Headquartered in Italy, Leonardo has a global workforce of 49,000 employees and a company culture driven by innovation. Leonardo’s key purpose is to deliver technologically advanced and innovative solutions for governments and institutions in the fields of homeland defense, aerospace and cybersecurity. Leonardo develops and produces core technologies that progress on land, space and sea operations within the defense and security industry.
Joe Walker, Head of Multimedia and New Technology, oversees the production of capabilities-related media projects. His team objective is to communicate the virtues of the company’s products and services in a manner that speaks directly to customers, stakeholders and influencers across the globe. Joe works closely with in-house veteran Photographer, Simon Pryor. Together they have completed projects all over the world and have a combined 50 years of experience at Leonardo.
Simon and Joe produce content that’s shared across multiple divisions that include helicopters, cybersecurity, aircraft and electronics. As part of a broader communication team, they produce sales and marketing content representative of over 700 products and services.
In January 2016, Finmeccanica was rebranded to Leonardo. Business restructures brought together numerous subsidiaries to form a single company. With this international merging came the gathering of hundreds of thousands of digital assets. Once rebranded, Joe and Simon discussed the need for a storage solution that could accommodate high volumes of raw assets used to produce images, videos, brochures and virtual reality.
“As a team of project managers and multimedia specialists we increasingly rely on digital assets to perform our communication activities,” Joe says.
Before Canto, assets were shared on internal networks, hard drives and held by individual content creators. Coordinating Leonardo’s message and producing complete works that could be stored and accessed was a problem.
“And as we grew over the years sharing files, well, it was a bottleneck in the workflow,” Simon adds.
We needed a system that was intuitive and uncomplicated. A lot of our users are marketers who require access to video, images or presentations.
Once subsidiaries had merged to form one Leonardo, Joe and Simon agreed that moving forward, they would need a digital asset management solution that allowed them to store, classify, search and retrieve assets quickly. But the DAM they chose would also need to handle exponential growth.
“Leonardo has a large creative community and many of our team members are content producers, writers and designers,” Joe says. “But regardless of expertise, we all share a mutual enthusiasm to use a DAM as a solution to our growing asset library requirements.”
“We needed a system that was intuitive and uncomplicated,” Simon says. “A lot of our users are marketers who require access to video, images or presentations. Because our content is well dispersed, our projects aren’t one, they’re many.”
The digital solution Leonardo chose to replace an old approach to asset storage had to be able to accommodate a huge volume of assets. These also had to be securely stored and accessible when required. This is where Canto came in to remove the hassle of multiple storage sites and introduce a more organized way of sharing. Change in process began in the early stages of onboarding.
“The onboarding was critical for what we now do,” Joe says. “Choosing Canto meant all of our team were onboarded by the same staff members and therefore put on the same page, so to speak. The configurations made to our DAM met Leonardo’s specific needs, the service we received from the start was full of expertise. Canto is a huge step towards a sustainable solution that meets our ICT security regulations.”
Since choosing Canto, network drives are a thing of the past.
“Canto massively improved my workflow,” Simon says, “before, the shared drives took so long to download large files, or couldn’t at all. This is so much quicker.”
Security and controlled user access
Meeting regulatory demands is central to what Leonardo does in the security and defense industry. Storing raw or final assets on a DAM comes with strict information and communication regulations. Canto answered any concerns Leonardo had regarding security with administrator controls, Portals, libraries and file links a user can easily control.
“Having the ability to find an asset, create a share link and send it directly to the intended user is so much easier,” Simon says. “Due to our high-security levels we don’t have multiple options to send files but with Canto, sharing information has been a game-changer.”
“Security is paramount,” Joe says. “We needed an asset solution that met our own high-security requirements.”
Enabling continued migration
At Leonardo, the process of migrating assets into Canto is universal and ongoing. Thanks to team workshops in Rome, staff are now able to populate content that meets contemporary requirements intuitively.
“Our community of users and contributors are invested in migration,” Joe says, “Simon, he’s done a lot of work on the content side.”
Initial workshops, spearheaded by Canto implementation managers, made room for Joe and his colleagues to explore what Canto could do for Leonardo. Joe and his team have built an intuitive tagging structure that considers how users and contributors access and upload files, and assigns tagging features accordingly. Joe sees the DAM as a necessary step to any creative workflow, one that allows all users to contribute, and ultimately improves how the team stores and access assets.
“Until our assets are logged and tagged in an intuitive manner that allows staff to find and discover files related to their field, a task isn’t finished,” Joe says. “This process helps us create a seamless integration of our communication assets, and allows our team to focus on production.”
Simon echoes Joe’s sentiments. “People can search for assets without contacting me to do it for them, and all of our content can be pre-approved.”
Canto enables separate divisions to better understand their products and applications. It allows us to tag and log content in a way that lets staff discover assets in their division that they may not have been aware of.
Three hundred users now have access to Canto. Constituent material, images for engineers, video and other promotional materials are all stored and made accessible online. This has enabled production teams to work faster and share in real-time. When on location, Canto has helped teams keep track of assets that are then easily uploaded to cloud-storage. In September 2019, Joe and Simon went to Philadelphia to record content related to a helicopter procurement by the U.S. Navy.
“We were able to take footage from the location and immediately upload it to Canto. It was all backed up on a cloud-based server instantly and we didn’t have to worry about losing any content,” Joe says. “This was then worked on by our in-house team and used to create a suite of footage for the campaign that led to us acquiring the contract.”
Flexibility like this has enabled Leonardo to work smarter. Now they can share raw assets quickly and produce high-quality content that promotes what they offer in a sales and marketing capacity. The ability to partition files into separate libraries has also added to the effectiveness of how team members work, strengthening control over who has access to files. This means teammates can now fully focus on specific roles.
“Canto enables separate divisions to better understand their products and applications,” Joe says, “and it allows us to tag and log content in a way that lets staff discover assets in their division that they may not have been aware of.”