Access to a Central Database Provides Efficient Worldwide Collaboration
OMICRON is an Austrian company that develops innovative technologies for all areas of electrical power supply. The focus is on electrical testing of medium- and high-voltage equipment, as well as protection testing and testing of digital switchgears. It also has a separate Cyber Security division. In addition, OMICRON offers consulting, commissioning, testing, diagnostics, and training services. Customers worldwide include energy suppliers, equipment manufacturers, large industrial companies, and service providers in the area of electrical engineering. The company was founded in 1984 and now operates in 160 countries. The OMICRON Group employs around 920 people at 25 locations in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.
Website for Highly Specialized Devices
Emotions are usually important in marketing photos. At OMICRON, sober objectivity is likewise important in this regard. At first glance, this also appears to match the company’s field of activity. Yet at its core, OMICRON is concerned with highly sensitive areas that make the high standards of living we enjoy possible in the first place. This involves nothing less than helping ensure a secure power supply all over the world.
OMICRON stores 100,000 digital assets in its archive
On its website, OMICRON offers highly complex equipment that only experts can work with. Diagnostic systems for transformers, testing devices for protection and measurement equipment, and special software for visualizing IEC 61850 sampled values, to name a few. All products are shown as free-form selections without a background. Clicking on the product displays accompanying videos, data sheets, brochures and technical articles. That is all highly objective.
OMICRON manages 100,000 digital assets. In addition to pictures and videos, these primarily include graphics, documents and audio files, which employees can now easily access worldwide. Global asset management in the media database functions seamlessly. However, employees at OMICRON still vividly remember the old days
File server with complex folder structure
“We used to have absolutely no tools to manage our product photos and other digital assets,” Jeannine Walser recalled. She is responsible for information systems in the Digital Workplace and Collaboration division at OMICRON. “Everything at our company was on a file server – in a folder with thousands of subfolders.” Understanding the structure and ultimately knowing exactly where the files in question were located required a lot of experience, she adds. “Namely in the subfolder of the subfolder of the subfolder.”
Data Archive with an Inefficient Search Function
Data archiving on the file server was bound to pose problems at some point: about 50 creatives and another hundred local and international colleagues were working with a database whose configuration made searching and finding assets extremely difficult and inefficient. Added to this was the extreme effort required to train new employees in using the unpopular file system. “Managing access permissions was also quite complicated, since some subfolders were hidden from users if they were not relevant to their duties,” Jeannine Walser said. “This made searching and saving files as well as their administration more difficult.”
OMICRON’s Marketing team decides to purchase a DAM system
The initiative to purchase a DAM system came from the Marketing team. “It was simply no longer workable, with thousands of folders in which everything was contained in a kind of organized chaos but could not really be located,” Jeannine Walser said. “That’s when we decided: We need a searchable tool where the versioning is clear and the assets can be linked. For example, if there is a consent form stating that certain photos can be used for external purposes like product brochures, then you can easily link those to the images.”
Evaluation: 4ALLPORTAL features impressive adaptability
“The complexity had to be reduced,” Jeannine Walser said. During an evaluation process, OMICRON analyzed various tools – including 4ALLPORTAL. “We found it to be highly adaptable and the standard version was already very good,” she said, listing some of the advantages. “However, a few practical features could still be added through minor adaptations.”
Extensive OMICRON Requirements for the DAM System
The DAM system needed to meet the needs of various stakeholders within the company. Internal Communications would use it for photos of company parties and to provide the company logo, and the User Experience team would add their icons to it. But the DAM system they were looking for was of central importance for Marketing and Sales. “That’s quite a large area for us in terms of personnel and files. We have many product images or screenshots from our software,” Jeannine Walser said. “In the future we will also be adding the product brochures, which can be filed directly in 4ALLPORTAL and previewed.”
DAM module with Adobe extension
For OMICRON’s IT department, it was crucial for the DAM standard to be fully developed. Update reliability was of particular importance here. “What we did not want to have is multiple individual adaptations implemented and then have an update that doesn’t work because you then have to go back to work on the configurations,” Jeannine Walser said, outlining the preliminary considerations from the IT perspective. For users, all files need to be in one central location that can be accessed via a web-based tool. “Before the conversion, our international colleagues always had to contend with long loading times for the preview images,” she explained. “And for our creatives, it was important for them to be able to drag and link photos from the software directly into Adobe InDesign.”
Interface and Extensive Product Scope Sealed the Deal
4ALLPORTAL ultimately won out over two other shortlisted providers. The modern interface and the extensive product scope sealed the deal. “Everything was already there and we had the option to customize a bit more, including the configuration of roles,” Jeannine Walser explained. “This was important because of the various stakeholders.” This was a special challenge, which is why OMICRON now uses three different roles with different authorizations.
Six months to go-live at OMICRON
Six months passed between the awarding of the contract and the go-live date. “4ALLPORTAL answered all our general questions in an initial phone call, which we really appreciated,” Jeannine Walser said, describing the beginning of the cooperation. This was followed by a meeting in Austria that included a workshop on requirements. “We ended up with a huge mind map that nobody could navigate because our requirements were so complex!” she said with amusement.
Very positive cooperation in the project
“Only René from 4ALLPORTAL had a pretty good overview. And now everything is just the way we wanted it.” A second meeting then dealt with the installation, responsibilities and time schedules. “It was all very positive,” Jeannine Walser said.
Internal Training and Learning Concept
“After installation, the 4ALLPORTAL consultant helped us familiarize ourselves with the system and we got a half-day of admin training,” Walser continued. Since then, she has been doing the internal training herself. The training takes one to one and a half hours, depending on the size and composition of the group. “I don’t always show all the functions, of course,” she said. “If it’s a person from the Events division, for example – not everyone needs all of the extensive features.” “But with mixed groups from User Experience, Internal Communications and Marketing, I do the grand tour with all the features.” A learning concept with recorded video is being planned for basic users.
Worldwide collaboration at OMICRON in a DAM system
There are a total of eight Power Users at OMICRON. “I trained them. They act as caretakers and check to ensure the quality of the assets as they come in.” They are joined by around 50 editors worldwide who upload their images from events, for example. This only works because the company language at OMICRON is English, including in the 4ALLPORTAL.
Automatic keywording saves a lot of time
There are very detailed menus for keywording, arranged from coarse to fine. “Photo, product photo, and then other fields are filled, through to the keywords,” Jeannine Walser said. There are folders with automatic keywording and metadata assignment for recurring image types. “That already saves a lot of time,” she said.
DAM System Boosts Efficiency
OMICRON has been using the 4ALLPORTAL DAM system for two years now and it has made work much more efficient. The ability to quickly search and find files is saving the company a lot of time. “Before, if you were preparing a product presentation you would have to go to Marketing and say: ‘I’d like to have the images for this’,” Jeannine Walser recalled. “Now you just enter that into the search and download it yourself.” Duplicate photos and various image formats are also no longer wasting valuable storage space.
Keeping only one original file saves storage space
“In the past, people stored a RAW format on their PC, developed a TIFF or PSD from that, then stored that on the server,” Jeannine Walser said. “But people also sometimes kept the RAW file, made a JPEG out of it, and then stored the RAW, the JPEG and the TIFF.” Now there is only one original, which can be downloaded in various formats using download profiles.
Traffic Light System Makes Collaborating Easy
4ALLPORTAL also fosters collaboration: “Our marketing operates very differently now,” said Jeannine Walser. “If I need an image collection, I no longer need someone from Marketing to upload it to OneDrive for it to be shareable. They can easily put it together for me and I can download it myself, directly from 4ALLPORTAL.” The “traffic light” system that governs the rights to use the images is especially important for smooth collaboration: “In our company, we usually take the pictures ourselves, and with our colleagues instead of models. With the traffic light system, there’s no risk of beautiful visuals suddenly ending up in a magazine, where the person in the photo might then discover themselves without warning.”
Migration at OMICRON is complete
The migration of digital assets began a year ago. “We’re already done with the most important thing – the product photos – so that the employees can continue to carry out their core competencies,” said Jeannine Walser. But there were still plenty of old visuals waiting to be moved into the new DAM system. “The company was founded in 1984. Since then, every event, exhibition or celebration has been documented with photos. There are several gigabytes of material from that,” she said. “I think we significantly underestimated what was still lying around and needed to be added.”
Assistance included in the maintenance contract
There are firm plans to continue working with 4ALLPORTAL. “We purchased the tool with the idea that we would keep it for a long time. We are naturally relying on help from Cross Media here. And we also have the maintenance contract. When a major release is issued, they simply install the update for us,” said Jeannine Walser.
Communication is generally handled electronically. “If we need something, I write a list and send a request,” she explained. “Then we go through it together and I also learn how to configure things myself.” These can include creating new fields or values that will be displayed in them. “So I don’t have to write or call every time.”
“We install smaller updates ourselves once a month, so the system is always updated. And if a problem does crop up, we can submit a ticket to 4ALLPORTAL Support and they will take care of it.”
(Jeannine Walser, Information Systems Manager for Digital Workplace and Collaboration at OMICRON)
4ALLPORTAL has proven its value at OMICRON
Energy is what occupies and motivates OMICRON employees every day. “Even if the product presentation is mostly factual, you can see in the photos of trade fairs and events with customers how much positive emotion is actually behind it,” Jeannine Walser said. 4ALLPORTAL now provides OMICRON with a central place to manage these files. “And we are certain that it will remain the first point of contact for our digital assets.”