KM World Digital Asset Management Article featuring UNICEF and Widen

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Below is an excerpt from the KM World article, DAM takes on many roles by Judith Lamont, Ph.D., about UNICEF’s adoption of Widen Digital Asset Management tools and services. The full article provides three unique case studies from digital asset management vendors. The excerpt below introduces the digital media management needs from UNICEF and explains why they selected Widen DAM SaaS.


Rich media assetsUNICEF

UNICEF was founded by the United Nations in 1946 to help save, protect and improve the lives of children through immunization, education, healthcare, nutrition, clean water and sanitation. It delivers those services and material resources on a regular basis, and responds to emergencies throughout the world.

The UNICEF Web site is the primary means of conveying information about activities in which the organization is involved. With nearly 200 offices operating in 156 countries, and fundraising partner organizations in 36 industrialized countries, UNICEF has deployed a Web content management (WCM) system that allows distributed editing and publishing of content, and localization of field office Web sites.

As rich media, particularly video, became more prevalent, UNICEF also saw a need for a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system that could help staff members deal more effectively with the increasing number of digital assets.

"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."

View the full article from KM World: DAM takes on many roles

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