The client is a large global financial institution with over 50,000 employees. Over a period of fifteen years, they had implemented a range of different Digital Asset Management solutions and initiated various disconnected strategic DAM initiatives within individual departments. The result was a mix of provisions with varying degrees of effectiveness ranging from some large asset repositories which were widely adopted through to niche, production-oriented facilities that had small, but very loyal groups of users.
Few of these were properly integrated with each other and it was difficult to gain a clear view of all of the enterprise’s digital assets. The client had attempted to consolidate all these different libraries into one portal to be used globally and made substantial investments into product licences and professional services. The result had not achieved their ROI expectations and resistance was encountered from users of existing platforms as well as indifference and lack of adoption by those who did not previously utilise any Digital Asset Management technologies.
Daydream were initially asked to devise an educational programme to help encourage more employees to adopt the new portal. We analysed the provision and recommended that instead, an audit of their existing DAM facilities was carried out to identify why it was not finding favour. We gave the client some instruction on how to carry out this exercise themselves using in-house resources and provided additional guidance as required.
After reviewing the results, it became clear that the Digital Asset Management needs of employees were highly diverse and although technically sophisticated, the new global portal would require substantial customisation to meet the needs of enough users and achieve its pre-implementation adoption targets. This was likely to incur significant costs which would affect their ROI and there was still a risk that it might be ignored by staff anyway.
A factor uncovered by the review was that the training for staff who had not previously used a DAM was entirely focussed on basic functionality like logging in or simple keyword searches. More demanding topics such as uploading files and cataloguing assets with metadata were not covered. This meant a very limited range of assets were available on the portal because not enough people knew how to do it. We determined that an optimal strategy was to sub-divide the requirement into new and experienced DAM users. Where the latter group had already invested into a solution that was effective, they were permitted to continue to use it, but only if the assets were integrated with the main portal and a programme to centralise authentication was initiated. This enabled them to continue to use systems they were familiar with, but in a manner that was more compatible with the enterprise’s wider Digital Asset Management objectives.
A centre of DAM excellence was established on the client’s intranet in conjunction with some internal meetings and in-house training webinars. Working groups from across the business were encouraged to share experiences, information and best practices with the intention that they could learn from it and contribute knowledge. For users who had no prior experience of Digital Asset Management, training was re-focussed towards asset ingestion and developing expertise about metadata and findability concepts.
Where previously, the portal had been under-utilised and was regarded by some as an expensive mistake, in its new role, it provided the core digital asset management infrastructure to enable improved access to assets which has previously been locked away within individual departments. The strategy was cheaper and lower risk than a customisation exercise, avoided antagonising experienced users and encouraged them to participate as well as share their best practice expertise about Digital Asset Management topics.
Summary of Results Achieved
- 56% increase in the number of DAM portal users (when measured across all nodes)
- 650% increase in asset volumes.
- 12 existing systems integrated with each other using the new DAM portal as the conduit
- 78% cost saving achieved when compared with projected portal customisation and professional services expenditure.
This not for profit organisation operates across a network of local branch offices. The client had identified a need for an organisation-wide DAM solution to support the operations of their in-house photo and video libraries as well as potential use with their marketing department.
They considered hiring a consulting firm to handle the selection of suitable service providers. After reviewing their situation, it became apparent that an audit of the sources of existing assets had not been conducted and there was a risk that the solution might not address all requirements. Further, there were relatively few in-house personnel with any knowledge or understanding of Digital Asset Management. We assessed that while a suitable product platform could have been identified, they would not gain maximum value from their investment into it unless the level of knowledge and expertise about DAM was enhanced and developed in a way that it could be sustained over the longer term.
We recommended to the client that first they conduct a more extensive audit of all the potential sources of assets. We provided educational resources for them to help them do this in-house, including templates and examples of asset logging techniques to carry out the audit and guidance on how to complete them. We shadowed the client for one of these exercises and provided feedback to enhance the quality of the data that was recorded. With the auditing data obtained, we helped the client to analyse their current situation. We also advised the client to commence an organisation-wide taxonomy that could be used for cataloguing their digital assets and to enable them to identify how easily it would be possible to represent this with candidate solutions. The client discovered there was an existing initiative to develop this and it was possible for knowledge to be shared between the two projects to enhance them both.
With a clearer picture of all the assets they owned and their metadata schema, it was possible to devise more specific requirements specification for their solution. What became clear was that one product was unlikely to be sufficient to cover every requirement, however, by segmenting users into groups based on their typical usage patterns, two distinct requirements emerged: one application for general users and another for heavy users, these corresponded roughly to asset users and asset suppliers. In addition, some customisation and integration work would be needed. We delivered product selection training to the client to assist them to carry out this task themselves and provided advisory assistance to help them both learn how to do this in-house but also to develop expertise and learning materials that could be used again as their needs evolved.
Using the expertise we had helped them to acquire, the client were able to identify a shortlist of two groups of potential solutions themselves. They avoided an extensive amount of customisation (and the associated risks as well as costs) using a series of scripts to transfer data between the two applications which we were able to brief the client’s IT department to develop using in-house resources.
Our work with this client was an excellent example of how we prefer to conduct engagements. Rather than simply sub-contracting a given Digital Asset Management consulting task to a service provider, we instead aim to develop the client’s own internal expertise through training and knowledge transfer with the understanding that we can back them up for specific, targeted assistance where required. This enables clients to become more self-sufficient and offers better value for them. Digital Asset Management is a long-term undertaking and a credible consulting partner will recognise the need to assist their clients to develop in-house capabilities whenever the opportunity presents itself.
The client is one of Europe’s leading real estate consultancies and a specialised division of a major global financial services group.
With locations across Europe and in the United States, the business sought to streamline its sales and marketing collateral production with a digital asset management solution, which could be utilised by 4000+ employees across its numerous global offices.
Prior to the rollout of an enterprise digital asset management solution, sales personnel tasked with the production of pitch related collateral found locating source materials time-consuming and difficult. As a result, time and resources were needlessly spent either reproducing existing materials or making requests to the marketing team to source materials on their behalf. This was affecting the marketing department’s own schedules and an option that was considered was potentially hiring another employee just to find pitch related material for sales staff.
A further problem was that not all sales collateral produced by sales staff was brand compliant. The marketing team anticipated that this situation would become more critical as the organisation had recently been acquired by a major financial player, and an important re-branding initiative was planned to commence.
Our professional services consultants worked with the organisation to help establish a centralised ‘self-service’ solution for all sales and marketing collateral, including pitching documentation in Word and PDF formats, print artwork, photos and consultant profiles.
Structured around the needs of the business, the library provides an intuitive and highly relevant taxonomy, which in combination with our powerful metadata and text-indexing search engine, makes locating collateral quick and easy. Further, brand management features have better ensured compliance and reduced brand erosion.
The system has greatly reduced the workload of the marketing team and has enabled all staff involved in marketing and sales communications to produce brand compliant collateral faster.
The solution has been rolled out to multiple regions across the business, each with their own independently managed but interconnected workspaces.
The client is a global consultancy with 15,000 staff in 140 worldwide offices. They specialise in architecture, engineering and project management across a broad range of sectors including: civil engineering, defence, education, environmental services, government, health, information technology, oil & gas, project finance, telecoms and water.
In common with many companies in the Architecture Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry, the firm has a large and growing collection of marketing assets in the form of photos, videos, audio files, visualisations, 3D models, walkthroughs and print based marketing collateral.
Prior to Daydream’s involvement, the company was using a legacy Digital Asset Management (DAM) tool that could only handle photos. Marketing managers in each business unit however, needed more dynamic media, including video and 3D animation.
Many of the concepts and user interface elements were unsuitable for their use as the core product was developed for the dedicated photo library market. In particular, the method of cataloguing assets was based on a hierarchical keyword selection tool that was oriented to the needs of dedicated picture researchers. For the client’s staff, however, it was time consuming and difficult to operate. Often, staff cataloguing assets would apply only the minimum keywords required as it would take too long to consider more relevant terms.
Furthermore, as the assets were not being catalogued consistently, images that had no merit other than they had more keywords applied to them were appearing in search results. This meant some of the company’s best material was not being used, whilst the same photos were used over and over in marketing collateral.
As with most multinationals, the client was composed of several different business units – each of which were treated as separate entities. It was not automatically the case that media owned or licensed by one business unit could be legitimately used by another. The incumbent Digital Asset Management system lacked proper support for managing requests to use assets in a multi-divisional organisation and the only method of controlling copyright was some text containing usage restrictions.
Another fundamental issue for the firm was that, although their current system was externally hosted, access could not be provided to users outside of the corporate network. This rendered the system useless for collaborative projects with external suppliers, such as PR, marketing and design agencies, and thus proved a frustration on a regular basis.
Our professional service consultants worked with the client’s project team to design a Digital Asset Management system that supports dynamic media such as video, audio and 3D animation as well as static media, like photos, logos and documents.
The system not only provides the ability to store original digital video footage but also provides fast-loading, high-quality video previews.
To address the shortcomings with the current cataloguing and search interface, working groups were arranged to record users’ thoughts and needs. This was later refined into an action plan and key finding document that would be used to help draw up a specification for the replacement system.
One of the key findings was that although a keyword hierarchy had been developed with well over 500 unique words, less than ten were used on more than two separate occasions. Rather than forcing users to use a hierarchical system where a lot of clicks were needed to locate suitable keywords, we replaced this with a structured questionnaire based controlled vocabulary that asked users to select how the asset related to the business. The following fields were required:
- The business depicted
- The markets involved
- The services depicted
- Any client who the asset related to
- The location shown
- The company’s project name and code
Finally, the keywords were rationalised and only the most nine common terms that were frequently used were supplied as defaults. A full management system was provided to allow the client to later modify all criteria.
Staff found it far easier to catalogue assets using the new approach. Rather than facing an unwieldy interface of poly-hierarchies and multi-level thesauri, they were able to focus their attention on how the asset related to the business. This made the cataloguing process less abstracted and lead to considerable improvements in consistency and predictability of the search results, as well as substantial time-savings.
To deliver an effective content usage approvals system, Daydream analysed the structure of the business and took note of the concerns expressed by staff during working group meetings. A framework based around individual business units was derived. Assets could be either unrestricted or restricted. If the latter was chosen, usage would have to be approved by each business unit administrator. Assets could be watermarked, and an option was provided to block access to external agencies on an asset-by-asset basis, as the client had a number of competing agencies working for each separate business unit.
To facilitate external access for authorised users, we leveraged our extensive authentication management expertise, acquired with other corporate clients who faced similar problems. We designed a system for restricting access that classified users into internal, external and home users accounts. Internal users were able to register using their existing workstation passwords. External users had to connect from a specific location (or IP address). Home user accounts were permitted, but an application was required to be made from within the client’s corporate network first. An SSO (Single Sign On) capability was designed and implemented at a later date to enable authentication from within the client’s network.
The client is now able to securely deliver the full range of their marketing assets to staff and external suppliers with far greater confidence and ease. The improvement in the quality of cataloguing has enabled a wider variety of material to be used in marketing collateral without significant investment into origination of new assets or the commission of a separate system to manage them.
To regulate the introduction of new players, this US-based sporting association uses a draft system where clubs are permitted to make selections of newer players based on the team’s performance in the preceding season. To help clubs choose which players to pick, scouts make video recordings of players in action. Previously, this video footage was issued to clubs in DVD format, a process which was both time-consuming and expensive as production was labour intensive and costs inflated due to the need to press and ship the DVDs to each of the clubs.
Further, the DVDs were subject to loss or damage due to their physical format. This approach also made it difficult for clubs to manage large collections of player footage, in particular legacy clips. To address these issues, some clubs had developed their own systems, but these were both costly and proprietary. The association needed an far more efficient and universal solution that could be employed by themselves and all the participating clubs.
Our professional service consultants advised and assisted to implement a web-based video library to store and distribute new player video footage. Following extensive consultation with the client, a range of solutions were designed and implemented, including:
- Advanced Video Preview Controls
Auto-generated full length video previews are generated by for each ingested video file. Advanced playback controls were also designed to provide users with specialist video features including: frame forward/backward (jog), scrubber (shuttle), slow motion playback, full-screen playback and SMPTE timecode display.
- Multiple Format Batch Upload
To streamline upload, administrators were provided with facilities to batch upload files in different formats. In this way, associated data (scouting reports, medical reports, health histories) could be ingested and auto-catalogued by the system with the original video file.
- Tag Extraction For Auto-Cataloguing
To provide ‘hands-off’ cataloguing feature for busy administrators, video footage was tagged on capture and this metadata auto-extracted on ingestion by the system. A complete record is therefore generated by the system, which can be simply checked and approved by administrators for publication to the video library.
The system now provides for a more cost efficient and timely operation. Video footage can now be distributed much faster to the clubs (often within hours of being shot) and the associated costs of DVD distribution have been eliminated. Further, users are able to shortlist and share player footage with other club members in real-time, enabling clubs to source and select new players with greater ease and efficiency.
The portal has been highly successful and due to the increased volume of HD (High Definition) video content being stored, it has been migrated to use Cloud hosting rather than the internal servers that were used before so that storage capacity and video transcoding performance can be scaled up more easily.
The client is a collaborative venture between two prestigious museums with operational centres in two geographically dispersed locations.
Staff from each organisation are required to share and catalogue images of historical objects and other artefacts, however, due to the significant time difference, they were unable to collaborate easily or quickly during their respective working hours. The teams required a DAM solution that could be used regardless of geographic location that would enable staff to contribute, feedback and revise metadata as assets were catalogued by their counterparts.
Further, due to the cultural and historical nature of the material involved, the metadata requirements were complex, requiring a wealth of surrounding metadata regarding the archaeological, historical and past and present exhibition of those objects featured in each image, in addition to the more conventional metadata associated with the asset. All information was also required to be presented in languages with non-western character forms, notably Arabic and Chinese.
Following consultation with our professional services team, an enterprise-class DAM platform was selected and a bespoke metadata model derived that would meet the client’s unique and complex archiving needs, addressing the multi-entity nature of their assets and enabling assets and/or related artefacts to be located quickly and easily via the media catalogue. As the client had previously relied on semi-structured office documents to store metadata information regarding their assets, we designed and authored a migration tool to enable this information to be extracted for automatic ingestion into the database. Full version control and workflow features have enabled the teams to collaborate quickly and efficiently, despite the challenges presented by their geographical distance.
The DAM solution we designed and helped implement reflected not only the sophisticated nature of the client’s metadata, but also provided a platform for the successful collaboration of two geographically and culturally distinct organisations, working in different time zones and languages.
The Bank of East Asia
The Binding Site
The British Museum
London Business School
Major League Baseball
Malta Tourism Authority
Price Waterhouse Coopers
Really Useful Group
The Tate Gallery