You can’t just empty a storage closet and call it a conference room anymore. Modern conference rooms should make collaboration enjoyable. Colorful themes, comfortable furniture, easy online booking – and, of course, conferencing technology from Polycom.
Polycom is the industry leader in video conferencing and conference phones, doing the crucial job of bringing people in different locations together while removing the bad sound and connections that plagued audio and video conferencing in the past. Founded in 1990, Polycom has made loyal customers out of 400,000-plus companies and institutions worldwide while growing to 3,800 employees in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia.
Small team, skyrocketing workload
Four of the company’s 3,800 employees form creative services, the team tasked with producing the substantial number of marketing campaigns and materials a company as large as Polycom requires. Infographics, collateral, trade show booths, photo shoots – you name it, the team creates it, or manages the agency that creates it.
The number of incoming requests to the creative services team grew at a staggering rate, commensurate with the growth in company size, target geos and product offerings. The only thing that wasn’t growing was the size of the team itself. What was once a humming, well-oiled machine started sputtering under the weight of over 300 project requests a month from marketing, sales and partners in markets around the globe.
“Everything was manual,” said Justin Acharya, Senior Production Manager at Polycom. Email and meetings were used for project management and approvals. That made it hard to get on the same page. Revisions and approvals were slow, disconnected and often full of conflicting feedback. Deadlines were missed and the team was buried deeper and deeper under its unrealistic workload.
A consequence of rapid-fire projects was that creative usage rights were not always carefully tracked. In one costly case an asset was downloaded by a partner and eventually surfaced on the web after the rights had expired. This seemingly small oversight cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The team’s digital asset management solution wasn’t helping. The on-premise digital asset management (DAM) system had outlived its era. It would frequently freeze and require reboot like an old computer or first-generation smartphone. It didn’t come with any data or analytics, so it was impossible to know who was downloading what or what they were using those assets for. Worst of all, only the marketing team had the ability to search the library of assets which meant they fielded endless requests.
“You couldn’t search for the image you wanted – the request was always passed along to our team, which bogged us down and prevented us from doing actual creative work,” said Acharya. “Once we caught a glimpse of the capabilities of the new technology out there, we knew it was time to upgrade.”
Finding a force multiplier
The team began the search for an overall workflow upgrade – something that would help them get out in front of the deadline eight ball and reform the way the company managed creative assets.
First off, any new solution had to help the team scale its productivity to fit its current workload – and the increasing demands to come. Eliminating time-draining manual processes and reemphasizing creative tasks would amplify the team’s unique ability and output.
The team needed to squeeze more value out of the assets they produce, so accessibility was a vital requirement. All kinds of employees and partners – not just the creative services team – needed to be able to find and use what they’re looking for without training or leaning on creative services for help. That meant simple search, image tagging and usability so people can get what they need without waiting on requests.
There needed to be a central DAM system of record for internal and external teams that included rights management to prevent the use of expired images. Nobody wanted to see costly compliance issues.
A digital brand management portal housing a style guide and brand assets also made the list of essentials. Publishing, editing and republishing PDF guidelines that were hard to distribute wasn’t going to do the trick anymore.
Lastly, the solution needed to be cloud-based to eliminate IT upkeep and improve global access.
After a thorough review, the team found Webdam was the only solution that met all its needs: a cloud-based DAM platform with the automation, accessibility and compliance functionality to upgrade the entire creative workflow.
Operating at full scale
The creative services team implemented and began using Webdam faster than expected, and to great success.
“As a creative team, Adobe Creative Cloud has been our most invaluable tool for a long time,” said Acharya. “But now that we’re up and running with Webdam, we can’t imagine living without either one.”
The creative services team used to be so bogged down by project and asset requests they struggled to make time for the creative process. But with Webdam in place, they no longer have to serve as gatekeepers for every single creative ask. Marketing, sales, partners and others have permission-based access to specific kinds of assets, making it easy to find and use what they need without bombarding creative services with requests.
In the past, requestors might spend days waiting for an asset. Now they find assets themselves in just a few minutes.
“Webdam makes many of the fulfillment functions of the creative service team self serve. It saves us time so we can focus on revenue-generating items,” said Acharya.
As for compliance, the creative services team uses a combination of permissions and expiration dates to keep old images from popping up where they’re not supposed to. Permissions ensure access to assets is restricted to specific users, and expiration dates both remove the asset from Webdam and notify those who downloaded it.
The enthusiasm of Polycom’s 1,500-plus requestors surpassed the team’s hopes. Sales, marketing, partners, agencies – no matter who uses it, the result has been overwhelmingly positive. And all that self-service means the creative services team can get back to creating.
“The most important thing is just spreading the word inside the company that this tool exists,” said Acharya. “Once people use it and see how much easier and faster it is than making requests via email, they’re hooked.”
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