Back in 2014, businesses’ poor communication levels led a Forbes contributor to suggest such drastic measures as slashing emails by 90% and banning email and social media for one day per week. Yet years later, businesses’ continued struggles to take control of their inboxes are still proving a major problem.
The issue stems from a general lack of effective management processes. Most project-based businesses fail to file and structure emails effectively, which means they struggle to complete projects and, more concerning, meet increasingly strict compliance requirements. Additionally, when problems arise (which can happen many years after the end of the project), businesses are often required to produce the original scope of work, specific client communications and sensitive documents. If these are lost in individual inboxes or amongst the mass of unstructured emails, then it's asking for trouble.
Equally, poor productivity has been plaguing the AEC industries for a long time. As stated in Mark Farmer's 'Modernise or Die' report, a lack of productivity and collaboration are two of the key symptoms of failure. With email being the most used communication tool on a project, it can be a massive hindrance for those who are unable to find information quickly and see conversations relating to projects they are involved in.
To counter this, businesses need a smarter, faster and better approach to email management.
The cost of inefficient digital processes
Digital and technology skills were the top resource that business leaders indicated they would require to succeed over the next five years, according to an Accenture study. Accenture’s leading recommendation for businesses to succeed in the age of digital transformation was to leave administration tasks to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Indeed, its study found that 54% of managers’ time is spent on administrative jobs rather than the tasks that actually deliver value to the business, such as developing their teams, engaging with stakeholders, strategy and problem-solving.
AI will help businesses to complete tasks more cost-effectively and efficiently, as well as more impartially than humans ever could. Rather than viewing AI with trepidation, businesses need to embrace its potential and the opportunities it offers. By doing so, they will be able to focus their efforts on tasks that deliver value to the business.
When it comes to email, which is one of the top work stressors, project teams are spending far too much time either manually trying to organise the overload of emails they receive or trying to find information they were not copied on. The Construction industry is undergoing a digital transformation with the introduction of Digital Twins and the Golden Thread of Information, but email is the one thing that gets left behind. AI can help simplify and improve the flow of email information and speed of filing emails to a shared, central location.
The email management problem
This lack of processes issue is starkly portrayed by businesses’ email management processes. Three-quarters of businesses’ project data (75%) is stored within their email systems. Yet the vast majority don’t have the systems in place to effectively file this information or be able to easily discover it as and when they most need it.
As a result, employees don’t file correspondence consistently, which means important or sensitive information either gets hidden in their inboxes or is lost completely. That, in turn, leads to staff wasting time searching for the information they need to access in order to fulfil a client request or the file they need for an important meeting.
Take a prompt and predict approach
Mail Manager helps project-based organisations to reduce the time and complexity of filing and searching for emails and attachments. It seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Outlook to simplify the filing, finding, storing and sharing of emails, providing businesses with the peace of mind that all their important data is not only safely stored in one central location but can also be discovered by employees at the click of a button.
By taking a ‘Prompt and Predict’ approach to email management, businesses can enhance their file management process. Mail Manager not only files emails from Outlook within SharePoint and other storage services, but also learns the filing behaviours of people across project teams. The AI engine predicts where email should be filed, eliminating the risk of human error seeing emails filed incorrectly or, worse still, deleted forever.
Further benefits of Mail Manager include:
- Risk reduction: Ensures businesses never lose track of critical correspondence, which reduces the risk of fines and legal action
- Time-saving: Eliminates the vast amount of time businesses spend hunting for information by enabling staff to find any email on any project in seconds
- Project deliverability: Empowers project teams to make better decisions by putting the correct information about scope changes, approvals, and key project information a click of a button away
Email management to the rescue
A great example of this issue in practice is consulting engineers Ardent. The organisation was seeing crucial project information locked away in project team members’ email inboxes and inaccessible to the wider project team. This became a business-critical issue when individuals were off sick, on leave or left the company, as project managers were unable to see important conversations and objectives that had been agreed to and couldn’t complete tasks.
Ardent rolled out Mail Manager company-wide, which immediately enabled teams to simply file emails in one central location, while complying with QA requirements. Furthermore, the tool’s powerful search tool enabled team members and managers to find crucial information no matter who sent or received it, often going back several years. This has proved crucial to meeting compliance requirements and quickly resolving client queries.
Time to smarten up your email management
AI-powered email management can revolutionise businesses and their processes. Not only will it unlock information that currently gets stuck in employees’ inboxes, it will also help them reduce their level of risk, save huge amounts of time, enhance collaboration levels and ensure projects deliver on time and on budget.
Find out how Mail Manager can enhance your email effectiveness by signing up for a free trial here.