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In 2000, 3Shape entered the market with the goal of improving 3D scanning in the hearing industry. Evolving over the past two decades, they now produce award-winning scanning and CAD/CAM dentistry solutions for customers around the world.
With over a third of their 1,700 employees dedicated to developing new technology that continually enhances their products, transformation is core to 3Shape’s culture. This history of innovation was embraced throughout their adoption and evolution of the Widen Collective®, leading them to streamlined workflows and improved customer service across their digital channels.
As 3Shape experienced rapid growth across product lines, customer segments, and continents, their marketing department struggled to keep pace. Resellers, distributors, service partners, and other customers in over 100 countries relied on their product information and training materials. And continual product launches and updates made it challenging to provide all of these stakeholders with current content.
Vladimir Chen, Senior Digital Product Manager at 3Shape, led this content distribution effort. “We started to experience poor customer service,” he shared. “It would take a lot of time and confusion. Things would fly around. Different places would use different channels. Because we go to a lot of events, we need to share a lot of digital assets often. Whenever things were updated (product presentation or marketing materials) we would need to go to each channel to update everything. So you can see how that would cause a lot of inconsistencies and confusion.”
This pain point became a regular occurrence. “It was an open wound,” Vladimir said. “We wanted a single source of truth for our partners, but also for internal users.” So shortly after Vladimir joined 3Shape in 2017, they began searching for a digital asset management (DAM) solution to serve as a central location for asset storage and distribution.
Provide a single repository for the most up-to-date and brand-approved content.
Coordinate efforts across distribution channels to eliminate redundancies and speed up time to market.
Give users secure, self-service access to the content they need, whenever they need it.
Evolve with time
Position the system for growth in tandem with organizational change.
A central source of truth
Before implementing the Collective, 3Shape looked at their “whys.” “For us," Vladimir shared, “it was two strategic pillars: care for the customers and scale for growth.” He noted that “in the old days, we used too many channels to share digital assets. And this would mean, unfortunately, redundant work, poor customer service, and generally longer time to market.” The team needed a better way to support their customers as well as their internal stakeholders.
Today, the 3Shape DAM system houses everything from marketing and training materials to product documentation and demo cases. And because it’s the single location for all marketing content, customers and partners always know where to find the assets they need.
Integrate with other platforms
Integrations between the Collective and other software in their martech stack allows 3Shape to seamlessly share assets across platforms. When files are added or updated in the DAM system, they’re automatically synched across the other software and channels; including their Partner Portal, which is connected via the open API with a custom integration. This not only ensures their customers have access to current content, but also eliminates significant workflow redundancies and inefficiencies.
With each new product launch there are a variety of materials to distribute to stakeholders. To expedite access to these resources, Vladimir gave many of his users content uploading privileges. “Because we are constantly training new users, we have empowered users to be uploaders of content for external use,” Vladimir said. This collaborative approach to content distribution via the DAM system ensures new content is available to customers and team members quickly and efficiently. “We will be using perhaps two or three channels but we will tap into the same source of truth so the same asset will be shared in different channels,” Vladimir shared.
Tackle one challenge at a time
Confusion around where files were stored, how they were organized, and which versions were current made the prospect of migrating everything to a new DAM system very overwhelming. Vladimir said his team accomplished this daunting effort by taking on one task at a time, knowing that their system will evolve. “It’s very important to start small. Start with what you have,” he shared. In developing a metadata taxonomy, Vladimir said they began by simply asking, “What do we know?” He also appreciated the templates Widen provided to guide them through the implementation process. “The Widen team held us by our hands, to ensure a smooth, step-by-step onboarding process.”
Improved customer service
As the biggest trigger for their digital transformation was customer service complaints, the DAM system needed to prove that it positively impacted their customers’ perception and experience of their brand. To do this, Vladimir’s team used a net promoter score (NPS) to track their continual improvement in customer service. This data is gathered by surveying users across their customer base.
In 2019, their NPS score confirmed that a whopping 90% of users downloading files found what they were looking for; with the biggest impact coming from the integrated DAM experience within their Partner Portal.
Integrating the Collective with other software gives 3Shape the ability to scale the system to meet expanding content and workflow demands. Vladimir is pleased with the efficiencies made possible by their current integrations and has new ones he’d like to pursue. “I visited the Widen Summit a few weeks ago and it was wonderful and inspirational,” he said. After seeing what others are doing with their Collective sites, he is interested in what’s possible with an Adobe Suite integration, as well as metadata automation. New opportunities like this will help ensure that the Collective is positioned to support both their current and future operational goals.
Maximized return on investment
Vladimir believes that in order to realize the full value of strategic investments, “you need to understand why you do what you do” in order to achieve the end goal. “And that is what we see [DAM] as — a means to an end [goal].” For Vladimir and 3Shape, the Collective helped them amplify the value of their digital content and allowed them to solve their market needs with the ability to share and distribute digital assets. “So basically...this is right now what makes the overall ecosystem for us in digital marketing, but also something that we offer to our stakeholders in 3Shape.”
“We basically decided from early on that we wanted to build our ecosystem for digital asset management — or digital assets — so we would integrate our Widen Collective with our integration players and therefore will be able to use or share assets through those integration channels which will allow us to really scale.”
Vladimir Chen, Senior Digital Product Manager at 3Shape