Digital Asset Management Proves a Good Fit for Birkenstock

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Shoe manufacturer Birkenstock Distribution USA Inc. is using a digital asset management system to serve its retailers, save its production department time and safeguard its important files and photos.

The system, designed by visual solutions provider Corbis, stores the company's digital assets with searchable description tags. Approved users can access files from anywhere.

"If we didn't have the system, we'd have to have a staff member who [would answer queries all day]," said Christina Piazza, print production specialist at Birkenstock, Novato, CA. "It's a huge convenience factor. We use it predominately as a service to our retailers."

Birkenstock Distribution USA has 3,000 retail accounts and 200 licensed stores that act as independent retailers, so the system helps the company gain some control over the brand's image and promote a corporate look.

The Birkenstock system includes an integrated ad template tool, making it easy for retailers to stick to the preferred Birkenstock model.

Support software integrating with the digital asset management tools is a trend, said Douglas Hecht, president of digital marketing and technology firm Digitaria, San Diego. His company also offers digital asset management systems thanks to its recent acquisition of Console.

"It's not a cookie-cutter process," he said. "Tell us about your organization and allow us to integrate it into the software that you already use. We want what we do to be useful."

Mr. Hecht said that about half of his company's clients have implemented digital asset management systems. Digitaria provides digital asset management for media companies including Fox and NBC Universal as well as wireless company QualComm.

"As the amount of digital information grows, more and more companies are seeing the benefits of going paperless," he said.

Executives at Corbis also note a trend in companies needing a solution to manage their various files.

"In recent years, we've seen more and more adoption in digital asset management," said Jeff Paul, client services manager at Corbis' media management department in Seattle. "Typically, customers are out looking for the service. [They say,] 'I now know I have a problem. What can I do to fix it?'"

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