BPA eVault streamlines print supply

Business Print Australia (BPA) has developed a sophisticated digital asset management (DAM) platform based on MediaRich for SharePoint.

BPA is an Australian owned and operated company based in Botany, Sydney. Established in 1999, BPA employs over 50 staff to manage the printing needs of some of Australia's largest organisations. BPA's clients cover a broad range of diverse industries including banking and finance, retail, FMCG, communications, hospitality, pharmaceutical, government, gaming and insurance.

BPA identified a need to develop a customised digital asset management solution for its clients. They required a centralised library which would catalogue all images, logos and artwork versions, for easy access by various business units and suppliers, which would also allow users to perform simple design tasks within the system.

The Digital Vault is perfect for clients with a number of creative agencies or business units in different geographical areas, as everything can be accessed via the Internet from the one central repository. This streamlines the supply chain allowing for greater efficiency and saving time when finalising urgent print jobs.

In December 2008, IT Manager Sam Rhodes began looking for a DAM solution for a particular client who required a solution to be implemented within three months. Rhodes had already implemented SharePoint for document management within the BPA intranet, so the MediaRich for Sharepoint solution from Equilibrium made a lot of sense.

"MediaRich extends our Sharepoint platform and provides a lot of the graphic design tasks, so we now have the best of both worlds," said Rhodes.

BPA had deployed SharePoint internally in 2006 on WSS2 running on Windows Server 2003 and used it extensively since and so was well aware of its benefits. The Digital Vault runs on a separate installation of WSS3 on Windows Server 2008.

A marketing manager can easily access the Vault via their Internet browser and search for logos, images, previous versions of artwork and source images for print or web use. All fields within the Digital Vault are searchable and customisable. They can also crop, resize and export their files to a variety of formats, including JPEG, GIF and PDF.

Users can set email alerts for themselves when files are changed or tailor views of the Digital Vault that only show the fields and images that are of direct interest to them. Power Users can make changes to the catalogue data in bulk via an Excel-like interface, quickly adding keywords and campaign specific information.

"It is great for our corporate clients to have the tools self-contained within MediaRich so that small graphical changes can be made within the system." said Rhodes.

"It is very quick and easy for us to customise the MediaRich DAM.

"It was so simple to add version control and customise and build tools on the fly for our clients without having to go to external developers. Unlike other DAMs out there, it's all WYSIWYG and no extra coding is required.”

"We can seamlessly add different interactive reports that will tell us for instance how many images have been uploaded each day, or what resources are not being accessed - which can uncover areas for cost savings.”

"I have also been able to add a Help page and Issue Management System,” said Rhodes.

Another attractive capability was the ability to develop custom tools for metadata tagging of stock images.

Many of BPA's clients have stock image libraries containing thousand of images and logos. It is essential that these images are tagged with the relevant keywords for accurate searching. Clients are also able to see where each image has been used, how many times, and in what versions of print or digital materials.

Using the fundamental Sharepoint architecture of MediaRich, Rhodes has been able to develop a special workflow that raises an alert when images are uploaded without keywords or captions, so these can be added.

"SharePoint adds so much power to the Digital Vault," said Rhodes.

"It is also a great selling point to our clients that they are not locked into a sealed and inflexible DAM solution. It is an easy job to export the image metadata as a CSV file and every raw image file can be effortlessly viewed in Windows Explorer. This makes it as painless to get the data out as it was to put it in."

"Many of BPA's corporate clients have designers using Macintosh computers, and the 15 internal design and prepress staff at BPA have Macs, so Equilibrum has a batch uploader for Mac. We must be able to work seamlessly with agencies and printers using Macs, and so far we have had no problems."

"We made our initial 3-month deadline for implementing the Digital Vault with excellent support from Equilibrium and Australian distributor DataBasics," said Rhodes.

The Digital Vault has now been rolled out to a number of BPA's existing clients with great results.