Evonik Industries

Evonik Industries

Evonik is a leading global chemical specialties company. The company does business in over 100 countries and has over 32,000 employees. Evonik operates in a wide variety of markets and fields, producing chemicals and system solutions for consumer products, pharmaceutical health care, animal feed, the energy market, the international plastics and rubber industry and chemically, thermally and mechanically-based high-tech applications.

Established in 2007 as part of the renaming of RAG-Beteiligungs-AG
Sphere of activity worldwide in over 100 countries
Employeesover 32,000

No two companies are alike. That’s why we introduce our customers and talk with them about how they use Canto. Evonik is a leading global chemical specialties company. We spoke with Christoph Bauer about his work as a Managing Editor.

What is your tasks at Evonik Industries AG? What role do images and other digital assets play in your day-to-day work?

I work in Evonik’s external communication department in the corporate headquarters in Essen. As a trained journalist, I’m fully aware of the importance of images for companies and media. That’s another reason why introducing a new image database was a major concern for me.

Evonik Center Campus in Essen

How have your requirements for digital asset management system evolved?

We’d been planning to significantly expand our press image database for some time, but our database at the time had reached its limit. One hurdle was the fact that our business units had created their own collections within the database which were not uniformly structured. There were a lot of subdirectories, different legal statuses, etc.
The group was restructured and streamlined over time. If images had been purchased by smaller legal units before, it was quickly no longer clear who they actually belonged to anymore.
Eventually, it got to the point that the solution could no longer live up to our increased demands. One thing was clear: we needed a more modern solution.

What were your expectations for a new DAM system? Why did you pick Canto?

When selecting the database, it was vital for us to break away from multiple small niche solutions and move to a single solution for all our employees. We didn’t want anyone to just sit on his or her purchased stock images anymore. We wanted organizing and sharing images to be simplified for both internal and external purposes.
Canto was one of our top picks right from the start. In their pitch, Canto quickly won over our procurement department, our photographers as well as the communication department. Our image agency with which we have worked for a long time now was already familiar with Canto and also gave us the green light. It was clear that Canto had a solution for nearly all our questions and requirements.

How did the introduction go?

Migrating our existing assets to the new digital asset management system was the biggest hurdle since our old database had a completely different structure. The new database was supposed to go online on January 1, 2020, but things got a little tight at the end. We were able to rely on Canto Support and after some overtime at Christmas, everything went off without a hitch.
I then adapted the structure of the new image data bank and reorganized the assets. All the images for which license rights were not entirely cleared up were screened out. The transparency of the process was crucial here. That’s why we like Canto’s comprehensive rights management a lot. Anyone sifting through the new database can for example see at a glance to what extent he or she can use an asset.

Which departments and colleagues use Canto?

We use the database both in-house and externally. Evonik employees can use Canto really easily thanks to single sign-on, without having to log in separately. Canto was quickly accepted, especially by our Asian colleagues. They used to have to send a request to our communications department for individual photos. Due to the time difference (up to 9 hours ahead), they would naturally have to wait a while. Now they don’t have to wait anymore before one of us answers their requests, but instead, they can simply find the assets themselves. Because a lot of online offers are created by colleagues over there specifically for the Asian market, they now find suitable images for their work more quickly.

Our social media team also uses Canto regularly. In collaboration with our external agency, we also connected Hootsuite to Canto which makes the team’s work even simpler. Our colleagues are really pleased that they no longer depend on complicated internal folder structures to find the right image material.
For external press requests, we have our own press portal where there are a lot of photos available for download. Our Canto account manager had shown us various examples of how you can structure this type of portal. That helped us a lot.
The press portal offers us the option to show our many locations and divisions without drowning in a sea of images. That’s why our press portal is clearly divided into business regions and thematic fields. Of course, you can still use the search feature with keywords.

Homepage Evonik Press Portal

The press portal offers us the option to show our many locations and divisions without drowning in a sea of images. That’s why our press portal is clearly divided into business regions and thematic fields. Of course, you can still use the search feature with keywords.

Christoph BauerExternal Communication, Evonik Industries

What does a typical workflow look like over there? Where do the files come from?

Some of the photographers are own in-house photographers, but most come from a pool of external photographers with whom we work together regularly. Since we have a number of locations around the world, it can also happen that the site communicators create images themselves and then upload the files into the system. Of course, I had to do a certain amount of groundwork with some colleagues. My mantra was: Trust in the new image database; you no longer need to save your images on your own hard drives, you’ll retrieve them better later. In Canto, they’re stored securely and well organized.

Mobile view Canto image database Evonik

What types of media files do you manage with Canto?

Most of our database consists of images, but videos are being used more and more now. The fact that we have unlimited storage capacity available is an absolute plus. We already current produce videos for both internal and external communication. In the future, this will become a much more important medium for us.

Who’s in charge of system maintenance at Evonik?

Mainly I’m the one in charge of maintenance. Because we didn’t use standard keywording in our old database, structuring the database was a lot of work at the beginning. But now the structure is up and running. When new assets are uploaded, a basic structure defined by us has to be filled out. Otherwise, you can’t upload the image at all. This will save us a lot of time and effort in the future.
If a question comes up that I can’t answer, I can always count on Canto Support. That’s just awesome! Whether it’s our account manager, the help desk or technical support: our requests are quickly answered, everything works smoothly.

Are there already plans to integrate Canto further in your workflows?

We’re currently looking at connecting to Microsoft Office applications. Adobe Connector might be useful for our agencies. But Canto definitely streamlines quick collaboration with external agencies. For example, I can link all assets for which we have rights to an issue of our ELEMENTS innovation magazine right in Canto so that you can also use it in other channels without spending loads of time searching. These include for example, photos, accompanying videos and graphics.
We also plan to connect Canto to our newsletter program so that we can directly integrate images. So, if we do end up having to change an image, I can easily switch out the asset in Canto. Thanks to Direct URL, the newsletter than automatically incorporates the new version. That’s just brilliant.
What I really appreciate about Canto is that their software is continuously being refined. This also means I’m constantly finding new ways to use it and we can further expand our use of the software.

What is your favorite feature? Why?

Pooling assets into collections and the option to send links rather than exploding e-mail inboxes is definitely one of my favorite features. The share function helps a great deal, especially in terms of coordination. But I also find the option to access Canto from a mobile device simply great. I can imagine that will also be really handy for me at trade shows in the future. I’ve always got nearly all the images right in my pants pocket.

Thank you very much for the interview.