Today we’re talking with Tony Leps, Cumulus champion at Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas (MHPSA). Thanks for joining us Tony.

First off, please tell us about your company.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas is a power generation company. Basically, we manufacture and service equipment that goes in power plants to make energy. Our flagship product, the M501J gas turbine, powers ~300,000 homes and is the most efficient, and environmentally friendly, in commercial operation.

Tony Leps, Creative Services at Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas, Inc.
Tony Leps, Creative Services at Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas, Inc.

How long have you been with MHPSA?

Fifteen years, but in two different departments.

First, I started in IT as one of the company’s first system administrators, managing servers, networks, and desktops. But in addition to my technical abilities, I have a diverse creative background. Before joining MHPSA, I performed in various circles, such as the Tony Award-winning Broadway show “Blast!” and the Walt Disney Company. I wanted to use both skillsets.

So, with support from management, I switched over to Marketing Creative Services, managing photo, video, web, and design.

When did you realize you needed a DAM solution?

In this new role, I was tasked with collecting and improving our photographic assets. As photographer, and only in-house creative for our company, I used Adobe Lightroom and quickly ended up with a library of 50,000 mostly RAW images.

However, once our company grew and departments merged, sharing media (particularly photos) became difficult. We needed a way for people without creative software to work with assets.

Coming from a technical background, I understand how scope evolves over time. Our initial need was photo sharing. But we’d eventually want to share all assets (InDesign, PDFs, PowerPoints, Videos, etc…). We needed a long-term, flexible solution to grow as requirements changed. We needed to think big picture.

Tell us about your DAM selection process?

Our goals were to centralize, backup, and secure a variety of searchable assets, with user self-servicing, extranet access, and availability regardless of installed software.

As for requirements, it had to have a web interface and be modular, with version control, image lifecycle, and workflow integration. But most importantly, our parent company’s security policies do not allow the use of Cloud-based software, so we were limited to self-hosted, on-premise solutions.

We originally considered using our existing SharePoint, but found its data storage method had issues with many large files. Then we looked externally, but found most DAM solutions are cloud-based. We also found most DAM solutions are geared for “small” or “large” companies with little support in between.

Finally, after talking with many DAM providers, we found Canto and Cumulus. It met all of our goals and requirements with the flexibility to grow.

Was there a turning point in the selection process?

Yes. Early on, the Adobe DNG format was selected as our RAW asset standard. DNGs can store raw data, XMP metadata, processing instructions, camera profiles, and thumbnails, a losslessly-compressed file. Basically, it has all of the “ingredients” and “baking instructions” all in one file. For us, it’s the perfect RAW archival format.

While many DAM solutions could recognize the raw data (the ingredients), they couldn’t read the processing data (couldn’t bake it). So when a user would export the image, they would get the unprocessed image. Strangely, even Adobe’s solution could not render the processed DNG. Cumulus was the only DAM provider we found that could properly render DNGs and export the processed image.

Any advice for others looking to implement a DAM solution?

Before evaluating any software, determine your goals, requirements, and most importantly, business processes. Think beyond your immediate needs. Imagine your needs three, five, and ten years from now. The solution can only help once these factors are determined, and will significantly accelerate implementation.

Also, partner with your IT team from day one. Regardless of Self- or Cloud-hosting, they will be critical to helping you implement, manage, secure, and support your DAM.

Thanks for joining us today!

Thank you.