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Being a Widen DAMster with Debra Berard, Senior Business Analyst

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Header image: a grid background with every other space white and the opposite ones a solid color. Four floating screenshots of different features in the Widen Collective are in the foreground.  

Editor’s note: Deb Berard has moved to a new organization but her experience with DAM is still relevant to other DAMsters. Enjoy!

We caught up with Deb Berard, Senior Business Analyst and DAM admin at New Teacher Center, which is headquartered in Santa Cruz, CA. Here’s her take on the value digital asset management (DAM) brings to their team and business.

Q: How often do you use the Widen Collective?

A: Multiple times a day. I’m the system admin, so I’m in there all the time, whether it’s learning a new skill set or troubleshooting something for a user. Experimenting with portals is my latest thing.

We have single sign-on through Widen, so once I log on to our bigger platform I’m automatically in the DAM system. When I sign on, my Slack channel opens, my email opens, and the DAM system opens.

Q: Tell us about New Teacher Center. In what areas of your organization is the DAM system being used?

A: New Teacher Center is a national nonprofit. Our goal is to help new teachers, returning teachers, and school leadership in districts across the United States to improve education. Our founder had discovered that the turnover for new teachers in the field was very high, so the goal is to reduce the turnover of new teachers. We want them in the field for longer than five years.

Widen’s DAM software was purchased before I was hired. The primary business case was a one-stop-shop for document management. It wasn’t marketing or workflow in any sense of the word. It was a repository for a single version of truth for documents.

We had multiple business cases around the same type of instance where someone would ask three people for a document and get three versions of the same document back. It would take a lot of time to compare the documents, determine which one was right, and track it down. Sometimes people would just start over and create a new one.

The DAM system is used to solve that primary business need across all of New Teacher Center. It was a way for us to say, “Archives go here, current documents go here, and work in progress goes in Google Drive.” So that’s how we initially differentiated the DAM system.

Q: Can you talk about your future goals for the DAM system?

A: We started using the DAM system with the products department because they were going to be our heavy hitters, our low-hanging fruit. At this point, we’ve rolled the system out across all of New Teacher Center, but only as a document management system.

We have HR, IT, business office documentation, and marketing files in the DAM system. We did a rebranding campaign last year, so all of our new branding materials are in there, too, like templates, logos, and style guides.

Our category structured metadata is evolving to keep up with the needs of these different groups because the metadata and category structure we came up with essentially was focused on product organization.

As far as goals for the next year, I want to take advantage of the portals and mobile aspects of the DAM system. Portals gives us the ability to market a set of documents to our business development team in the field. They can go to the DAM system to get spec sheets, pricing, product order forms, articles, templates, or whatever they need.

We want to expand usage outside the document repository and library and take advantage of the workflow within the marketing organization. Every time I go to a webinar from Widen or the Widen Summit, I’m thinking, “Gosh, my marketing people need to get on board and see the power of this tool!”

Last, we use Brightcove for video streaming now, not the DAM system, but we’re looking at using DAM for video in 2017 and beyond, so we can keep that all on one platform.

Q: What do your core group of users do with the Collective?

A: They’re consumers of assets in the DAM. I have very few people who can upload. There’s me and one other global admin, and then I have two category admins – one for the business administration office and one for the marketing area. There are two people for product because they have to turn these things around fairly quickly and we can’t have a bottleneck with one person responsible for loading droves of content for one product area.

I anticipate opening that upload privilege to other areas as the need arises, but mainly people are using it as consumers to quickly find the files and documents they need and trust that they’re the final version of truth.

As the global admin, I trust my users who have made the business case for that upload privilege; I trust that they know what documents need to be in the DAM. I’m not the content expert, and I would not dare to presume to stop them from uploading anything they deem necessary for business purposes.

Anyone with the upload privilege is trained. I train them on how to use the Upload Wizard and batch upload. It’s so easy to use. It’s not like I’m spending hours to train them. I maybe spend 30 minutes with them, watch them do it, and make sure we’re all good.

I don’t do a ton of uploading. If there’s a group that’s just starting with the DAM system, I’ll hold their hand a little and upload a couple of things. Once their volume starts to increase, I make them a category admin and push that responsibility onto them.

Q: As the global admin, what are your responsibilities for the DAM system?

A: Learning, managing users, and managing permissions. I’m getting into Insights analytics right now because I’m interested in who’s accessing what assets and what they’re doing with them. I also do some category cleanup. But DAM administration isn’t a 40-hour job for me by any stretch.

Q: How much time do you spend on those activities in a week?

A: Probably 15 to 20 hours delving in and playing and experimenting. All with the goal of learning more, immersing myself in the DAM, and looking at other business cases, such as marketing and the workflow piece.

Q: What do you think is the greatest value that your organization has gained from using the DAM system?

A: Trust and quality. Meaning, when I go to the system, I know I’m getting the final version of the document. No one is recreating the wheel anymore because they can’t figure out which version of three is correct. And the turnaround time for document retrieval, that reduction in time has been huge. That’s all priceless to us.

Q: What other marketing systems are you using in your daily work?

A: Our website CMS is HubSpot and we’re doing a pilot with Salesforce right now as we look for a CRM.

Q: Do you see any way you might be able to make use of the Collective with these other systems?

A: That’s part of the vision going forward. When I first started training people outside of the product department on our DAM system, I positioned it as part of a broader digital strategy that we want to implement one day. That digital strategy does include the internet. If you think of a Venn diagram of digital strategy, I’d say the DAM system is going to be a core piece of that for our organization.

The real benefit of using DAM with other systems is that trusted one-stop shopping for the right information. If you don’t have that foundation, you’re building your castle on shifting sand. We’re at that stage where DAM will be that foundation to our strategy moving forward. There’s nothing else like it here.

Q: Can you tell me what you’ve been doing to train your user group and how you communicate with them about the DAM system?

A: New users come see me and get a user account. Then, I will do multiple, short Google meetings over several weeks. I’ll hold different times to meet East and West coast people. I prepare some slides to talk about why we’re using the DAM system, what we hope to get out of it, and what it’s not used for. We review the category structure together and all of the slides. I also focus on basic search techniques. Then I encourage everyone to jump into the system and get hands-on. I’ve done a lot of software training, somewhere you’re sitting there for hours before they even get you in the system. So I know for me to be successful, I need to get users in the system right away.

We spend about 15 minutes going through the slides, then another 20 minutes on basic search. I’d have them try a search that returned 1,500 results. Then I’d explain categories and show how you narrow with categories, metadata types, and use the sidebar just like while you're shopping for shoes on Amazon. That really resonates with them. Online shopping, by price, by color, by name brand, etc.

Q: How often do you revisit training with your users?

A: Right now, I only train once during system onboarding. I’m in the process of creating a survey of user acceptance, usability, and customer satisfaction. My plan is to reach out to these people via survey and look at what problems they’re having and work on easing their pain with additional training if needed.

Q: How will you know you’ve been successful with the DAM system. What does success look like for your team and organization?

A: Great question. I’m looking at the Insights reports so I can see uploads, downloads, and logins. I can see that people are using this thing. And our lack of complaints shows me that it’s working.

My monthly Insights report from Widen shows me our users are in and out. If they’re in and out of the DAM system that many times and I’m not getting any complaints, I’m successful.

Q: You’ve talked quite a bit about Insights. What are you doing with that data?

A: Right now, I’m just looking at asset groups, the basic demographics of my user base in terms of what groups they’re coming from, what asset groups they’re in, and what part of the country they’re in. Then I can say, “Well, these people are using it. Then why is this whole group from business development or from the business office not using it?” I can extrapolate information by inference.

I also hope to use it for videos. If we put up a 15-minute video and someone’s only watching five minutes of it, do we really need a 15-minute video? Things like that.

In terms of spotlight searches, I want to know what are the most frequently searched-for documents, and are they in a spotlight search? Then to evolve or augment spotlight searches to make it even easier to use.

Q: One last question: What tips or advice would you share with other Collective users? And those people who are just getting started with DAM?

A: From a training perspective, my biggest piece of advice is to let users in the DAM system. Don’t talk about it. Get them in there as soon as you can, and teach them to fish. The more users are in there, the more they want to be in there. The more things they try, the more they want to send links and share assets.

Second, use Insights analytics if they’re available in the system you choose. Get familiar with Insights out of the gate and start tracking usage immediately for early benchmarks. I’d also suggest for anybody who wouldn’t know this to rely on Widen. Learn from the best, and if you get stuck, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Topics: Customer Stories, DAMsters, DAM

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