Conquering Fears of the Unknown – Maria Jose Torres

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“I think when implementing something new, or when something comes with a change, fear is completely natural...the audience reaction to the new site was our biggest fear.” – Maria Jose Torres, Steelcase

As the visualization and web communications specialist at Steelcase, Maria played a central role in their implementation of the Widen Collective®. Their new DAM system replaced an existing platform that she described as “very old-fashioned.” In this podcast, learn how the Steelcase team transitioned over 900 global users to a new DAM system that was dramatically different from their status quo.

Episode topics include:

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The need for self-service

So how different was Steelcase’s existing DAM system from the Collective? In a nutshell: very. The old platform was organized by folders and sub-folders, without metadata. So users could only search by filename, if they knew it. Maria said that “users would memorize that code or file name, to find it again.”

The system also had limited functionality around site administration. Maria and her team spent a lot of time editing and uploading files, and weren’t able to alert users that files had been changed or added. This created workflow bottlenecks that were especially frustrating for international teams in different time zones. Both the users and admins needed a system that allowed for self-service access that was always available.

Using portals in a variety of languages

Steelcase migrated roughly 20,000 assets into the Collective, for over 900 users. Because they have teams across the globe, language translation was one of their biggest priorities. They also wanted to structure the site so that users could only access the content that was relevant to their needs.

“Put yourself in the users’ shoes,” Maria said. “What do they really need to see, what do they really need to get access to? Do not overwhelm your users.” This mindset led them to rely on portals, which allowed them to give each team access to just the content they need, in their language.  

“I’m not going to lie,” Maria said, “it was hard work, really time consuming to create all the collections and portals.” But their efforts paid off. The Collective’s powerful functionality around asset curation, metadata, sharing, and governance helped the Steelcase team build a self-service system in a variety of languages, resulting in workflow efficiencies across teams.

Starting with a soft launch

Maria and her team had several strategies to transition their users to a dramatically different DAM system. The first was having a soft launch a couple weeks before the official system launch. Maria said this timeline allowed her team to:

  • Get comfortable with exactly how the site would look and feel
  • Complete a final round of usability testing and resolve any outstanding bugs or issues

This gave them extra confidence that their official launch would be smooth. Further, they allowed users to continue to access the old DAM system for two months after the Collective launched, so they were able to get used to the new system at their own pace.

They also shared implementation milestones and schedule updates on the company extranet to align expectations; and they made training available. Looking back, Maria said, “the ultimate goal – to provide a more self-sufficient platform – I think we actually did it in a successful way.”

Essential advice

Maria would advise other admins who are preparing for their own DAM implementation to:

  • Attend Widen events. She and her team went to two Widen Workshops in New York that proved invaluable in creating their implementation strategy. “I will say they are amazing, it’s a great way to connect with the Widen team, and with other companies, to hear from them how they are using Widen.”
  • See Widen as part of your team. She said that Widen staff were always just a phone call or email away for support throughout their implementation process. “You can always rely on them.”

And so, conquering fears around transitioning to a new DAM system is not only possible, but very doable! With a thoughtful implementation strategy, hard work, and Widen’s support, any DAM goal can be achieved.

About our guest

Maria Jose Torres has been part of the Steelcase DAM administration team for over two years. Steelcase is the leading manufacturer of furniture for offices, hospitals, and classrooms. They help organizations create places that can unlock the promise of their people.

About our host

Bill Banham is a marketing and publishing professional based in Toronto. He is the founder of the HR Gazette and Iceni Marketing as well as the co-founder of the WorkingTech show and the InnovateWork event series. Bill hosts several CPSA podcast shows on topics including social selling and tech, business strategy, and sales strategy.

About the Widen Implementation Podcast

The Widen Implementation podcast is about helping customers prepare for and execute their DAM roll out. Each episode will involve conversations with people who have implemented the Widen DAM solution. It's our hope that each episode will help future Widen customers by giving them a few tips regarding the implementation process.

Listen to more episodes from the Widen Implementation Podcast series.

Topics: Widen Collective, DAM Implementation

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