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“Most projects don’t go wrong, but if they do, email becomes critical”

Paul Hill, BIM Specialist, Arup

Arup

Industry: Engineering

Company Size: +10,000 Employees

Location: Worldwide

Website: www.arup.com

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Key benefits:

  • Speed of finding and filing information
  • Ability to locate emails many years later
  • One centralised storage location
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The background

In this day and age of electronic communication, a significant amount of written correspondence takes place in the form of emails between organisations and their clients. On projects, agreements are often formalised and recorded via the exchange of emails and these are traditionally stored in users mailboxes.

Months or years later when a dispute arises these emails are often required urgently, sometimes by a court, to bring clarity to what was said and agreed between parties concerned. Sometimes the consequence of not providing this information can result in severe financial loss and the speed of being able to locate the necessary data is often paramount.

With email systems accumulating years of communications, dispersed across various mailboxes or Public Folders, organisations have sought to offload certain important project-related emails into more appropriate long term storage. A variety of systems are often involved ranging from third-party email archiving systems to products such as Microsoft SharePoint however one key objective is sometimes overlooked and that is the ease of being able to locate those messages many years later.

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The requirement

Arup is not immune to this problem and despite the initial peace of mind, are finding the effort to locate emails is increasing as they move into archive systems or other longer-term storage. The key factor is the ability of the search engine being able to identify the required messages together with the intelligence of the indexing used against the metadata. We can no longer depend upon remembering the name of a person who worked on a project many years later and sometimes the content of a message might be as vague as a single line "yes" response but the value of that evidence could be significant. The alternative is to reduce the dependency on the searching of the "needle in the haystack" and focus more on an intelligent filing solution.

The idea of storing all project-related documents, whether drawings, memos, or emails, in a single location, has always had appeal from a project management point of view and also makes archiving at the end of the project easier.

The solution

Mail Manager facilitates this by integrating with Microsoft Outlook to offer a suggested filing location for each email sent by the user. As messages are filed in the same location as other project documents they are all in one place and thus easy to find both during the life of the project or many years later from an archive.

 
If you want to know more, read our Q&A with Faith Wainwright, Arup Director, and our Q&A with Clive Bortz, Regional CIO of Arup Australasia & East Asia. You can also find the Mail Manager story here.
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