Combe Pearson Reynolds Consulting Engineers (CPR Engineers) is a structural and civil engineering design firm that covers all phases of a project, from civil engineering design to stormwater management, pavements and site works. It’s involved in designing building structures for architects, building owners and developers, including the South Australian government, as well as concept design and traditional tender, design and construction.
Email challenges in the built environment
Firms in the built environment typically see email challenges like sensitive or liable information being locked in individual inboxes and employees leaving the organization with information locked in their inboxes. They also need to be able to have relevant information to hand to defend their actions and decisions, while their need to be accountable to partners is reliant on project teams being organized enough to file email efficiently.
In reality, they can find the information they need but it tends to be a time-consuming and frustrating experience. Furthermore, they rely too much on unorganized archives from their IT team and fee earners often don’t have the information they need to defend the organization.
Clunky email challenges
CPR Engineers had been reliant on a Total Synergy practice management plug-in to Microsoft Outlook, which offered limited data filing and search functionality.
As David Reynolds, Director and Owner of CPR Engineers, explains: “The plug-in was clunky and offered limited-to-zero search capability and we were finding that not a lot of our emails were being saved and data wasn’t appearing in the project directories. And we found ourselves relying on Outlook and PST files way too often.”
The organization estimated that only 30% of its project data and email messages were actually being filed. This meant that employees were reliant on manually searching through old Outlook files to find the information they needed.
Immediate implementation benefits
To counter this, it signed up for a two-week trial of Mail Manager for two key users in September 2020, right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. But implementation was a quick and easy process that was fully installed in around 90 minutes, followed by two or three training sessions in the first 30 days of usage.
Mail Manager received instant access to CPR Engineers’ existing emails and is now used to file to its current file structure on an office-based server. With the tool deployed across its workforce of 21 people, CPR Engineers’ users now have close to 100% compliance with filing emails. For context, CPR Engineers brought across four-and-a-half years of data, which represented around 60,000 emails. In the first three to four months of implementing Mail Manager alone, it saved around 11,000 emails. Users are also able to easily search for new and legacy stored emails and can now send links to saved emails and files.
On the implementation of Mail Manager, David said: “We hugely benefited from the free trial. The installation and setup were painless and effortless and we got near-instant results. Emails now practically file themselves and the ability to quickly search for files has been really important. The uptake has been really significant.
“From a senior director and management point of view, the ability to get across other individuals’ saved emails is very powerful and the quick search function is crucial for information discovery purposes.”
After just a few months of use, CPR Engineers’ staff gave Mail Manager an average rating of 8.8 out of 10, saying it was “simple and quick” and praised the “very powerful search function.” And senior associate Mark Billinger said: “Comparing Mail Manager with other similar types of programs, I believe this is one of the most appropriate systems for the ease of email filing. It ensures that emails and files are saved at the appropriate times at the correct locations.”