Gary Sherman
Gary Sherman

Gary Sherman

Chief Technology Officer, Vice President of Products
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Gary Sherman
June 12, 2014

Recently I was looking to put a report together that would track the total number of cases that are open on a daily basis, and graph that as a trend.

This is fairly tricky to do with baseline data. It would be easier if I had a query that ran every night and simply recorded the total number of open cases at that point in time. All I need is the count, not the actual data. Then I would have a set of records that I could build a report with.

My first thought was to create a simple script that would run the query, then set this up as a Scheduled Task to run nightly. Then I could store the results somewhere in the database.

Then I realized that this all sounded familiar – this is Trend

Gary Sherman
June 10, 2014

Google recently launched a Hangout start button that can be easily embedded within any app or website. From their post:

That’s why we recently launched a Hangout start button that can be embedded in any app or website. Whether you’re a sales rep working in a CRM app or an engineer in a project management tool, it only takes one click to launch a Hangout and your team will automatically be invited. You can even improve customer service with the ability to quickly launch into a video Hangout with a client to resolve an issue. (emphasis mine)

This is pretty slick.

There are a ton of remote support options out there, many that are expensive, and the integration with these can be pretty involved.

I like Google hangouts because it’s simple and free. And Google has made

Gary Sherman
June 4, 2014

FT Works recently posted In praise of the support scrum. In it, she discusses:

the joys of the support scrum (or huddle, or case review, as I usually call it)

A case review is a regularly-scheduled, structured meeting between support engineers designed to share difficult cases and exchange troubleshooting suggestions.matlab


Back when I was a Tech Support Engineer at The MathWorks  (where I first started using Clarify), we used to have these meetings. I forget exactly what we called them, but they were a great way to have a roundtable of senior engineers assisting us junior guys with difficult cases (i.e.  calculating the FFT of quaternions, dealing with endian conversions with floats on a VAX, etc.). Sometimes

Gary Sherman
June 2, 2014

What is NPS (Net Promoter Score)?

The Net Promoter Score, or NPS®, is based on the fundamental perspective that every company’s customers can be divided into three categories: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors.

By asking one simple question — How likely is it that you would recommend [your company] to a friend or colleague? — you can track these groups and get a clear measure of your company’s performance through your customers’ eyes.

Read more about NPS.

What is Delighted?

Delighted is a new application that makes it easy to gather feedback from your customers to determine your NPS.

How does it work? When a case is closed, we’ll call the Delighted API. Delighted will then send an email to the customer. Customer clicks their answer (0-10) Answer is recorded in Delighted Customer can optionally enter some comments We

Gary Sherman
March 26, 2014

With Dovetail Agent 5 and SelfService 2, we’re using Canopy for acceptance testing. We even ship our test suites with the app, so if you customize/extend the application, you can run the tests to be sure you didn’t break anything, and you can add in your own tests for any custom functionality.

So far, Canopy has proved itself to be the nicest web testing framework we’ve used – it’s simple and stable.

Scott Hansleman recently kicked out a nice blog post talking about canopy and the F# language. In it, he provides some links to playing with F# and a simple Canopy example. Great stuff!

So check out the tutorials that Scott links to, and then for our Dovetail Agent and SelfService customers – be sure to download the latest versions of those

Gary Sherman
March 4, 2014

We’ve done a lot of work recently to improve case (and subcase) history within Dovetail Agent 5.

It feels much cleaner, is easier to read, and just feels pleasant. Plus there’s some cool new features.

Here’s a few highlights.





Avatars for users, applications, and customers are shown.

Notice that there is an avatar for Annie (who is a employee/user), Scott (who is a contact), and for Dovetail SelfService (an application).

And the avatars are clickable links. If the avatar is for a user/employee, the link goes to the employee page. If it’s a contact, it goes to the contact page.

Reverse Chronological Order

Notice that the history shows the newest entries at the top, similar to many current

Gary Sherman
January 28, 2014

One of the modules within a Clarify system is Task Manager. In support environments, it’s typically used to automatically generate subcases. Task Manager can be kicked off by using the Jobs button on a case, or by having a business rule call the taskmgr executable.

A task definition defines the specifics of the object that is to be created (in this case, we’re talking about a subcase that gets created).

Out of the box, Clarify allows you to set the following subcase properties when a subcase is created via Task Manager:

title description required date priority status severity elapsed time

But, like most things in Clarify, we can setup additional properties.

Custom property – subcase type

For example, lets say we want to be able to set the subcase type. The valid subcase types are General and Administrative.


Gary Sherman
November 7, 2013

We use our Dovetail SelfService application for supporting our customers on a daily basis. It gives customers the power to access what they need, when they need it – quickly and easily.

Customers have access to:

knowledgebase product downloads product documentation license keys

And of course, they can interact with our support staff using cases:

create new cases update existing cases: add notes, upload files, change severity close cases reopen cases etc.

When a case is created via SelfService, customers pick the severity of the issue, such as:

Low – I’ve just got a question Medium – It’s minor and not significantly affecting production High – Production is heavily degraded Urgent – Production down

We use Rulemanager and business rules to notify our support staff. For Urgent cases, we send SMS messages and make a phone

Gary Sherman
November 4, 2013

A common request I hear from users is: How do I get solutions (knowledgebase articles) out of my WIPbins?

A Solution (in baseline Clarify/Dovetail) is always in an Open condition – meaning it’s always in a user’s WIPbin. But once I’m done creating/editing it – I don’t want to see it anymore. It just clutters up my workspace.

One very simple way to tackle this is to create a dummy Solution Librarian user. That way, a user can simply assign a solution to the Solution Librarian, and this takes it out of the user’s WIPbin.


This is super easy to put in place, and allows user’s to keep their workspace tidy and clutter free. There are more complex options that involve

Gary Sherman
October 25, 2013

I’ve posted in the past about how to notify the case owner when someone else logs a note to their case. 

I find this especially useful when a customer does something in SelfService, or responds to an email that is processed by Dovetail Carrier.

For example, if a customer logs a note to a case in SelfService, I want to know. If a customer responds to an email, and is automatically logged to a case (via Dovatail Carrier), I want to know.

This post recaps information in the previous post, and adds some additional niceties to the notification message.

Notification Email

Here’s an example of a notification received via email:



The business rule

Object Type: Case
Rule Name/Description: Notify the

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