The Project

CenturyLink began adoption and implementation of Workfront internally in Spring of 2019. The task was to create an improved asset management process and infrastructure. At that time, their asset management approach was scattered, siloed, and impractical for a leading communications provider. No one knew where assets were stored. They were spread through several different systems that, in some cases, required finalized assets to be shared via email in order to be used in campaigns. Thousands and thousands of individual storage units, with thousands and thousands of assets, many without metadata. This crucial piece of asset management was missing from CenturyLink’s system.

Hoodoo was approached to set up Adobe Experience Manager Assets (AEM) and integrate it with Workfront to create a state of the art asset distribution center. CenturyLink purchased AEM Assets because it provides organizations proper asset management with content reusability, as well as metadata and tagging to make it easy to create, store, find, and deliver assets from a single authoritative system. By having that single source of truth, end users can see the latest and most applicable assets every time, all the time. CenturyLink had some guiding principles for this project:

Don’t reinvent the wheel

Understand existing processes and data. CenturyLink added technology and process where needed but tried to leverage what was already there, and weren’t afraid to look at everything. A question frequently asked was “How can we get the most power out of the combination of these tools with the least amount of changes?”

Understand the lifecycle of an asset

Consider all the things that go into creating an asset and everything that happens after. Asset creation requires a large investment both in time and costs and CenturyLink wanted to gain visibility to the ROI on an individual asset basis and manage everything about the asset from creation, review, approval, usage, and retirement.

Findability is critical and we all search differently

Metadata, metadata, metadata. Organizations create and add metadata to assets throughout the asset lifecycle, so make sure to capture all of it and send it along with the assets. More information makes assets more findable, and delivers additional business intelligence at every stage of the asset’s life. It can also improve data governance around assets, ensuring that teams know the most up-to-date source for their assets, rather than having finalized assets emailed around.

Begin with the end in mind

Think about how reporting is going to fit in. Certainly, Asset Management starts with storage, but there is much more beyond just storage of assets. How those assets are delivered, consumed, and tracked is just as important. How did an asset perform across business units, channels, or even messages within the same channel? What does that take and how do we roadmap those things?

How do we go from DAM 1.0- storage units, to DAM 2.0- a state of the art distribution center?

Shane LaBounty - Creative Operations Leader

The Tools

Knowing what CenturyLink wanted to do and having guiding principles helped to shape the approach that was used for the project. And as CenturyLink asked how to go to a state of the art asset distribution system, it became clear what set of tools that would enable them to do so. Let’s talk a bit more about the tools that they chose that were necessary to accomplish the task:

Workfront

The premier system of record for work that every modern enterprise needs which features enterprise work management, issue tracking, document management, time tracking, and portfolio management. Workfront allows you to manage projects, tasks, issues, requests, scheduling, and much more. By using project templates, approval workflows, and custom forms, organizations can standardize processes and establish governance. They can also leverage the power of Workfront’s custom report builder to calculate costs, hours, alignment, risks, or just about anything else. Their creative teams were already familiar with the Workfront system and would not have to follow any new processes, keeping creative people focused on being creative and not forcing them to become distribution specialists while allowing CenturyLink to organize and understand the effort required to generate new assets.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Best in class creative services and applications from Adobe that gives users access to a collection of software used for graphic design, video editing, web development, photography, along with a set of mobile applications, and also some optional cloud services. CenturyLink utilizes many of the Creative Cloud products and wanted to ensure that creatives would not have to learn new systems to be able to fulfill their creative assignments.

Adobe Experience Manager Assets

The industry leading digital asset management system with a robust feature set including custom metadata schemas, dynamic delivery through Dynamic Media, AI-enabled smart tagging & cropping, search tools, Brand Portal, Asset Share Commons, Adobe Stock integration, and a native connection with Adobe’s Creative Cloud tools through Adobe Asset Link. AEM is the centralized distribution center for all assets: work in process, renditions, finalized, internal, and external.

Adobe Analytics

Adobe's best in class web analytics tool allows you to collect, filter, and organize data about how users interact with your digital experiences so that you can identify statistical trends. It assists businesses in delivering better customer experiences by providing real-time insight into the performance of marketing goals and campaigns. Allowing for tracking of different KPIs for digital assets starting at asset generation, including cost of production, conversion rates, usage reports, and various engagement metrics. Easily share relevant reports across the organization including creative teams, marketing operation teams, and leadership. Ultimately, the business needs to capture true lifetime ROI on creative spend for the assets produced. Senior Marketing Manager, Amey Smothers said, "Real time data analytics grants us the opportunity to assess what’s working and what’s not. This allows us to make changes quickly and pivot when necessary to drive positive business impact."

Workfront Tools for AEM

Hoodoo provides a set of tools to increase the velocity of work management with AEM and decrease the time required to take assets from concept to deployment. Among the features provided by Workfront Tools for AEM, CenturyLink found particular value in:

  • Tools for mapping custom metadata schemas
  • Permission management
  • Bi-directional sync of files between AEM and Workfront
  • Bi-directional sync of metadata between AEM and Workfront
  • Automatic creation of AEM folders based on Workfront-derived relationships

CenturyLink started with these core features as they were easy to apply to their existing processes. As time goes on they plan to continue to expand their usage to include other features from Workfront Tools for AEM to further enhance their operational efficiency.

"Hoodoo was a great partner that not only helped us create the solution by looking at people, processes, and tech but is also a valued partner to help us extend the solution as we discover new use cases."

Shane LaBounty - Creative Operations Leader

The technical implementation of setting up Adobe Experience Manager Assets, connecting it to Workfront using the Workfront Tools for AEM connector, and then setting up the workflows between these systems and Dynamic Media took about a month to accomplish. The bigger, and frankly always harder, aspect was to then align the CenturyLink team and their existing process to this new approach to handling asset management. They continue to iterate on their internal processes to refine and improve them, re-evaluating the plan against current organization practices and requirements. Today CenturyLink is using it to great success and effect. Through a combination of technology solutions and business process engineering, Hoodoo helped CenturyLink deliver to their users the tools that they needed to create and track their assets and ultimately transform their creative operations.

If you would like to see the full presentation that we did with CenturyLink then you can do so on our Golden Thread webinar page.

Find out how Hoodoo can help weave together a solution for your organization.

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