks you through the setup. 

Example:

The following image shows an example of:

  1. an SMS message being sent to an employee
  2. the employee responding
  3. an auto-reply saying that responses are not accepted

 

SMS Message with auto-reply

 

What if I use the Clarify Client?

 You can enable SMS as a notification preference within the Clarify Client, and this will all work.  

But, you would need to be using Dovetail Rulemanager to send out SMS messages. The Clarify/Amdocs Rulemanager does not natively support this (at least in any of the versions that I’ve ever worked with). 

Dovetail Rulemanager will happily co-exist with the Clarify Client. So even if you’re still running the Clarify Classic Client, you can use Dovetail Rulemanager and take advantages of the more powerful features that Dovetail Rulemanager offers, such as SMS notifications. 

During my testing, I found that you do need to do some ClearBasic customization to the Clarify Client in order for it to support additional notification types. I’ve shared the code I used to make all this work

Lets Wrap this Up

Receiving notifications via SMS / text messages has always made sense – especially for High Urgency messages.

With Dovetail Rulemanager, we now have a way to send SMS messages natively, without any hacks, custom coding, or workarounds. 

 

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