Replacing an existing DAM for Next


When Next built an asset management system using Canto Cumulus, they had largely been focused on serving the print directory. Over time the number of assets grew, which was driven by the expansion of brands and the growth in foreign markets. The system became unreliable and could not be extended to support the business’s e-commerce activities, which had grown to more than 70 countries.

The DAM had also never been integrated directly into business processes. This meant that processes to capture and manage photoshoots, cutting out images, building spreads for the print directory and images for online were managed manually by different teams outside the DAM system.

For example, photographs taken on location would be converted into low-res images and sent directly to the design team, so they could begin work designing spreads, as well as to India, where a team would begin cutting them out. Because the design process is by nature very iterative, files had to be sent back and forth numerous times, and when the high-resolution files became available a significant amount of this work had to be repeated.

Two things became clear to Next. The first was to replace Cumulous with a new technology that had the capability to manage a much larger volume of assets faster and more efficiently. Secondly, it was clear that the current ways of working were hampering the development of the business overall.

Next therefore issued an RFP and asked vendors to propose alternative solutions. The requirement was not only to replace an existing DAM system, but also to enable new workflows and provide tools that would significantly enhance overall performance whilst minimising risk to business as usual.


Evolved Media proposed WoodWing Assets solution and won the contract. Evolved Media’s vision saw WoodWing Assets at the heart of Next’s business, where it would serve the needs of the various design and production teams, and also be integrated with product management tools, the e-commerce site, existing PIM and other systems in future.

Existing processes, data volumes and requirements for print and e-commerce were analysed for three purposes: to provide the information necessary to handle implementation, to develop new workflows and tools, and to make sure implementation did not disrupt ongoing production

Once implementation had been completed, and existing assets had been transferred the focus moved to creating more efficient working practices. This work included:

·      Enabling low-res images from photo shoots to be uploaded directly into WoodWing Assets, so the creative teams could commence work immediately

·      Building a tool to map low-res and high-res files, so that when the high-res file was uploaded later, it automatically replaced the low-res wherever it had been used

·      A tool to enable cut-outs to be automatically replaced if the files were subsequently retouched

·      An interface between WoodWing Assets and third-party furniture manufacturers to ingest product images and associated metadata, which then automatically triggered the production of multiple image formats for print and web purposes, eliminating manual tasks and reducing the ingestion lead-time from 3 weeks to a matter of seconds

·      Linking WoodWing Assets to the internal database to enrich PIM data

·      The creation of processes triggered automatically when files were updated or uploaded by the various teams to speed up the entire process

Evolved Media was also focused on making sure the entire system performed from day 1 and would continue to do so as asset volumes increased substantially, given Next’s business strategy was to increase the number of brands by more than 10,000. The WoodWing Assets system has 11 nodes across 2 clusters, one for the e-commerce platform and the other for live production, which delivers very high performance and reliability.

Implementation of WoodWing Assets is allowing Next to rethink its workflows and processes to scale up as the e-commerce platform grows. The full integration with Next's other key business systems is allowing further automation, increased business intelligence and puts Next on a path to focus on the significant challenges of the current retail market.

Evolved Media | Case Studies | ID:1762 | v2.2 | Last modified 2020-07-14T13:21:35