“Think about what's going to make it easy to manage on the admin part and what's going to make it easy for your users.” — Colleen Raccioppi
Exactech develops and produces innovative bone and joint restoration products that help surgeons worldwide make patients more mobile. They work with offices and distributors around the globe. To support their rapid growth without losing control over their content and brand, their leadership team tasked Colleen Raccioppi to find a better way to create, store, manage, and distribute assets internally, to investors, and to doctors.
In this episode of the Widen Implementation Podcast, Bill Banham and guest Colleen Raccioppi discuss Colleen’s experiences of selecting and implementing the Widen Collective® digital asset management solution.
In her role as marketing communications senior manager, Colleen crafts the company’s messaging, communicates corporate initiatives to domestic and international partners, and builds relationships with global offices and distributors.
Episode topics include:
- The limitations of using a file server and VPN to give access to files globally
- That time the file server went down before the national sales meeting
- The importance of building out a governance document
- Getting internal teams educated and ready for DAM kickoff
- A training plan for employees around the world
- The time commitment required for implementing a DAM system
Listen to episode seven of the Widen Implementation Podcast to learn how Exactech implemented the Collective to improve access to and use of their digital files around the globe.
The Widen Implementation Podcast helps customers prepare for and execute their DAM system rollout. Each episode features conversations with a DAM champion who has implemented the Collective. We hope that these podcasts will equip future Widen customers with the tips and insights they need to execute their own successful implementation.
Want to hear more? Listen to the bonus soundbites:
- What Separates Widen From Other DAM solutions
- Expectations to Set Before Starting Your Widen Collective Implementation
- Successfully Implementing the Widen Collective
About our guest
Colleen Raccioppi is a marketing communications senior manager and accredited public relations practitioner with 18 years of experience in the marketing and communications profession. Exactech develops and produces innovative bone and joint restoration products that help surgeons worldwide make patients more mobile. At Exactech, Colleen creates researched-based, results-driven campaigns, communications programs, and brand strategies for all audiences across every medium.
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.
Listen to more episodes from the Widen Implementation podcast series here.
Full episode transcript
Please note this podcast is intended to be heard. This transcript may contain errors.
Bill Banham: Hi. My name is Bill Banham, and I'm happy to be the host of the Widen Implementation Podcast series focused on helping customers prepare for their digital asset management implementation. In this series, we are going to talk to 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.
In this Widen Implementation Podcast episode, we hear from guest Colleen Raccioppi. In her role as marketing communications senior manager at Exactech, Colleen crafts the company’s messaging, communicates corporate initiatives to domestic and international partners, and builds relationships with global offices and distributors.
Listen as Colleen shares her experiences and lessons of harnessing the power of the Widen Collective to grow her company's brand.
Colleen, welcome to the Widen Implementation Show.
Colleen Raccioppi: Hi. Thank you for having me. I'm happy to be here.
Bill Banham: We've got lots to chat today about. I'm very excited because you're actually living the implementation process as we speak, as we record this in early 2018. Firstly, tell us a bit about your role with Exactech and when you were tasked with implementing Widen.
Colleen Raccioppi: Sure. I am marketing communications senior manager. Part of my role here is that I work with all of our offices and distributors around the world to make sure that they have our most recent marketing materials and adapt those materials to their own market.
Previous to implementing Widen, that was a very manual, very tedious process. It was a big reason why we wanted to go to a more cloud-based system that everybody could see and we could see the interactions. That is one of my main roles here at Exactech, and also why I was on the implementation team.
Bill Banham: What were some of your fears regarding implementing a DAM system like Widen?
Colleen Raccioppi: We had a mess. We started with a mess. Our files on our side were not very ... were not as well organized as they could be. Just the whole idea of getting all of the information in a tidy area in order to put it onto the DAM in a way that would be accessible for everybody seemed really overwhelming at first.
Bill Banham: Were some of those fears actually realized, Colleen, or, in your opinion, was it not as bad as you first thought it might be?
Colleen Raccioppi: It was definitely not as bad as we first thought it might be. There were a couple times along the way where ... when you're learning something new it just got a little bit overwhelming because, not only were we learning the system, but we were realizing how we have to change our own internal processes in order to make everything more efficient. It was like learning a whole new language, learning a whole new system, and trying to get our house in order all at the same time.
By the end, it seemed like, oh, of course. Of course this was the way that it was going to work out. How did it seem kind of at times a little bit rocky along the way? As we went through the process everything became a lot more clear.
Bill Banham: So far, so good, Colleen.
Colleen Raccioppi: So far, so good.
Bill Banham: Thank you for sharing. Let's get into the details of your environment. Can you give us a sense of the volume you had to migrate? How many digital assets, what types, how many users?
Colleen Raccioppi: We have thousands of assets of all different types. PDFs, videos, images, different types of images, different languages of things. It's a wide variety of materials.
We have 50 users right now that are the core users of the DAM, and then we plan to add a lot more, probably another couple hundred more, using the Portals part. Not actually core DAM users, but accessing all of our materials through portals. That's kind of phase two of our implementation strategy.
Bill Banham: Now, you mentioned earlier I think that Exactech didn't have a DAM system in place really before. What systems and processes for managing digital content were you coming from?
Colleen Raccioppi: Oh, goodness. We had all of our artwork living on our server, which is ... it was rather slow for people outside of our main building. It was very [inaudible 00:05:08] structure, so you had to kind of know what you were looking for. It was not searchable, really. I guess it was technically possible to search, but it was not a functional search at all.
Some of our global partners had access to the server, some didn't. Some had to come in through a VPN, and that was slow and tedious. That system worked for us when we were a smaller company, but as we have grown it's become more and more unwieldy. We knew that we needed to go to a more cloud-based system that can be accessed pretty much by anybody with access to the internet.
Bill Banham: Okay, so thousands of assets, lots of different people involved. How on earth did you navigate the data migration process?
Colleen Raccioppi: We had a core team of three, so myself, my colleague [Cheryl 00:05:58], and my colleague [Claudia 00:06:00], and had separate meetings, like a lot of different meetings with our different stakeholders who would be using the DAM quite a bit to decide how everything should be structured and come up with a file naming convention.
We had to go through all of the files that were on our server to decide, like, do we really need this thing from 2008? Are we really still using this? Should this really still be in circulation? Answer all of those questions before we even could begin outlining the structure of the DAM.
Then we had kind of a file naming party where five or six of us got in a room and organized all the files according to the folder. The category structure that would be on the DAM, or organizing that in folders and organizing our file naming so all the files were named right and correctly and with the same naming convention. After that, then we were pretty much ready to go. That process took probably close to a month I want to say.
Bill Banham: What would you recommend to others going through the data migration? What should be first? What can be ignored till later?
Colleen Raccioppi: I wish we had understood a little bit more about how the portals work because I think we made some decisions early on that we then had to go back and change because we didn't fully understand the way that that ... just the way that that worked in general. We also didn't realize the way that the categories were structured. We didn't quite understand that at the beginning, so I wish that we had understood that a little bit better.
It was all easy to solve, but once we realized was that we had made some decisions we had to go back and change. Just kind of redo some work after that, but it's very easy to go in and fix those things, or if you decide, oh, I wish I would've done this a different way, we didn't find it hard to navigate that. It's just like, oh, if I would've known then maybe we would've done things a little bit differently.
Bill Banham: Now let's talk about some of the people involved. I think you mentioned a moment ago that there are three core folk at Exactech who are using the system. How did you prepare your team internally to get ready for the DAM kickoff? Obviously in your case I know that you're going through that at the moment.
Colleen Raccioppi: Right, right. We are. We had a series of meetings with our core users, like the people who are going to be using the DAM every day, and then just to kind of prepare them, this is going to be happening. Then we had a training session when we were pretty much ready to go. We still don't have everything on there that we want, but it's 90% ready to go. We had a training session and we've been slowly directing people back to the DAM when they're looking for things.
I had a presentation to our global partners the first week of November where that was my launch. I showed some of the capabilities, and then individual meetings with our designers and our marketing communications folks, and every one of our global offices. Separate meetings via a web software where I can show them exactly how to do it. Then, now pretty much every time I get a question about where do I sign this, I just direct them back to the DAM.
It's been really good. We haven't had a lot of questions. We haven't had a lot of confusion. It seems to be really well-received by our users so far.
Bill Banham: It's just so wonderful when our Widen users take on that [inaudible 00:09:56] and become the people who are teaching others within the organization because there's so much education that can come internally from you guys to help support the information that we at Widen can give as well. Is there anyone that you regretted not including early or wished could be there but wasn't able to attend?
Colleen Raccioppi: That's a good question. I don't think so. I feel that we had a good plan as far as that goes. I think we did a lot of communication with our core users so that everybody knew what was going on. It seemed like we had the right amount of team, the right amount of people on the team. Not too many and not too few. I think that we did a pretty good job with that.
Bill Banham: Let's move and talk about the wider ecosystem, if you like, of users.
Colleen Raccioppi: Okay.
Bill Banham: The bigger group. Did you focus on satisfying a certain group of users while going through the implementation process or were there groups you intentionally ignored to stay ultra focused on your mission?
Colleen Raccioppi: There were groups that we intentionally ignored, the one-off engineer who may need to access this twice a year. We didn't focus on them as much. We mainly focused on our people who are going to be using it every day, and then those second tier sort of users will be our next area of focus. We're thinking right now that most of those people can access the DAM through the Portals.
Our initial implementation was really focused on our power users, the people who are going to be using it all the time every day.
Bill Banham: Talk to me a bit more about the geography of your users. I think you mentioned earlier that they're spread all over the place.
Colleen Raccioppi: Yeah.
Bill Banham: Tell us more about your line of thinking relative to which region should be using the system first and what the importance was there.
Colleen Raccioppi: We set it up more about by a role within the company. All of our graphic designers all over the world, which includes a team here in our Gainesville, Florida office of in-house designers, plus we have vendor designers that are local to our area but they don't work for Exactech. They also need access to the DAM.
Then we have graphic designers in our German office, in our French office, in our Spanish office, and in our Japan office who also needed access. We have a handful of marketing communication managers throughout the world, and here in Gainesville and all throughout Europe and Asia. They need a little bit of different access, so we didn't want to confuse them.
For example, there's no reason why a marketing communications manager would need to access any end design files because we don't have end design, we can't open them. We can't do anything with them, so we set those users up based on the type of file that they would need. We didn't want to confuse anybody by seeing the same asset, but in their [inaudible 00:13:00] and one sits in the DAM and in design file.
We really thought about the users and what they need to see, and set up all of the permissions and everything that way.
Bill Banham: Okay, so we're just talking a little bit about access there, but I'd like to delve a wee bit deeper into that with you if you don't mind. With all that content and all those people in all those different countries who needed to consume and interact with that content, you likely needed to adopt some kind of strict governance model. How did you start thinking about who needed access to what?
Colleen Raccioppi: Yes. As we went along we tried to document in our governance document how we came to the decisions that we made knowing that we would not remember six months from now why we set a certain person up in a certain role. We tried to keep that going as we made decisions. We still need to wrap it up and make it a little bit more readable, but at least we recorded our thought process behind every decision we made as we made it so that we would know and be able to answer questions and explain why we set the users up and the permissions up the way that we did.
So far it seems to be working pretty well. We haven't had too much ... everybody seems to be able to get the right amount of the ... the right information that they need when they need it. I think that we have made good decisions, but time will tell.
Bill Banham: How would you advise others to think about setting up and sharing and distributing permissions?
Colleen Raccioppi: I would really think about the role and what they need to access. For example, we have an events role for our events team. They have pretty much the same access as our marketing communications team. They can see all the same things, but for us, from a user perspective, it's just easier for us to know if you're an event manager you go in the events role. Even though the access is pretty much the same, we thought about our roles here in the company for easy user accessibility.
That seemed to work out really well for us. It was a big point of confusion at first when we first started of, well, everybody can see everything. We're pretty much open with that, so we didn't have too much of this content needed to be gated or anything like that. I know some companies have that concern, but for us we were thinking, well, everybody can see everything. They can all see it now. It's fine. We were thinking more of, how do we make it easy to manage on our end and from a admin perspective?
It just worked out to put everybody in roles according to their job functions here within the company. There are so many different ways to do it. I would say think about what's going to make it easy to manage on the admin part and what's going to make it easy for your users. Even though everybody can see everything, like I mentioned before, we decided not to let non-designers see the end design files. Not because we don't want them to have access to it, but just because it would be confusing about what's the real one that I need to be able to interact with. We try to always keep our users in mind and easy administration in mind as well.
Bill Banham: Now, governance and structure is certainly important, but it also seems how the DAM system connects to other technologies as a core structure that needs attention up front. How did you get your arms around all the possible integrations between DAM and other systems?
Colleen Raccioppi: Well, right now we're just kind of using the DAM part. We're not using any of the approvals section of that. The only integration that we really had to worry about was single sign-on so that our employees can use their single sign-on software, so that they don't have to remember yet another password. It's all kind of integrated into everything else that they use.
We got the Widen single sign-on team with our [IS 00:17:21] single sign-on team. It seemed very easy. They did what they needed to do and we added a little button on the login of the DAM that says, "If you're an Exactech employee, sign in here." It made it very easy for our internal people to get access to it.
Our external, our vendor designers and everything like that, can still also still access the DAM. That was about the biggest integration part between different systems that we had to really do. I think that when we get a little further along we're going to have to think about the portals and how people access those, and where they'll live as far as if it's on our internet. We'll have to think about that. We haven't quite gotten that far yet, but it's on our radar for sure.
Bill Banham: You've read my mind. It's almost as if you have the script in front of you because I'd like to pick your brain a bit more. In the moment you're all about single sign-on, but to highlight future integration potential did you ... are you currently creating a marketing technology map for your organization or are you having Widen create one for you?
Colleen Raccioppi: Not at the moment.
Bill Banham: Okay. Is that something that you think you probably outsourced to Widen or is that the sort of thing that you probably want to manage internally?
Colleen Raccioppi: It sounds like it's probably something that we'll want to manage internally, but we haven't given it that much thought just yet, I don't think.
Bill Banham: You guys are currently at the point where you're about to push the button and really get everybody using it and making the most of Widen. This is the sexy bit of the interview, if you like. This is all about the launch phase. How did you know that you're just about ready to launch and get everybody involved?
Colleen Raccioppi: Once we got the bulk of our assets uploaded to the DAM, we had a hard deadline of an event to do that. That was our line in the sand. I really wanted to make the first announcement at this local meeting that was the first week of November. We always had that date in mind of this is the ... I only see these people once a year. They come from all over the world. This is our shot, so we knew that that was our ... wanted that to be our first announcement.
We made it. We made it at least with enough materials on the DAM to be able to show at that meeting and get people thinking about it and excited about it. Then, shortly after that, maybe a week after that, was when the big bulk upload was finished. Then we were able to launch it internally to our power user teams. They've been kind of using it and giving us feedback ever since then. We've set up weekly meetings with our core implementation team, myself and my two colleagues, to continue to talk about, okay, do we need to tweak our processes? Now that we've been using it a little bit, is everything still working the way that we thought? I think we've identified a couple of areas that we maybe want to change a little bit. We've also set up a series of trainings for our internal team. We meet a lot. We sit together close together and can just shout out questions when we need it, but set up official kind of training sessions where people can ask questions and talk about how everything's working.
Interestingly, we had a sort of mishap that kind of helped us a little bit this week. Our file server went down and we weren't able to access anything on the server. We were all like, oh my gosh. Thank goodness we have the DAM because we have our national sales meeting this week. It starts tomorrow. The DAM was such a lifesaver for that. It immediately showed its value to anybody who might be a little bit more ... You always have your early adopters and then your laggards. That was a oh-no type of situation where I think the DAM was able to come in and save the day at the last minute. We're actually using that now for this meeting that starts tomorrow as a way to collect all of the files that we don't ... can't access on the server now and make sure that everything, that everybody has everything for the meeting, and everybody can see it. It's all in one place.
That was an unexpected thing that happened that helped us immediately get people to see the value of the DAM. Although it was heart-wrenching and gut-wrenching at the time, it was kind of a blessing in disguise a little bit as far as DAM adoption goes.
Bill Banham: Have you had any feedback from members of the sales team so far in terms of how the DAM system is going to help them streamline their sales pipeline process, so to speak, so they can just grab the material that they need, that sales sheet, whatever that might look like, pop it straight out ... and away they go in a timely manner. Have you seen any feedback like that?
Colleen Raccioppi: We have. Absolutely, especially from our global partners. They are all so thankful. Shortly after we launched the DAM, right around the holidays, I got an email from one of my colleagues in Italy that said, "This is the best Christmas present I could've gotten. It's so easy and it's going to make my life so much easier."
We have gotten some really good feedback internally as well from some of our power users. We haven't quite launched all the way out to the sales, like our internal or external sales team yet. At least not in the U.S. Internationally we have more, and all of the feedback so far has been extremely positive. They like the autonomy. They like the search function. They like being able to access it pretty much anywhere that they have an internet connection. It's been, overall, mainly positive.
Bill Banham: Okay. I think I can anticipate your answer then to the next question, but I'm going to ask it anyway. Would you recommend people going through the implementation process to have certain materials, messages, or campaigns preplanned to help them make the launch as successful as it possibly can be?
Colleen Raccioppi: Yeah, absolutely. Definitely. I think having a good communication plan and a promotion plan that's ongoing too, not just at launch but that's ongoing as people continue to use the system, it's crucially important.
Bill Banham: Now let's talk a little bit more about getting people onboard and training them. Can you just go back over a little bit of how you've brought people into the Widen fold so to speak? What level of training do people need from the core users to help them get the most from the tool?
Colleen Raccioppi: We did some training classes with our core users who are here in the office, about a 30-minute [inaudible 00:24:34] overview session. That really seemed to be sufficient. Now that people are actually using it, there have been, hey, could you come over here and remind me how to do this? That kind of level of training.
It seems to be relatively intuitive and easy to understand. I'm sure as we go on we'll maybe tweak that process a little bit, but then with all of our global employees we did web-based training, like a live via webcam kind of training, with each. Individual ones with each of our offices because of language and just the questions and not being there in person. It seemed to be a better idea to do it individually rather than in a big group.
Then, as that, as they started using it it's just kind of back and forth with one-off questions here and there. So far it really has been ... It seems to be pretty intuitive and pretty easy to follow. We'll see how it echoes when we get to our second tier of users who are less in it every day. I think we don't quite have the training planned down for that yet. We're going to be looking at that ... in the next couple of weeks, actually, as we have a little bit more free time.
We'll see how that goes, but as far as our core users, it seems to have been fairly easy to understand. We haven't had really any training issues that I know of.
Bill Banham: I'm a wee bit biased here, but one awesome resource for training is the Widen events. Do you plan on attending any of the community and regional workshops or the annual Widen user Summit that Widen organizes to connect with other customers?
Colleen Raccioppi: We'd like to. This year the annual summit was right when we were in the middle of our implementation and we just couldn't make it happen, but we relied a lot on the Widen University and all of the videos, and of course our onboarding coach was amazing. She helped us so much. She met with us every week, two times a week at, like, 7:00 in the morning. She was so wonderful.
We haven't yet done any of the regional trainings or the annual training. It's mostly just been the coach and the online training, but we would definitely like to.
Bill Banham: Colleen, I know you won't believe this, but we're actually coming towards the end of this interview already.
Colleen Raccioppi: Wow.
Bill Banham: I know, right? It's gone pretty quick. Just finally, at a very high level I'd like to wrap up this podcast by asking you to share just two or three top bits of advice for our audience who are also going through the implementation process.
Colleen Raccioppi: The first thing that I would say is get your own files and organize. That was hugely helpful to us. We were able then to start by the time everything got to the DAM we were able to have it already organized into categories.
The file naming structure was already set up. It made it very easy to go in and do the tagging that we needed to do. We already knew what tags we wanted. We thought about that all way ahead of time, way in advance of actually before we put one single asset on the DAM. We thought about what the categories should be, what the metadata should be, what, as I said, the file naming structure should be.
That was hugely helpful because by that time ... by the time it actually ... all the materials got to the DAM they were pretty much in the right places, and then we just had to go through and refine. We didn't have to reorganize live when it was ... when all of those assets were in the DAM, so that was hugely helpful.
The other thing I would say is the governance document was extremely helpful just, as I mentioned, so that we can remember why we made the decisions that we made and we don't have to go back and try to think of that when somebody asks those questions six months from now. It's all right there that we can refer back to that. That was extremely helpful as well.
The other thing that we did is we just kind of cleared our calendars so that we could work on this quite a bit. We did, as I mentioned, a two ... twice weekly meetings with our onboarding coach. In addition to that, we blocked off two other hours throughout the week so that we could go back and ... just with our group of admin so that we could go back. Everything seemed so clear sometimes when we were meeting with a coach, and then we would try to do it on our own and we'd be like, wait. What? What's happening? It seemed so easy when she did it.
To try to do that together in a room was so much easier so that we could all ask questions and not try to handle it by email or one of us off at our own computers by ourself getting frustrated. That was extremely helpful.
Bill Banham: Wonderful. Well, that just leaves me to say today, Colleen, thank you very much for being a guest on The Widen Implementation Series.
Colleen Raccioppi: Oh, thank you. It was my pleasure.