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DAM takes on many roles

"We drop professional UNICEF journalists and photographers into all sorts of places where children are affected by crisis, as well as serious ongoing challenges," says Alexander Struminger, executive project manager in UNICEF’s Internet, broadcast and image section. "Video is a good format for quickly telling complex stories and effectively feeding into news cycles, but we needed to be able to store, retrieve and distribute the files more easily."

SaaS delivery model

UNICEF had tried several approaches to DAM, including developing its own software, but usage of the systems had been limited. "One of the lessons we learned in our early attempts was that the way in which we rolled out the system was critical," says Struminger. "We knew we needed a good software product, but better software alone is never the answer. We also needed to facilitate adoption by involving stakeholders." After researching the available options and requesting proposals from best-in-class vendors, UNICEF selected the DAM platform from Widen Enterprises.

The software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model of Widen’s DAM platform removed the burden of installing and maintaining the software. UNICEF also took note of the company’s long history of high-quality service. "Widen helped us start out with a pilot project so we could introduce the product to a small group of beta testers," Struminger explains. "We made sure we had a group of motivated UNICEF stakeholders involved. This ensured early adoption and a sense of ownership by key stakeholders."

The system was introduced by UNICEF’s Geneva office at a gathering of UNICEF fundraising organizations, and several of the individuals involved in the pilot spoke enthusiastically about its merits. "This event changed the conversation," Struminger says, "and we realized it was the kind of advocacy we needed in order to get that vital adoption."

Other parts of the organization began to request the DAM system, and a global rollout is now in progress. Feedback has been very positive, and users are beginning to suggest new applications, like asset sharing between divisions, countries and partner organizations. Widen’s application for video Web streaming is also under consideration.

Users can quickly find video clips they need, along with scripts and shot lists. They can send those files directly to a journalist or news organization for review. UNICEF offices and partners can have access to up-to-date branding assets, as well as print publications files for localization, printing or electronic distribution.

"The robust search engine is really one of the keys to this system," explains Struminger, "and its ability to leverage metadata." Although the metadata and taxonomy needed to be sorted out as the system expanded, the Widen DAM system is now becoming the preferred distribution platform for digital assets.

Widen Enterprises draws its expertise from its own experience in pre-press workflow, so in addition to offering a software product it also has substantial subject matter expertise.

"Our emphasis is on service and being with customers throughout their process," says Matthew Gonnering, CEO of Widen. "For example, we staffed our own video production studio to make sure we understood the workflow. Our product handles every major video format as well." That ability provides support to social marketing efforts, allowing the distribution of video to many channels. "We don’t just get our customers set up with the software and then part company," Gonnering emphasizes. "We are available throughout the entire time of our relationship."

SaaS is growing faster in the DAM market than in other content management markets, according to IDC’s Webster. "In part, this is because the SaaS model lends itself to sharing information, which is often an important requirement for a DAM system," she says. Webster also points to the growing importance of video. "Video is definitely booming on Web sites right now," she continues. "But it needs a lot more management than WCM can offer—for example, on-demand transcoding might be needed to deliver the video in the right format for the user."

Broad KM vision

Zimmer Holdings manufactures medical products such as orthopedic implants, dental implants and artificial tissue. As a large organization with revenues of over $4 billion and 8,000 employees, Zimmer has extensive requirements for managing information of all kinds, but management of its technical information poses special challenges. All of Zimmer’s products are subject to regulation and are covered by 21 CFR Part 20, which defines how records about the products must be maintained. Changes in information relating to the medical devices need to be documented, for example, and carried into any related materials. Employees and customers also require training associated with the medical devices.

The company has developed a broad vision for a knowledge management system. Its long-term goals include migrating from a file share system for managing documents, establishing a hierarchy for regulated documents that includes inheritance of metadata for the different levels, automating the updating of rich media into regulated documents and developing an enterprise answer management system.

Goal: an answer management system

The rich media files play a role in many corporate activities, including compliance, training and marketing. "We recognized right away that we needed to have a DAM solution as part of our quality management system," says Daniel Duncan, senior instructional designer at Zimmer. The rich media might be images, technical drawings, video clips and e-learning objects. Zimmer selected TeleScope from North Plains as the best match for its requirements. "We viewed TeleScope as the best of breed," Duncan explains, "and found that its flexibility and search capability would meet or exceed what we needed."

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