How Ward & Burke took control of their email management

Mail Manager 09 Jun, 2021

Ward & Burke is a leading Design & Build Operate company, established in Ireland in 2001. Their success has been built on their ability to provide a complete in-house solution for civil, process, mechanical, electrical, instrumentation, control, automation, commissioning and operation of engineering construction problems.

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Maintaining accurate records for lengthy projects

Ward & Burke implemented Mail Manager in 2020. David Power, Head of IT at Ward & Burke, gave a few reasons why the company had decided to implement Mail Manager, but the primary driver for this decision was that their projects have a long shelf life, some lasting 10+ years. It was critical that Ward & Burke were able to provide accurate records for any future queries that may arise, and prior to Mail Manager, manually filing emails was a difficult sell for busy staff. 

When talking about one of their Water & Waste Water Treatment Projects, David commented: "From a Mail Manager point of view, all of these facilities will be in the ground working anywhere from a 10-50 year life. The history and what happened during the construction at any time could become relevant. Particularly with the clean water treatment, the logs of treatment, what chemicals were used or how much could be critical information at some stage, so there's always been a focus on keeping good, up-to-date records."

He continued: "We were very good at keeping documents and drawings, and any project-specific files saved with the correct project, but emails have always been tricky, and that's something I've seen prior to my life at Ward & Burke as well. If it's difficult for people to file an email they typically won't. It's a struggle. So finding a system that makes it easier to file an email is something we were looking for."

Prior to Mail Manager, Ward & Burke also struggled with a "cumbersome" process of retrieving old emails that related to a specific project. David mentioned: "We could nearly always get emails if something came up from five years ago, but it was very cumbersome. A manager would call and need to find out who was working on the project, ask 'are they still with us?' and then look into the email archive if they've left. We'd need to manually search their emails, and maybe there are five years of emails and you have to find a particular time. So, it can be done but it's cumbersome and the information is siloed. The bulk of it wouldn't be in one neat place specific to the project."

 

Managing a distributed workforce's IT systems

As a construction company, Ward & Burke does have some offices in multiple countries, but the bulk of their staff are spread out over sites. With over 1,000 employees across Ireland, the UK and North America, managing the control of Ward & Burke's IT systems were seen as critical to ensure that everyone from on-site workers to head office were filing their emails correctly. 

A few years ago, Ward & Burke moved to Sharepoint online, which meant that every project receives its own Sharepoint site where all documents were stored. They continued to use Microsoft 365 for emails and Microsoft Endpoint Manager. 

Short-term retrieval and searching was a key pain point for Ward & Burke, as they found with their IT set up that the Outlook searching capability wasn't the easiest to use. David commented: "We decided after conversations with Mail Manager in September to set up a pilot, and the key concerns and areas we wanted to test was 'are people going to be frustrated that every time they go to send an email or save an email there's a pop-up?' "

He continued: "The AI was mentioned where Mail Manager will suggest a project that the email should be filed to. Pretty much every product mentions AI these days so it's hard to know if it really works or how well it works or if it requires much support. We ran the pilot for roughly a month with a mix of different types of users to get a feel for it. Straight away we got very good feedback from the guys that the AI worked, there were no huge issues and we were able to make a few tweaks with the Mail Manager support team. After the switch to full production, it was easy and just a matter of increasing our license count and rolling out the software.

 

Getting staff buy-in

Right now, Ward & Burke have 200 users in the UK and Ireland, and have filed over 52,000 emails with Mail Manager. That's over 2,000 emails a week! 

When asked about how easy it was getting people to use Mail Manager, David responded: "I think probably the biggest fear with implementing Mail Manager was wondering if there would be push back and people saying 'I don't want to', but thankfully we haven't had that. It's just become part of the way that people work."

"We get very few tickets to the help desk so people aren't complaining. The software just works. People are finally filing emails, they've gotten used to the prompts, and we know by the way the figures are that emails are being saved, probably more than we actually need, but because of the search we can quickly drill down and get to the key emails. The search tool is very good, we are very happy users and I can't see that changing."

Watch the Ward & Burke webinar in full to find out more. And sign up for a free trial of Mail Manager below to discover the immediate impact it can have on your email management processes.

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