Keeping track of valuable project email has become a problem for almost every architectural practice. Oasys has a low cost solution that is growing in popularity. Martyn Day reports.
Oasys is the software development arm of industry giant Arup. The firm develops products both for internal and external sales covering structural, geotechnical, analysis and simulation. While these high-end tools solve big engineering problems, Oasys’ more basic tools, Columbus (document manager) and Mail Manager have become industry standards.
Both Columbus and Mail Manager share two essential ingredients, the first being low-cost and the second being ease of use. While other document management systems tend to require investment in expensive site licenses and provide rigid infrastructure, Oasys’ products offer quite incredible value with a more flexible implementation. This makes the tools very popular in the AEC market which, even in the good times, struggles with IT investment.
The latest version of Mail Manager expands the capability from the desktop to the mobile environment, supporting both Blackberry and Windows mobile.
It works as a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook and is all about filing emails and expanding and enhancing the performance of Outlook’s search capability. The powerful filtering capability alone can seriously speed up searches for important documents. The software requires no specific servers — Mail Manager is a client application that stores emails in standard folders on the local PC or over a network. With a network folder, all project-related emails can be centrally stored either one by one or in a batch.
One of the innovations for this release is an application called Snap and Send which installs into Outlook. Here areas of emails or drawings can be grabbed through a resizable rectangle. This can then be annotated with different shapes and text notes, then either saved as PDF and emailed or copied to clipboard and pasted into other Windows documents. Snapped images are automatically saved and can be reused.
The new version also adds support for digital signatures and new stamps for user initials and filing time. While expanded to some mobile phones, Android iPad and iPhone support would be a logical next step but the reliance on Outlook and Windows may hamper that. That aside, at £115 for a single licence, Mail Manager is an affordable solution for a mushrooming problem.
Product: Mail Manager
Supplier: Oasys Software
Prices: from £115