Use the Exchange connector for updates only

September 11, 2014 Posted by Anders Asp

The Exchange Connector is an essential part of almost every Service Manager installation. Some customers however, do not want to create new Incidents/Service Requests upon receving new e-mails, but would rather want the connector to handle updates only. This is not possible to configure in the connector itself which causes some people to think that this isn’t possible. But what can we do about this on the Exchange side?

Well, we know that the connector itself will create new work items if incoming e-mails are missing the work item id tag in the subject, such as [IR412] or [SR9122]. If the tag is present in the subject, the connector will update the matching Work Item with the information within the e-mail. So if we can block or reject any e-mails missing the ID tag, the connector would only receive updates, right?

To do this, we would have to create a new rule from the Exchange console. The example below is from my Exchange 2013 lab environment but the same rule is applicable to Office 365 as well.

  1. Open the Exchange Admin Center by using your browser to access https://<servername>/ecp
  2. Log in with an account that has Exchange rights and go to the mail flow tab
  3. Under rules, click the + sign to add a new rule
  4. Select Create a new rule…
  5. Give the rule a name, such as Exchange Connector – accept updates only
  6. Under Apply the rule if… select The Recipient… > address matches any of these text patterns and specify the e-mail address of your Exchange Connector
  7. Under Do the following… select Block the message… > reject the message and include an explanation and enter a message of your choice
  8. Under Except if… select The subject or body… > subject matches these text patterns and specify the text pattern exactly like this: \[\D\D\d*\]
    The text pattern will include any email containing the ID of the Work Item enclosed in square brackets, just like this [IR123]. (The D equals one alphabetic character, and the d equals one numeric character)This is what you should end up with:

When you’re done in Exchange, try to send some e-mails to your Exchange Connector e-mail address to verify function. Any e-mails missing the id tag should be rejected with a message, and updates should get through and picked up by the connector. When working as it should, implement this into your production environment – because you’re not testing new stuff directly into production, are you? 🙂


Had a couple of questions on how this could be done in Exchange 2003, see the picture below. Please note that the actual text pattern is a bit different!


2 Responses to Use the Exchange connector for updates only

  1. Maekee says:

    If i create a oulook rule in the owa, will the rule remove the mail in time before the Connector finds it?
    How fast is the rule?

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