Mail Manager, the solution developed by Arup, explores how to integrate email into document management
Email is commonly recognised as one of the most important, most widely used business and communication tools. Despite ongoing rumours of its death, usage of the medium only continues to increase and has become even more important since the start of the pandemic. Email has been, and still is, one of the greatest business tools ever created.
In fact, our recent State of AEC Project Management research report found that email had become more important and increased in volume for 80% of respondents in the last 12 months. While our Email and Document Management Usage report, surveying business leaders in a wider range of industries, revealed that email is the letter of today and by far the primary method of formal communication.
However, the increasing volume of emails is only creating more problems for organisations and their users. With an estimated 294 billion emails sent and received on a daily basis in 2019, and business users receiving an average of 126 emails every day, which sees between just 20% and 40% of those messages being opened, most inboxes resemble chaos.
In the face of this email overload, there are several key problems affecting businesses’ email management processes:
A visibility problem: Email inboxes are increasingly clogged up with customer requests, newsletters, conversations with colleagues, messages that people are unnecessarily copied into, and more. Our research discovered that 87% of respondents were concerned about project information not being available when they needed to find it, of which 26% said they were “very concerned” about project information not being visible enough. Organisations need to ensure that project information and client communication is visible to the entire project team. This is crucial to helping all members of a project to remain up to date on delivery deadlines, scope changes, client requests and potential disputes. Unfortunately, documents and emails are typically in different places, creating silos. Staff don’t want to go to one place for a certain kind of record, and another for a different type of record.
A legacy problem: The issue of email discovery becomes particularly important when teams need to find information from legacy projects, which is increasingly on the rise. Nearly half of the respondents to our research now have to find emails from old projects on a regular basis, while 19% have to retrieve legacy information “very often,” which was a 33% increase on the same time 12 months ago. Users need to be able to find the information they need it, when they need it, especially when it comes to client requests or in the face of legal disputes.
A human error problem: Managing emails has, historically, been dependent on people diligently filing their own emails themselves. Given the increasing volume of emails, it should come as no surprise that emails aren’t being filed correctly, mistakes are being made, and important project and client information is going missing. Businesses need to look to technology that helps users file emails and documents appropriately to remove the risk of errors and make their data more easily discoverable.
Email archiving is often held up as a solution to these email management issues, but it doesn’t provide a complete solution for businesses. To address these growing concerns, organisations need to take a different approach to managing and storing their emails.
Integrating email and document management
Our Email and Document Management Usage report revealed the importance of managing email, with 87% of respondents saying it’s essential to delivering good document and records management, providing better information visibility (86%) and quality management (84%). While 84% of respondents also said that poor email management could have significant consequences for their business.
Businesses can remove the reliance on employees manual filing emails by integrating their email into a document management system. This ensures emails are automatically filed into the most appropriate folder, ensuring that all members of a project team can quickly and easily find the information they need when they need it.
As a result, business and project leaders can keep on top of communication, client requests and project scope changes even if they weren’t copied on an email. This approach mitigates the risk of important project information going missing, saves employees time searching for documents and emails they need to evidence legal disputes, and helps businesses to predict, rectify and understand potential issues before they become a problem.
Businesses also benefit from saving storage space. An automated filing process prevents employees from suffering inbox overload by ensuring they don’t store critical business communication in their personal inboxes or folders.
Many organisations suffer from chaotic email management but an effective document management system can bring calm and focus to the madness.
Mail Manager’s role in email and document management
The Mail Manager solution enables automatic filing of emails and documents that ensure vital project information is only stored in secure, centralised locations. It uses artificial intelligence to learn employees filing habits and understand the most appropriate location for specific emails and documents to be stored in.
Crucially, Mail Manager helps businesses to store sensitive data in folders or locations that have restricted access rights. The solution also removes the risk of document duplication, ensures full visibility of business information, and prevents important data from being lost, deleted, or locked in employees’ individual inboxes.
The Mail Manager solution features a search function that enables users to find any document or email from across their systems and IT environments within two seconds. As a result, employees can find the specific data they need as and when they need it. This is vital as users work remotely and as legal disputes appear, helping project leaders to evidence their case as quickly as possible.
It’s time to avoid your usual email headaches. To find out how you can reduce risk and increase collaboration on projects, download our guide ‘Transform your project information management by embracing Sharepoint‘.