As volumes of data spiral to unparalleled, unmanageable levels, it becomes increasingly important for businesses to have access to the information they need, when they need it. Failure to do so can lead to businesses struggling to defend themselves in legal disputes and falling foul of stringent data protection regulations.
However, recent research from the Construction Knowledge Task Group (CKTG) finds that nearly two in five practitioners (38.5%) - which was mostly comprised of surveyors, consultants and project managers - do not have easy access to the information they require. This information most commonly refers to technical guidance, codes and standards, and legislation, which are all key reference sources for businesses across the construction industry.
As the need for greater information visibility across the industry increases, businesses need to be able to answer hard questions, particularly relating to the context of projects. For example, who installed every part of a building? Why was it installed? Who was responsible? In what other buildings were the same part used? And so on. Without being able to access this information, the bulk of which lives within project emails, businesses are open to risk, disputes and poor standards.
Construction firms’ knowledge barriers
The CKTG survey found that cost and sign-up forms are the biggest barriers to preventing construction professionals from accessing the knowledge they require to do their job, particularly when it comes to SMEs. Furthermore, many of the respondents revealed they are unaware of how much knowledge is available to them, which leads to them being easily overwhelmed by the volume of it and how fragmented it is.
In this age of big data and increasingly stringent data regulations and as emerging technologies fuel the growth in information levels, construction professionals require quick and simple access to the knowledge they need. Indeed, CKTG’s research suggests that businesses require knowledge that is better integrated, less siloed, easier to access and available through flexible subscriptions and intelligent search tools.
Discover the information you need
The vast majority of construction firms’ project information, from project agreements and scope changes to complaints and contracts, is stored within their email systems. So a logical first step in making information easily discoverable as and when employees require access to it is to take control of email management.
This means deploying software that guarantees all information shared by email is safely stored in the correct folder or location and is easily discoverable by everyone across the project team.
Businesses also need to avoid the ongoing threat of human error, whereby employees fail to file correspondence consistently or correctly, and malicious actors. This runs the risk of important or sensitive information being hidden within their inboxes or getting lost completely. As a result, employees end up wasting time searching for the information they need to complete a client request or the document they need for an important meeting.
Mail Manager’s role in information discovery
The sheer volume of email correspondence is a huge issue for businesses. The average office worker receives 121 emails every day - that’s one email every 12 minutes - according to DMR insight. And the problem is only going to increase as email usage is predicted to grow by between 2% and 3% between 2018 and 2023, according to Statista.
Trying to find specific data within this mass of email communication is a difficult task that increases in complexity upon the completion of projects, when people leave the business, and by not having the right tools in place.
Mail Manager helps businesses to take control of this email overload and saves them from the time-intensive task of hunting for project correspondence. The Outlook add-in offers an overnight solution that gives businesses confidence that all project information is instantly accessible by every member of their team.
The solution's AI engine predicts where every email should be filed and guarantees it gets stored in the most appropriate folder. This enhances compliance by ensuring all employees work to the same standards, file information in the same way, and helps the business adhere to data regulations and ISO standards. It removes reliance on staff storing emails their own way in their own folders and prevents them from deleting critical information by standardising filing activity across the business.
Importantly, Mail Manager also ensures businesses can discover legacy information from projects that have been completed and emails sent or received by staff that have moved on from the organisation. This ensures they are able to reproduce all correspondence across any project should they require it for litigation purposes, and protect themselves in the event of a legal dispute.
Simplifying email discovery for WSP
The South African office of global consulting firm WSP was struggling to manage its emails as each employee either filed them differently or didn’t do it at all due to it being an onerous admin task. Furthermore, team members would spend days looking for information in Outlook and couldn’t see data filed by other people across their project teams.
By working with Mail Manager, WSP has enhanced the speed of finding information. Principal associate Mark Behrmann says: “The single biggest benefit is a very fast, searchable means of finding information in a centralised repository. Previously, it was slow and not indexed, plus we didn’t have time to scroll through everything. Mail Manager has solved that.”
Find out how Mail Manager can help your business to overcome its biggest project challenges, from solving disputes to easily discovering all your information, by downloading our whitepaper.