The Spotlight: Jean Baak from HelpMeSee

How Jean Baak Streamlines Creative Project Management for HelpMeSee with DAM

When Jean Baak started his search in 2018, his goal was to find a single solution to meet HelpMeSee’s project and digital asset management needs. After evaluating multiple vendors, he found a best-of-breed, integration approach was the optimal solution.

This interview shares the story of how MediaValet has helped Jean and HelpMeSee enhance creative production.

To start us off, can you give us a quick elevator pitch for HelpMeSee?
HelpMeSee is a non-profit organization that trains cataract specialists in a safe, cost-effective cataract removal procedure called Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS).

Our mission is to meet the increasing demand for surgical services in the communities most impacted by cataract blindness.

To make the large-scale training possible, HelpMeSee has collaborated with technology partners and subject matter experts to develop a high-fidelity Eye Surgery Simulator that combines realistic computer graphics and physics modelling with motion controls, which send tactile feedback to the hands of the trainee holding the surgical instruments.

The HelpMeSee Eye Surgery Simulator is the center piece of our simulation-based training program with supporting courses and courseware designed to analyze and improve the mechanics of ophthalmic surgery.”

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do at HelpMeSee.
“I have been with HelpMeSee for 3 years. My first role was as a Digital Media Intern, organizing and consolidating our creative media assets on a former media asset management platform.

Now, I’m a project-based Digital Asset Manager. I manage and metatag all unedited and finalized rich media assets, such as stills, video, audio, etc., that provide real-time and evergreen business value for fundraising, social media, training marketing, and other campaign initiatives.

With the added insight of our Director of Digital Marketing, I help create and reinforce our library requirements and archive policies. I also train new inductees and project members to navigate our library architecture and familiarize themselves with search, share, download, lightbox, and upload functionalities.”

Can you explain the different departments and people using MediaValet?
“HelpMeSee is a small team of about 50 individuals, and because our offices are global, we strongly prioritize communication, accountability, and security (of our digital assets).  

In 2019, our MediaValet library was implemented as a centralized creative asset location for our HQ Communications, Marketing and Development team in New York, where terabytes of campaign assets were stored in external drives. A year later, the library expanded to include campaign assets captured by our medical and training groups from China, India, Mexico, and Africa.

As of now there are 47 users listed in our library. However, not all users are active. Therefore, when determining the hierarchy of user groups, we matched users with user groups defined by their level of user activity in the library.

Master Administrators have full administrative leverage as ‘power users,’ because they frequently access MediaValet and are most familiar with the platform. Their tasks include administering the system, library, and user groups; building the category taxonomy; creating the metatag requirements; among others. Below Master Administrators are ‘lite users’ and access MediaValet on an ad-hoc basis.”

How did the team operate and communicate before using MediaValet?
“Prior to our onboarding with MediaValet, our organization mainly exchanged information and assets using basic and decentralized tools, such as email, Dropbox, WeTransfer, etc.

For a number of years, the Marketing team also tried to centralize their creative assets on a media asset management platform that was unable to support video or audio. The biggest pain point using the MAM was the lack of metadata options that overwhelmed search results and turned off users from engaging with the platform, thus delaying workflow completion. Based on the price point, along with the lack of DAM functionality, our Marketing team knew it was time to look elsewhere.”

What initiated your search for DAM? What were the top goals you were trying to achieve?
“The search for DAM became more prevalent during my internship, where my primary focus was to create a defined procedure for ingesting and organizing assets. This method included generalizing less and branding more keywords. Fortunately, MediaValet has multiple metadata types that can be defined uniquely to be searched together or individually.

In purchasing a DAM, we resolved to:

  • Centralize, organize, define, and secure creative media assets,
  • Enable a HelpMeSee brand-friendly search,
  • Eliminate email communication for project-related items,
  • Grant user autonomy to submit assets without Administrator supervision,
  • Set up usage permissions and access levels for internal and external groups, and
  • Help user groups understand the type of content available to them, where it is stored, and how they can interact with it.”

So, we’re now at the point you need to make a DAM vendor selection. What made you select MediaValet over alternative vendors?
“Initially, our Marketing team was looking for a digital asset management platform that shared project management functionalities. We were looking at several different vendor options based on actual cost vs. projected cost, user benefits, functionality requirements, user-friendly interface, etc.

MediaValet was the reigning choice for an all-purpose (DAM) user experience. It was a large-scale solution, with capacity to:

  • Ingest all file types and formats;
  • Expand by unlimited users and groups;
  • Administer granular user roles and permissions;
  • Support various metadata searchability;
  • Approve/reject versions; and
  • Share assets with internal and external sources.

MediaValet’s ability to integrate with the project management platform, Wrike, was the clincher. The dual implementation of MediaValet and Wrike increased our project communication and collaboration for all teams, while significantly reducing distractions and time working across multiple browsers.”

Can you describe how you’re using MediaValet today? What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before?
“At this time, our library is being used as a content hub for project stakeholders, managers, and creative teams to search, submit, distribute, and store assets.

We had roughly 10,000+ assets in our media asset management platform, excluding assets stored in external drives. We transferred most of those 10,000+ assets to MediaValet, where we now have a clear taxonomy and metadata infrastructure, so our users are able to access content with more autonomy.

With MediaValet as our designated creative media library, project members can eliminate time spent filtering through emails or Skype conversations to locate assets. Moreover, project members can browse recent project files and final copies, as well as historical assets that they did not know existed!”

Everyone love a good news story - were there any unexpected positive outcomes?
“The overall quality of customer service at some companies can be a hit or miss, but I am pleased with the attentive customer support that MediaValet has provided since our early contact two years ago. I have not experienced a negligent comment from any MediaValet rep, and I think that’s quite respectable.”

How do you feel MediaValet has impacted your bottom line?
“MediaValet has allowed our cross-functional teams to work more cohesively, in terms of exchanging media input and output. Before MediaValet, valuable assets were scattered in email threads and desktops or forgotten in dusty hard drives. Now, rather than spending precious time re-creating lost assets, our Graphic Designer is able to locate bulk assets in a single location and generate secure custom links or web galleries for internal and external groups to download the content they need.

The latter process saves so much more time and cost, especially for our creators.”   

Looking to the future, what are the next step for you with digital asset management?
“I look forward to learning more about digital asset management best practices and implementations in order to strengthen our creative project management procedures and strategy, in the case that other internal teams consider MediaValet as a DAM solution and we share the library.

MediaValet is a solid and reliable platform that has provided my role as a Master Administrator and digital asset manager with the support and space to re-think the potential of creative assets and how they could be leveraged over time.”   

What piece of advice can you give to others looking into DAM?
“I would recommend to those new to DAM to research its core principles, purpose, benefits, and best practices. Then, I would recommend that they create a spreadsheet to determine their minimum to maximum budget and which functionalities they will require, prior to looking at any vendors.”

Our CEO LOVES movies, so we always like learning what’s your favorite movie and why?
“My favorite movie is a 1980 American romantic fantasy drama called Somewhere in Time. It’s about a playwright living in 1972 who falls in love with the portrait of a stage actress and travels to the beginning of the century to meet her. He achieves this by manipulating his attire and environment to mirror and simulate the early era. As the title suggests, the film’s theme and experience of “true love” (or obsession, as some may see it) is that it is timeless, deeply personal, and mystifying.”

MediaValet is a leader in cloud-based digital asset management that helps organizations manage, organize and share their digital assets, improving productivity and increasing ROI. See MediaValet in action today.