Working with external partners in JSD

Malin November 22, 2019

Hi there!
We’re using Jira Service Desk Cloud as our company’s IT Helpdesk. Our internal support team handles about 80% of our requests, while around 20% are sent to third parties that are using different service desk solutions. I suppose this is common for a lot of us.

For the first few months we tried out Email This Issue plugin, but with several problems, for example with email replies turning into new issues, we decided to close the subscription after some dialog with their support team and no proper resolution. 

Since then, we’ve only been using Request Participants when emailing issues to different partners. This is not quite optimal for several reasons:

  • Attachments such as screenshots, are not emailed from Jira as an actual attachment, but a link to our Portal. This is not quite a problem for our internal customers, but definitely a problem for third parties using their own service desk solution. 
  • No option to have an internal dialog with third parties and our support team, which is useful in some cases
  • Comments sent by email, often appears with dialog history, which is not at all user friendly for customers or agents 

Lastly it is my impression that the request participants feature in JSD, is designed for Customers of the Service Desk, and for this use it works great.

We’ve considered Plugins like Exalate, but as it is limited to quite a few systems it would only work with very few of our partners

I’m curious to know how other cloud customers out there work with their partners in JSD, I’d be very happy to hear your best practices! 

1 comment

Mike Bowen
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January 17, 2020

Hi @Malin 

I am curious to know why ..."around 20% are sent to third parties that are using different service desk solutions"

Who are these third parties and why would they be using different service desk?, and can you give an example of the type of problem that requires this method. 

In terms of best practice when I joined my company they had Zendesk as the Service Desk, Jira Software for bugs for our DEV team and our customers were emailing problems through to us. It was a mess getting tickets from customer -> agent -> DEV. 

Therefore I got rid of Zendesk, installed Jira Service Desk Cloud, which in turn talks nicely to Jira Software and other tools such a Confluence and the final piece of the puzzle was to convince our customers that email was bad and that the Customer Portal was good for all concerned and here we are a year down the line and everything just works. 

The moral of the story, get everyone possible on the same system. 


Malin July 27, 2020

@Mike Bowen In our company we are all using the same system, Jira Cloud. Thats not the issue here.  With external partners I'm talking about other companies. We cant force our external partners to use some other platform. 
As I mentioned in the post quite a big amount of our Service Desk issues are forwared to external partners, as we dont have expertise internally for every single platform we are using. This is a very common type of an internal Helpdesk in my opinion, at least here in Norway. Therefore I'm curious to know how other Jira Cloud customers solve this. Im sure we are not the only ones with this problem using Jira Cloud. 

Hope this clearifies my issue. By the way sorry for the late response, I've been on maternity leave for the past few months. 

Mike Bowen
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July 27, 2020

Hi @Malin ,

The way I would do it is as follows and it does not entail sending email to external partners (for all the reasons you gave): 

  1. Create a new organization for each of the 20% external partners. (similar to how you've created customers). 
  2. Add the external users to those newly created organizations. (e.g. invite the users of external partners - email invite goes out to them to sign up to your customer portal). 
  3. For example: EP1, EP2, EP3 etc.  (EP = External Partner). 
  4. Inform EP1, EP2, EP3 etc. that you are not emailing them anymore, instead they can pick up their tickets or requests from the customer portal when they have logged in. They can go to the request queue and see all the requests that you your team have assigned to them. Technically you are not assigning the ticket to them, all you are doing is adding the request to their queue. The assignee will still be on your side, but you could make it a generic account or simply leave it as blank. (no assignee). 

Problem Example A:

  1. Ticket arrives in the Jira Service Desk queue from customer AAA (Organization AAA).
  2. Your Jira Service Desk team picks up the ticket and deals with it as per normal. 
  3. Adds comments to the ticket and or resolve the ticket. 

Problem Example B: 

  1. Ticket arrives in the Jira Service Desk queue from customer BBB. (Organization BBB). 
  2. Your Jira Service Desk team pick up the problem but realise they are unable to resolve it because it belongs to external support. 
  3. Jira Service Desk agent adds EP1 to the Organizations field. Now there are two Organizations on the ticket. (one belonging to the customer and one to EP1). 
  4. Update the comments, make use of mentions etc. 
  5. EP1 users will be able to see the ticket logged by Organization BBB and also see attachments or any messages from your Jira Service Desk agents added to the ticket. 
  6. EP1 user can then comment and suggest solution and or cancel/resolve the ticket - depends what you and your external partner have agreed on. 

Advantages of the above solution: 

  1. For reporting purposes you are able to keep track easily which tickets your team has responded on and or resolved versus external partners, since the whole set up is still within your instance. (All the control is in your hands) 
  2. A simple solution, which does not involve old school email. 
  3. The Customer still gets notified of changes to the ticket whoever makes them.
  4. You are still able to add Request Participants (which is like the CC on an email), but better because all the comments and attachments are on the ticket. 

Let me know what you think and if you have anymore questions. I tested this a few minutes ago and it works perfectly. 


Kind regards,


Malin August 3, 2020


Yes we are aware of this possible solution, I'm sorry if that was not clear from my first post.

We are even using this solution with some of our partners. To specify, these are some of the problems that follows with it:

- Our external partners have a SLA to comply, which they of course measure and track in their own service desk system. Having them as customers in JSD this (important!) data will not automatically be tracked.

- We are not able to have a dialog with only external service desk. In many cases we discuss technical details that are not interesting for the customer/reporter.

- I don’t really feel great about forcing our partners on our platform.

- With this solution JSD handles of course external partners as customers. Our customers are internal and we want them to mainly use the portal, therefore we have designed the automatic replies etc for them to go to portal rather than using email. With external partners on the other hand, we want them to be able to receive email. It’s simply designed for customers and for that purpose it works pretty good. Too summarize, our customers and external partners are not the same and treating them the same is not optimal.

 Now over the years we have used and tested quite a lot of different Service Desk solutions and JSD is the only system were we simply can’t send an email to a specified receiver and get their response as a comment in the same issue.

You might think emailing is "old school" and in many ways of communication I can agree, but when it comes to communication between service desks (and again, that are not in the same company), most of the time, email is the best option that allows both parts to work in their own ticketing systems and tracking the relevant data (SLA’s etc) for both parts. At least in our experience and way of work.


Thanks anyway for taking your time to respond.

Jack Caesar August 21, 2022

Hi @Malin - I am in the same position as you describe above.

Did you find any good solutions on how to do this?


Our external vendors (the ones you categorise 20% of your issues as) use various support platforms; some also use JSD, some use Service Now, some use Zendesk, some may use Salesforce Sales Cloud.


I don't think there's going to be a solution that works perfectly for handing off to all those external vendors, but would like to know how you ended up working through this! Even if just the JSD (us) to JSD (external) worked nicey and the rest were a free-text field to capture the external vendor link, that would be something.





Malin August 21, 2022

Hi Jack,
We have not really changed a whole lot in the way we work regarding this, but at least attachments are sent in email now, so emailing screenshots etc works better. But currently, we are still working with these partners (most of them) via "request participants". We now also use Organizations for different partners, so if theres several email adresses, they will all be able to see all of their issues in the portal.

So whenever we share an issue with request participants, we have the automatic notification in JSM to be set to send the description of the issue, then they reply via email or portal. Of course the second option works best for us, but not everyone wants to use the portal. 


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