Digital Asset Collaborative at U-M Implementation Project

The new Digital Asset Collaborative at U-M service will fill a growing need at U-M. This new service will provide a centrally funded enterprise tool and framework to improve the management, organization, and collaboration of digital assets used in marketing, communications, and academic business — both instructional and research — for all U-M campuses and Michigan Medicine.

Investigation began in 2018 to modernize the U-M Photography digital asset management system and needs expressed by the U-M Marketing Council (also known as M19) led to a desire to procure a system that could support the entire university for managing digital images and videos assets. The needs and desires received from constituents across the university defined the service requirements issued in a request for proposal (RFP) in 2019. The business case was refined in 2021, after a pause in the project due to the global pandemic, and funding was approved. Updated vendor responses were received by the end of the year and a preferred vendor was selected. Contract negotiations began in 2022 and an advisory group representing 19 key stakeholders from units across the university was formed.

The contract was signed in March 2022 with Widen for a new enterprise digital asset management service. The project team will engage with a team from Widen beginning in spring 2022 to begin the implementation project.

Core Principles

  • Offer a single enterprise-caliber system accessible for the entire university.
  • Provide guidance and best practices for consistent management of digital assets.
  • Develop a common metadata structure that supports the digital asset lifecycle.
  • Invoke a culture of digital asset sharing and collaboration — working together to make decisions and resolve conflicting needs for the good of the university.
  • Provide a security model with flexible options.
  • Assure compliance with copyright and usage restrictions.
  • Endeavor to deliver comparable capabilities for existing digital asset management systems.
  • Use the 80/20 rule — laser focus in early implementation on use cases that benefit the majority.