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Digital transformation has been the “buzzword” for industrial companies in the past few years. But it has moved from being a mere slogan repeated in nearly every B2B meeting to reality. Digitization involves the risk of being impacted by the competition, but at the same time, it also offers great opportunities to streamline all processes clearly and to save a great deal of money. The pressure to become an active participant is increasing every year.
Industrial enterprises digitalize their infrastructure with increasing speed. This is caused by increasing pressure from different groups, particularly from employees, customers, and management.
Employees push for flexibility
A new generation of employees expects flexibility in shaping their work. For them, a home office is obvious, and greater collaboration in the implementation of internal projects is common. They are also strongly networked and mobile.
In the war for talent, companies can still stand out, if employees can work independently regardless of the place, time zone, network, or device. This is also true when it comes to working with content. The result is that many IT departments are investing in a modern and company-wide centralized content management system.
Rising customer expectations
At the same time, customer expectations are rising. As a result, product cycles are becoming ever shorter, which on the one hand requires more effective cooperation between engineering teams and external partners and, on the other hand, requires rapid availability of product-related content within the company.
Therefore, it is all the more important to think about organizing your content and getting rid of existing, rigid structures. This approach is no longer an option, but a requirement for manufacturers. It is the only way to overcome boundaries – whether they are of a geographical nature or the result of compartmentalized thinking in the company.
Demand for greater efficiency by management
There is a famous saying that anything that can be digitized, will be digitized. While digitization has unbeatable advantages, it also comes with an ever-growing amount of data, that can become quickly very difficult to handle.
Without suitable infrastructure, employees are working in the midst of chaos because they will have difficulty finding files that are stored in the systems. Makeshift designs with Dropbox and Windows folder structures will collapse as the size of a company grows. In this scenario, Digital Asset Management (DAM) provides an important contribution to the digital infrastructure of a company. A DAM system simplifies significantly the managing, finding and distributing of content. A company can also boost its capacity significantly by expanding the entire digital infrastructure of the company through the integration of other systems, such as Product Information Management (PIM), Web Content Management, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and eCommerce.
Having a DAM
The most important benefits of having a DAM at a glance:
- Content is stored properly with a DAM: There is no data loss. Duplicates are also excluded immediately so there are no incorrect file versions. This also means a lot of time and storage capacity can be saved.
- A DAM provides special permissions management. It is possible to define roles, who is authorized to work with the respective content, and how it can be used. It also manages the licensing agreements for the respective content. For example, images can automatically be hidden to certain users after the expiration of their license. This protects against improper use and therefore against copyright infringement and possible court costs.
- A DAM can help save time and money in the distribution of content: Companies that operate digitally now display their content on websites, landing pages, portals, print applications, mobile apps and social media channels. All the information is centrally stored in the DAM and can be used automatically with the aid of numerous integrations with other systems – without any breaks in media.
Benefits of having PIM & DAM
Manufacturers who need to manage a wide range of information from a large number of products often use a Product Information Management System (PIM). The PIM focuses on making product information available, such as descriptions, quotations, and size and weight information, for each marketing and sales channel. A DAM in contrast focuses on the structured management of all multimedia content. This includes product images or product videos for the PIM as well as other company materials such as catalogs, graphics or internal training videos. Together, DAM and PIM are unbeatable teams.
The PIM provides the customer with the relevant product data at the customer’s request and enriches it with pictures and videos, which are stored in the DAM. This means the DAM and PIM combination fulfills the most crucial aspect of the customer journey because the customer receives all the information he needs about a product.
The analyst team at Forrester Research offers this advice: Companies should choose a PIM when they have complex product information to manage. A DAM is the first choice if the number of images, videos, or documents becomes too large for the company to keep the overview otherwise. The seamless integration of the two systems provides real added value and increases productivity.
Case Study: Optimization of digital content
But how do companies use Digital Asset Management in practice?
The agricultural machine manufacturer CLAAS is a global player: With 12 production locations worldwide and 13 distribution companies in Europe, Asia, and North and South America, the company has to cope with an enormous data volume. CLAAS marketing is responsible for 30 product brands, around 300 product types and countless product variants. So, the time and cost that had to be expended until, for example, an image from a photoshoot could be used for a marketing brochure or a website were correspondingly high. They had to create several versions of the same image in different resolutions and image sizes for various applications. There were also additional marketing materials, and the text had to be written in different languages.
Now, CLAAS wanted to optimize the processing and administration of digital content to implement a uniform marketing and communication strategy throughout the company. CLAAS choose CELUM for this.
Today the system manages more than 250,000 objects with a data volume of around six terabytes. Since its implementation in 2009, more than 1.6 million downloads have been carried out. Around 1,800 users are working with the solution, one-tenth of whom even use it daily.
Previously, the group had four times the number of motifs created, edited and saved during a photoshoot. Today, the company can photograph a new product during the harvest in Hungary in July and print the brochure for it in Germany in August. This is made possible by sophisticated workflows to agencies and printers, as we explain in detail in our CLAAS success story.
This direct access to the data by the creative partners enables around 900 brochures to be produced annually in an average of 15 different languages.
Case Study: Creating a single source of truth
The steel-based technology and industrial-goods group voestalpine is also a global player: The voestalpine group, which operates around the world, is represented in more than 50 countries on five continents with around 500 group companies and locations and has around 49,000 employees. This international presence created great challenges for the group for image and document exchange: The search for usable video and photo material in their archives alone became increasingly difficult. Often, they created new recordings and productions, although good material was already available. The increased demand for disk space caused headaches for IT, and the newly created assets produced unnecessary costs.
Since 2004, CELUM has been providing voestalpine employees with international collaboration in the simple exchange of 170,000 documents and data such as videos and printable images. The distinction between read-only users and editors increases acceptance among users, and an ordering service guarantees rights are secured. As a result of the technical expansions, five divisions with approximately 500 international locations are now equipped with a single database called “voestalpine media worlds”. 23,500 users have access to it, which illustrates the value of a DAM for voestalpine.
The DAM is the basis for the administration of all files and the central hub for derivation and integration into the most diverse CMS (Content Management Systems) and CDN (Content Delivery Network) networks for 200 websites and various social media platforms. The central translation management and the press portal for the voestalpine Group are also handled through the DAM.
Digital Asset Management plays a central role in this process. The most important benefits at a glance:
- The employees save a lot of time searching for files
- All new files can be easily retrieved at any time and do not need to be produced again
- Collaboration within the company has been significantly improved and made more efficient
Learn more about the challenges that voestalpine faced and how the collaboration with CELUM helped them in our success story.
There is no longer any way for industrial companies to get around using a DAM and remain competitive on the road to digitization. Manufacturers can use a DAM to increase their productivity, increase employee acceptance, reduce costs, and gain a significant advantage over their competitors. Get a full picture of Digital Asset Management by CELUM here.