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Usability and Workflow Optimization in Central Digital Asset Management

29 July 2020
Software vendor CELUM and parsionate have announced a strategic partnership. We interviewed Michael Sahlender, Chief Business Officer and Managing Director Germany at CELUM and Michael Pohl, Head of Presales Consulting at parsionate, about the details. They talked about the increasing challenges in data management, centralized collaboration and the new strategic cooperation.

CELUM is one of the world's leading European vendors of digital asset management software. CELUM offers its customers unique solutions for creation, collaboration, organization and integration, sharing, synchronization and accessibility of product and brand content. Global marketing teams benefit from automated processes, reduced time to market and increased efficiency in team collaboration.

parsionate enables the integration of high-performance Digital Asset Management from the CELUM portfolio into a company's existing IT infrastructure (such as in the environment of MDM, PIM, ERP, Data Governance and Compliance) and thus meets the particularly high demands on central data management in state-of-the-art companies.

Why is it necessary to supplement standard software from leading software vendors in the MDM/PIM area with your solution?

Michael Sahlender: We live in the age of content explosion and there is no end in sight. Customer experiences are based on content experiences and these must be precisely coordinated - in all relevant channels. Due to the simultaneous multiplication of each channel, there is no alternative to a single source for content and files such as videos, images, 3D/VR, marketing publications, etc. It is therefore necessary to enhance data and information well maintained in PIM/MDM with excellent content from DAM in order to create and orchestrate first-class and consistent customer experiences. For DAM system requirements, this means that organizations no longer look at a solution in isolation, but rather highly integrated into their existing and future solutions. 

CELUM relies on a strong partner ecosystem. As a long-term implementation partner, parsionate has already successfully realised customer projects and provided consulting services in requirements analysis and process optimisation in the DAM sector. With signing the partner contract, customers can now look forward to comprehensive projects from a single source.

M.S.: Companies expect that we, as a provider, not only act as a specialist in our discipline, but also bring a highly networked partner landscape with us that keeps them flexible in terms of technology decisions in the long term, i.e. modern best-of-breed. I am proud to be able to say that CELUM has the most capable ecosphere in Europe in our branch, in terms of technology and implementation partners, but also in terms of customer community with an active user group.

What do you think are the biggest challenges in management systems for data administration?

M.S.: For companies, the challenge is to finally approach the topic holistically. An isolated view of file management with classic topics such as mapping taxonomy/tagging is no longer enough. It's about thinking about the entire content lifecycle: from creation, release, automated management, provision to demand groups, orchestration into all channels including delivery, agile collaboration around content and finally time-controlled depublication. A bird's eye view quickly changes the involved departments and often shifts the spotlight to collaboration with external parties (such as agencies, photographers and partners). Only with this view can the highest savings potentials be realized.

In many organisations, a consolidated approach requires first to overcome political objections - this is also a major challenge.  The more highly in the organization the driver of such a project is located, the more efficiently silos can be removed in the long run.

And only by eliminating silos is a comprehensive data management strategy in companies possible - because central management and company-wide data access for relevant employees and multiple departments is the linchpin of all digitization initiatives. What advantages does a CELUM DAM solution offer parsionate's enterprise customers in detail?

Michael Pohl: Flexibility, ease-of-use and collaboration are just some of the key benefits. Flexibility, because our customers have access to a full and comprehensive Data Asset Management that can be easily integrated into systems such as a PIM system. In addition, the DAM system exists as a separate tool and can make assets from different sources accessible in a structured way. This is an invaluable advantage, if one considers, for example, creation or research costs.

Collaboration aspects should also be placed in this context, as the CELUM solution offers an opportunity to consider the process-related aspect in an integrated system landscape, so that assets can be used holistically for companies according to data quality criteria. The whole thing is rounded off by a user-friendly interface, which makes it easy for users to operate it. In short: CELUM offers us an important building block in the overall data management context.

Today, the market for business software has become more complex: Whether CRM, PIM, merchandise management or entire ERP systems - the choice of providers is enormous. How do companies recognize that they need a software solution for Digital Asset Management?

M.P.: Demand arises above all when data, information and assets are not used consistently, different statements are transported, different styles are used or communicated in the wrong status. As a result, a non-uniform corporate image is created among customers, stakeholders, external and internal target groups, etc. We therefore recommend companies where distributed and process-oriented work is part of their DNA to strive for a central solution that allows things to be standardized on one hand, but at the same time keeps the possibility to react flexibly to market requirements.

What is the best way for companies to proceed when they have decided to purchase a DAM solution?

M.P.: Basically, we recommend that you start by outlining your requirements. No big deal! But still enough to describe the "object" and the "need". In specific this means determining the overall picture including general conditions such as economic context, pain points, system landscape, targeted processes, collaboration possibilities, etc., in a so-called scoping assessment.

The standard functions of the CELUM DAM system provide appropriate resources for targeted asset management. In the workshop it should therefore be less about carrying out extensive system adaptations, but rather about successfully mastering the use of the DAM solution in a company, e.g. to train employees accordingly, to set up interfaces, to coordinate collaborative work processes.

What is a realistic time horizon for introducing CELUM - from conceptual consulting to launch?

M.P.: In principle, our aim is to create measurable effects during the software introduction and to avoid lengthy specification and implementation phases. That is why we usually use so-called MVPs (Minimum Viable Product), which provide a noticeable and economically usable added value in several iterations. For example, requirements can already be defined on an installation basis, which enables users to contribute their experiences and wishes and become familiar with the system at this early stage. 

The importance of content and data management has changed significantly in digitalization. Which challenges do you foresee for DAM systems in coming times?

M.S.: Customers expect not only a consistent cloud orientation and use of the latest technology frameworks, as well as a first-class user experience, they also expect suppliers to automate wherever possible. We meet these requirements by using artificial intelligence in various use cases such as AI autotagging or DSGVO-compliant AI face recognition, but also AI translation of content. In addition, we help our customers to work efficiently by standardizing content distribution to various channels via the Connectors Marketplace. In view of our ecosphere and inspiring customer projects, I can confidently say that CELUM is ideally positioned to meet these challenges.

What would you advise companies to do, apart from implementing appropriate DAM tools, in order to remain future proof?

M.S.: In addition to launching them, all content processes should also be challenged and smartly digitized. The keyword here is also: agile! First, we help our customers to work together efficiently and project-related with our virtual workrooms and to always keep an eye on the status of the project, campaign or topic on a kanban board. Secondly, the flowboards ensure that defined processes can really run according to defined schemes - here too with an agile overview. If you take a holistic approach to the topic and optimize processes in addition to the content lifecycle, you are certainly well positioned for future success in this area.

Thank you very much for the detailed conversation.
The interview was conducted by Ida Lorenz.

A press release with statements regarding the most important activities of our strategic partnership can be downloaded here.

Michael Sahlender, Managing Director Germany, Chief Business Officer CELUM GmbH
Michael Sahlender is a digital business expert, particularly in the areas of marketing technology, enterprise content management and collaboration. He joined CELUM in 2009 and is responsible for global growth of the company at group level and acts as Managing Director for CELUM Germany. Michael studied "International Business" in Bamberg and Budapest. Before joining CELUM, he worked for several leading companies such as Siemens and Capgemini.

Michael Pohl works as Head of Presales Consulting at parsionate.
In his function he supports parsionate's customers in achieving their strategic goals by developing and creating data management concepts. His responsibilities include designing data strategies, considering all related topics such as data governance, information processes, organizational structures, change management and even including current technologies such as artificial intelligence. The focus of his consulting activities is above all to ensure long-term business success in the age of digitalization.

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