Best Practice: Francotyp-Postalia AG
Successful integration of Digital Asset Management Systems at Francotyp-Postalia AG
An interview with Karl Rainer Thiel - Vice President Corporate Marketing/Brand Management at Francotyp-Postalia Holding AG & Gert Geidel - Software developer at Infopark AG
The global brand communication of Francotyp-Postalia - in ten countries with own subsidiaries and through its own dealer network in 40 additional countries – took up the challenge of managing digital assets, such as images, texts or videos. So that Francotyp-Postalia can communicate faster, more consistently and more cost-effectively on brands and products, it was essential that this process be optimized. The solution: Infopark developed on the basis of the FP-own web platform in the cloud, a customized central Digital Asset Management System (DAM), which provides a global and more effective way of working for everyone. Conclusion: The solution saves FP time, nerves and money and therefore creates room for other important tasks and projects.
Mr. Thiel, as Brand Manager of Francotyp Postalia Holding AG, can you briefly describe what the project was about?
We wanted to develop an application that we could use to help our employees and stakeholders more easily and quickly access all digital FP assets for their marketing needs and press relations. In addition, the system serves as a brand portal in order to ensure a globally uniform corporate image. That's why we have also digitized the FP Corporate Design Manual and integrated a marketplace for the marketing material into the system. Basically, we offer our employees, partners and multipliers a kind of globally available intranet for our brand communication.
Mr. Thiel, can you briefly describe your starting position? How did you exchange data before integrating the Digital Asset Management System?
Before the integration of the system, all national companies more or less handled the management of data for themselves. Of course there were specifications, but the data was usually only sent on call and stored locally on the most diverse systems. This process was confusing and impractical. In addition, the search for the right contact person, the right picture, video or print product has cost a lot of time and money. It was foreseeable that new digital offerings would increase the number of variants of a digital asset. Consider, for example, the multitude of smartphones or tablets on which our information is used today. Here, too, we want to communicate our brand cleanly. A solution had to be found to make these processes transparent and to ensure consistency in the brand's appearance.
Mr. Geidel, as a software developer at Infopark AG, can you briefly explain the challenges?
We wanted to create a software that could be used throughout the group and which would also be well received by the employees. Digital asset management is handled similarly with most systems, but nevertheless remains always customer specific. Therefore, we first carried out a market analysis and advised the customer on the needs and benefits. The challenges were the huge amount of data, data protection and security, and the global roll-out. Together with FP, we quickly came up with the idea of using the existing FP Web infrastructure, which is based on Amazon Web Services, and providing the system as Software as a Service (SAS) with a very user-friendly web interface that is also easy to use for mobile devices.
What added value does the Francotyp-Postalia Holding AG asset management offer, Mr. Thiel?
Our data can now be exchanged much more readily. We do not have to create logos or product images several times. There is now a central contact point where pictures are uploaded. For example, if we take a product picture in Germany and load it into the system, it can also be used by the country subsidiaries in Austria or Italy. Metadata tagging and binary file classification make it easier to find and use assets. This allows us to optimize the data exchange process and save a lot of time, nerves and budget. Furthermore, the DAM offers a good possibility to set different visibility levels. We can set up multiple user rights and grant licenses. For example, we can determine who has access to which image and for how long. In addition, there is now a comprehensive rights concept tailored to our FP Group, the subsidiaries and our service providers. Of course, our national companies can also create their own areas with content tailored to their individual needs for themselves, their local customers and multipliers. Last but not least, we have created a best practice platform on which we can exchange new ideas with each other from different countries.
Mr. Geidel, what other interesting functions does the system offer?
Under the navigation point “Collections” there is the possibility to bundle files to packages. In these collections, data can be collected that belong together, for example, "Branding Bundle IoT" (graphics, case studies on the Internet of Things, etc. ). Under the navigation point “FP Brand Shop” you can create and present your own merchandising and marketing products. The aim of the Brand Shop is to provide FP companies with a central point of contact for the procurement of marketing materials. Another interesting feature is that tags can be assigned to individual assets to find and categorize them more quickly. These can be individually designed. For example, you would tag a product image with the product name. The default filters also allow you to search all assets by type, business unit and region.
How long did it take to implement Digital Asset Management and which products were used in this project, Mr Geidel?
The technical implementation was very fast because we could fall back on existing components. It took almost 20 days to integrate the system with all its features. The existing FP web platform enabled us to use the content management system "Scrivito" as a backend system for data management. In addition, the CMS also contains the functions for image transformation. This means that images are automatically provided in different sizes in order to be able to use different formats and resolutions of the images for different purposes. The customer relationship management system "JustRelate" in the FP web platform was used for login and user administration. Because many components only had to be adapted instead of being newly developed, we were able to save a lot of time in the project. Nowadays, one finds already existing web services or frameworks for most of the functions needed, partly even as open source. Now it also holds for software development that you don't have to reinvent the wheel. The previously existing FP web platform was well suited for the DAM. Today, DAM itself is a part of this platform.
So you can also use the asset management system if you use another system?
Gert Geidel: For sure. FP DAM is not only available to employees globally, but also to other systems via API and web services. This applies to the delivery of digital assets as well as to call-ups. The FP DAM has thus become a hub for digital assets.
How can a customer get such a system and what does it cost?
Karl Rainer Thiel: First we sat down with Infopark, worked out our ideas and wishes and evaluated them according to benefits. In the second step, we decided to implement an agile project using the Scrum method. As Mr Geidel has already explained, we were able to readily integrate existing services from our FP web platform. That's why we were able to implement the system very cost-efficiently. According to our calculations, the profitability of the simplified process is achieved after just a few months.
Mr. Thiel, your conclusion: Are you satisfied with the asset management system after the test phase?
Definitely! The DAM system makes working more secure, more efficient and faster. We save a lot of time and create more room for other important tasks and projects. The data exchange process has been greatly simplified as media content is now stored centrally in one location and is accessible to all companies. The main benefit, however, can hardly be expressed in figures: We are now able to quickly and consistently manage our brand visually – and globally. We can now achieve in days what took months before.
Thank you for the interview, Mr. Thiel & Mr. Geidel.
About Francotyp-Postalia Holding AG:
The internationally listed Francotyp-Postalia Group, headquartered in Berlin, is an expert in secure mail business and secure digital communication processes. As the market leader in Germany and Austria, the FP Group offers products and services for efficient mail processing, consolidation of business mail and digital solutions for companies and public authorities in the product areas "Franking and Inserting", "Mail Services" and "Software". In 2017, the Group generated sales of over 200 million euros. Francotyp-Postalia is represented in ten countries by its own subsidiaries and 40 other countries through its own dealer network. Based on more than 95 years of company history and under the claim "German Mailgeneering", FP has a unique DNA in the fields of actuators, sensors, cryptography and connectivity. In franking systems, FP has a worldwide market share of more than eleven percent.