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The People, Process, and Technology Behind DAM Selection – Scott Sharp

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“The support and the culture fit for Widen were one of our biggest decision factors when choosing a DAM.” – Scott Sharp

The People, Process, and Technology Behind DAM Selection

Scott Sharp was an early advocate for a digital asset management (DAM) solution at WestJet. Motivated by the need for improved workflow and rights management processes, Scott led the effort to select and install a DAM platform that best fit their needs. Read on to learn about their selection process, and why they ultimately chose Widen. 

The need for a DAM solution

Scott’s interest in a DAM system for WestJet was driven by two key issues. He said, “we spent a lot of time losing assets, and I think that’s one of the biggest things that we found we needed to nip in the bud.” This obviously involved a lot of time wasted searching for files and recreating ones that were lost.

In addition, he hoped a DAM platform would improve their rights management process. He shared, “we had a couple of interesting close calls here at WestJet...there was a couple times when our processes around digital assets put us potentially at risk. And so, we were able to articulate that very clearly to management.”

Research, an RFI and an RFP

With the blessing of senior management, Scott launched a rigorous search for the solution they needed. When he began his research, he intentionally sought out vendor-agnostic resources. “I didn’t want to educate myself about what vendors where out there until I really knew what the problem was that we were trying to solve, and what the essential features of DAM are.”

With this initial education phase complete, he worked with his procurement team to complete a request for information (RFI) process. He said they received a good number of responses from this effort, and then whittled down those to a short-list for the request for proposal (RFP) phase.

Involving a team of stakeholders

Individuals from across the organization were involved in the WestJet’s DAM selection. Key players included:

  • their procurement team, who used their vendor management expertise to guide the RFI and RFP process
  • a range of client stakeholders, who stood to gain the most from improved digital asset management processes
  • IT teams, including their architects
  • their finance department, not only to ensure the budget was appropriate but also to compare and interpret pricing models across vendors
  • their legal team, to work through the master service agreement

And last - but certainly not least - was the project’s executive sponsor, which was their VP of Marketing Communications. Scott shared, “without having his approval and his backing of the project we never really would have got started. So I would say that everybody out there should identify who their executive sponsor is, bring them on board very early, and make sure that you are keeping them up-to-date as you move through the process.”

Despite the large number of players in the selection process, Scott says it went extremely well. He shared, “we didn’t short-circuit the process by skipping any steps or talking to the wrong groups at the wrong time....the result is what we wanted.”

Key selection criteria: integrations

Scott and his team knew they wanted a platform that supported integrations, and went into their DAM search with several in mind. The first was with HRIS, which manages all of their employee data. “We wanted to integrate with that system because WestJet uses a lot of our own employees in our advertising, and so as those employees come and go from WestJet we wanted to be able to track those assets related to employees”

Second, “We also looked at integrating with our content manager system for our website...that one felt a like bit like a no-brainer, in terms of delivering assets to our website.” And finally, they wanted to explore an integration with their marketing automation system. He said, “we are looking at that as a really interesting way to market to our guests through using all the information that we have about how they interact with our website, and so we want to be able to - while we market to them - share the latest imagery and digital assets.”

This interest in integrations also solidified their decisions to pursue a cloud-based DAM solution.

So ultimately...why Widen?

Scott shared that there were three key reasons that Widen surfaced as the best fit for WestJet: the rigor of their product roadmap, their customer support, and the quality of their product.

Regarding the Widen roadmap, Scott shared, “Widen has a really regular release schedule of updates to their software. So, whereas you look at some of the vendors out there, and they may put out one to two sort-of major updates a year, the current cycle that Widen works on, is they’re actually releasing updates every two weeks. So you’re not spending a whole lot of time worrying about if they are addressing bugs...It’s a really compelling feature to see how often they do those updates.”

Scott and his team were also impressed by Widen’s customer support, “we felt that Widen was a really great cultural fit for us. And part of that cultural fit is the support that they provide.” He appreciated the fact that any of his users can contact Widen at any time to resolve a question or issue, that he was given a dedicated advisor through the implementation and beyond, and that there are multiple channels to seek information, including phone, email, chat, and a library of online resources.

And finally, he and his team were just really pleased with the Collective. “I think Widen is just a really great product. It’s well designed, it’s forward looking, it’s constantly updated, and it’s easy to use.” Scott’s team took their time executing a methodical and thorough selection process...and are extremely pleased with the results!

Listen to episode

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.

About our guest

Scott Sharp is creative operations advisor and program manager for digital asset management, formerly at WestJet. WestJet was named best airline in Canada and one of the best low-cost airlines in North America, based on authentic reviews from the traveling public on TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel site. They are one of the very few global airlines that does not commercially overbook. Together with their regional airline, WestJet Encore, WestJet offers scheduled service to more than 100 destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean, Europe, and to more than 175 destinations in over 20 countries.

About our Host

Bill Banham is a marketing and publishing professional based in Toronto. Bill is 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 Canadian Professional Sales Association (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.

Topics: Widen Podcast, DAM Implementation

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