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University of Kansas Case Study
University of Kansas Woodmark

KU Marketing Communications Uses the Widen Collective® to Streamline Asset Distribution

The University of Kansas (KU) marketing team shares creative assets with a wide range of individuals — both on and off campus. The Widen Collective® provides all of these stakeholders with reliable, streamlined access to the content they need, when they need it.

Products used

Assets Assets

Catalog, control, and distribute rich media assets from a central source of truth.

Insights Insights

Track and measure assets and build site performance dashboards.

Challenges

KU’s first image management system was built in-house in the late 90s; and was replaced by a more sophisticated open-source solution about a decade later. Tim Seley, KU’s Associate Director Digital Media, shared that both of these platforms were initially supported internally, but, “As priorities changed, IT just didn’t have the time or the resources to keep supporting an open source-solution or a self-built solution,” he said.

The existing platform had grown so unusable that simply locating the right image was difficult. “Frankly what happened is we just stopped doing some of the things that we wanted to do,” Tim said. “ When our system quit working, we just said sorry, we can’t do x-y-z anymore.” Departments across campus relied on the creative content that Tim and his team produced. So KU's Marketing Communications knew they needed a new system that would make asset access and distribution reliable, and easy. In 2018 they switched to the Widen Collective®.

Objectives

Easy access for a variety of people
Intuitive, self-serve access for a range of internal and external users.

Scalability
Functionality that meets current and projected asset management needs.

Dependable support
A stable, regularly-maintained solution with exceptional customer service.

Solution

User friendly system
“Design matters to us,” Tim said, “and a system that looks really good, is very responsive, and it does what you expect it to do — it’s important.” The ease of use of the Collective allows users across campus and beyond to access content on their own. In addition, it minimizes the time required to get new users up and running. “You can train anybody on the Collective in an hour or less,” he said.

Reduce login barriers
KU implemented single sign-on (SSO) functionality to further enhance ease of access to content in the Collective. “Single sign-on has been great because setup was a breeze and now any user that’s part of the KU infrastructure can easily access the system,” Tim said. 

Robust roles and permissions
KU uses roles and permissions to control how different user groups interact with content in the Collective. This helps ensure that only approved assets can be viewed and shared by certain users. “That’s one of the things that drew us to Widen, was how flexible it was in terms of asset roles and security,” Tim said.  And as their distribution needs grow, Tim hopes to explore Portals as an option for sharing curated groups of assets to specific user groups.

Benefits

Effective content distribution 
The Collective provides all users with a single location for creative content. “Having one central place where we can send them or they can browse on their own without the help of a photographer has been super, super helpful,” Tim said. And tools like share links have further streamlined content distribution. “If we photograph a concert, or a classroom, or whatever the thing may be, it’s really easy to quickly and effectively distribute those images across campus, regardless of where they’re coming from,” Tim said.

Better quality of work
Easy access to creative content has allowed creatives across campus to spend less time searching for assets, and more time on other work. “For us it’s definitely been a tool that we can use to increase efficiency.  And then that in turn also helps the final product, so the work we do is improved as a result,” Tim said.

A partnership
KU was excited about all of the guidance that Widen provides before, during, and after implementation. “Having a staff that supports you means you don’t have to worry about losing your images, losing your library, or something going down at a critical time.” With help just a phone call, chat, or email away, Tim knows that Widen is a partner in achieving their current and future DAM goals.


“I think it’s pretty clear that a DAM makes perfect sense in a university setting because you have such a large community of people that want access to images.”

Tim Seley, Associate Director Digital Media - Marketing Communications at the University of Kansas