Interview between Mark Davey of the DAM Blog and Alex Struminger, Executive Project Manager—Internet, Broadcast & Image Section at UNICEF, Division of Communications
Building User Adoption With Widen SaaS DAM
Mark: So you did the RFP process and you ended up choosing the Widen Software as a Service system...
Alex: We did. We didn't want to choose a system that required a lot of equipment and internalized workflows. That was a big issue for us. So software-as-a-service really seemed the way to go for a number of organizations offering software solutions that were hosted. Many of them were really software companies that were selling software primarily with their business, and offering their own software and hosting solutions as well, but not really true software-as-a-service companies—their primary business models were software business models, and not service business models.
And I found it very interesting that people that did software-as-a-service in its pure form had a very different kind of approach and skill set than the ones that were primarily software vendors.
But the thing that I think was the key to our decision-making process is that unlike the way we'd done it before where management had given us a directive and a budget, and said go out to the marketplace and get some responses to an RFP and pick the winning bidder, which is the usual procurement process, we gathered together a group of stakeholders and involved them deeply in the all-purposing process.
So we solicited their feedback on the actual proposal documents and we asked them to attend demonstrations. Many of them were in Europe so we did Webex or some kind of virtual presentations platform and allowed them to ask questions, get responses, and really got them deeply involved because you know... We remembered the lesson from the first time around when the interests of management and the interests of the end users were not always connected to each other.
And we need obviously to satisfy management because that was the directive given, but we also needed to get stakeholder buy-in and a good group of people to adopt the system early and help evolve it quickly and get it to a place where it could be a mature and stable platform. Then we were just going to be hoisting another great idea onto a bunch of people who didn't necessarily see the need or agree with the choice. And in a lot of ways that was the part of the project that turned out to be the most important decision.
We've seen a lot of times the acquisitions of big enterprise technology that are done are handed down by IT or by management to a bunch of people who don't really see the need for them, and don't adopt the system, don't buy into the idea, and they fail.
They projects don't fail because the technology is bad or the idea is bad often an idea is good and forward thinking, but the lack of involvement of the users and the stakeholders causes the project to fail. And one of the things I've been thinking about quite a lot recently is about the socialization of the enterprise platform—socialization on two levels.
Managing Video Assets for Global Humanitarian Aid
Mark: That’s great… Start with the people first. Unfortunately, most start with the technology and then try to fit the people around it, so yeah, that's a good lesson in how to do that, absolutely. I read somewhere that you've got over 6,000 videos. Is that correct?
Alex: Yeah, maybe a little bit more than that now.
Mark: So the video aspect of your DAM and how that was to be shared across a hundred countries, that was a key criteria in your RFP I take it?
Alex: Actually, 200 countries.
Mark: 200 countries?
Alex: Yeah, UNICEF has offices where we provide programmatic work with target populations in the developing worlds in 186 countries I think right now. And then there are another 20 or so industrialized nations where we do fundraising activities. And so all of these different groups are using the DAM system for various things. We get videos from some of the country offices and locate video and put it on their distribution channels; and we also take videos that we make in New York and some of the fundraising videos that are made in Geneva, and make those available to the fundraising groups. So Europeans, the U.S. and Canada, Australia, Japan, it's really around the world.
And they take this materials—videos is a very compelling rich media—you can transfer a lot of information rapidly through the combination of sound and moving images. It's the highest resolution way of transferring information. If you can get somebody to watch a short video, you can get your message across, and so it's been very popular through use of traditional broadcast channels, the traditional broadcasters...they're used a lot on the internet now.
You know, back in the day the mission was always to try to get your pictures on TV. If you got a hit on TV then you've reached millions of people. But more and more, the primary way that we're meeting our potential audience is on the internet. We're actually seeing twice the number of video plays in the social media space—so YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, and a number of other smaller platforms as we are on our website.
-END OF SEGMENT 2-
Listen to More UNICEF Podcase Study Segments:
Part 3 – Leveraging Social Media for Video Distribution and Using the Widen DAM Service for Global Scale (3:54)
Check out the related blog post: UNICEF Uses Video and Digital Asset Management to Promote Global Humanitarian Aid