Ease of use, and robustness for a large and progressive firm. These were the qualities ZGF were lookingfor after experienc...
Workflow mismatchHowever, within just a few months it was clearthat the system did not fit their workflow. “It wasexciting...
Firm-wide take-upIn the first months after OpenAsset was introduced at ZGF, take-upacross the offices exceeded all expecta...
Intuitive in useThe success of OpenAsset at ZGF has beenprimarily due to its usability, and in particular itsintuitive int...
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Case Study: ZGF


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As easy as ZGF... How switching from iDAM to OpenAsset Media improved digital asset management and made leading US practice ZGF picture perfect

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Case Study: ZGF

  1. 1. Ease of use, and robustness for a large and progressive firm. These were the qualities ZGF were lookingfor after experiencing low adoption when they rolled out iDAM as their enterprise image managementsystem. This case study presents how Axomic worked with ZGF to implement this important business tool,and looks at its extraordinary take-up among staff during its first few months of use.About ZGFZGF Architects LLP is a design firm with a focus on architecture, interior design, and urban design.Founded 70 years ago in Portland, Oregon with a mission to strive for design excellence, stewardshipof our natural and built environment, and exceptional client service, ZGF has grown to include over470 employees and additional offices in Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington, DC, and New York. With anintentionally diverse portfolio, ZGF’s design philosophy is centered on the premise that design excellenceshould be reflected in each and every aspect of a building—its fit with the community, its function andrelationship to its users, its building systems, and its cost.Why migrating to OpenAssetis as simple as... ZGF1.“It is the kind of software toolborn out of really understandingwhat the image consumers inarchitecture design firms needon a day to day basis.”– Andrew Hollomon, Principal & Directorof Information Technology, ZGFMEDIACase studyZGF
  2. 2. Workflow mismatchHowever, within just a few months it was clearthat the system did not fit their workflow. “It wasexciting to see all of our images in one place atfirst but it wasn’t efficient for us at all,” explainsAssociate Partner Sandra Grande. Although iDAMwas web-based and could be shared betweenthe various studios, it still didn’t have the necessaryfunctionality. “We were looking for a more userfriendly system that would interface properly withthe design software we use on a daily basis.”Evaluating the competitionZGF’s IT team had carried out a thoroughevaluation of various systems before investingin the existing iDAM system, and so had agood sense of the market landscape andthe comparative value of the various imagemanagement products available. OpenAssethad just entered the US market so presented anexcellent opportunity to compare features andCollecting imagesBecause ZGF had not fully adopted theprevious image management system acrossall their offices, they first needed to pool allof their image resources in one place. The ITteam set up a mirrored image repository ateach location, using DFSR to maximise imageaccess speed in each location. The marketingand communications teams then collected allexisting images on this central server.From iDAM to OpenAsset in 5 simple stepsperformance. And it was clear that it offeredmany of the intuitive, user-focused features ZGFrequired to improve adoption. “You could tell itwas the kind of software tool that was born out ofreally understanding what the image consumersin architecture design firms need on a day today basis, says Andrew Hollomon, Director ofInformation Technology. “We liked the fact that it didwhat we were looking for and was well tailored toour workflow.”How switching from iDAM to OpenAssetmade ZGF picture perfectWith offices in five cities across the US, ZGF had struggled for some time to develop a consistent, shared libraryof digital assets. The practice originally had a dedicated image server in each studio with a system of files andfolders to organise their images. But as collaboration between the offices grew and the demand for top qualityimages became higher, the practice invested in iDAM, an off-the-peg digital image management system tohelp structure its data.2.“Talking to other customerswe felt secure that Axomicwould lend a solid handin helping to migrateour image library andmetadata.”– Andrew Hollomon, ZGFCreate a repository for allexisting imagesClean up your collectedassetsDevelop a keywordingprotocolSpring cleaningHaving had a separate image server backingup the incumbent system in each office, itwas essential for ZGF to clean up the existingimages, removing duplicates and alsounwanted assets. Andrew explains: “We madean effort to prune and clean the existing imagesystem and clearly identify the projects wewanted to migrate.”New protocolsThe migration process provided a greatopportunity to tailor the system to support andenhance workflows, re-evaluating the existingkeywording system to ensure it met ZGF’sneeds. “We spent quite a long time delineatingwhich things we wanted to highlight, and alsobuilding in search conventions from the oldsystem, so that users can get to the images theywant instantly,” says Sandra.
  3. 3. Firm-wide take-upIn the first months after OpenAsset was introduced at ZGF, take-upacross the offices exceeded all expectations, and the practice is onlynow beginning to realise the full potential of the system. “We adoptedthe system in marketing as soon as it was up and running,” says Sandra,“and over the course of the last five months it’s really changed the way wedo things.”High usageAround 1,750 pages are viewed each day, with each visitor looking atan average of 70 separate pages. Incredibly, over the first seven monthsthere were over three million hits from over 400 individual visitors -around 80% of the practice. Usage is consistently high across the workingday, with the majority of users using OpenAsset’s powerful searchcapability to take them direct to the images they need.User-friendlyWhile the marketing team access a range of images for use in projectreports and submissions for new work, the design teams use the systemmainly to find reference material and precedents. “We’ve had a hugenumber of people go into it and find what they need without having tocome to marketing,” says Sandra. “It’s a really user friendly application soit doesn’t take hours to work it out. Overall it’s been very positive.”“I was really pleasedwith the datamigration – it feltlike Axomic had theprocess down to ascience.”– Andrew Hollomon, ZGF0306090120150View the online demoat www.axomic.comLaunch OpenAsset!Migrate... and testMoving the dataOnce the images were prepared, Axomiccreated a migration script to map the dataand images to the right place in OpenAsset.Throughout the process, Axomic providedsolid support to the ZGF team, carrying out aseries of tests to ensure that the migration wassuccessful.Implementing OpenAssetWith the support of an expert and dedicatedaccount manager, ZGF’s marketing andcommunications teams were able to startusing the new system as soon as the data hadbeen migrated. OpenAsset was then launchedacross the whole practice with a series oftraining sessions to let staff know the full extentof the resource now available to them.“OpenAsset has really changedthe way we do things.”– Sandra Grande, ZGFDaily VisitorsVisitorsDate0102030405060Month 1Month 2Month 3Month 4Month 5Month 6Month 7
  4. 4. Intuitive in useThe success of OpenAsset at ZGF has beenprimarily due to its usability, and in particular itsintuitive interface. “The characteristics that makeOpenAsset appealing are the relative clarity andelegance of the interface, the fact it finds youwhat you need quickly, and its reliability,” saysAndrew. Graphic designer Suejin Yoo agrees:“It’s a lot more efficient. In terms of the way wework, connectivity with our design software isimperative. Not having to generate multipleimage sizes is great – it just does it all for us withinthe application.” “In terms of the functionality ofviewing images it’s great too,” continues Sandra.“We have a huge amount of images and a largerange of project types that we cover, so just beingable to see all of those when we are puttingtogether a document is inspirational in itself.”A pan-practice resourceThe design teams use the system mainly tofind reference material and precedents, andthe PowerPoint feature provides an instant wayto convert these into an effective presentationmedium for clients. And for Sandra and her team,having a central place where all the best qualityimages and assets reside has enabled them tocollaborate more effectively with their colleaguesacross the practice. “We don’t find ourselves withthree different versions of the same image, andthat’s been a huge thing across the firm. I thinkefficiency in the way we work has been a majorbenefit. OpenAsset has become our right arm.We use it every day.”“We understand the value ofgetting the best material outthere and available to use.And OpenAsset makes thispossible.”– Sandra Grande, ZGF5.4.To find out more about OpenAsset Media and to viewthe online demo:visit www.axomic.comemail sales@axomic.com created byDeltek Vision integrationOpenAsset’s ability to integrate with other information managementsystems has been further key to its success at ZGF. “We use DeltekVision extensively in marketing and across the studio,” explainsSandra, “and because we have the connector, OpenAsset is ableto talk to it and pull across project names, descriptions and otherinformation automatically.” “We also leverage OpenAsset to hostimages used on our SharePoint intranet,” adds Andrew, “and haveit integrated with Active Directory for logins.”3.1. Twelve | West Mixed-Use BuildingPhotographer: Timothy Hursley (©Timothy Hursley)2. University of Oregon, John E. Jaqua Academic Center forStudent AthletesPhotographer: Basil Childers (© Basil Childers)3. University of California, San Diego, Rebecca and John MooresCancer CenterPhotographer: Nick Merrick (Nick Merrick © Hedrich Blessing)4. As 1., Photographer: Ron Cooper5. As 1., Photographer: Nick Merrick (Nick Merrick © HedrichBlessing)