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“Mail Manager is the Google equivalent for searching my emails.”

Sean DeCoster, Principal

CSDG

Industry: Architecture & Construction

Location: US

Website: https://www.csdgtn.com/ 

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Key benefits:
  • Accessing all project correspondence from a central location 
  • Being able to find specific emails quickly 
  • Cost-effective with quick ROI 

Background

CSDG was established in 2001 as Civil Site Design Group by multidisciplinary team offering depth of experience, knowledge, and steadfast commitment to a diverse roster of clients. The company has transformed to strategically moving beyond its civil speciality to build a team of professionals from diverse disciplines, including planners, landscape architects and designers, and transportation specialists. 

CSDG is like two different firms that function as one, with more than 40 people combined, located in Nashville, Tennessee, and working mostly in the local area. Sean DeCoster, Principal at CSDG, is a Civil Engineer and a Project Manager, but is also responsible for managing their IT functions and oversees the financial aspects of the business. 

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The problem

Sean told us that with everything operating from computers, phones and emails, the information needed to operate effectively often wasn’t properly stored or, when it was, it would be only associated with the account that stored them, rather than with the corresponding project. He said: “If you’re trying to recreate a chain of emails or document the communication on a project, it requires a lot of discipline as most people don’t save. We had situations where someone is out of town or had left the company and you need to follow up or look through their communication, which makes the process a lot more complicated.” 

To tackle this problem, they implemented Newforma, which provided the basic tools to move project information and emails onto the server and make it searchable, but proved too expensive with too many underused features. On Newforma, Sean pointed out: “Although it has qualities, the vast majority of functions weren’t being used, or even relevant to us.CSDG realised maintaining Newforma was not viable, prompting a new search for a software that would better meet their needs. 

The solution

Mail Manager was a great fit, combining the functions they needed with a price they were happy to pay. He added: The interface is easier to use and very intuitive. The software requires that people file in a simple and quick way. At the same time, it has a rather seamless integration with Outlook and a robust searching capability, that allows you to find information quickly and easily, making everyone more likely to use the search tool. 

The implementation process was simple, it happened during the COVID pandemic while everyone was working remotely. Ididn’t seem like it was the ideal timto implement new software at the beginning, but they soon noticed the intuitive platform made working life easier. To start with, 4 people were selected a to test out the programme, one of them being the least tech-savvy person in the company, to make sure if it was it was simple and easy to use. The testing process went well, and the 4 users found it intuitive. 

Once the testing was complete3 different training dates were booked via Zoom, so everyone had to individually sign up and watch the session. CSDG kept track of who watched the session each day, ensuring all employees were properly trained. During the session they sent out a link to install and get access to Mail Manager andin general, the team didn’t have many questions. For the few questions that came in, they sent out the short videos. 

On the benefits, Sean told us: “It has helped me and my team significantly. Just with the ability from the search functions, when I’m on the phone with a client and I know we had some phone call or correspondence about what’s being discussed, I can find the information in real time by going to the search function and typing in my key words, limiting my search so I can get the answers to my client questions straight away. A lot of our projects have been with us for years. One of the projects we have been actively working on since 2012 and Mail Manager allowed us to quickly get hold of all the historic emails over the years, which would have been extremely difficult to accomplish without Mail Manager. 

He sees Mail Manager as a cost-effective way to get your project related emails into a project folder and provide access to everybody within your company or related project team to the relevant correspondence that will provide them with the information to help answer and address questions and queries.  

Sean summarised: “Mail Manager is the Google equivalent for searching my emails. 

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