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Behind the Switch: DIALOG’s transition from Newforma to Ideagen Mail Manager

13 February, 2024

With multiple document management solutions available to organizations, it can be difficult to commit to transitioning to a new one. DIALOG, a multidisciplinary design practice comprising architects, urban planners and designers, structural, mechanical, and electrical engineers, interior designers, landscape architects, and sustainability consultants based in North America, recently decided to make the move from Newforma to Ideagen Mail Manager. DIALOG's Manager of Technology Experience, Kenny Thurston, spoke about the ease of this transition, and the reason behind it, on one of our latest webinars.


The current landscape of document management tools


Over the years of their development and usage, document management tools often have developed a reputation for being a waste of budget. Whilst this in untrue, it is easy to understand why many businesses maintain this attitude due to the following challenges:


  1. Inconsistent use
  2. High disruption
  3. Unused features
  4. Email overload


Document management tools, when used correctly, can be a fast, easy way to streamline workflows and improve efficiency, consequently saving you money. That being said, if staff are poorly informed of the software’s capabilities, the risk of data silos or lost emails becomes a real threat.

More often than not, it is simply a lack of proper understanding that leads to quality management challenges and clunky systems that disrupt workflows. With incorrectly or completely unfiled emails and documents, a business becomes less agile and less consistent.


The benefits of transitioning to a specialized solution


Most businesses are only interested in document management solutions that can satisfy the following:


  • Cost efficient
  • Simple implementation
  • Creates consistency with email filing, meaning firms meet QA and compliance regulations
  • Easier to file emails than not
  • User friendly 


DIALOG’s transition to Ideagen Mail Manager ticked all these boxes; not only is the system easy and simple to use, but it ensures users are being consistent by prompting them to file emails immediately, leaving it easier to file than to not. With this habit being encouraged, now all members of a team have access to files and even email threads that they require but may not have had access to before. Most importantly, it can be fully implemented into a business within just a few hours, so the risk of disruption is minimal.


DIALOG’s decision to switch form Newforma to Ideagen Mail Manager


DIALOG identified the key features they were using in Newforma, namely ‘Search’, ‘InfoExchange’, ‘Tasks’, ‘Project team and contacts’ and ‘Email Filing’. As Kenny Thurston explained, "the ability to easily find the key decisions that had been made throughout the life cycle of a project" allowed teams to share information and documents and control task lists to plan out what needed to be done.

Frustratingly, the cost to implement and upkeep quickly became too high due to the fact that they were only utilizing the email filing module of the solution. The architecture business had solutions for the other functions in Newforma, however, but with no readily available replacement for email filing and with hundreds of thousands of emails already filed in Newforma, how would they move systems?

Ideagen Mail Manager are renowned for making this switch as simple as possible. Having become a highly regarded email solution, used by many other AEC practices, the transition aids have been considered well, and for DIALOG we provided:


  • Dedicated account representatives to help customers through the trial and implementation and training periods
  • Dedicated training resources and tools to ensure the solution is being used completely
  • Allowed DIALOG to use existing mail locations, so no previously stored information was lost, which is vital for disputes and litigations


As an added bonus, it also uses a similar filing method to Newforma, so it wasn't an additional stress for staff to learn what to do. Kenny Thurston described how the biggest pieces of feedback received from their users was that Ideagen Mail Manager was a lot faster than Newforma, particularly the search function. Moreover, “the interface is easily understandable and users appreciated the simplicity, allowing them to quickly and easily capture what they needed to.”


The tangible benefits and improvements DIALOG has witnesses post-transition


Kenny spoke of how easy it was for their staff to adopt the new software, as "they were used to email filing, however the prompting [to file] was huge for [the team] as there's no chance of missing correspondence". Consequently the transition was extremely successful. However, it wasn’t just the already instilled filing habits that made the switch work. Other factors that aided were:


  • Email filing was the same as Newforma, so there was no difference in the way DIALOG staff already filed
  • Reuse of Newforma filing locations saved a lot of time. Ideagen Mail Manager simply indexed that information which meant no files were lost. File previously saved to global location, however, now users can direct where they want information to be stored to streamline projects and give users more control
  • Faster email filing and search than Newforma
  • Doesn’t crash as often as Newforma due to not requiring many resources
  • Was ready and available to use within 24 hours


If you are contemplating whether or not its time to replace your document management solution, or have never considered using one before, book a bespoke demo and let us understand your needs when it comes to information management, and how we can help!


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