It’s great when hard work, a commitment to excellence, and a passion for people all pay off. Especially when you’re having fun doing it! As we look back over the past year, we can see all the ways that our company, our customers, and the Widen CollectiveⓇ community have grown. What an exceptional year we had in 2019!
At the top of the list is the success our customers have enjoyed. Widen’s core value of service is our secret sauce, exemplified by our highly responsive and knowledgeable customer success and support, has paid off in a big way for a great many of our users. In particular, these organizations had remarkable stories to tell this year:
- Simpson Strong-Tie, a leading supplier of structural building products, leveraged the Collective to remove inefficient manual workflows and strengthen its brand equity with its customers in the construction field.
- Houston Astros now delivers up-to-date photography across the organization — while taking a big burden off the shoulders of its team photographer.
- 3Shape, a maker of scanning and CAD/CAM dentistry solutions, advanced its digital transformation by implementing DAM at the core of its marketing technology (martech) stack.
- Renewal by Anderson uses the Widen Collective to share its digital assets with retailers, while making user-generated content available for marketing promotions.
- Johnsonville, the sausage maker, not only cut the time required to locate digital assets, but also implemented a portal for worldwide access by its marketing partners.
Over 100 new customers began using the Widen Collective for the first time in 2019 — and our user base jumped 22% to 560,000+ people!
Recognition for organizational success has continued
For many years, Widen has been known as a place where people can thrive personally and professionally. For the fifth straight year, the company received Madison Magazine’s Best Places to Work Award, and was also named a WorldBlu Freedom-Centered Culture™ for five years running. Within the software industry, it received Software Company of the Year in the SIIA CODiE Awards, and was named a “Strong Performer” by an independent research firm in the 2019 Digital Asset Management for Customer Experience Report.
Other accolades included Best Digital Asset Management Platform (DAM) at ClickZ Marketing Technology Awards and G2 Crowd Leader for Enterprise Digital Asset Management. Finally, our own Matthew Gonnering, Widen CEO, received the 2019 Executive of the Year Award from InBusiness magazine. You can read about Matthew and his business philosophy in this profile in InBusiness.
Exciting Collective feature upgrades added throughout the year
Widen is continually improving its platform to make digital asset management the hub for brand management, while also adding new tools that allow users to be more creative and productive. Have a look at how we’ve enhanced the platform in 2019:
User experience advances
- New and improved asset upload experience
- New metadata importer to add metadata to thousands of assets at once
- Accessibility and usability improvements
- Assets metadata auto-tagging with trained AI models
- Portals additions including editable collection cards and display names
- Workflow enhancements featuring enhanced proofing tools
- Integrations with Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), Adobe Premiere, and more
- Upgrade of Elasticsearch to deliver a faster, more efficient search experience
- Europe data centers for home region data support
- Bulk backfilling of asset metadata using AI-powered auto-tagging
Partnerships and professional services made users more effective
Just as important as technology are the people and organizations who provide support, expertise, leadership, and inspiration. In 2019 Widen introduced three new consulting services in martech strategy design, DAM success, and change management. We also added design services for brands that don’t have the time or resources to create or update dashboards, portals, templates, or other critical management tools and creative assets.
System integration is often a problem for organizations implementing or expanding their DAM platform. It’s estimated that the average enterprise uses 91 martech services, drawn from a universe of other 7,000 different platforms! Through our new partnership with WNDYR, a top provider of software deployments, implementations, and integrations, we took steps to remove this pain point for our Collective users. Problem solved!
Educational, networking, community events expanded
In October, hundreds of Widen users descended on Madison for the eighth annual Widen Summit where they heard — and learned — from the best DAM experts in the land. After a keynote from New York Times best-selling author Jon Acuff, attendees went on to two days of dynamic sessions, covering everything from tactical DAM implementation tips to the future of marketing technology.
But the learning opportunities didn’t stop there. Members of the Widen community enjoyed numerous educational and professional opportunities throughout the year. We continued our one-day Widen Workshops in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco, giving users a chance to hear from Widen experts and gain new skills in a hands-on setting. Our global Widen User Groups expanded from 10 to 14 cities, giving local users a chance to gather in friendly meetups close to home.
Virtual training continued to be immensely popular, from our full schedule of webinars to our Widen Live! quick training sessions and more extensive Widen Essentials: Online programs. Widen also appeared prominently at many major industry conferences and events. On the charitable front, our Funk Out Cancer event in October provided even more seed money for programs resulting in millions of dollars for cancer research. To make a donation, go to www.funkoutcancer.com.
What we were thinking about
Widen experts continued their thought leadership throughout the year. Here are just a few of the prominent ways our specialists informed our users and the professional community:
- Martech Advisor transformation series by Michael Shattuck
- To Innovate, You Might Have to Stop Inventing by Deanna Ballew for IT Toolbox
- How Digital Asset Management Takes Immersive Marketing Strategies to the Next Level by Jake Athey for Marketing Tech News
- The Widen Brand Management Maturity Model: Your Path to Greater ROI by Jake Athey
- Why Is Brand Management Important to Marketers? by Jason McAloon
- What to Include in Your Brand Identity Kit by Serai Schueller
- Omnichannel Marketing: What does it really mean? by Serai Schueller
- How DAM and PIM Streamline E-commerce by Nate Holmes
More coming in 2020!
The momentum keeps building going into the new year. Our product roadmap promises exciting enhancements for 2020, supported by a number of partnerships and technology integrations. We have a new online community launching — and of course our schedule of events will be full, month after month.
We look forward to developing our platform, our people, and our many friendships across the Widen Collective community in 2020. Stay tuned for more good things to come!