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Construction Email: Friend or Foe? March 15, 2012

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry Hardware, email, records retention.
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Inc Construction, email is primary communications methodConstruction companies communicate primarily through email, even when using a project management software solution. Often it is reminders and clarifications to help document the project. Progressive construction operations and accounting departments leverage email in their systems to increase collaboration, nurture relationships, improve productivity, reduce paper volumes, spread news and update the project team. Often email holds over 70% of all the intellectual property in a contracting business when you include all the attachments. So what are you doing to protect this valuable data?

Construction Email attachments contain intellectual propertyWith email storage growing 37% year over year, limiting your employee’s mailbox size may improve your email server performance but you are simultaneously losing valuable documentation. Construction operations managers often create policies to drag n drop emails into a document management system. Some project management systems log the email on the project as they are sent. The problem with these approaches it that it requires a human to stop and take time to drag the email or always log into a project management system. With the smartphone prevalent throughout the construction mobile workforce is this a reasonable expectation of your project managers and field teams? Add texting, instant messages and social media to the mix and it seems that more often than not, there are exceptions that may sidestep your project system’s design. Even marketing and business development communications may be locked in a silo that knowledge in operations could benefit from. Then there’s the dreaded discovery when a project has turned sour. Accessing what’s been said in email can be a godsend or at least identify your exposure to risk.

Construction professionals are not only mobile but often project team members are recruited from firm to firm and their knowledge goes with them. When an e-discovery issue arises and a key employee no longer works at your firm, if you haven’t retained the emails you may not have any idea what’s been said. Worse yet is the opposing council may have an email sent from your firm, that you are unaware of. Being in the dark by forcing email deletion may have just worked against you. What’s worse is that email discovery costs are rising

How can a construction firm capture everything? Email archiving or integration to an Enterprise Content Management System(ECM).

Not every email archiving system can capture everything but some are worthy of discussion as they incorporate new features as technology advances. For instance, Arcmail Defender which can instantly archive your chats and attachments. It has also addressed communications shared in SalesForce Chatter, an enterprise social network mentioned by a few contractors who have deployed the Salesforce CRM system. Armail has been working with construction companies since 2006 as they offer a case study of Pinkard Construction online [PDF].

By having a email archiving system in place you can search across the enterprise for all incoming and outgoing communications, project related or otherwise. If you’ve ever searched in Outlook through 6 months of saved emails, you may be waiting awhile for results. Searching from an email archiving system offers additional search functions and shortens the time to locate critical communications. If you can increas productivity and reduce risk it’s a win-win. Once overheard in a construction management meeting, “The firm with the most documentation wins” is a mantra that is only true if you can also find what you’re looking for. As a reseller of ArcMail I’d like to invite you to an on-demand email archiving demonstration. Simply Click here to watch a 30 minute overview or Email Me to ask questions and schedule a one-on-one demonstration.

If you found this post interesting you may also like these:

Construction Communications and the Email Tidal Wave

Email Records Retention Can Be Tricky

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