Part 1 of Mr. Krishna's feature focused on how digital asset management has evolved within the last 10-plus years. The conclusion of the first part illustrates how Widen Enterprises successfully integrated the "new DAM" as Software-as-a-Service 2.0. read part 1

Part 2 continues with a second case study on Reebok, which shows how an asset's life cycle can be best managed from creation and acquisition through to delivery using Widen's DAM solution. It ends with an overall summary and conclusions from both case studies.

Revisiting Reebok: Mapping the Asset Life Cycle to Productivity
Reebok is a classic case study to see how an asset's life cycle can be managed from creation/acquisition through to delivery.

Since deploying Widen's DAM solution, Reebok has seen all sorts of benefits that include:

  • A significant increase in requests for digital samples rather than physical samples that has helped eliminate a lot of traditional costs
  • Increased collaboration and significant decreases in time-to-market
  • Increased new revenue generation by empowering field sales with up-to-date content in real time

Today, these benefits are manifested across the entire life cycle:

  • Content Creation/Acquisition: Widen has deep roots in the prepress industry. This strong legacy is brought into play through Widen's photography services. The digital sampling process begins by photographing items.

  • Content Repurposing: Prepress operators create base assets, from which colors and graphics can be applied to create digital representations of physical products that in many cases have not even been created yet. For example, from one photograph of an NFL jersey, Widen can create all 32 teams, home and away, for each player in the snap of a finger. This is a significant cost and time saver for companies that are looking at building branded marketing collateral for similar products or just virtually testing the marketability of a product idea.

    Before deploying DAM, Reebok had the NFL account with 32 teams and 10,000-15,000 images. Reebok would produce 30-40 physical samples, which were sent directly to retailers. However, these samples were prone to getting lost, and Reebok's bills to the recipients would rarely get paid. Reebok's staff was small and not experts in managing digital assets.

    After deploying DAM as SaaS through Widen, Reebok has been able to scale and add the NBA, MLB, NHL and NCAA, including 600-700 teams and now over a whopping 200,000 images. Reebok on average now saves $50-60 per image for a physical sample that then does not need to be produced. Reebok's customers are, in turn, also saving roughly $100 per image that they use, versus producing it themselves from a physical sample.

  • Content Storage: After prepress services are complete, the images are uploaded to the Digital Asset Management system and tagged with Metadata. Widen hosts six different appliance locations throughout the United States, with fully replicated sets of data enabling onsite designers to work at network speeds. This repository acts as the nerve center through which content is checked in, stored, managed and checked out. This eliminates the costs associated with mundane and unproductive activities such as searching for assets, which in a traditional siloed environment might well be misplaced or, worse, lost.

    Reebok's SKU base has expanded from 100,000 in 2002 to over 600,000 in 2007. The company has seen a huge decrease in requests for physical samples while seeing an explosion of requests for digital samples. Reebok deployment of DAM as SaaS is a great example of how a company with a critical need has been able to maximize value and minimize cost.

  • Content Delivery: Some of the largest online retailers in the world, such as Eastbay, Dick's Sporting Goods and The Sports Authority, get their images from the Reebok DAM system hosted by Widen. Brand integrity being a paramount concern with a company like Reebok, the system as described makes it easy to get Reebok brand approved, maintaining a consistent look and feel across multiple online and catalog vendor channels.

    In 2007, with over 600,000 SKUs, Reebok was looking at a third of that, or 200,000 digital samples, being downloaded. If they were still working with physical samples, that would have meant a $10,000,000 cost to Reebok and an additional $20,000,000 cost for their customers. If it wasn't for the DAM as SaaS system deployed by Reebok, the company would not have been able to cope with this sort of demand.

For more information, a video interview with Doug Rammel, former CIO of Reebok, who was instrumental in the DAM-as-SaaS deployment at Reebok, is available at At the link, readers can also find an interview with, a user of the Reebok system.

Summary and Conclusions
The management of assets spans the entire content life cycle, from creation through delivery, and it is not a point solution. The value proposition of a properly implemented DAM system is immense and includes:

  • Elimination of the cost of lost or misplaced work
  • Cost savings on real estate by moving to digital storage instead of physical archives
  • Cost savings through the elimination of maintenance of physical archives
  • Cost savings through the elimination of physical delivery
  • Time reduction in the business process through accelerated search and retrieval and increased real-time collaboration of assets
  • Reduction in time-to-market through digital delivery
  • Repurposing of content
  • Repurposing of saved resources

The value proposition is no leap of faith, but it has been proven time and again through deployments like those at Reebok. To remain competitive, organizations across verticals are clamoring to build efficiencies. This has changed the customer perception of DAM from "nice to have" to "must-have."

The ability to now provide an essential tool like DAM through a SaaS model further augments the flexibility that this solution provides. Customers need not go through the integration pains or deployment delays that plague installed solutions. Through SaaS, customers can start reaping the benefits of DAM in a matter of weeks, rather than months. The scalability of these solutions allows these benefits to be reaped not only in the SMB space but across organizations of all sizes and across vertical markets.

With digital content being ubiquitous across all manner of organizations, the role of effective DAM has become that much more important making the DAM system the nerve center of any workflow. DAM not allows management of an organization's digital assets but is also the hub that integrates traditionally siloed systems together into a seamless workflow.

As technology continues to evolve, organizations need to be cognizant of emerging needs and future-proof themselves to stay relevant and competitive using the tools that empower their processes. With increasing burdens placed on internal IT departments, DAM as SaaS is just what marketers have been wishing for. It not only allows them to be active and nimble but also frees up valuable IT resources. The keepers of corporate branded assets are finding themselves in good hands with Software-as-a-Service Digital Asset Management.

Mukul Krishna is global director, Digital Media Practice, at Frost & Sullivan. Visit for more information.

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