Location: South Africa
WSP is a global consulting company, employing over 49,000 around the world. WSP develops creative, comprehensive and sustainable engineering solutions for a future where society can thrive. They aim to plan, design, manage and engineer long-lasting and impactful solutions to uniquely complex problems.
Mark Behrmann operates in the South Africa region, where WSP has offices in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg. In South Africa, they cover a wide variety of disciplines, including civil and structural engineering, electrical, mechanical, fire, transport, road transport and more. Mark says: ‘Our primary role is to design infrastructure, buildings, pipelines, harbours and so on, and we are contracted by both the private industry and Government’.
Mark is a Principal Associate in Cape Town, leading a team of electrical engineers. His role is to lead on projects, which
includes doing high-level conceptual design and oversee work produced and present it back to the client. Today, WSP has been using Mail Manager for around eight years and has ‘many clients, projects, project teams and people outside of our company. That means a lot of information and a lot of people form a project.’
Before WSP, in previous jobs, the obligation to file and save emails to project folders and directories was on the employees. Mark says: ‘The problem was each employee did it differently. Plus, it was an onerous admin task that rarely got done. In fact, email was totally unusable as we had no way to put a conversation together. A long-time back I even had to print all emails out and put them into a project file’.
WSP began using Mail Manager after acquiring a business that had the email management tool already implemented.
At the time, WSP was not using an email management system, so they decided to roll it out to additional regions. Mark says: ‘Because of the nature of work I do, I must have every email from the last 10 years at hand. We’ve always been taught and trained that the risk is too big not to have that information. It needs to be stored and backed up and if someone asks us for it we need to be able to provide it. And if we don’t, we will be held responsible. So before Mail Manager, it wasn’t that we didn’t have the information, it was that it was so hard to retrieve it.’
Before Mail Manager was implemented, Mark would spend days looking for information in Outlook. However, he was only able to look for information within his inbox, not other information from multiple individuals. Following the implementation of Mail Manager and initial change period, Mark says, ‘with time we got used to the new tool and email management now flows really quickly and is very efficient’.
The speed of finding information has proved extremely beneficial for WSP. Mark says: ‘The power of Mail Manager has given us the functionality to find so much more information than we previously could obtain, especially when there are multiple strings of correspondence. We now know more about what happened and how we got from A to B, and not just from one individual's point of view'.
‘For example, when a decision is made to do something, in most instances it’s not just one individual that contributes to the work needed for that decision to happen. We need multiple engineers’ inputs for the results to work. By using Mail Manager, we store every mail sent and received so when looking for a conversation on a topic or a date period, we can retrieve multiple conversations about the project. It’s finding the entire conversation history from all parties that have contributed to the decision. That is very helpful and useful in situations such as trying to fault find or seeing where a communication gap has happened, or seeing if something didn’t happen, why it didn’t happen’
Mark describes the biggest benefit: ‘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. Once all the emails were in a central location and we could start searching for something we were all impressed how fast it finds information’.
Mark summarises with: ‘Mail Manager is a useful and functional tool that really contributes to the everyday work I do'.