How To Make M365 Work For AEC Projects | Best Practices | ProjectReady | ProjectReady

SharePoint For Construction Project Management – And Beyond

The Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry faces unique challenges in managing projects and content effectively. Even just figuring out what AEC-specific project management and collaboration solutions are available can be a difficult search in itself. Many AEC firms already use Microsoft 365 in managing their day-to-day operations. It’s a comprehensive suite of productivity tools with immense potential for collaboration and managing projects and content. But M365 tools like SharePoint are notoriously difficult to set up, manage and maintain – particularly in the context of a project. However, even if your company is only using M365 for email (Outlook), you’re already paying for a host of solutions that can improve the way project information is managed. Which is why on this episode of the ProjectReady podcast, CEO Joe Giegerich and Head of Development Shaili Modi-Oza explain how AEC firms can maximize M365 and reveal the potential of this powerful suite of tools for the AEC.

Read on to discover how utilizing tools like Microsoft Teams, Outlook, and SharePoint for construction project management alongside AEC-specific tools like Procore, BIM 360, Autodesk Build, Procore, and others can drive ROI, free up your skilled professionals, and reduce risk. Then, listen to our podcast, “Making Microsoft 365 Work For The AEC,” to learn more and hear from the experts.

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Microsoft 365 for the AEC Industry

M365 is a powerful platform for the AEC. When used together, tools such as SharePoint, Outlook, and Microsoft Teams can immensely help construction industry professionals:

Enhance Collaboration: M365 provides a seamless experience for team members working on AEC projects. Whether team members are collaborating on a document in SharePoint, sending files to internal and external stakeholders within Outlook, or even meeting in real-time in Microsoft Teams; if used correctly, it’s easy to connect and stay updated within M365.

Access Information Anytime, Anywhere: The cloud-based nature of M365 enables professionals to access project-related content from any device and location. This flexibility allows for increased productivity and efficient communication from any device, especially in today’s remote work environment.

Maintain Robust Security Measures: M365 prioritizes data security with features like two-factor authentication, ensuring that project files and sensitive information remain protected. The comprehensive security framework provides peace of mind, especially within an industry that depends on collaboration. With M365, you determine the level of accessibility each team member has at any given time.

Why Use SharePoint For Construction Document Management?

Within the M365 suite, SharePoint is a key component for effective document management because it offers the following advantages:

  1. Document Repository: SharePoint serves as an excellent repository for storing project files. With its ability to scale and store all types of documents, AEC professionals are able to save and organize files within SharePoint by creating multiple document libraries tailored to their organization’s needs. SharePoint also offers great features like versioning, which allows the entire team to view  so you’re always able to see the changes made throughout the lifecycle of content.
  2. Taxonomy and Metadata: SharePoint allows for the creation of a well-structured taxonomy and metadata columns, enabling easy categorization and searchability of project content. By establishing consistent taxonomies across different sites, AEC professionals can streamline document management and retrieval processes.
  3. Secure File Sharing: SharePoint enables granular control over document access through security trimming. This feature ensures that individuals only have access to relevant content, improving confidentiality and reducing the risk of unauthorized data exposure.

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Challenges & Solutions When Using SharePoint & Teams

Despite its numerous benefits, adopting and optimizing M365 for the AEC industry poses certain challenges. However, these challenges can be addressed with the right strategies.

The Challenge: Overcoming Setup and Maintenance Barriers

The Solution: The initial setup and complexity associated with SharePoint can discourage users from fully utilizing its capabilities. Proper training, support and working with an M365 expert can help overcome these barriers and empower AEC professionals to leverage SharePoint effectively. Additionally, products like “ProjectReady” can automate the setup and ongoing management of sites, Teams, and security.

The Challenge: Managing Teams Channels

The Solution: AEC projects often involve multiple teams and projects simultaneously. Creating too many channels within Microsoft Teams can lead to confusion and hinder effective communication. With proper planning and procedures around the setup of channels, you can have better control of what is created and ensure you get the most out of Teams.

The Challenge: Ensuring Consistent Taxonomy

The Solution: Maintaining a consistent taxonomy across projects is crucial for efficient document management. Implementing automated solutions that enforce taxonomy rules and provide contextual project information can help ensure a standardized taxonomy framework.

Outlook: Managing Email Chaos in the AEC

Email remains an essential communication tool despite the proliferation of collaborative platforms. Many AEC organizations heavily rely on email for sending and receiving attachments. It serves as a familiar and straightforward method for sharing documents while providing context. However, the simplicity of email can also lead to chaos and content mismanagement.

To avoid that chaos, leverage tools like “ProjectReady” to easily file and register email content to the project. This allows you to take control of the information that is being shared via email.  Additionally, group mailboxes (and ProjectReady’s ability to automate the provisioning of group mailboxes) provide a centralized repository where associating emails to a project is as easy as dragging and dropping. This integration enhances collaboration and ensures relevant content remains easily accessible.

Click Here To Learn More About Managing Email In The Scope Of An AEC Project

Configure M365 Correctly With ProjectReady

Microsoft 365 offers immense potential for the AEC industry by providing all the tools needed to collaborate, manage documents, and streamline workflows. Leveraging tools such as SharePoint and Microsoft Teams allows AEC professionals to enhance collaboration, improve document management, and achieve greater project success. While challenges may arise during adoption, with proper guidance, support, and solutions like ProjectReady, organizations can unlock the full potential of M365 and empower their project teams.

Check out our podcast to learn more about Microsoft 365 and the AEC or contact us for a demo to discover how we maximize the value of M365 for the AEC.


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