The University of Cape Town (UCT) is South Africa’s oldest university and currently the top-rated university in Africa. A leader in teaching and research, UCT is home to six faculties – Commerce, Engineering & the Built Environment, Law, Health Sciences, Humanities and Science – with a university community of 28 600 students and 5 000 academic and administrative staff.
UCT aspires to become a premier academic meeting point between South Africa, the rest of Africa and the world. By taking advantage of expanding global networks and its distinct vantage point in Africa, the university is committed, through innovative research and scholarship, to engage with the key issues of its natural and social worlds.
UCT’s Communication and Marketing Department (CMD) is responsible for all the university’s websites and serves as the central source for creating and storing digital media. A collective team of more than 45 members across six units run the institution’s online presence, arrange visits and events, engage with both the media and social media, and create university news content.
These six units service the entire university, including the six faculties and administrative departments. As the communication hub for the entire university, CMD started to battle with storage space, particularly with an expansive library of video content. They were also challenged with their digital content being spread between different units, hard drives and CDs.
In 2017 the CMD team decided they needed a solution to address these issues and increase the overall value of their digital assets.
Nico Badenhuizen, a senior PHP developer at UCT, noted: “Our assets had very little value, either because we didn’t know they existed, or they were almost impossible to find, and finding them just took a very, very long time. Looking for a DAM solution became a necessity.”
In order to effectively service the university, the CMD team needed to
Increase discoverability and overall value of digital assets
Create storage efficiency by centralising assets
Implement a consistent process for capturing metadata
Deploy a simple and intuitive solution for all users that is easy to implement and cost effective
Secure and restrict access to sensitive digital content.
After evaluating several solutions, Extensis Portfolio was selected for its ease of use and quick implementation time. Portfolio also proved to be far more affordable than competitive products.
Within the first month of use, UCT migrated more than 250 000 existing assets. The program lead, Nico , pulled in assets from their disparate locations and found it easy to organise them with Portfolio’s managed upload and cataloguing features.
Once the first wave of assets was added, Nico began teaching his colleagues how to use Portfolio, which didn’t take more than 15 minutes per person.
Today, users and sub-teams create their own catalogues, and with Portfolio’s robust metadata features, files are automatically ingested with keywords assigned from the file and folder names.
In addition to this, Portfolio’s vault feature ensures that sensitive files are kept private and secure.
Nico noted: “Ensuring access to a machine is 100% secure can be a concern. The vault is attractive because it secures and encrypts content, which keeps content safe and makes life easier."
Since deploying Extensis Portfolio, the CMD team’s previous problems with finding assets has been virtually eliminated.
Nico cited specific scenarios where Portfolio has made a difference to the team’s overall workflow and efficiency:
“As part of producing an institutional review outlining the work of our previous vice-chancellor, the newsroom team needed to find all the places where his name was mentioned in publications, all the photos taken during his term of office, and other related content. Previously, going through all available content and finding the relevant assets took forever. And I’m pretty sure that a lot of relevant content might have been missed because it simply wasn’t findable. Portfolio made finding content quick and easy, and returned far more assets than our conventional search methods.”
“Last year, right after we had implemented the DAM, I had a request for all assets related to a professor. I had people asking for pictures, photos and whatever content we had, and they wanted it quickly. I walked to my PC and 10 minutes later I had emailed them every single asset that I could find. Something that would have previously taken me days took literally 10 minutes – a massive difference in turnaround time.”
Nico noted that the fast turnaround time has been particularly helpful for UCT’s engagement with the media.
“When the media makes enquiries, you have to be able to respond quickly. You don’t have days to search for the relevant assets. If an article has no accompanying image or video, the chances of uptake by media houses decreases exponentially. So, having a photo to accompany a media release is almost as important as the media release itself. We often don’t have time to look for the right content, so the fast turnaround offered by Portfolio has been very important for us.”
In addition to faster turnaround times, Portfolio offers shared access across teams. This offers individuals broader access to UCT’s assets, increasing the overall usage and value of their digital media.