DAM the Torpedoes! Targeting Vertical Issues

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Target: Corporate Archives
Problem: Long-term archiving of financial and corporate records.
Solution: Include both software and hardware issues in determining a long-term solution.

Much of the discussion about corporate archiving revolves around file formats and end-user applications. Successful DAM for this task however requires not just software, but also integrating functional hardware—otherwise digital records could become inaccessible. An often overlooked point of discussion is this question: the media may be good for 100 years, but is a drive that can read it going to be available in the future?

This challenge became a harsh reality to a global cosmetics company based in Paris, France, which had prudently stored corporate records on 5.25" WORM discs. In 1998, it mothballed its existing WORM jukebox and replaced it with a newer system—the older archive being held off-line in case it was needed.

As it turned out, the company confronted a patent dispute in 2002 involving records and documents dating back to 1992. The dispute represented millions of lost dollars if the decision turned out unfavorably for the company, so it was essential that supporting documents be retrieved as evidence for their defense. Thus, after four years in retirement, the jukebox was reactivated to access those records. However, to bring the system up to speed, they needed a replacement WORM drive—a model that had reached "end of life" seven years previously, in 1995. Fortunately, after a wide search for a functional drive, one was located. The actual content of the discs was found intact and retrieved, allowing the company to proceed forward with its successful defense.

Questions still remain in the community about choosing file formats for long-term archiving. However, on the hardware side, more than just the performance and durability of media should be on the table. Access to the physical readers should also be an issue. This should turn to a serious discussion when a technology is single-source, such as with Sony's PDD systems. A more universally supported product such as UDO or Blu-ray may be warranted, given that those drives will likely remain far more abundant into the foreseeable future.

Target: Brand Management
Problem: Effectively manage a global brand in today's market.
Solution: Win senior leadership buy-in first before installing software.

Whirlpool is a global major-appliance vendor with considerable brand value. Yet prior to installing DAM, much of its asset management was a manual process: the brand management team would field ten or more phone calls a day for content, resulting in two to three dozen CD-Rs a week via express shipments to answer those needs—some of which might contain just a single file. Not only was the system time-consuming, it was also prone to errors.

However, Gregg Crandall, the company's content and solutions consultant, knew that selecting and installing software or hardware would be only part of the solution. To perform better as a global brand, Whirlpool would need to set a goal as a company (not just inside product lines) of preserving the Whirlpool and other brands and commit to a centrally managed resource to efficiently and effectively deliver accurate images in the correct format to the correct channel.

Crandall used his 18 years of business and technical experience with Whirlpool to encourage them to receive input from each stakeholder to craft functional capabilities for the brand repository.

As a result, Crandall gained acceptance of the single-source, authoritative repository of brand content. He also balanced the need for control with usability (to ease adoption both internally and externally) and provided flexible access to allow for both collaboration and compliance with corporate and business requirements.

To partner on the creation of the portal, Whirlpool chose Artesia Digital Media. "Artesia was able to deliver the resulting portal ‘almost out-of-the-box,'" according to Arsalan Siddiqui, technical analyst with Whirlpool's Creative Works. "Any customization required was straightforward, as the product is expandable and accessible."

The Artesia-based Digital Library provides Whirlpool's 5,000 internal and external content consumers with a globally accessible DAM system using a Web application server with a back-end database of 25,000 assets and streaming content servers; flexible, multi-faceted asset metadata with factual, emotional, aesthetic, and process-specific attributes, and secure login processes for partners, agencies, or internal users.

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