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Bluebeam Tutorial: How to convert Outlook emails to PDF December 17, 2014

Posted by carolhagen in archiving, Bluebeam Revu, email.
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Whether you have a discovery issue or you just want to archive all your email for one construction project, Bluebeam Revu’s Outlook Plug-In has you covered.  At the end of the year it’s always good practice to clear out your email by archiving.  The problem with Outlook is that the archive option keeps it stored inside Outlook…not an easy place to find documents or review them. This is why the Revu Plug-In is so great.  You can convert a single email, multiple emails or an entire folder of email (in bulk) and if you want, have all the documents password protected or stamped “as Archived on date” if you wish. And best of all, any attachments are automatically hyperlinked to the converted PDF document.  This video gives a good overview of the Bluebeam Outlook Plug-In:

If you don’t see the Bluebeam options on your Outlook ribbon and right click doesn’t have the convert to PDF option either, you may not have the Outlook Plug-in installed. Either contact your company administrator, or if you only have a single license, run Bluebeam Administrator.  The dialogue box brings up what plugins you have  Make sure they are checked, then click apply. Bluebeam Standard includes Office and Outlook.  Bluebeam CAD and Extreme add AutoCAD, Navisworks, Revit and SketchUpPro  to the mix.

How to install the Bluebeam Outlook PlugIn

I often share emails by converting them to PDF with password protection turned on, to limit printing and editing capabilities at the recipient’s end.  You can access the security from the Bluebeam “change settings” option in the Outlook Ribbon

How to change security permissions in Bluebeam converted email

Change settings in the Outlook plugin controls what prompts you see before converting to PDF and the page settings.  It also controls where the file or folder is saved to, the password security permissions and if designated, the stamp that is applied to the PDF.

Is your new year’s resolution to clean up your Outlook inbox or to remove old email?  Let Bluebeam help you delete with confidence!

If your firm (or a friend) needs to add Bluebeam licences, please Email Me Your Contact Info before Dec 31, 2014 and you’ll automatically get the Revu 2015 release for free!  Note this program is only available thru authorized Bluebeam resellers and is not available from Bluebeam direct.

 

 

 

 

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Construction Photos and Long Term Records Retention January 14, 2013

Posted by carolhagen in archiving, Construction Industry - Software, records retention.
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Construction photographs are collected on every one of your projects. For years we’ve taken pics with our digital cameras and smartphones, but the challenge has been how to organized these. A file of jpeg1, jpeg2, etc taken at jobsite X on a given date really doesn’t help if a legal claim crops up a few years from now. Sometimes making heads or tails of what and where on the jobsite a photo was taken renders the photo practically useless unless…

You know about Threshold from 383 Studio, a better way to document, photograph, organize and send photos right from the jobsite. Here’s a quick video overview:

What makes this app unique isn’t that it’s easy to use, quick to annotate photos or even that it has a mobile App. What get’s me excited is that there’s a way to export you photos to you content management system for long term storage. All the other Apps I’ve seen lock you into an annual contract for you to have access to your photos once the project is completed. While Threshold has this Archiving option they also offer, as Google likes to call it “data liberation”.

As a long-time proponent of a paperless office, The export function allows you to download the photos with some of the meta data into file folders. What this allows me to do is generate a deliverable of all construction documents and photos to the project owner in a neat as-built package. The Content Archive function of Construction Imaging can consume folder structures into its enterprise content management system effortlessly making these two solutions a great fit.

To be upfront on disclosure, I have business relationships with both Threshold and Construction Imaging. This unique pairing really can deliver the goods and I’d be happy to discuss just how this marriage can work in your construction firm.

If you think you want to take Threshold for a spin, use “Hagen383” to get a 10% discount www.thresholdcm.com

Construction Communications and the Email Tidal Wave October 13, 2011

Posted by carolhagen in archiving, Construction Industry - Software, Document Imaging, email, records retention.
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Wave inundating you and your email inboxEmail can be a contractor’s best friend or worst enemy. Construction personnel communicate frequently to achieve good project outcomes and this usually involves email and with more mobile devices, text messages. Most project managers I speak to are inundated with large volumes of email that take hours to process daily. Many have taken the time to create rules and put emails in various folders to help them sort through their inbox. They also have to keep their inbox clean with mailbox size limits set on the Exchange server. Surely there are better ways to handle project emails, instant messages, Exchange Server communications and improve your ability to find an email, when you need it later because an issue arises.

In a recent study by IBM Research entitled “Am I wasting my time organizing email? A study of email refinding” apparently putting email in folders is a waste of time! After reviewing this research, an anonymous reader writes
“There are two types of office workers in the world — those who file their emails in folders, and those who use search. Well, it looks like the searchers are smarter. A 354-user study by IBM research found that users who just searched their inbox found emails slightly faster than users who had filed them by folder. Add the time spent filing and the searchers easily come out on top. Apparently the filers are using their inbox as a to-do list rather than wanting to categorize information to find it more easily.”
While many firms have implemented project management software there are still times when replies come thru regular email in Outlook and you have to log the email into the system (more work UGH). Younger more mobile owners often want to communicate through text or instant messages and find email too slow and “old school” making a construction firm’s technology appear outdated. The fear is that communicating in instant messages or other modes will make you more exposed to risk. We all know the person with the most documentation typically wins an argument. That’s why we are papering projects to death. The correspondence can also spawn multiple copies across your computer network including your Exchange server and Sharepoint. So how can we access emails we need faster and have the confidence that we haven’t missed any communications? Perhaps your email server needs a break. Let’s look a few possible solutions.

Monitored Email Folders
Having all email correspondence directed to an email address can make sorting project related and can be integrated into your content management system. This can give your entire firm access, with proper authority, to construction project correspondence by job. Each email recipient forwards documents to the appropriate job folder. Construction Imaging (CI) has developed a solution that goes one step further, called email manager. You tag it with a job number and document type. Then it automatically indexes it into the archive. Retrievable in seconds! The CI solution only requires having the AX back end – a standard foundation to their content management solutions. You can learn more about email manager and their other solutions at www.construction-imaging.com

Email Archiving
Email searching is much faster with Email Archiving systems and is the preferred method to address e-discovery issues. For firms with an Exchange Server, there are many choices. Not as many for those with Lotus Notes or Domino, but still choices. It gets trickier when you also need further integration to popular products like Instant Messaging like MSN, Yahoo and AOL Messenger that can really make this challenging. email archiving appliances from ArcMail There are also other 3rd party products that involve other departments, CRM systems including Salesforce with their social media communications center called Chatter that can make this mind boggling. There is an answer to all this – ArcMail Defender (disclosure: yes, I am an ArcMail reseller). Construction firms are attracted to this solution because it is quick an easy appliance to implement, you can be up and running in well under an hour. We’re conducting on-line webinars on email archiving with ArcMail. To Register and make email work for you, click here to request your ArcMail demo request date/time. We’ll get back to you promptly.

While you await our reply, please read a construction firm’s success story with Arcmail

Does your construction firm use Exchange server, Lotus Notes or Domino and have you implemented instant messaging? Have you considered email archiving in your contracting firm? Leave us a comment and share what you’re doing to make email work for you.

Email Records Retention can be Tricky August 31, 2009

Posted by carolhagen in archiving, Construction Industry - Software, email, records retention.
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Last week I spoke on “Records Retention” and “The Paperless Office” at the  54th Annual Convention of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).  The room was packed and the reality of the situation is that the majority of construction firms have not addressed written records retention policies.  Most that have are the  over $100 million in annual revenues, and many in attendance had forgotten to include e-policies for their email,  text messages,  and social networking activities.

Carol Hagen greets Judy DeWeese

Carol Hagen greets Judy DeWeese

The most interesting discussion was a firm (company A) that had experienced a legal discovery issue which centered around email.  They now have a written policy, all emails are removed from the exchange server and computers accordingly. They even erase the tape backups that contain the email per their retention policy.  So far so good.  What caught my attention was that the engineers said they wanted to keep a copy of the email, so they print them out and put them in the project file.  This is in direct violation of their own policy.

I spoke with a subcontracting firm (company B) that did the opposite of what was described above.  They just didn’t have space to electronically manage email so for them the record was kept  by printing it and placing it in the project folder and it was erased from their email systems.  A general contracting firm claimed they had not approved of a change order (they themselves did not archive their own email) and this subcontractor showed them a copy of their email approval.  The GC backed off, but this document won’t hold up in court.  Why? Lack of metadata.

In both situations there’s no metadata to prove the document is authentic and unaltered.  In Company A’s case, if you print your email, it is a copy.  Their next discovery issue, if only emails are requested might go undetected, but if they are asked for the project files they’re in a heap of trouble.  The courts will think they deleted the electronic version to “hide” something .  It’s because Company A is not uniformly enforcing their email retention policy.  In Company B’s case it is a copy but not worth the paper it’s printed on in court.  Both firms have exposure.  If they read this article they know they have risks.  What’s important at Company B is that they don’t have that GC’s attorney ask for the original email.  The tactic of scaring them away with the paper and calling upon their ethics is a good method, but be prepared if the GC has a tech savvy lawyer. 

If you want to keep emails, you should use an email archiving system.  If you don’t, then you need to educate all your employees that it means no copy in any form  – paper or electronic.  The E-Policy Handbook by Nancy Flynn has a great rule for you all to consider…” A destructive retention policy that calls for the purging of email on a regular intervals may render you the only party in the courtroom who is unable to produce copies of your own email.  That’s a position you never want to be in!”

Paper Problems Proliferate August 4, 2009

Posted by carolhagen in archiving, Construction Industry - Software, Construction Industry Hardware, Document Imaging, scanner.
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I recently heard  a true story about a project manager in a construction field office.  He was running the copier and it ran out of paper.  Upon looking in the storage area, it was apparent that no copier paper was left in the building.  Being resourceful, he called into the office and asked, “Can you fax me some paper?” 

Getting paper moved from one place to another, usually isn’t about the physical paper, it’s about the content.  Many firms use a scanner these days to convert the paper to PDF and email it to the proper recipient.  While this seems efficient, it only addresses a small step in the document lifecycle.   The scanners available today, have many more functions that can streamline the process and integrate to a document imaging or enterprise content management (ECM) system. 

One such scanner is the Fujitsu fi-6010.  This network scanner offers each user their own display using LDAP for authorized applications, has a full keyboard, and a large LCD touchscreen display.   It incorporates the capture of meta data for your imaging or ECM system

and offers sophisticated options for software developers. Construction Imaging Systems has adapted it to many of their applications including Construction Document Manager and Chameleon Job Files.  For the typing impaired, the optional ABBYY OCR plug-in allows the operator to highlight the words in the scanned document that are the meta data tags.

The scanner is configured to collect the appropriate meta data for the selected document type  …i.e., Job #, Name, Address, date for correspondence or vendor, invoice date, amount for an invoice.  Documents scanned to the network are automatically  imported to the ECM system.  Project managers don’t have to open the imaging application to archive a document, but once imported the users will be able to search for it. 

By using this approach the documents are automatically entered into any ECM approval process, you avoid clogging the email server with interoffice document distribution, you eliminate the possibility of the document getting lost, the document remains in one single instance (no copies cluttering the network), and you archive it immediately making it accessible to everyone with access and authority.  Now that’s how you eliminate paper problems.

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