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Why Effective Email Management is a Business Imperative and How Newforma can Help

March 05, 2021
By Rene Karras

Emails, first introduced in the 1960s, are still an integral part of our everyday work lives. And although some experts predicted their dominance ending with the dawn of instant messaging and a host of collaboration tools, emails are more prevalent than ever these days.

Its usage continues to grow and email addresses are still the number one identification metric on the internet and mobile devices.

The number of emails being sent every day on a global level is due to increase with projections of 347 billion daily emails sent by 2024, according to Statista, a global research firm.

Business Implications of Email Management

Email communication for AEC firms often includes crucial directives or change orders which may impact the timeline, budget, or scope of the project.

The importance of email, combined with the sheer number of emails being sent back and forth each day, raises the question on how well businesses are doing when it comes to successfully managing email.

Failing to organise, sort and categorise communication streams can have extremely harmful effects on businesses. Emails trapped in an individual’s email inbox are often lost when then person leaves the organization or goes on vacation. As a result you and your teammates do not have the most accurate and current information available to make good and timely decisions.

Being able to retrace conversations and decisions made or communicated by all team members via email, becomes even more important when considering project risk.

Design, construction, and project teams often need to prove why a decision was made – based on whose direction. The same goes for deliverables like finalised drawings or assignments. A failure to retrieve an audit trail of this crucial information can lead to costly legal disputes.

Newforma customer Warren Binns, senior associate of London-based architectural practice, Reardon Smith Architects, described their first experiences using Newforma Project Center’s email management functionalities. The practice still recognizes significant value after more than 10 years using it.

“We needed something quick and were ready to make an investment in Newforma. Thankfully that investment paid itself off only months later in one single moment, when we were able to find a crucial email within minutes that helped us win a lawsuit worth a couple of hundred thousand pounds.”

Warrne Binns, Senior Associate, Reardon Smith Architects

Shifting the Email Management Paradigm

Effective email management needs to go beyond using simple email software and reliance on time-consuming, manual filing workflows. And while many systems focus on improving the latter, they fail to address the need to find, retrace, and connect project-related email information quickly and easily.

Email is typically filed by an individual within their own email management system. If firms shift the paradigm away from individual – to project-wide email filing – the problem of losing email threads when a person leaves is solved.

Deploying an email management system that leverages automation to integrate project email with all information as part of the larger project information domain is key.

Newforma unifies project emails with all project data.

With Newforma Project Center, emails are not locked in an inbox – they are unified with all other project data. You can file emails to the project directly from Outlook.

You can then search the entire project record – emails, files, drawings, etc. – from one centralised dashboard. This reduction of steps to access important data greatly increases your productivity and the team’s efficiency.

Another advantage that comes with unifying project emails with other files is additional context. The system can highlight the relationship between data, showing you which file and even which revision, has been shared or is related to another file.

You can also use this unique functionality within Newforma Project Center to better understand how information fits into the bigger picture. Retrace the steps taken by your peers and factor that insight into your own decisions, without constantly having to chase down your project team members.

Innovative search functionalities across the whole project improves decision making.

Newforma indexes all project email including all related content similar to Google. But all attachments are also scanned and indexed. Project Center can then perform a deep-dive search down to keywords embedded in PDFs, DWGs, and even ZIP files.

With emails included with the overarching project data record, you can locate any piece of information – wherever and in whatever file it resides – by using one search across all platforms and locations.

Graphical user interface, application, emailDescription automatically generated

State of the art smart-filing streamline filing workflows.

The way emails are being filed within Newforma has been continuously improved to include “smart filing”. It allows for entire email threads to be filed alongside the original exchange, without any additional steps.

More efficiency gains come from Newforma’s capability to avoid duplicate filings. If you file and email to a project, other team members are automatically notified that it was filed. This reduces the risk of duplicate filings and decreases the number of steps for other teams members.

The Verdict

There is a difference between managing volumes of project emails and intelligently utilising their true value. A comprehensive email management system that integrates email with all project data, increases productivity, reduces risk, and improves decision making.

With Newforma’s unique set of email management functionalities, you can use automation to reap the true benefits of your email data legacy and utilize it as a valuable asset, rather than manage it as an administrative burden.

For more information on Newforma Email Management please visit: Project Center Manage Email.