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Asset Library – Your single source of truth

December 28, 2017

As written by Patrick Lencioni in his book Silos, Politics and Turf Wars; “Silos – and the turf wars they enable – devastate organizations. They waste resources, kill productivity, and jeopardize the achievement of goals.” It is imperative to encourage your teams to capitalize as much as possible on exchange of knowledge and the collaboration. 

The most practical way to overcoming the silo mentality is to opt for a tool that allows you to share data – the lowest common denominator among all departments – in a single platform.

The Asset Library is the central repository which contains all the artworks and related files. This is the only place that a user needs to go to search and retrieve the latest approved version of the artwork. It not only holds all the artworks but also other files used in the production of the artwork like the Dieline, Specification files, Briefs, Vendor Proofs, Source files, etc. The system automatically creates thumbnails for each file for easy identification.

File Formats and Document Types

Any kind of file can be uploaded and managed in the Asset Library. It accepts over 100 types of files including MS Office, PDF, Images, Videos, Drawings, Illustrator, Photoshop and many more. Version control, security, thumbnail generation, metadata tagging and search are common across all types of files. The system allows web browser-based viewing for most file types.

Version Controlled

Each file in the library is automatically version controlled and displays the current version. There is no limit on the number of versions that can be managed in the asset library. Version numbering starts with v1 and is automatically incremented as updates are made.

Versions can be updated in two ways. One, by direct uploads to the Asset Library and two, through workflow approvals. The latter is what happens in practice. When the system is implemented, the latest version of the artwork is uploaded directly into the asset library. After that, changes to the artwork are triggered through an approval workflow and once the artwork is approved, a new version is updated to the asset library. All versions of the file can be retrieved from the system, but the latest version is the one that is displayed to the user by default.

Meta-data Tagging

While uploading an artwork to the asset library, the system prompts the user to tag the artwork with metadata relating to Brand, Pack Type, Ref. number, etc. These metadata can later be used to search and retrieve the artwork in the library. Similarly, data captured during the artwork approval process become metadata for the artwork when it’s approved and added to the asset library. There is no limit to the number of metadata or the type of metadata that can be used to tag an artwork. Other artwork related files are similarly tagged with their metadata.

Search and Retrieval

All metadata used to tag an artwork or any other file can be used to search. One or more metadata fields can be used to filter the search and retrieve the required file. The system automatically indexes metadata values and provides a simple one-click filtering user interface to retrieve the required files. If a user does not know what metadata was used to tag a file, a free-text search option is also available. By typing text into the search box, the system automatically shows metadata and files matching the search criteria. So even with minimal information related to the artwork, users can search and retrieve files from the asset library. The search results always display the latest version of the files.

Browse through the Library

The smart browse feature of the asset library allows the user to see files organized in folders and sub-folders. This folder hierarchy is configured by the administrator and can be changed as per the organization’s requirement. The folders are based on metadata and the system automatically creates new folders as files with additional metadata are added. For example, assume the hierarchy is setup using the following metadata – Category->Brand->Sub-Brand. If there are 100 files in the library, all belonging to one of 3 categories (Snacks, Frozen Foods, Fresh produce), then the system shows 3 folders named Snacks, Frozen Foods and Fresh produce. As soon as a file is uploaded and tagged with a new category called ‘Diary products’, a new folder called ‘Diary products’ automatically appears.

File Security

The system allows file access using a set of access right settings which control which user can do what action on what file. Actions that can be controlled are view, upload, update, delete, download, edit metadata and share. Using the role-based access simplifies the way permission is granted or revoked. For example, giving brand managers access to a certain set of files, automatically makes sure that anyone having the role of brand manager gets the same permissions. Security maintenance overhead is low when file permissions are managed using metadata and role-based security.

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