The digital transformation of project management, communication, and information flow has had a remarkable impact for professionals in the architecture, engineering, construction, and owner operated (AECO) industry. But the evolution of communication technology, especially out in the field, has also brought new challenges that demand immediate solutions. 

Fragmented and siloed communication channels and unconnected management platforms often result in communication bottlenecks, lost emails, misplaced attachments, and siloed email chains. Those disruptions can result in increased project risk and delays, budget overruns, and strained stakeholder relationships. 

Over the life of a project, ongoing minor communication issues can add up to a massive loss of time and money. 

A recent report by Dodge Data and Analytics highlights the challenge facing the industry. In a survey, most general contractors identified the accurate logging and tracking of data on a project as a priority. But roughly half of those surveyed also said they still manually collect information on the field. 

They recognize how important the right digital tools are for efficient operations and collaboration. But few of them feel the tool they need is available. 


A consistent challenge for the efficient flow of information is the transition from an email to action. Much of the information in emails related to any given project will be designed to initiate a particular action, such as a submittal or RFI. But in most instances, that information must be manually entered from email into the project’s system of record, an extra step that takes time to complete and introduces the possibility of human error. 


Another source of disconnection across projects is the variety of platforms and applications available and in use. A contractor may employ three different apps for various workflows, while the engineering and design teams each have their own preferred platforms. 

If some or all of these programs fail to sync, the advantages of the technology are diminished. Information captured digitally may still need to be reentered manually in another platform. Without a reliable, easily accessible system of record, teams might spend several minutes at a time searching their email client to validate information, catch mistakes due to manual entry, or miss something because it was deleted or removed. 

What the industry urgently needs is a means of seamless connection of all the channels used on a project. But, a universal platform that connects a range of software platforms and serves as a single source of truth on a project simply isn’t available. Or is it? 


A new generation of software is now capable of connecting the industry’s most powerful platforms, essentially providing users a single platform for email management across an entire project, accessible from anywhere. Information management platforms can now function as the authoritative system on a project, allowing organizations to improve collaboration and trust by strategically managing and passing on key project information. The best of these platforms also have mobile companion applications, so that users can access their data right on their phones or tablets.

These new solutions offer multiple ways for different systems to connect and communicate, such as connecting with email clients. By integrating the email client and project management platform, users can quickly organize, file, and track a range of important queries, issues and submittals. Additionally, incoming workflow-related emails can be automatically added to projects directly from the email client, ensuring that critical information isn’t lost. 

The new generation of information management platforms also equip teams to organize, monitor, and review email chains. Even attachments, which are easily lost or overlooked in email chains, are automatically scanned and indexed so they are available for review within a few clicks. 

Robust search and filter functions allow users to identify and retrieve information quickly and accurately. Other intuitive capabilities allow users to manage all project emails. Stakeholders can, for example, respond to emails that weren’t initially addressed to them. It’s a convenient and effective tool for requesting more information, adding details, managing disputes, and maintaining accountability on a project. 

Even if you don’t remember the subject line or sender of an email you need, you can search for anything that could help you identify the email, like a project name, or even text in an attachment. Attachments can be downloaded now to view later, or they can be previewed through any other compatible application. 

What this all ultimately means is that all stakeholders can have full, real-time access to the complete project record—a development that can redefine how project stakeholders collaborate and communicate. We’re seeing streamlined communication that saves time and reduces the risk of error. As a result, projects stay on time and under budget, allowing stakeholders to get more done in less time.  

About the Author:

Victoria Salvador is the senior director of performance marketing, brand, and buzz at Newforma. For more, visit

Modern Contractor Solutions, April 2024
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