What’s New in Dovetail Agent 13 – including expanded queries, T&E tracking, and parent-child cases

We recently released Dovetail Agent version 13.



Highlights include:

  • Log Time and Expenses
  • Parent-Child Cases
  • Individual Contacts
  • Adhoc Queries
  • Querying with a specific time
  • History improvements for small images

Lets take a closer look at these.


Log Time and Expenses

Cases and Subcases now include Time and Expenses tabs, allowing for tracking billable and non-billable time and expenses.

T&E logs are often used in Field Service organizations, but many other service and support organizations use this functionality as well.

Time and Expense logging can be enabled/disabled individually on a system wide basis, and is also privilege-class controlled, allowing organizations to control who is allowed to log T&E.



On the Time tab, we include a summary of time broken down by Billable and Non-billable categories. In addition, we include any time logged as part of the Log Research action.





On the Expenses tab, we also include a summary of expenses broken down by Billable and Non-billable categories.

One of the niceties we’ve included is a total amount of time and expenses presented within the tab header.

Often, users are sitting on the History tab. From here, you can easily see if there are any T&E logs just by looking at the Time and Expense tab headers, without having to switch to each tab.


Parent-Child Cases

Lets start with what parent-child cases are, and why you might use them.

From the Clarify docs:

With parent and child cases, you can associate a group of problems with a common cause. The parent case identifies the root cause. A child case is a customer problem that arises due to the root cause and is linked to the parent case. A child case differs from a Subcase, which is a way for subdividing a case for parallel work by different employees on the same customer problem.

For example, suppose a WAN outage occurs within a company. Users create multiple cases for sites affected by the outage. You can designate one of the cases as the parent case and link the other related cases to the parent case. Thereafter, updates on the outage are reported in the parent case. Only one case needs to be updated, removing duplicate work. All related child case owners can access the parent case to view the status.

Parent-Child cases can easily be enabled/disabled on a system wide level via an application configuration setting.


Parent Case

A parent case is one that has children, and those children will be listed on the Child Cases tab



Child Case

A child case is one that has a parent. Its parent will be displayed in the case left sidebar



Parent-Child Case Queries

Using queries, you can easily find parent cases:



and child cases:



Individual Contacts

Individual Contacts are useful when working in a B2C (Business to Consumer) organization, as opposed to a B2B (Business to Business) one.

One way to think of Individual Contacts is that they are site-less contacts. At least as viewed from the UI.

Technically, at the database level, they do have a site, but we’re hiding that fact from the UI.

Individual Contacts can easily be enabled/disabled on a system wide level via an application configuration setting.

An individual contact will look a lot like like a business contact, except:

  • They will have an Individual badge
  • Their address will be shown on the main contact form (addresses are normally kept with the Site)
  • There will not be a Sites tab



If the Individual Contact feature is enabled, then then the Create menu will show 2 options for contacts:

  • Business Contact
  • Individual Contact

So even if you’re using Individual contacts, you can also use Business Contacts. A business contact is the traditional contact, and is related to one or more Sites.



Cases for Individual Contacts will render without any site information:



When creating or editing an Individual Contact, you don’t pick a Site, but you do enter Address information.




Adhoc Queries

You can now query on a lot more things out of the box, and we’ve made it easy to customize the baseline queries and to query on other items in your system.

There is a new top-level Query menu, allowing users to query entities in the system. This includes:

  • Work Items (Case/Subcase/Solution/Change Request/Part Request)
  • Accounts
  • Contacts
  • Contracts
  • Employees
  • Site Parts
  • Sites



So now I can create queries such as:

  • Contracts expiring in the next 90 days
  • Contacts with a role of Billing Contact
  • Sites in Ireland
  • Reseller Accounts
  • Employees in the Support workgroup who are part of the Boston office
  • Site parts with a status of To be Installed
  • etc.




Just like with previous queries on cases/subcases/etc – you can:

  • Edit
  • Save
  • Rename
  • Share
  • Favorite
  • Download to Excel or CSV
  • Use prompt-able filters
  • etc.

All of these queries are driven by configuration files.

Other entities (including your custom ones) within the system can be queried by creating new filter configuration files.

Filter Config Files define:

  • what tables/views are being queried
  • joins
  • what filters (facets) are available for the user to filter the query by
  • what non-facet fields are queried for use in output data
  • what output data is returned to the front-end of the application (columns)
  • required privilege to make the entry available in the top-level Query menu
  • required features to make a columns available in the output data

Existing filter config files can be modified, and new ones added.

Baseline filter configurations can be over-ridden using filter override files. This allows customization without modifying the baseline files.

This means it’s easy to have your custom fields show up as available filters and output columns.

The Dovetail Agent documentation has all the specific on this, and I’ll have another blog post soon that covers this in more detail.


Querying with a specific time

Filters for date fields using the Before or After operators now support a time, in addition to a date

For example, I can now easily query for all cases where the next action is due before 3:00 today:




History improvements for small images

Small Image attachments received by email are now marked as verbose within Case/Subcase History, which means that they are hidden by default.

This is useful for de-cluttering the History, especially when displaying inbound emails that contain small icons (such as social media icons).

By default, you won’t see these images within the history. They will still be listed on the Files tab.

If you use the Show Details option for history, then they will be displayed, along with their dimensions:



Note: This requires Dovetail Carrier 2.2 or higher, as that version of Carrier is what saves the image dimensions to the database.

The exact dimensions for determining what is “small” is configurable within application settings. The default is 72×72.



We’re very excited about this release – especially the new Query functionality. Not only does it deliver some great power out of the box, but by making it easy to modify and extend querying, it allows customers to enhance the system even further.

There’s also a number of minor changes, assorted bug fixes, and some changes that are specific to developers.

For a complete list of enhancements and fixes, refer to the What’s New section in the Agent 13 documentation.

If you want to learn more, or want to see a demo of Agent in action – just drop me a line or give me a call – I’m always happy to show off our applications!



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