Great DAM with great usability, with room for improvements in some important features.
March 14, 2022
Great DAM with great usability, with room for improvements in some important features.
Score 9 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Acquia DAM (Widen)
We implemented the transition to a new Acquia DAM (Widen), our Royal Caribbean Content Hub, from our previous online library in the summer of 2019. Though the online Acquia DAM (Widen) product is not completely customizable, the extent to which it can be individually configured is quite extensive. There is far more control over user permissions and uploader accounts than we had with previous products. The basic platform is well designed for ease of use, and the search engine works extremely well. Overall, our experience with Acquia DAM (Widen)'s tech support has been stellar. And their Acquia DAM (Widen) University resources and access to user groups are extremely useful. We enjoy the ability to change up our home page to feature the best photographs and videos as campaigns evolve with new content. The ability to customize a visual splash to reflect our colorful and fun vacations was one of the factors in choosing Acquia DAM (Widen) over its competitors. We currently have over 17,000 users, the vast majority of whom are our travel agency partners around the globe. Our Content Hub is an essential outlet for our brand marketing and production teams, so only selected assets are included to best display our ships' features and itineraries.
- Highly customizable display on dashboard (homepage).
- Ease of use in searching with filters similar to online shopping experience.
- Highly customizable tagging of uploaded assets with templates.
- Great display and playback of videos.
- Very fast responses to tech support questions.
- Some features for user notifications of expiring assets are not working at all; correction for this is needed for any company that distributes assets restricted for usage under contract.
- A recent change to the main default interface was made with little prior input from clients, which affects how assets and security details are displayed. Acquia DAM (Widen) needs to get more feedback from client admins before making such sweeping changes.
- A similar complaint about notifications not working is that the use of the portals can be limited since the display of security info seems to be disregarded. While the portals feature seemed like a great benefit, limitations like the above dissuade their use for a number of use cases.
- Portal construction seems to use very different workflows than the main interface; these processes could use some work to make portals easier to customize.
- Highly customizable graphic display of assets and homepage.
- Automated templates for upload and batch processing of assets.
- Detailed control of visibility and system permissions for different accounts.
- Quick tech support response to questions.
- Extensive online library of how to use and set up features.
- As a system admin, I used to spend half my time troubleshooting technical issues in our previous system. Now I can concentrate on support for staff and our travel partners.
- We used to get many requests about assets through email because our users had trouble signing in or finding assets. Now they can more often easily find what they need with Acquia DAM (Widen)'s easy-to-use interface.
- We provide custom-tagged videos for our travel agents on request. These assets were hard to find in our old system; with the new display, we had a huge increase in these requests, which are essentially free advertising, much of it on social media.
- With the help of our project implementation consultant through Acquia DAM (Widen), we were pushed to clean up our asset portfolio, institute a workable file-naming convention, and re-think just how and for whom we wanted to display various sets of assets.
We have to have certain issues with restricted assets resolved before we feel comfortable with using the portals for display. But once these issues are addressed we can envision more customized pages for some of our teams that need more curated selections of assets. Some marketing teams need assets provided only to certain users in a staged timeframe, for example. Other teams might benefit from their own uploads that might include translated instructions for global audiences.
I need to distinguish between the customer support with whom we are still trying to resolve some technical issues that I've addressed elsewhere in this review and the day-to-day technical support provided by their phone personnel. Both teams have been readily available for the most part, and we are still working to resolve those advanced technical issues with the higher levels of customer service. But Acquia DAM (Widen)'s phone support (also on chat and email) is unsurpassed. They are not only knowledgeable, but they are very patient and good-natured, no matter what problem arises.
To some extent, our company still has some silos for its assets. Some are justified for different types of use; some are just the result of historical development. Overall, our Acquia DAM (Widen) is integrated with not only our staff email system, giving instant access to any employee, but it is also integrated with our company portal for our travel agent partners, called Cruising Power. Users with Cruising Power accounts have direct SSO access to not only our Royal DAM but also to our sister brand, Celebrity, which now has a new Acquia DAM (Widen) as well. Our employee access includes all the staff positions on our ships. The combination of improved broadband onboard and the ease of use of our Content Hub have made access to any brand assets they need much easier. The elaborate configuration tools in the Acquia DAM (Widen) system allow us to fine-tune the visibility of assets to different groups, such as staff, travel agents, our marketing agencies, our global market offices, and other external partners.
- North Plains TeleScope and OpenText Media Management (OTMM)
We used an earlier version of OpenText's DAM prior to 2015, so I cannot compare Acquia DAM (Widen) to current OpenText products. OpenText at that time was based on online folders. When we went to Telescope, which was based on the tagging applied to each individual asset, duplication of assets for the most part was eliminated. The search engine and some aspects of the display were much improved at that time. The big structural difference between Telescope and the Acquia DAM (Widen) is that our Telescope DAM website was custom-built in almost every detail from the ground up. It was a boon to us to have so many features truly customized, but we found out on subsequent use that many of those features didn't actually work as planned. And the worst aspect of it all was that every time there was a software upgrade to the system, we had to go through the whole upgrade development procedure--and added cost--all over again. That meant disruption to our use of the DAM, time for planning the changes, time for beta-testing the new site, etc. Acquia DAM (Widen)'s system is highly configurable, but not built as a new website, so upgrades are included in the yearly pricing.
Do you think Acquia DAM (Widen) delivers good value for the price?
Are you happy with Acquia DAM (Widen)'s feature set?
Did Acquia DAM (Widen) live up to sales and marketing promises?
Did implementation of Acquia DAM (Widen) go as expected?
Would you buy Acquia DAM (Widen) again?
Acquia DAM (Widen) is overall a great company, recently sold to Acquia, who insists they will not totally revamp the current DAM product. I probably would have given a 9.5 if available, based on how the company has worked hard to develop one of the best systems for a true DAM solution that is highly customizable, yet can still be upgraded without clients needing to pay again for an entirely new product. However, we have been disappointed with how the company has not lived up to one of their guarantees regarding the handling of our assets that have special security restrictions. We are trying to work with the company to resolve these issues of display changes and notifications to users, but it has been a long process. Acquia DAM (Widen) has set up feedback boards for this kind of communication, but I think there could still be more room for listening to clients' objections and suggestions on these issues. Companies that do not have usage restrictions under photographer or talent contracts may not have any of these concerns, but those who do will need to look closely at how Acquia DAM (Widen) is addressing solutions for these issues going forward.
Using Acquia DAM (Widen)
Marketing, social media, creative services, training, sales, product development, web team, cruise ship staff, and others. The two main outward-facing collections of assets in our company are our Press Center for editorial use and our Content Hub for assets available to staff and our external travel agency partners for use in marketing our cruises. The Content Hub is the only true DAM besides the web team's DAM within Adobe Experience Manager for content management, but many of those assets are drawn from the Content Hub collection.
7 - Seven, depending on how you count them. Essentially one person in our Brand Marketing team acts as the SysAdmin (myself), serving as a Help Desk for users and new accounts, making changes in system configurations and dashboard displays, trouble-shooting the system, creating reports, and contacting tech support when needed. Two managers in Product Marketing and Media Production oversee what assets will be allowed to be included in the DAM, which is a highly curated collection of what we like to think of as the "best of the best" for marketing our cruises. One person from the web team and three on our social media team upload some assets targeted for their specific users. All other assets are uploaded and cataloged by the SysAdmin, but much of the metadata is provided by our creative services team and GTM (GoToMarket) teams, who provide names of new product features shown in the high res photos submitted. Our Media Production team is the primary provider of high res videos. All assets are reviewed by each team in the workflow for usage rights before being finally released as live on the DAM.
- Distribution of marketing assets to internal staff.
- Distribution and promotions of marketing assets to our travel agencies around the globe.
- Having a central repository for marketing assets that are organized with features for security of restricted assets.
- For our featured campaigns, we use a code within our keyword field for select channels of users to find the assets in campaign toolkits in the timed stages of release.
- We use a portal offshoot from our Help Center portal to display our videos that are available for custom tagging. This exposure has ramped up requests of these assets considerably.
- We started using our keyword field for specific keywords related to diversity as part of the company's efforts especially last year to promote diversity awareness within the company, extending that to our outward-facing DAM contents.
Evaluating Acquia DAM (Widen) and Competitors
Our product is cruising, and our marketing assets are visually compelling. We felt Acquia DAM (Widen) offered features that allowed us to showcase those assets in a variety of ways. We also wanted a system that was highly configurable, but not like our system at that time, which had to be re-built with every system upgrade, including added costs and time-consuming procedures for every upgrade.
I think we did all we could, even used an outside consulting company to help narrow down our top three contenders. But there can always be things that are missed in the explanation of features, either on the sales presentation side or in our review of features and the questions asked.
Acquia DAM (Widen) Implementation
It was a lot of work! But worth the effort to get our assets cleaned up and organized. Enough time and personnel need to be allotted for any implementation, but we had some advantage in having our assets in a previous DAM with attached metadata in XML, and our users were prepared with knowledge of our existing DAM at that time. Though old habits present their own issues, a company that is starting from scratch with no DAM has to think farther ahead about how it will organize and collect assets. Far more pre-planning with stakeholders would be needed for a company starting an implementation from scratch.
- Implemented in-house
- Third-party professional services
This question was addressed elsewhere in this review. We had a team of essentially three people--myself, our product manager who oversees what content is included in the DAM, and a new contractor hired for several months of implementation and roll-out. But we also opted for Acquia DAM (Widen)'s consultant project manager who was indispensable in helping us get everything together and on time for our go-live deadline.
Yes - Acquia DAM (Widen) consultants have specific named and timed phases for implementation, but in general, they include these tasks: Pre-planning meetings with all stakeholders for feedback on what they want in a new DAM. Training on how to configure the system in detail and assigning who would do this. Planning on how our assets would be retrieved from our old DAM. Planning for the clean-up of assets before ingestion into the new system. In our case, planning for the technical SSO integration by IT with the portal used by our travel agents. Planning with IT on the integration of staff logins with our email system using SAML. Planning for announcements to all staff and travel agencies on the change to a new system. Planning on what training materials should be created. Planning the design and selection of assets for the main dashboard. Planning for beta-testing sessions and who would be involved in that process. Planning on what live training sessions would be given, and to and by whom. All of these things needed their own timelines and deadlines; that's where the Acquia DAM (Widen) consultant was so useful, while the rest of us were dug deep into the details of all the individual tasks.
Change management was a big part of the implementation and was well-handled - Frankly, I think some level of confusion is inevitable when, as in our case, we switched from a DAM that allowed for self-registration to one where we individually approve external accounts, and the previous logins did not transfer over. We might have done more to advertise how those differences worked, but I doubt it would have prevented an initial flood of requests from previous users from our queue for account approvals. Eventually, we did some tweaks in the system and postings about how to access the DAM for staff and external users, which helped some. But we still get the occasional confused user who needs TLC. We do send out regular DAM emails to staff with tips and suggestions on DAM use in addition to news about new assets. But once in the new DAM, our users needed very little instruction beyond the organized dashboard and a brief user guide in our Help section for them to get used to how to find assets in our new DAM.
- Getting all our assets with the associated metadata our of our old system.
- Cleaning up years of assets that needed culling.
- Instituting and enforcing a standard file-naming convention.
- Timing our deadlines with IT in order for technical issues to be resolved on time for the go-live deadline.
Acquia DAM (Widen) Support
We purchased the extra support for initial implementation with a consultant provided by Acquia DAM (Widen). This was an invaluable help in getting us organized, on target with our goals, and on time for our deadlines before we were switched over to regular tech support after going live with our DAM. I highly recommend taking advantage of this extra help in project management on the Acquia DAM (Widen) side, even if you have a project manager or team working on your company's side. The consultant was able to answer detailed questions about complex configurations or get us the answers from other Acquia DAM (Widen) staff if needed. Even when their assignment overlapped with more than one company within the same several-month timeframe, they were available and on-call almost all the time to answer questions.
Phone, chat, and email tech support is consistently good.
Using Acquia DAM (Widen)
We used to have to respond to any email questions from our library users about how to find assets. With Acquia DAM (Widen), the system is similar to online shopping, workable with keywords for those who like to search that way, or with filters for those who like to browse.
Like to use
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
- Changing filenames is easy and the change follows through to the actually downloaded asset.
- Metadata changes can be made in batch processes either with a template or uploaded .csv file.
- Replacing a file without needing to re-enter the metadata is easy to do.
- Dashboard images can be shown to different audiences.
- Portal selection of assets can seem a bit awkward until you get used to it.
- Insights reporting available to admins is very powerful but is a whole learning curve in itself.