Global water treatment firm leverages SharePoint and Colligo to capture knowledge and reduce costs

Published on August 1, 2019


Ovivo is a world leader in water treatment technology with more than 35 years of experience in municipal water management, industrial wastewater processing, and water filtration and cooling for electronics. Ovivo’s water treatment business is based on executing large-scale global projects, some spanning more than 5 years, and involving teams distributed across North America, Europe, and internationally working with partners and contractors as distributed teams.

Over the lifecycle of every project, thousands of documents and many more emails are produced containing critical information for project decisions, billing, and defending contracts. Historically, this emailed knowledge was saved only to individual personal drives, with many employees and contractors coming and going over a project’s lifespan. With so many moving parts and so much at stake, Ovivo recognized the need to make critical project information in email easy to save, search for, and share across evolving project teams. In 2017, Ovivo’s incoming Vice President of Major Projects recommended Colligo as the best solution for SharePoint adoption.


The only department using SharePoint for email management prior to implementing Colligo was Ovivo’s legal team. For the rest of the company, using SharePoint to save emails related to projects was considered too time consuming. Teams used a mixture of public folders in Outlook and folders in the company’s C drive to store archived emails.

Ovivo recognized the importance of coming up with a solution that was simple for employees, and there was urgency to evolve from saving emails randomly in local folders for many reasons.

Ovivo projects commonly last 5 years or longer. Over that period, project teams often expand and change. With each departing member, Ovivo must mine through the siloed project emails on individuals’ local drives, spending hours mining for critical project knowledge, knowing there is a risk that valuable items will be overlooked.

With many teams and projects using traditional folders, emails and attachments became increasingly difficult to find. As time passed and thousands of emails accumulated, searching shared folders became increasingly difficult.

By maintaining emails in PST files, without any method of meaningful classification across the team, searching for project details was time consuming and often critical data could not be found, which inhibited planning, estimating, and billing. No additional metadata was captured to facilitate a future search.

In the event of a lawsuit or arbitration, Ovivo would need to copy the archived PST files from a legacy employee onto an external drive, connect the drive to the Outlook account of an existing user, let the files index for several days, and then query from a single computer to save emails in folders associated with each claim topic. This process could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in contractor fees and employee hours.


Ovivo relies on SharePoint for knowledge and records management, but it needed to streamline access to simplify capture of complete project information. Employees were used to working from Outlook and they needed a way to continue to work productively from their inbox. In 2017, Ovivo’s incoming Vice President of Major Projects recommended Colligo Email Manager as the best solution for SharePoint adoption. He had used it before in a previous role.

Each department creates simple online and offline libraries in SharePoint structured to logically and consistently store critical information, and Colligo makes it easy to do from Outlook. Employee champions then share how it works with others, which leads to project teams utilizing SharePoint more.
By integrating SharePoint folder access directly into Outlook using Colligo Email Manager, Ovivo employees can save emails and attachments directly to SharePoint from their Outlook inboxes. In just a couple clicks, employees save a project-related email and attachment to the relevant library in SharePoint. Colligo automatically stores key fields like subject, sender, and date as metadata.

Anyone on a project team can rapidly search for, find, and share secure links to valuable emails and attachments as they are captured and tagged with useful metadata. The time savings and complete information access leads to profitable project management and ensures everyone is working from complete and current information.

Even Ovivo employees working in locations with low bandwidth use Colligo Email Manager to save and classify emails to offline SharePoint libraries. Colligo’s complete platform means that Ovivo employees can access SharePoint from Outlook on-premises, on mobile devices, and in Office 365.


Colligo Email Manager has now been in use for more than a year on most of Ovivo’s larger projects to save emails, attachments, and documents to SharePoint. Achieving a full transition to SharePoint across the entire company is still a few years off, but already Ovivo has seen valuable impact including recouping hundreds of thousands in costs on a delayed project, saving thousands on legal discovery, and shifting team behavior towards routinely capturing and protecting project knowledge.

Full project cost recoveries. Ovivo was experiencing significant delays with a $200,000,000 project in South Africa. The business was operating on a cost-plus basis, substantiating all costs related to the project. With Colligo making it faster and simpler to save to SharePoint, teams accurately documented and defended project costs, and as a result, Ovivo has been able to get close to $1,000,0000 reimbursed for maintenance costs. They are using the same emails and documents saved to SharePoint via Colligo to substantiate an additional $1,500,000 claim.

Timely, economical legal discovery. On a legal arbitration case in Ontario, prior to the SharePoint era, Ovivo spent $300,000 on consultants on top of months of employee time to retrieve documents manually. By comparison, Ovivo has since used Colligo in two major construction arbitrations, to migrate the complete mailboxes of former managers into separated libraries. The email libraries in SharePoint were connected to a claim topics list with a reverse lookup. The search could be done very easily in SharePoint, using the built-in viewer to identify the relevant documents and associate them with the right topics. The ability to annotate, comment, and tag files enabled the creation of easily searchable document lists. Multiple people could work on these projects at once and they were able to give SharePoint access to external consultants.

Complete project knowledge capture. Ovivo’s Vice President of IT believes Colligo has been the key to achieving employee SharePoint adoption. Colligo has helped employees to break old habits and make saving emails to SharePoint from their inboxes second nature, thereby creating complete and enduring multimillion-dollar project knowledge for Ovivo.