How Higher Education institutions can break down silos

Nationally and internationally, university colleagues are striving to work better together, and strengthen collaboration with their external partners and suppliers. Digital asset management is one technology helping many of them to do this and compete in an increasingly globalised market.

Campuses and colleges, departments and faculties, courses and year groups. Numerous silos can be found across any Higher Education institution. Of course, on the one hand, this is a natural product of how large educational organisations have evolved to operate. Yet on the other hand, and particularly in our digital world, it can present significant operational challenges; files not readily and securely accessible to those who need them, the risk of duplication of effort, and the danger of confusing audiences.

To avoid people working in departmental and geographical silos, and risking brand inconsistency, digital assets need to be available across an organisation.


Brilliant marketing – it takes a tribe

The recipe for great marketing content across digital, print and events involves many cooks. It’s a time-consuming investment, from setting briefs, to creating assets, to confirming approvals, version control, publication, and not forgetting the ability to retrieve any of this at a later date.

Throw into the mix that some team members or partners supporting international marketing and business development are likely to be outside your time zone. Who do they turn to for an asset required for an imminent deadline when colleagues with the answer are offline?

Another enduring factor in modern marketing is the relationships between internal marketing team members and external agencies or freelancers who bring outsourced skill sets to deliver market-leading content. To be effective these relationships must be highly collaborative, admin-light and enable seamless access to the same assets, tools and processes. Otherwise, delivery will be slow and there could be too much room for interpretation.


Enter digital asset management, the silo-breaker!

It takes a lot of effort to create digital assets that successfully drive forward your marketing, so it must be as easy as possible to manage them.

The software enabling this is called digital asset management (often shortened to DAM) and is provided by companies like Canto. It helps teams work faster and smarter by streamlining the way they organise, find and share their digital content, including imagery and video. This includes providing secure access to external partners.

By centralising your files in a single library, you remove one of the biggest causes of siloed working, by everyone being able to find what they need: knowing where it’s stored, regardless of department or location.

Internal team members as well as external agencies can draw from the same set of graphics and images no matter where they’re based. Pre-approved imagery and other assets are all in the same place. Plus, it’s easy to maintain an overview of what’s in your institution’s library and take outdated content out of rotation.

Curated portals can be offered where people don’t need to access an entire library to find what they’re looking for quickly – for example, a portal containing assets for a ‘Chinese student recruitment campaign’ or ‘2022 Faculty of Art & Design photos’.

When people can self-serve and help themselves, everybody wins. Cohesion triumphs over silos. What’s more a marketing team no longer has to respond to myriad requests for assets from different departments.


Fostering two-way cooperation

Digital asset management also helps to democratise campus storytelling by opening your image libraries up to staff on the ground.

A faculty might be organising an event – an end of year degree show, for example. Not only can they be sure that the content they produce is in line with the latest university branding and messaging by accessing the latest assets, but they will also be able to upload content from their event into a central repository. Using upload links within a DAM platform, photographers, staff, and students can upload their own photos, videos and other files to a secure central location, allowing their institution’s marketing team to approve files for use which can be made available centrally.

Silos within large organisations tend to form organically, but by making your digital asset library available to all, it will have a transformational effect on alignment and drive competitive advantage.

To learn more about digital asset management in Higher Education, watch our recent webinar:

If you missed the live webinar Image is everything with Canto, in partnership with Education Technology and University Business you can watch it on-demand here.

You’ll see expert guests from Canto, University College Dublin and Arden University discuss the importance of building a university brand, how to strengthen your visual identity, and how to ensure your marketing and communications teams can easily manage all the digital content associated with your brand.


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