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Holland Basham benefits from fast, flexible email discovery & filing

15 April, 2021

Holland Basham is an architecture and interior design firm that was founded in Omaha, NE, in 1989 before opening a second office in Denver, CO, in 2019. Its team of more than 50 skilled architects, designers, and planners offers schematic design and construction in a wide range of industries and sectors, from healthcare, industrial and utility, pharmaceutical, and higher education to retail, community, multi-family housing, sports, and historic renovations.

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The Problem

Holland Basham had been using Outlook public folders to store emails on an on-premise server. This created a cost and file storage issue that meant users had to be careful about which and how many emails they filed. However, users would often ignore email filing protocols, which ended up with emails not getting filed or data being lost completely.

When the company moved onto the Internet, it implemented a project information management tool from Newforma. The Outlook add-in provided email filing prompts, as well as actions like RFI tracking, document management, logs, and scheduling. However, the tool left users confused about which software feature they should use, limited the type of storage device emails could be stored on, and wasn’t compatible with Holland Basham’s plans to move to the cloud.

As Warren Curry, an Innovator and Architect at Holland Basham, says: “Both of these solutions required a lot of input from users. The first placed a lot of steps on the user, which created more opportunities for something to get missed. Then with Newforma, it did the prompting and pushed emails to where we wanted them to go but it was sluggish and slow, which discouraged users from filing, and oftentimes they’d just cancel the operation.

“As a result of it being so feature-heavy, many users were intimidated and it would encourage them to bypass email filing for the traditional means of organising information. So there was a lot of inconsistency in how users went about filing emails.”

Implementing Mail Manager

Holland Basham had been looking for a new solution but its decision to switch was triggered when the server its Newforma tool was on failed. The company was already talking to Mail Manager and had received a demo, and, in October 2020, quickly went through its internal process to implement the solution. 

With Mail Manager implemented, Holland Basham was able to add 30 years’ worth of project emails within 15 minutes of its trial beginning.

Matt Neaderhiser, Director of Innovation and Senior Associate at Holland Basham, said: “That afternoon we put it on our system and, having already filed emails to folders on the network to get it out of Outlook, we simply had to search our server for folders with the word email in and drag them into Mail Manager.”

Warren added: “We were able to index all of our previous projects, plus add those new projects to the same collections with relative ease. We could search through all of it using the Mail Manager search features and seeing how robust those features were was a key selling point for us. There's minimal IT experience required to follow the setup process and get up and running thanks to the level of guidance we were given by Mail Manager.”

Holland Basham now

Holland Basham is now reaping the rewards of a wide range of benefits thanks to the Mail Manager solution. These include:

Familiar and easy to use: One of the key features of the Mail Manager implementation was that it was familiar to users and easy for them to pick up and use immediately.

Warren said: “The interface was familiar and easy to use, but Mail Manager was able to do things quicker and more intuitively. It would auto-learn what project it should try to file to, which made the transition much easier, and nine times out of 10 times it knows what job you're trying to file an email to.”

Flexibility: Mail Manager was well-met by Holland Basham’s employees as it was flexible to their email filing preferences. Some users want to keep emails in their inbox while others want the email to be filed and disappear from their inbox as soon as they send a message.

As Warren says: “There's a nice flexibility with Mail Manager that can help even the most reluctant of users become accepting of it.”

To which Matt adds: “Moving to Mail Manager received the most praise for any software we've ever implemented in our firm. I'm not exaggerating, as we've implemented a lot of things and I'm the one that hears all the complaints when things go wrong. This was the easiest solution we’ve implemented and I've received a lot of praise from the users that typically have the most problems.”

Powerful search capability: Mail Manager’s search function has helped Holland Basham to simplify project management and keep track of its email conversations. For example, a project to build a music venue in Omaha had around 10 consultants and engineers based all across the country and on different timezones. Mail Manager enabled the project team to search for specific emails from specific people, stay on top of email chains, and track the timeline of all project correspondence.

As Warren says: “That's been crucial for tracking correspondence to follow up with consultants or with ownership. We can now demonstrate the reasons why changes are happening and what’s going on with the project.”

Email security: Maintaining the security of data was a key focus for Holland Basham when it implemented Mail Manager. All users have access to job folders, but it can implement permission that restricts access to specific functions like HR, IT, management, and marketing.

As Matt explains: “This stops anyone else who doesn’t have permission from accessing or seeing those folders in searches. It doesn’t matter whether you’re storing data on-premise, in Dropbox or Sharepoint, you can control permission to those folders wherever you store it. That was a critical requirement from our leadership team that we able to continue that secure email setup.”

Achieving inbox zero: Mail Manager has been crucial to helping Holland Basham’s users take control of their email inboxes. 

As Warren says: “A lot of our co-workers like their inbox clean and use it to deal with tasks then ensure their inbox is zeroed out. Then they can rest assured they’re caught up on everything. So Mail manager makes it really easy to zero out your inbox and, in fact, made it easier for our users to clear out their inbox and file emails than it has been before.”

Three key benefits

  • Fast, robust email search and discovery
  • Quick and simple email filing that’s available through the cloud
  • Flexibility to allow personalized filing workflows and email preferences

Hear the Holland Basham story of implementing Mail Manager in full by watching the webinar.


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