BurdaPrincipal Investments (BPI), the international growth capital provider of media and technology company Hubert Burda Media, is participating in Aleph Alpha’s Series B financing round.
At Burda we have great teams working together, developing new ideas and driving projects forward. In our “Team of the Month” series, we profile teams from across the Burda Group. Today: The interdisciplinary SmartMail project team.
It's about storing emails correctly. And this is something that concerns us all. With SMARTMail, we offer an easy way for management and relevant departments to comply with their legal obligations regarding email retention. At the same time, SMARTMail users remain in control of their e-mails, retaining only what they need to retain. This also prevents marked e-mails from being lost in the event of staff changes, should no handover have taken place. In addition, SMARTMail users have the advantage that their mailboxes are automatically cleaned up after 4 years, so that they always work in compliance with data protection regulations.
The project was commissioned in 2019 by Holger Eckstein in the Executive Board division and the project responsibility was handed over to Ralf Kimpel (Director CARiS). We are now at the end of the rollout and are all very proud! The majority of the so-called SMARTMail target group has successfully completed their e-learning as a prerequisite for the activation of SMARTMail, including live intensive training and Q&A sessions. The retention periods of 10+1 years and 30+1 years can already be applied by this group, while the data protection relevant deletion routine for emails older than 3+1 years will be successively activated in 2024.
Very well! Of course, the SMARTMail team has undergone some changes due to the long duration of the project and natural staff turnover. But many Burda experts contributed to the success of the project in the different project phases. Initially, Ralf Kimpel commissioned a working paper from the law firm SSB to define the legal requirements for the "storage of digital business communications". This was the basis for defining the legal requirements for our technical solution. During the course of the project Anouk Bender and then Hanni Sobek oversaw the project management. From 2020 onwards, this then lay entirely with CARiS, and a lateral group team was set up.
Since the end of 2022, SMARTMail and Li Peng have been the central interface for communication, rollout planning, documentation and process optimisation. The intensive trainings as well as Q&A sessions are conducted live by Hanni Sobek, Dr Martin Scheuer and Li Peng. In cooperation with Legal (Gabriela Jäger, Marina Echteler, Elisabeth Kuhn), Data Privacy (Dr. Martin Scheurer) and BDS (Peter Fritsch), user enquiries sent to email@example.com will also be answered here. Please feel free to contact us at any time if you have any questions.
One of the biggest challenges was building consensus between the different Burda departments, specifically concerning the legal content of SMARTMail. Due to the heterogeneous structure of Burda, with different locations, corporate cultures, and expertise, this was anything but easy. But thanks to our joint commitment, we managed it successfully. How did we do it? With effective communication, regular meetings and feedback meetings as well as a clear distribution of tasks. These were crucial in reaching a consensus. The courage to discuss and share information also helped us a lot. The individual team players had different experiences and best practices from similar projects, which helped us to optimise our cooperation. It is also important to have a clear division of responsibilities between BurdaSolutions (technical design) and CARiS/Legal/Data Privacy (content nature).
However, whether SMARTMail remains a successful project now depends on the willingness and dedication of each user to label their e-mails. That is why our motto and our call to all Burda colleagues is "Just Label it!".
Would you also like to present your colleagues in the "Team of the Month" or can you recommend a top team? Then feel free to contact me!