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Widen DAMster Interviews Booklet

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Widen DAMster Interviews Booklet

  1. 1. The Best of Widen’s Digital Asset Management User Interviews
  2. 2. 2 Widen digital asset management (DAM) users are from a diverse and fascinating group with various backgrounds, occupations and interests. They work in a variety of industries and live in different locations around the world. In fact, the way they use the Widen Media Collective is almost as diverse as their backgrounds. In the spirit of coming together, we’re sharing some of our best user stories as a source of inspiration for you. We call these users Widen DAMsters and hope their interviews shed light on different ways the Media Collective is being used and to what end. Please enjoy!
  3. 3. 3 What does it mean to be a Widen DAMster? BE ORGANIZED SHARE TRACK AND REPORT Value training Look at the ROI Love thy metadata Know how your users THINK Take the time to do DAM right
  4. 4. 4 Being a Widen DAMster An interview with Lee Stadler, Senior Designer at Ottawa University Widen DAM users are a diverse and fascinating group with various backgrounds, occupations and interests. They work in a range of industries and live in different locations around the world. In fact, they’re so great that we’re profiling these people in a series of digital asset manager interviews, so other users can gain a better understanding of how the Media Collective is being used and to what end. Our first interview is with Lee Stadler, Senior Designer at Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas. Lee has been a Widen user for two years and was the champion who led Ottawa’s internal initiative for a DAM system. He continues to spearhead all things DAM at Ottawa University in order to protect their brand assets and help the institution build a story that’s truthful and lasts. How often do you use the Media Collective? Personally, a minimum of once a day. If not, it’s because I don’t have a computer handy or I’m not on the clock. Otherwise, I’m on it every day. In what area(s) of your organization are you using the Media Collective? Marketing, PR, alumni relations, external agencies that opt in and out as they want to be able to develop materials without micro management over them. The outside work we have done is typically contract video, audio and photography. For what kinds of activities are you using the Media Collective? General archiving and marketing materials development. I just finished sending someone a collection of photos taken at an event from about a month and half ago for something he needs to do today. That’s just a small bit of what it can do. The Media Collective is the central tool for all our marketing campaign development in terms of assets. We recently dumped all of our production files from the last six years in there (over the past six months) to free up our internal servers. That was great. How are your users using the Media Collective? What do they do with it? They are doing roughly the same thing as me – archiving, developing marketing materials, proofing. I still like to think of it as helping to secure and build the University’s story. It’s true that user adoption by folks internally can be challenging. Some people outside the University have adopted or adapted more quickly than some inside. I think it speaks to culture and I’m glad it does. It’s a constant evaluation of how we can function better. Do I send constant reminders telling people to use the Media Collective? No. But we all try to show that there’s a better way when they send everything as email attachments. You don’t want to have a clogged pipeline. What is the most useful thing that the Media Collective does for you? It takes obstacles out of the way. Having the ability to automatically switch formats for various file types so easily is so great. It’s much akin to voodoo. In my field (graphic design), you spend so much time learning how to save out to various file formats for very specific uses that having a system do that for you is amazing. Automatically generating JPEGs and TIFFs within the DAM system, it’s incredibly useful. This really clears software and personnel obstacles. I’ve been an obstacle to people simply because they needed a file. That’s silly. Now that others can so freely and easily use the Media Collective, I don’t want to, nor do I need to, be there saving files for someone else. We were spending so much time doing things like that and now we no longer have to. The ROI is immense. Can you share something that you do with the Media Collective that other users may not know it can do? This is something I knew was possible, but we never really implemented until recently and I don’t know why – separate metadata schemas. We use them to extract metadata from externally-developed assets. People outside of the University have their own way of going about things, so if someone was using Aperture to append their IPTC data, we could store the data, but it wasn’t searchable. Now, there is a selectable metadata profile with four or five IPTC fields that are extracted and searchable so other folks using the same method aren’t hindered. It was cake. This was already built right in there in the Media Collective. It’s a method that I hope we start using for other internal groups as well. It certainly makes things easier and helps people maintain a large degree of their own workflow.
  5. 5. 5 What are your favorite apps on your smartphone? I don’t own a smartphone, but I own the game Tetris. I don’t have a smartphone just to maintain history. I like pencils and pens and paper, and I see them as necessary to my craft. Regardless of what I can get for free with a two-year cell phone plan, I wouldn’t be as concerned with dropping a piece of sticky paper than a phone on concrete. I did have a Blackberry at one point, and one of my favorite days was when I accidentally left it on the roof of my car. It slid off the roof onto the highway and was crushed by two cars. The second one swerved to hit it. The SIM card survived. Which tech websites or blogs do you follow? I reference CMSWire fairly frequently. Design Observer is popular. Blacksmithing websites are fun. Any type of craft that can cross that technical and design divide. Linguistic sites. My background is in music performance, so that’s been a guide for my work ethic. If you don’t play, you don’t eat. So I try to remain as varied as possible. What do you think is the most important thing other users should know about using a DAM system? It’s the change that you need. It really is a solution that creates liberty and freedom. It makes an organization sustainable because it makes them responsible for not just having everything out there without following any order. It makes them accountable. When you use it correctly, it helps keep your organization stable and effective. “The Media Collective is the central tool for all of our marketing campaign development.” Using the Media Collective: Tips from Lee Stadler 1. Take advantage of on-the-fly conversions. Having the ability to automatically switch formats for various file types so easily is great. You can spend so much time learning how to save out to various file formats, for very specific uses, that having a system do that for you is amazing. 2. Leverage seperate metadata schemas. We use them to extract metadata from externally-developed assets. People outside of the University have their own way of going about things, so if someone was using Aperature to append their IPTC data, we could store the data, but it wasn’t searchable. It certainly makes things easier and helps people maintain a large degree of their own workflow, and it’s already built into the Media Collective. 3. Remember that user adoption is a cultural thing. It’s true that user adoption by folks internally can be challenging. Some people outside the University have adopted or adapted more quickly than some inside. I think it speaks to culture and I’m glad it does. It’s a constant evaluation of how an organization can function better.
  6. 6. 6 An interview with Barbara Janis, Librarian and Records Manager of Presidio Trust Barbara has a master’s degree in Library and Information Science and started her career as a public librarian. Fifteen years ago, she came to the Presidio Trust to be their Librarian and Records Manager. Today, she is acting as a catalyst to record Presidio’s history and Presidio Trust’s contributions to preserving its heritage. How long have you been a Widen user? We launched Widen’s DAM system in January 2012. Previously, we were using an image system with a limited number of seat licenses. Having Widen has opened up access of our image collection to a broader community. How often do you use the Media Collective? I work eight hours a day and I’m working with Widen much of that time! I’m constantly scanning, applying Optical Character Recognition, then uploading, tagging documents and images. Staff and outside contractors email requests for articles, images and environmental remediation documents, which I supply to them via Widen. In what area(s) of your organization are you using the Media Collective? Anyone preparing a report, such as a cultural landscape report, or an environmental impact statement that needs images to document conditions of buildings and landscapes. A report showing completion of a rehabilitation or restoration of a landscape will use before and after images. Having the images contained in the Widen DAM system makes this part of the project much easier. For what kinds of activities are you using the Media Collective? Archival activities are one of my concerns. As records manager, I work with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to transfer permanent and temporary records to them. NARA now has the ability to accept electronic permanent records in PDF. I’m using the DAM to tag our permanent records and will be transferring those records at the end of the year. We hope to use the InDesign preview feature now that it’s available with Widen. I will also be adding a backlog of videos to the DAM system after they’re converted to a supported format. How do your users use the Media Collective? Our graphic designers are fluent in searching and locating the images they want. For our general staff, we initially provided trainings to ramp up use. A few training videos have been added to the dashboard of our site to assist with training new users. What is most useful to you about the Media Collective? As a librarian, organization is the byword. I want to know where everything is and access it quickly, then provide this information to my base of users. People who are already comfortable with using technology and the internet are enthusiastic Widen users. What are your favorite apps on your smartphone? I don’t have a smartphone, but I wish I did. Which tech websites or blogs do you follow? We have an external affairs department dedicated to posting information to our blog and website. Via an employee digest they share these postings and our media coverage with all employees. This newsletter is considered a permanent record and is housed in Widen. What do you think is the most important thing other users should know about using a DAM system? That it exists and how easy it is to use! I’ve created an internal distribution list of Widen users and send them announcements for every webinar that Widen holds. I don’t know how many people take advantage of it, but I try to let them know that it’s easy. This is what Barbara’s daily workspace looks like!
  7. 7. 7 “ I’m constantly scanning, applying Optical Character Recognition, then uploading and tagging documents and images.” Using the Media Collective: Tips from Barbara Janis 1. Keep your DAM system organized. As a librarian, organization is the byword. It helps everyone when I know where everything is and can access it quickly, then provide this information to my base of users. 2. Keep training your users. For our general staff, we initially provided personal training to ramp up use. A few training videos have been added to the dashboard of our site, too, to assist with training new users as they start using the Media Collective. 3. Use the DAM system as a mechanism for permanent record. I’m using the DAM system to tag our permanent records and will be transferring those records at the end of the year. Having the images contained in Widen’s DAM system makes this so much easier.
  8. 8. 8 An interview with Nikki Lebenson, Web Content Producer in the Department of Public Affairs at the Institute of Internal Education Nikki lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., and has worked at the Institute of Internal Education (IIE) for the past five years. In 2009, she started as an intern in Mexico City working for a student advising program, then moved to the New York office in 2011 to work for the Fulbright Program. She now works as the Institute’s Web Content Producer in the Department of Public Affairs. Nikki studied history and archiving in college and has a passion for being organized. How long have you been a Widen user? Oh, since 2010, I think. I started using DAM at IIE as a program administrator that worked with Fulbright students and now I’m an admin of the system. I worked on it before the interface was revamped. I essentially went from being a user to one of the people that trains and helps all other users. How often do you use the Media Collective? I use it pretty much every day. When I was working on a program, I used it much less frequently because I only needed it in certain instances or at specific times of year. We used the DAM to collect and preserve photos that showed the impact these teachers were having in classrooms around the country. But we would only collect those photos once or twice a year. Now, in Public Affairs, I use it all the time. Whereas I used to just work on one program, I now work with programs across the Institute and assist them in using the DAM system for photos and much more. After major events or milestones, I make sure images or video make their way into Media Port. When the Institute publishes promotional materials or books, I often help people use the DAM to find images that work with their particular publication. I have to share images with staff constantly. Sometimes, the staff have a very specific type of photo request. Thanks to the way we are able to tag photos in the DAM, I can actually fulfill that request very quickly. As an administrator, I can now predict what programs might need or what the international offices might need, and update the metadata that we ask staff for when they upload assets accordingly. Over time, this makes it easier and easier for staff to save and find assets. “On a personal level, the most important thing the Media Collective does is archiving. It’s documenting the faces of our participants and the wonderful things they have done that help make the world a more peaceful place.” In what area(s) of your organization are you using the Media Collective? It’s used in a variety of different places. The heaviest use takes place at the Institutional level. We are collecting as many photos as we can from across the Institute, then using them to create promotional materials for our existing and potential sponsors. Alternatively, individual programs upload images to the DAM and use them for their own promotional materials. Programs also use Media Port as a way to share impact photos or video with their program sponsor. For both kinds of promotion, the DAM system is the Institute’s official archive. At the program level, this means we can show our sponsors that we’re responsible and cataloguing and collecting digital assets about the programs that they’ve paid us to manage. Something new for us is using the DAM to help programs across the Institute save time and money on the cost of reviewing work samples. Many of our programs require that applicants submit work samples to a panel of reviewers. In the past, especially with works of art, that meant processing those work samples and then often physically or digitally shipping them out to a large group of panelists – a complicated process. Now we put the work samples into Media Port and share a link with the panelists so that they can access the samples for review. The physical labor and time saved was a lot! We are moving from promotion and archiving to making the DAM a part of the administrative process of our programs. It’s not just about archiving images and making our brochures look pretty. The DAM can potentially save us and program sponsors a significant amount of money.
  9. 9. 9 For what kinds of activities are you using the Media Collective? Mainly, I use the DAM to find assets. When a publications manager asks me for photos that they can use for a book cover, or our design director asks for photos for the annual report, I want to find images that show off all the work we do around the world, not just find photos that I’ve uploaded from our office in New York. I also work to upload as much as I can and tag those assets very specifically to make the best use of what’s been uploaded. Because I’m an admin, I also spend a lot of time helping other staff learn how to use Media Port and troubleshoot. How do your users use the Media Collective? Most use it to archive photos of their program participants and program events. Now, with everything digital, it’s so easy for things to disappear off the face of the earth. The Institute invests in the DAM because we understand the importance of documenting things in the digital age, which is a particularly big challenge for an organization that has existed for as long as ours has. Photos or important documents are often documented in a scattered way by individual staff, often with some technology or product that IIE doesn’t really own and control, like Picasa or YouTube. We have no idea what happens to the assets if the person who set up Picasa, for instance, wins the lottery and we never see them again. If everyone puts assets into Media Port, that kind of loss doesn’t happen. We’re working hard to increase the consciousness of storing assets in a future thinking way amongst our staff. What is the most useful thing the Media Collective does for you? Sharing images. We have 19 global offices and over 600 staff that I need to potentially share photos with. Using the DAM system makes it seems like we’re much closer to our colleagues around the world and the program on the ground level. When sponsors or employees find out they can send a link and see what they need to see, it makes everyone’s job eight million times easier. However, on a personal level, the most important thing the Collective does is archiving. It’s documenting the faces of our participants and the wonderful things they have done that help make the world a more peaceful place. What are your favorite apps on your smartphone? I love Pocket. You can add it to Google Chrome. I constantly see things online that I want to read but don’t have time to. With Pocket, I can download it to my phone. I can then read everything on my phone, without reception, during my commute, and it’s amazing. Tweat it. It lets you see all of the food trucks around you in Manhattan! Pic Stitch. It’s super useful for social media. It allows you to create collages very easily. I can take five pictures at a book launch event, pull them into Pic Stitch as a collage, make them look really cool, and tweet it through IIE’s Twitter account. Which tech websites or blogs do you follow? Definitely, Mashable. I do rely on my team in the tech industry to talk to me about what’s important out there. I look at NTEN (nonprofit technology network). There is also a Facebook page simply called “Non- Profit Organizations” that shares really, really useful social media tips. I’m always looking for sources that touch on the special circumstances that non-profits find themselves in. What do you think is the most important thing other users should know about using a DAM system? People should recognize how important the DAM is in terms of their company’s responsibility for recording its own work. It’s great that users find everyday functionality in the system, but having a system that you control, have ownership over and that houses all the assets you own in one place – that is something else, something much more important. It’s about recording valuable work for posterity. Media Collective Tips from Nikki Lebenson 1. Recognize the importance of DAM in recording an organization’s work. It’s great that users find everyday functionality in the system, but having a system that you control, have ownership over and that houses all the assets your organization owns in one place – that is something much more important. 2. Close the gap by sharing. We have 19 global offices and over 600 staff to share photos with. Using the DAM system makes it seems like we’re much closer to our colleagues around the world. When sponsors or employees find out they can send a link and see what they need to see, it makes everyone’s job eight million times easier. 3. Realize the ROI of DAM. We’ve moved from promotion and archiving to making the DAM a part of the administrative process of our programs. It’s not just about archiving images and making our brochures look pretty. The DAM can potentially save us and program sponsors a significant amount of money.
  10. 10. 10 An interview with Corey Chimko, Global DAM Administrator at Cornell University Photography How long have you been a Widen user? We launched our digital asset management system in January of 2012. How often do you use the Media Collective? Every day (except weekends - ha!). I’m on it all day, every day. In what area(s) of your organization are you using the Media Collective? The photo department primarily, but also users in every college and school that is affiliated with Cornell. Our primary users are the University’s top-level marketing department, then each college and school also has their own smaller marketing department. Just about anyone connected to Cornell uses it - alumni, staff, students, faculty. Many log in primarily for photo research while others simply browse the collections rather than it being part of their workflow. Non-Cornell designers and news/internet media people also use our system. There are a lot of different groups. For what kinds of activities are you using the Media Collective? The primary use is the photography archive, although we don’t think of it as archival tool, but rather as a place to do photo research for marketing purposes. The news and marketing departments use it to locate images for the Cornell website, on-campus publications and the Cornell Chronicle. It’s also used to deliver photos to our clients. When a photographer does a shoot, we upload the images to the Widen DAM system, deliver to the client, and then the images remain in the DAM solution in perpetuity. After the specific use for which the images are shot has passed, the images become available to the entire Cornell community. External media and clients can order high-resolution images directly through the DAM solution. We also use it to drive traffic to our e-commerce site, where we sell prints of events like awards ceremonies, graduation, reunion, and so forth. The Media Collective is our most visible site, so we use it to drive traffic. I personally upload and deliver assets with the DAM system. In terms of metadata, about 80% is entered offline in Adobe Bridge and then mapped during import to the Media Collective. We take full advantage of the metadata mapping feature. How do your users use the Media Collective? They download the photos we shoot and send to them, or use it for their own research and project-specific workflows. They use it to request high-resolution images for print or optimized versions of images for their websites. They see it as a repository of all of the images that we have shot for them over the years. They can also upload and manage their own collections that don’t come from Cornell’s photography department. If a client is working on a project, staff can collaborate by creating a collection and sharing it with their colleagues. We frequently work with external designers and publishers by giving them a login so they can work with their Cornell clients’ collections. Optimized images can be sent to public media, such as the New York Times or Fox News. “When you understand the way your users think, you can incorporate that into your system. I think users underestimate both the usefulness and complexity of DAM systems, so education is very important, but also perhaps one of the most difficult challenges that a digital asset manager faces.”
  11. 11. 11 What is the most useful thing the Media Collective does for you? The upload speed is key. I would say that the biggest problem with any system we have used in the past was that it couldn’t cope with the volume of content we have and the speed at which it needs to be delivered. Widen does it like a charm; it’s amazing how fast it is for us. The metadata mapping feature also saves us a tremendous amount of time. It’s faster to input our metadata in Bridge; importing it rather than re-entering it or entering it within the DAM is far faster. What are your favorite apps on your smartphone? Words with Friends, Tumblr, Kindle, Evernote, Pinball Arcade, Lumosity. Oh, and Cooliris, which is a VERY cool photo app. Which tech websites or blogs do you follow? Nothing fanatically, but I do follow the Widen blog and the LinkedIn Widen page, and sometimes browse wired.com or ZDNet. Whatever is big in the news gets fed my way. What do you think is the most important thing other users should know about using a DAM system? The number one thing is to know your users and understand what their needs and workflows are. I’ve come across many good digital asset managers who are diligent about organization and metadata, but they don’t understand how to tailor search to the way their users are searching, or how to make functionality transparent for people who may not be tech savvy. Functionality that, as an internet user, you might assume they know how to do: browsing a category tree for example, or using an advanced search. Many users will do one very broad search, and if they don’t find exactly what they’re looking for right away, they assume that it’s not there. When you understand the way in which your users think - they may be using terminology or folksonomies unknown to you - you can then incorporate that into your system. I think users vastly underestimate both the usefulness and the complexity of DAM systems, so user education is very important, but also perhaps one of the most difficult challenges that a digital asset manager faces. Using the Media Collective: Tips from Corey Chimko 1. Know your users, their wants and needs. The number one thing is to know your users and understand what their needs and workflows are. I’ve come across many good digital asset managers who are diligent about organization and metadata, but they don’t understand how to tailor search to the way their users are searching, or how to make functionality transparent for people who may not be tech savvy. 2. Take advantage of metadata mapping. The metadata mapping feature also saves us a tremendous amount of time. It’s faster to input our metadata in Adobe Bridge; importing it rather than re-entering it or entering it within the DAM is far faster. 3. Make your assets available to your community. We use the Media Collective to deliver photos to our clients. When a photographer does a shoot, we upload the images to the Widen DAM system, deliver to the client, and then the images remain in the DAM solution in perpetuity. After the specific use for which the images are shot has passed, the images become available to the entire Cornell community.
  12. 12. 12 An interview with Barbara Alexander, Global Digital Asset Manager at Coty Beauty Initially a Creative for Coty Beauty, Barbara spearheaded building their first DAM process, which started at the local Creative server level and eventually grew into a web-based DAM system with Widen. Barbara has been an avid Widen user for four and a half years and continues to guide the use and adoption of the Media Collective at Coty, leveraging it across the organization’s different business groups all around the globe. How long have you been a Widen user? Widen was initially brought in-house by our local sales team. While it served the needs of the sales team wonderfully, as a tool, the Widen platform was underutilized. When I was asked to initiate and build a DAM program, it wasn’t long before I spotted the potential of Widen’s capabilities and co-opted the site. We began building out the Media Collective platform to service all our functional areas, in all markets around the world. How often do you use the Media Collective? I am signed in all day, every day, to the Media Collective. I am the Media Collective’s global administrator and point person for all requests and questions, so I’m always hopping on to verify, guide, upload, etc. In what area(s) of your organization are you using the Media Collective? Widen has significantly enhanced the efficiencies of our internal and external processes, and is used either directly or indirectly by every functional team. This includes Sales, Marketing, Customer Account Services, Creatives, Engineering, Product Development, Corporate, Public Relations, etc. For what kinds of activities are you using the Media Collective? We use the Media Collective as our creative supply chain to distribute branded assets around the world for print and internet publishing, PR, event environment and promotional materials, for our global markets for local transcreation and production, as well as videos and assets to our retailer accounts. We also use Widen as a collaborative tool at every level of the corporation, including creative development collaboration between marketing and designers. How do your users use the Media Collective? Our users love that they can essentially self-serve and that the fulfillment cycle has shrunk, in most cases, to minutes. Widen has streamlined and simplified the supply chain process. Even just the aspect of not needing to complete and submit request forms for needed assets is a huge manpower and time saver. What is the most useful thing the Media Collective does for you? The self-serve aspect is huge in freeing up human power. Also extremely helpful is the ability to set expiration dates aligned with our contractual usage rights. We also have an automated email notification going out to anyone who has downloaded an expiring image, alerting him or her to discontinue use. Can you share something that you do with the Media Collective that other users may not know it can do? I think being able to see who the users are, both the general user and the power user, gives us a way to be thinking about the work and what Media Collective features are most important to them. What are your favorite apps on your smartphone? The search map app is indispensable, as is the GPS. I’m a big tennis fan, so whatever grand slam event is happening, that app is definitely on my phone!
  13. 13. 13 Which tech websites or blogs do you follow? I do follow some blogs like anotherdamblog and posts to the DAM NY Meetup. I’m usually a specific-situation searcher. Now that I know about Widen’s blog, I’ll be following that as well! What do you think is the most important thing other users should know about using a DAM system? The ability to modify the parameters on the fly by the user administrator is so important. It’s the difference between moving past a glitch in the workflow quickly and being sidelined for a chunk of time. I also think that more consideration should be given to how roles and permissions shape the Media Collective for your organization, with an eye toward what it is you want to offer your users. Using the Media Collective: Tips from Barbara Alexander 1. Understand who your users are. Being able to see who your users are, both the general user and the power user, provides a way to be thinking about the work and what Media Collective features are most important to them. 2. Be strategic about user roles and permissions. Think about how user roles and permissions can shape the Media Collective for your organization. Consider what it is you want to offer your users and let the roles and permissions trickle down from there. 3. Use the asset expiration features to help manage image rights. The ability to set expiration dates aligned with our contractual usage rights is extremely helpful. We also have an automated email notification going out to anyone who has downloaded an expiring image, alerting him or her to discontinue use. “ The ability to modify parameters on the fly by the user administrator is so important. It’s the difference between moving past a glitch in the workflow quickly and being sidelined for a chunk of time.”
  14. 14. 14 An interview with Grant Wheeler, Digital Asset Manager for African Wildlife Foundation Grant Wheeler has been a graphic designer and digital asset manager at the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) for the past seven years. As their leading designer, Grant is responsible for making sure the organization’s key people around the globe get all the images they need when they need them. How long have you been a Widen user? About three years. How often do you use the Media Collective? I must be accessing Widen’s Media Collective at least 20 or 30 times a day. In what area(s) of your organization are you using the Media Collective? Mostly our marketing and communications department, as a digital library/archive tool. We have field staff all over Africa. These folks are needing to upload and share digital assets from our various projects as often as they can, collaborating with other non-governmental organizations, vendors and corporate partners, etc. For what kinds of activities are you using the Media Collective? Because I manage most of the assets I’m releasing and tagging most of the assets, for security reasons. As AWF’s designer, I also load, store and distribute art files to our vendors and publishers. I would say Widen’s Media Collective is mostly used as our photo library for both storage and distribution. The ability to convert files into the various formats is a bonus. How do your users use the Media Collective? Our teams working on various publications will set up collections in the Media Collective and I’ll help them choose specific assets. The guys in Africa are mostly uploaders. We also have a collection of “partner” wildlife photographers who often donate images for our foundation’s work, so they would load and tag assets with restricted user rights. What is the most useful thing the Media Collective does for you? I think the fact that it’s cloud-based and we can get onto it from any location. We’ve got guys everywhere. With a cloud-based system like Widen, we can deliver files all over the world daily. We use this capability the most, especially for me with the graphic art files. What are your favorite apps on your smartphone? Facebook, Dropbox, Instagram. I’m not really an app kinda guy. I know, boring. Which tech websites or blogs do you follow? On tech sites/blogs – CRBlog, cameromoll and spoon graphics. More so African photography and travel blogs. Robyngianni. org/blog and savannaimages.com, http:// mariuscoetzeeafricanphotography.blogspot. com/ as examples. I like to keep up with the many photographers who donate their stunning images for our usage. What do you think is the most important thing other users should know about using a DAM system? The ease of it! A definite solution to digital asset storage and distribution.
  15. 15. 15 Using the Media Collective: Tips from Grant Wheeler 1. Collections are an easy way to share images with different teams. We have several teams working on various publications, so they will set up collections in the Media Collective to share groups of images for review and I’ll help them choose specific assets for their purposes. 2. Save time with on-the-fly format conversions. When you have to make sure that key people around the globe get the images they need, the right way, and on time, the ability to convert files into the various formats is a real bonus. “ I like to keep up with the many photographers who donate their stunning images for our usage.”
  16. 16. 16 An interview with Sara Sarow, Marketing Services Operations Specialist at Promega Sara is new to Widen DAM, but she’s a seasoned marketing professional with a passion for keeping things organized. Like many other DAM administrators, Sara has worked in several groups at her organization. She’s familiar with many facets of Promega as well as the systems and file structures being used throughout the company. Because of her flexibility, knowledge and interest, she was asked to research the DAM systems available in the market and help recommend one that would serve the growing needs of Promega. How long have you been a Widen user? I haven’t used a DAM system anywhere else. I’m a new user. We just finished our bulk upload with Widen, but before that we were uploading several assets. My manager was really excited about it. We had couple of brand meetings coming up in Europe, so we rolled out a beta version to show them what we’re doing. We put a lot of stock art up in the DAM system and tagged it. We also used several of our more recent project files. Because I’m a perfectionist, the early roll out wouldn’t have been my first choice, but it’s been a good place to start and probably better to do it that way than one big launch. Widen’s DAM system is very intuitive, and search and download is very easy to do. Since that was the initial driver for getting the system, it will be good to get the feedback on how to use the DAM while we continue to set up. How often do you envision using the Media Collective? I imagine it will be daily thing. We’re still working out our processes for this, but I see several hours a day tagging and uploading and getting things together. We’re still deciding if it’s just me or if others will help. Having other people using it is really valuable. In what area(s) of your organization are you using the Media Collective? Right now, it’s mainly the Marketing Services (Creative Services) group. Each branch will use it for their own creative services group. They tend to use design from the U.S., but then customize for specific promotions and languages. But I’m optimistic that the DAM will be a source of truth. Our R&D group came to Marketing Services about pushing their data to marketing. They’d like to use the DAM to organize their data assets, so they have only one file master per data set. Corporate Affairs will use it to store pictures and things for future materials. We want to accommodate as many groups as we can. If people have a problem that the DAM system can solve, we’re willing to explore those options. We have an internal archiving and library service with a librarian on staff. They handle a lot of the historical archives. Now, they’ll be trained on the Media Collective and how to use it. For what kinds of activities are you using the Media Collective? We’re using the Media Collective for distribution, archival and storage of assets. Mainly we’re putting finished pieces up, not work in progress. What is the most useful thing the Media Collective does for you? For Promega, it’s having the single source of truth. It’s always been kind of an issue that different people are going off of different information and we have files stored in every place you can imagine - hard copy, on different systems and folders. It’s time- consuming to find anything. Getting the assets in one place and having them tagged is so useful because you know that’s the final version. You’re able to just search and find what you need. What are your favorite apps on your smartphone? I love the Yelp app, especially while traveling. I love food, so that’s a big one. Also the Starbucks app, and Google maps. Kind of the basics. I like games on my phone too, but only a few. Which tech websites or blogs do you follow? I kind of follow the DAM Foundation website and the articles aggregated there. Other than that, it’s things I pick up when I search around and what I come across.
  17. 17. 17 Using the Media Collective: Tips from Sara Sarow 1. Don’t let your DAM system become a dumping ground. Don’t use it like a server with folders containing files. Take the time to tag your assets with useful information. If you put junk in, you’re going to pull junk out. 2. Use your DAM system as a source of truth. Let the DAM system be a source of truth by storing only one file master for everyone’s use. That way, every branch or business group can start with the file master, then customize for their specific promotions and languages. 3. Consider rolling out a beta version of your DAM system before a hard launch. We rolled out a beta version to show our European group what we’re doing. We put a lot of stock art up in the DAM system and tagged it. We also used several of our more recent project files. It’s been a good place to start and probably better to do it that way than one big launch. It will be good to get the feedback on how to use the DAM while we continue to set up. “ It’s valuable to have an admin who is flexible and capable of learning the different aspects of the company. The thought of hiring someone with archiving capabilities and experience can be exciting, but they need to know the organization as well.” What do you think is the most important thing other users should know about using a DAM system? The major thing is that the DAM system shouldn’t be a dumping ground. Take the time to tag your assets with useful information. If you put junk in, you’re going to pull junk out. The time needed and full effort to tag assets is important. I think we had over 40,000 duplicate assets from our previous system because it was being used like a server with files and folders; the assets themselves weren’t tagged completely.
  18. 18. 18 An interview with with Meghan Zimmerman, Marketing and Events Coordinator for the Business Marketing Association Associations need to focus their marketing efforts on specific activities in order to build awareness of who they are and bolster membership. These activities can range from sharing membership benefits, attracting sponsors, highlighting industry events and promoting the services they offer. The more organized associations are with their marketing efforts, the more effective their communications can be, and the greater chance they stand of attracting the right members and sponsors – those who understand the value of being aligned with a certain association and will act as evangelists to draw more members and sponsors. Take the Business Marketing Association (BMA), for example. It’s the premier association for business-to-business marketing professionals in the U.S. today. It began in 1922 as the National Industrial Advertising Association and now has more than 2,200 members in 22 chapters throughout the U.S. Each chapter has a unique set of stakeholders to serve, and at different levels, so effective marketing is crucial in reaching them with timely and meaningful information. Meghan is a master marketer in the making and a customer of Widen’s DAM software. According to Meghan, there are great benefits for associations to gain from embracing DAM in their marketing workflows. How long have you been using the Media Collective? A little over two years. What kinds of digital files does the BMA create and who do you share them with? Most of our files are event related. We have speaker decks, photos taken at our events, audio and video. Right now, the main people using the DAM system and sharing the digital files are our executive director and me. I keep things on Widen’s DAM system that our executive director and I both need to access. For example, creative files for the Tower Awards and any files that are way too big for us to keep on our computers. I also transfer files to Widen DAM that we’re going to need at a later date, but are not using right now. Soon we’d like to invite vendors to upload files. Vendors are sending things to me right now, but I’m working on teaching them a system to upload files themselves. We’d also like members to be able to login to access event content and the whitepapers and articles that we’ll be creating. What do you, personally, use the DAM system for? I use it mostly for managing our files, but I also use it to send files to other people. Rather than using a service like WeTransfer or TransferBigFiles, I send them off to the people who need them right through the Media Collective, which has been hugely helpful. We have post-event reports and I can select all of the files related to the event (decks and audio) that people need and send them a pickup link. They get it all in one place, at one time, and it’s easy to download. I do all the tagging and naming of the images in our DAM system, too. “We’re volunteer based, so we have a lot of people in a lot of different areas who are all working remotely. Sharing information with everyone can be very difficult. We need to keep our digital assets organized and make sure that everyone can find everything, especially with volunteers, because their time is limited and they need to know where a file is and find it quickly. Otherwise, they get frustrated and don’t want to waste their time working on something for the BMA.”
  19. 19. 19 As an association, what are the biggest communication challenges you face? Our biggest challenge is that we’re volunteer based – we have a lot of people in a lot of different areas who are all working remotely. Sharing information with everyone can be very difficult, and sharing files in particular can be a pain the butt, especially with big files. It’s hard to keep people in the loop and let them know that they have everything they need. Especially because we have a lot of volunteers! The executive director and I also work remotely, so even keeping us on the same page, and making sure we have everything we need, can be challenging. What about challenges with your digital assets? I’d say keeping our digital assets organized and making sure that everyone can find everything is a challenge, especially with volunteers, because their time is limited and they need to know where a file is and find it quickly. Otherwise, they get frustrated and don’t want to waste their time working on something for the BMA. What have you found most useful about the Media Collective? It’s a single place to keep all of our files and we can search for anything. I can send files directly from the Media Collective to others. I know the files get to the people I’m sending them to because I can see it right there in the system, meaning I don’t have to keep track of everything. Plus, our important files are not just living on my computer or the executive director’s computer anymore, they’re in one place where we both have access. When I took this role, everything (all of our digital assets) was on the executive director’s laptop, not even on a backup hard drive. Scary! So, we backed up everything on a hard drive and then transferred everything to the Media Collective. We even tagged it all, so it’s searchable. As an association, what is the biggest benefit DAM has brought to the BMA Chicago? By far, organization. And, the transparency of what we have. A lot of people keep their files on their own computers, but being able to show others what we have is really important. Someone else in the association could have a great use for the files in our DAM system that we haven’t thought of and they can repurpose our digital files accordingly. It saves so much time not having to search different computers and folders for files myself and email them to people. I know that people can go into the DAM system and find what they’re looking for on their own. What would you tell other associations about DAM - those who aren’t currently using a system now? I would say what are you waiting for. Using the Media Collective: Tips from Meghan Zimmerman 1. Be transparent about the assets you have. A lot of people keep their files on their own computers, but being able to show others what we have is really important. Someone else in the association could have a great use for the files in our DAM system that we haven’t thought of and they can repurpose our digital files accordingly. 2. Organize your DAM system the way you want it to be from the very beginning. Tag and name your files right away and you’ll be good to go from the start. Think about how other people are going to use the system, too. Members and those who aren’t part of the association are likely to search differently for files. I think about events, titles and dates, but they might be thinking of speaker names or lunch. 3. Use your DAM system to house the really important files. I keep things on Widen’s DAM system that our executive director and I both need to access. For example, creative files for the Tower Awards and any files that are way too big for us to keep on our computers. I also transfer files to Widen DAM that we’re going to need at a later date, but are not using right now.
  20. 20. 20 An interview with Phil Baird, Graphic Designer at 5.11 Tactical Phil is a graphic designer at 5.11 Tactical and a fan of Lord of the Rings. If you’re wondering what his work space looks like, here’s a shot of Phil at the office! How long have you been a Widen user? I don’t like to think about the dark times before Widen, when I started here seven years ago, but I think it is about six and a half years. In what area(s) of your organization are you using the Media Collective? The DAM was originally launched to provide image assets to our dealer base. Today we use it for distribution of those same assets plus internal documents, outside agency work and are investigating new uses for it. Primarily it’s used to get up-to-date brand assets, photography, and marketing materials out to our dealers for use in their catalogs, marketing materials, point of sale and e-commerce projects. So, that’s marketing, sales and customer service, but our design and development teams also use the same assets internally for their presentations. Our team’s deep product and brand knowledge can be focused and passed on to other creative users via the DAM system. For what kinds of activities are you using the Media Collective? The really important thing is being able to find assets, so I rely heavily on files that are named properly. People are going to find it with keyword searches. For marketing campaigns, I rely on category structure and putting it in an area where the dealers can find it. I’ve been asked if I could do a folder for each style number. That would be something like 700 categories! They should be able to just type in the style number and search for it if you know it. I like giving people different approaches into the content, different ways to find the assets. How do your users use the Media Collective? We have pretty heavy international use from dealers and from our sales team. Especially as new dealers start selling our products, or existing dealers go online, it is their best and maybe their only source for all of our product photography and information as well. Sometimes they use the DAM system themselves, and sometimes it is someone from the sales or customer service team that uses the DAM system to help out their dealers. Action photography, product photos, videos and marketing materials are their primary focus. The DAM system is the one place where international users can get all the photos they need and download to build a website. There are a ton of international dealer orders from the DAM. Mostly downloading. They don’t have any other privileges. When a dealer signs up, we want our photography and information to be out in the world. I’m not trying to keep people from getting at the assets, I’m trying to help the right people get what they need for their work. What is the most useful thing the Media Collective does for you? I get a couple of emails every day that require me to hunt around on the DAM system a bit. I play Sherlock Holmes and make sure things match up, or if there are altered file names, and then I send them to people that need them. Before the Media Collective, I did that 25 hours a week through our email system. It was so time consuming. I was custom resizing and fixing assets in Photoshop. And, now the DAM system just does that. And it does it better than I did.
  21. 21. 21 So the best thing the Widen Collective does for me every day is work in a pretty solid way, and the orders continue to flow out, with just a nudge from me now and again. On the 30th, there were 240 orders in one day. A bunch of those are from a salesperson from Australia, ordering a couple of outfits at a time. That’s a hundred emails I didn’t have to read and write and respond to in one day. What do you think is the most important thing other users should know about using a digital asset management system? Some of the enterprise systems are super capable but they cost a lot of money and your IT team has to be fully on board with that amount of time, staffing and responsibility otherwise you have another system that doesn’t get used. With the Media Collective, it’s super scalable to wherever I’m at in terms of assets and users, and it is flexible since it is not a per user fee. That would be a nightmare for me. There’s all these different things it can do. The Media Collective is easy to use and it does so much, that it’s given our internal users the confidence to sign up on the DAM system and go find what they need on their own. You can’t use things you can’t find. Pretty basic. I know people get a bit lost in the maze of terminology about metadata and taxonomies and whether you need folders or categories or asset groups etc., so just don’t panic. Be flexible in your approach and refine it based on what your users are actually doing. File names are a great place to start, and we have had a lot of meetings before getting ours standardized (which I need to retrofit into lots of assets online) to the point where the file name itself is most of the searchable metadata for a product. Stylenumber_stylecolorcode_tacticalproductname_imagenumber It gives me a basic place to start for filling metadata in, and allows me to keep it really basic for our most basic and most used assets. Using the Media Collective: Tips from Phil Baird 1. Be flexible in your approach to metadata. You can’t use things you can’t find. Pretty basic. I know people get a bit lost in the maze of terminology about metadata and taxonomies and whether you need folders or categories or asset groups etc., so just don’t panic. Be flexible in your approach and refine it based on what your users are actually doing. File names are a great place to start. 2. Provide your users with the assets they need. We strive to keep our materials relevant and accurate to our brand and the tactical space where appropriate. Our dealers can’t afford a $10,000 photo shoot. We support the great product with great marketing materials for them. The Media Collective helps us with that. 3. Pay attention to where your users are coming from. There are a ton of international dealer orders from our DAM. We want our photography and information to be out in the world. I’m not trying to keep people from getting at the assets, I’m trying to help the right people get what they need for their work. “Without metadata there is no needle to find. It’s all haystack.”
  22. 22. 22 An interview with Connor Gleason, Campus Photographer at Curry College Connor Gleason is the campus photographer at Curry College. He studied photography at Ithaca College and went to grad school for photojournalism at Boston University. Before coming to Curry College, Connor worked in the newspaper industry and as a photo studio manager and freelance photographer. Digital asset management is big part of Connor’s workflow every day. How long have you been a Widen user? We’ve been working with Widen for a little over a year. In a short timeframe, we were up and running and able to see some real benefits. How often do you use the Media Collective? I use it all day, every day. A lot of my department uses it as well. I’ve designed our Media Collective to have new materials for users to explore, such as new daily content like photos of the day, passing along information about updates from Widen, and DAM tips and tricks. I try to make it as engaging as possible, so they want to keep using the system. What are your users doing with the Media Collective? What kind of feedback do you hear from them about it? Right off the bat, I was getting feedback about how simple the system was to use. Users were finding assets quicker and easier, and having access to content they didn’t have before because it was unorganized and difficult to find. They learned the DAM system and hit the ground running. We can collect and use our assets better than ever before and now get what we need in a couple of moments. For what kinds of activities are you using the Media Collective? How are you using site analytics and Google Analytics? On a daily basis, we access photos for web placement, print media and ad campaigns. We’ve uploaded photo releases, interview transcripts, logos and documents to improve the searchability of our assets, but also for archiving purposes. Sharing is a huge part of what we’re doing with the Media Collective, which is a great alternative to clogging networks with high-res files. As the system administrator, I’m doing 99% of the uploading for our team, so I’m always uploading, downloading and updating metadata. Regarding site analytics, it’s been really beneficial to us. Before and during the implementation phase, we knew it would be important to track ROI – the Media Collective has been a big investment for our college, so the site analytics have been really helpful in giving quantitative support as to how it’s been a positive experience. A lot of my supervisors want quantitative data as it relates back to ROI. With the site analytics, we can track who’s using it, which assets are being used and how we’re utilizing storage. I do quarterly evaluations based on calendar and fiscal year with our analytics. After a quick numbers crunch, it’s clear that the DAM system will pay for itself within a year. With Google Analytics, we’ve just begun to look more into how our users navigate the system, what they’re searching for and how to use it as a tool to improve our keywords and metadata. Now that we have it, it would be difficult to go back to the way we were doing things. It’s such a great resource for us. We function better as a team, so we can’t go back. What are some helpful things Widen does to help you make the most of the Media Collective? Widen has been great with support to myself and to our users. It’s not only tech support, but the staff, they patiently answer a lot of questions. They give answers. The support videos and online resources are good resources. A lot of time if I’m looking for answers, they’re already on the administrator support site. The customer webinars are a great resource to demo new features on the site, or as a refresher on some of the bigger concepts. Widen’s staff helps us stay informed and educated, and they provide a great opportunity for feedback on the DAM systems with support reps and also developers. The staff is knowledgeable, friendly and laid back. The huge undertaking at the beginning (to get the DAM system set up) has been more enjoyable and easier to do because of the support we get from Widen. Is there anything special or unique you’ve created, as a result, to help your users with the Media Collective? I hold group training sessions every few months. We have 17 active users, so it’s a small team and when new users are added, I do one-on-one training. They pick it up in about 45 minutes, and while I make myself available for answers, I’ve also created a whitepaper with resources for our users to use as a reference.
  23. 23. 23 “We function better as a team, so we can’t go back.” What is the best thing the Media Collective has done for Curry College so far? It’s hard to pinpoint just one thing, but it’s certainly redefined our workflows and efficiency. What used to take hours, now takes minutes. What took minutes, now takes seconds. We have peace of mind with our assets, knowing they’re backed up and accessible. There is a strong sense of community at Curry, and in a way, the Media Collective has opened up all these new possibilities as a department. The Collective mirrors who we are as an institution, so it’s easier to communicate who we are and share our brand in the field of higher education. What do you think is the most important thing other users should know about using a digital asset management system? I would say that if I were able to go back to myself a year ago, I would tell myself that it’s important to understand the system is always evolving. It progresses and can only get better. During implementation, we made choices about how the system was originally setup and that was a lot of pressure. But I was happy to see that the DAM system was easy to adjust and customize on an as-needed basis. After getting user feedback, I was able to change some things with our metadata and permissions and the look of things. Nothing is set in stone, and the system is designed for change. DAM systems are living things. They require some initial resource time, but it’s a worthy investment because they can only improve workflow efficiencies as a result. Using the Media Collective: Tips from Connor Cleason 1. Gather analytics information. The Media Collective has been a big investment for our college, so the site analytics have been really helpful in giving quantitative support as to how it’s been a positive experience. With the site analytics, we can track who’s using it, which assets are being used and how we’re utilizing storage. 2. Utilize support resources. A lot of time if I’m looking for answers, they’re already on the administrator support site. The customer webinars are a great resource to demo new features on the site or as a refresher on some of the bigger concepts. 3. Don’t let implementation scare you. Nothing is set in stone, and the system is designed for change. DAM systems are living things. They require some initial resource time, but it’s a worthy investment because they can only improve workflow efficiencies as a result.
  24. 24. Widen Enterprises 6911 Mangrove Lane Madison, WI 53713 P: 608-222-1296 E: marketing@widen.com www.widen.com About Widen Widen is a marketing technology company that powers the content that builds your brand. Leveraging cloud-based resources, Widen delivers configurable, scalable software services that help marketing and creative teams easily capture, organize, share, and analyze marketing content. Organizations of all sizes use the Widen Media Collective to streamline their workflows and make their content work harder. Widen is trusted across various industries by hundreds of thousands of users worldwide like LG, Roche, Trek, Cornell University, New Orleans Tourism Marketing, The Atlanta Falcons, Red Gold Tomatoes, Electrolux and Yankee Candle. To learn more about Widen, go to www.widen.com.

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