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How Robert Bird Group solved their email storage and access issues

27 January, 2021
  • Robert Bird Group is an engineering and consulting firm focused on structural engineering, civil engineering, construction engineering, geotechnical engineering, and virtual design and construction. They have 11 offices worldwide, in Australia, Asia, Middle East, UK and USA.

Robert Bird Group - Wikiwand

The company specialises in complex projects, such as advanced engineering, digital design, and design leadership. It applies cutting edge technology and working methodologies from high technology industries to deliver practical solutions to the most challenging engineering problems. This has seen the firm work on major projects such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Bank Underground Station and The Shard in London, and the Adelaide Oval in Australia.

The problem

Filing emails has always been central to Robert Bird Group’s QA procedure. It had been using Exchange Public Folders to file emails, with the rule that any sent or received external email correspondence got saved into a public folder. This approach helped project teams to access and share important project correspondence. However, it also relied on users taking steps to file these emails, which ended up with emails building up and people spending hours trying to find important proposals or specific emails.

Robert Bird Group explored a few options to address this issue, including designing their own solution, before eventually using a cloud solution that didn’t work out for several reasons. The company had to copy all its public folder data and hand it to the cloud provider in order to upload it, while the new solution didn’t honour its existing folder structure.

As Jamie Razek, IT Manager at Robert Bird Group says: “This created a mess of our emails, which sat in a large folder rather than our project-specific folders. Users were able to file, however, they weren’t able to search for information, which defeated the purpose of having a mail filing solution. It also meant that we didn’t have access to our own data as it was stored in the cloud.”

Implementing Mail Manager

The Mail Manager implementation began with an initial presentation to introduce the solution and a brief test period. Robert Bird Group then selected one person from each team to become part of a test group, which had three on-site training sessions.

Jamie said: “The guys that had the training loved it. The sessions were simple and it made their lives easier. We used their feedback to configure and tailor user configuration to our liking and ensure the settings worked for everyone. And it meant that, for the first time, every single office had the same settings, which made every design team compliant.”

Following the test group, online Mail Manager training followed for remote offices in Dubai, Australia and Asia, along with tutorials and how-to videos. The transition process was also aided by several employees who had previously used Mail Manager.

As Jamie explains: “Luckily for us, a few of our staff already had experience with Mail Manager. In particular, one of our Directors was a big fan of Mail Manager before she came to the company, so we used her as the champion for all the Directors. Everyone knows the pain they have to go through to search years’ worth of emails to find a fee proposal or important piece of information, so there was no resistance with implementing Mail Manager.”

Unlike its previous cloud deployment, Robert Bird Group didn’t have to make any amendments to its public folder structure to import or cache the same data into Mail Manager. This was crucial as its employees collaborate globally on projects so they need to be able to file emails into public, remote office folders. As Jamie says: “The deployment itself took seconds, less than a minute, and I was able to do it remotely from the UK working with IT managers from the various global offices.”

Robert Bird Group today

Robert Bird Group is reaping the benefits of having the Mail Manager solution deployed. Its data is now located on an on-premise server and, through settings and user preferences, it knows that important emails are being filed and are accessible to the whole design team.

Robert Bird Group works on confidential projects and not every person in the design team should have access to those folders. Using a Windows File Server means folders can be locked to specific groups, which addresses any confidentiality issues. The company can also set up group permissions, add specific users to folders, and lock public folders, which ensures that only people who should have access to correspondence do have access.

As Jamie explains: “The solution has worked brilliantly from day one. It does what it says on the box, it’s easy to use, and it learns from users’ filing habits, which means the more you use it the more you gain from it. The jobs or folders that users file to most often will show up on their top suggested locations, they can add favourite folders, and it’s intuitive. The search function is also great as it offers loads of fields that enable users to narrow their searches and find information quickly.”

Robert Bird Group also benefits from rapid customer support and ongoing end-user training through on-site and online training sessions, free tutorials, and webinars that staff signed up for even if they had used the tool before.

Summarising the benefits of Mail Manager, Jamie said: “There were many reasons why we chose Mail Manager over other solutions, from the pricing through to the fact that it works with our data structure. One of the key reasons was that Mail Manager allows us to have one standard set of rules that apply to everyone. It ensures all employees are compliant and follow the same rules regardless of where they work. They can even work offline and Mail Manager does the rest when they come back onto the network.”

Three key benefits for Robert Bird Group:

  • Important data automatically stored to appropriate folders
  • Solved global compliance requirements
  • Powerful search capability

For more information on how Mail Manager helped Robert Bird Group, watch the webinar in full here.


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