GSD&M is a full service ad agency headquartered in Austin, Texas. For the last 43 years, it has performed a wide range of creative services for clients including TV, radio, magazine, newspaper, digital, social media and more. It works with clients to create advertising strategies, and to implement and execute those strategies to grow their clients’ businesses. It’s possible you haven’t heard of GSD&M, but you have heard of its clients, who include iconic brand names such as Southwest Airlines, John Deere, Goodyear, the U.S. Air Force, among twenty-five others.
In January of 2014, GSD&M kicked off a project to implement the Nuxeo Platform and to replace its existing digital asset management (DAM) platform. We spoke with Jerry Rios, Sr. VP/CTO, and Lisa McIntyre, Digital Asset Management Librarian for GSD&M, about their decision to look for a new DAM and what they found in the Nuxeo Platform.
An Aging Digital Asset Management Solution
Lisa has been the point person for the company’s DAM solution for the past nine years. She said that the system they had been using was not able to keep up with the business demands of their users. They needed something more flexible and better suited to respond to the rapidly changing IT environment.
GSD&M initially implemented a DAM solution to organize itself and client work. It allows the agency to store and manage all the assets produced for clients. Over time though, Lisa said they needed to incorporate the clients and their needs under the same technology umbrella.
Currently, GSD&M uses a top tier ECM product as its DAM solution. Lisa and Jerry said that it could have eventually supported their needs, but the direction the vendor was going in didn’t quite match with where GSD&M wanted to go. Both agreed that their current solution is a very good content management platform, and it worked well for the type of content they are trying to manage (heavy assets, digital assets), but the platform hadn’t evolved to keep up with the rapid pace of software development that others are delivering today.
What does that mean exactly? Jerry said from a backend perspective the DAM solution was top in class, but from a UI (user interface) perspective it was under-delivering.
Lisa and Jerry both said they liked what they were seeing in the open source community. They liked the flexibility and were intrigued by the offerings. So they decided it was time to “dip their feet into the open source pool.”
The Decision to Work with the Nuxeo Platform
When I asked how they found out about the Nuxeo Platform, Lisa said they had actually been looking at Nuxeo as an option for the last three-to-five years. With the last couple of releases - 5.8 Long Term release and the 5.9.x Fast Tracks - the Nuxeo Platform’s DAM functionalities met and exceeded their requirements.
Specifically, Lisa noted that the new Drive client allows for desktop synchronization. This is an important tool for GSD&M. They like that Nuxeo is also browser agnostic because the agency still has a big need for Internet Explorer and they also use Firefox for a few things.
They also liked that the platform has strong support for handling some of the larger file sizes for rich media content. According to Lisa, the Nuxeo DAM solution offers the best of both worlds - open source extensibility and enterprise readiness.
One thing Lisa pointed out is that they understand they have a learning curve to get over in order to fully customize the Nuxeo Platform for their requirements, but they felt it wasn’t too foreign to what they have used in the past. And the investment will pay off with an application that will grow gracefully with their changing needs.
Right now, GSD&M is working with a limited resources team to start the project. They no longer have maintenance support on their current platform, so they need to get something up as soon as possible. Currently, there are three phases for the implementation project:
- Phase 1: To get started, they are working on the set up of the platform, with the intent to port over functionality from the current DAM into the Nuxeo DAM.
- Phase 2: This phase involves migrating assets out of the current DAM and into the Nuxeo DAM.
- Phase 3: GSD&M sees the capabilities of the Nuxeo Platform outside of the DAM capabilities, so they will be porting over intranet/extranet capabilities that currently reside in other applications outside of their current DAM. Lisa said it would be nice to have a single platform for content as opposed to multiple apps for the same content.
Lisa and Jerry both see that the Nuxeo Platform as a whole is able to support their needs for both business/collaboration and rich media - and do it well. Typically, they see collaboration and business tools that are great at business and collaboration, but not rich media; and DAM systems that are great at rich media and not collaboration. With the Nuxeo Platform, they believe they now have one platform to support all their needs.
How DAM Has Evolved
When asked if DAM has changed over the last few years, Lisa said that fundamentally, it has not.
“You have big files, video files, image files and they need to be transformed. At its core, DAM is still the same. What has changed is how users want to access them. It’s no longer only through a desktop, it’s through many devices, including mobile. From a feature and UI perspective things have changed.”
“It’s different from the user perspective as well,” Lisa said. “As people use more and more consumer-based apps to do the same things, they want to see that same ease of use in their enterprise software.” She actually sees enterprise software as a whole shifting to respond to these best in class consumer apps.
Another important aspect of the Nuxeo Platform which Lisa and Jerry both like is the ability to use the DAM functionality within the context of other applications.
Nuxeo isn’t just a group of software tools. It offers a platform that is very extensible. You can tell the people putting the Nuxeo Platform together are developers, not just sales people saying ‘let’s do this.’ When we show the various webinars to developers in-house, they say ‘these guys get it’ - it’s very refreshing.
Learning to Fish with Nuxeo
When I asked Lisa what she liked most about Nuxeo, she pointed out the frequency of the updates and the openness of the platform. To her, open source companies are not just about a software philosophy. She sees companies that manage open source software have, fundamentally at their core, an open attitude towards their business.
For her, it was very refreshing to see “here’s what people are doing, here’s who we are, here’s what we are working on, here’s what we’re putting out next week, next month...” Nuxeo’s transparency via the website, blog and Twitter is great for them. Lisa and Jerry agreed that after working with a company who wasn’t fully committed to DAM and wasn’t as forthcoming with their roadmap, that transparency and visibility were very important.
Lisa said she has a philosophy - they like to learn how to fish. They don’t want to pay a company to complete all of their development work for them. They want to do the work themselves. And if they need to pay a developer to work with them, they want to understand what they are doing.
Now, they are working with Nuxeo to get things started with phase one so they can get to market as soon as possible.
“We were looking for a change. We recognized the need for a change over the past couple of years but didn’t know of a better option. Now, we’ve found what we believe to be a best in class platform that will meet our needs and allow us to service our company and clients in ways that we have not been able to do before.”