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Communications Table

This topic describes some of the features and setup of the Communications table in Agiloft. The Communications table contains every email communication stored in the system. Any group that has access to the Communications table in the left pane has access to all email communications in the system, unless complex, table-specific permissions are set for their group. For this reason, admin users are usually the only users with permission to access the Communications table in the left pane.

By default, power user permissions restrict the user from viewing any email linked to an employee record, unless the user is in the To or From field. This prevents users from viewing emails about other employees to which they are not privy, such as HR-related emails. By default, end user and customer groups see only emails to or from themselves.

You might also see Notes stored in the Communications table if they were created before the feature was deprecated. Now, notes are generally configured as an append-only text field. If Notes are stored in your system, you can also see them on the Related Info tab by going to View Record Icon > Related Info. This shows the whole communication history, notes and emails included.

Communications Access and Permissions

The Communications table manages user permissions so that users can only see the emails they should be able to see. In addition to communications in specific records, you can give users access to Communications in the navigation menu, and you can even add direct access to the Communications table and its subtables by adding it to the navigation menu. In most cases, it's best to use the Communications item and keep Communications relegated to administrators.

If you give users access to the Communications table but don't want them to be able to see all communications, you must define a permission filter to eliminate the classes of communications that they cannot see. By default, we have limited access to communications linked to employee records for all groups with a permission filter on the Communications/Email table.

Permission filter in group Table Permissions setting

This filter prevents users from seeing emails linked to employees unless they are the recipient or sender of the email. 

In most cases, you will probably want most power users to see communications that they sent or received or that relate to records they are allowed to view or edit, and this is how the default permissions have been set up. There are several points at which you can limit access to communications. 

  • By default, staff communications permissions restrict the user from viewing any email linked to an employee record where they are not in the To or From field. This prevents users from viewing emails about other employees to which they are not privy, e.g. HR related emails. 
  • By default, end user groups see only emails to or from themselves. 

Communications Heading in the Left Pane

Typically power users will be given access to the Communications heading in the left pane. This is intended to provide a quick way for them to see all emails they have sent or received. There is a specific group permission filter on this section of the interface so you can limit what emails appear under this heading. This option appears in the Group Permission wizard, which can be opened by navigating to Setup > Access > Manage Groups and then editing a group and selecting the General tab:

Communications tab options

This special filter is used because a power user's general group permissions may state they can view all communication records. This is necessary so they can view communications linked to records in any table where they can view both the record and the Communications table. Without a filter here, the user could see communications related to records that they are not permitted to view. 

The default permissions use the To or From Me search to filter what users see under this tab:

To or From Me search

It is strongly advisable to have some filter here to prevent users from seeing all emails through this interface. Beyond limiting the emails to those in which the user is the sender or recipient, you may want to further limit the emails that appear here to those that are NOT sent by rules and workflow actions, just to avoid clutter. This can be done in the search that controls access or in the saved searches for Email Inbox and Sent Emails that are displayed under the heading.

By default, the saved searches shown under the heading have eliminated the rule and workflow emails. For instance, the Email Inbox search is defined as:

Email Inbox search

If you prefer to allow users to see all reminder emails they are sent from the system under this search, you can eliminate the restrictions on Email Sending Type.

Communications Within Records of Other Tables

Within each table of the system, there is a Communications Search Result type field that can show all communications that are related to the records of that table. If you do not give users direct access to the Communications table, then you can control their access to all record-related communications by giving them access to the field showing related communications in that table.

The default behavior is to allow power users to see communications for all records that they can view or edit within the record itself. If you don't want power users to see any communications for a given table, you can simply not give them access to the communications field in that table. If you need to filter within a particular table in terms of which emails power users can view, you must do this via their general permission filter on the whole Communications table.

Showing Communications in Other Records

Communications may be linked to a single record in any table of Agiloft. When a communication is created from within a record , for instance if a record is selected and then the email icon used to send an email about that record , it will be automatically linked to that record and will be visible within the communications field for that record. Likewise, using the Outlook plug-in to forward emails to the system will result in the email being linked to either the sender or recipient of the forwarded email, depending on the mapping defined by the personal inbound setup.

However, although communications may be linked to only one record in one table, they may be made visible from within records in multiple other tables. This is done by adjusting the filter on the Communications field in the individual table.

Communication Field Mapping

This functionality is enabled by the data that is populated in the communication record itself. When Agiloft receives or sends an email it tries to find both the sender's email address and any to email addresses among users of the system. If it finds a match on either field, it populates the related fields: From login, From Company, and To Logins, To companies with the values for the recognized users. Since an email may have multiple recipients, the To Logins and To Companies fields are linked fields that allow multiple values.

Because the email captures both the recipients and their companies, it is possible to show emails sent to individuals and companies by matching either the individual or the company to any field in any record.

Enlarging the Filter of Communications Fields

For instance, in the Company table, the Communications field filter can be configured to show not just the communications that were sent from a particular Company record, but all emails that were sent in which the To Companies or From Company contained that company:

Saved search with additional terms searching the From and To Companies fields for the company name variable

Likewise, any communications field in any table may have the filter on which it is based edited to enlarge the range of emails to be displayed. To do this, navigate to Setup > Tables, edit the relevant table, then in the Fields tab edit the Communications field and in the Permissions tab you can modify the saved search.

Saved Searches on Communications

Because the Communications table is likely to hold millions of records, it is important to design filters that will run searches quickly. This is especially important when searching on a multi-value linked field such as To Company or To Login. The best way to accomplish this is by using a Related Table saved search, such as the Email Inbox search. To do so, you'll first create a saved search on the source table. In the case of the Email Inbox search, this is a search on the People table, which matches the Login field to the login of the currently logged in user. Then you can use a Related Table filter for your search in the Communications table. In the Email Inbox search, the Related Table filter finds records based on whether the To Logins field contains records that match the search created on the People table. 

When you cannot use a Related table, for instance if you want to match a field in the communication record against a field in its linked record, use the contains item operator instead of the contains string operator. This is faster and more accurate.