A Photo Collection's True Value

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Your software is amazingly wonderful to work with.
Laura Miller ∙ Rayonier ∙ USA

A collection of photos sitting where nobody can find them is worth as much as the digital dust collecting around them. Unknown to most company leaders, these company assets can have great value. "Why, they're just photos?" is often the response when this is suggested.

Photos are a major component of many aspects of a business and are used in marketing presentations and sales proposals; in public relations and legal departments; for insurance, engineering, and sharing with customers. At a trade conference in Fredericton recently we spoke with a vice-president of a large North American sign company. They have tens of thousands of billboards put up every year by contractors. Those contractors take photos of every piece of completed work, photos kept for years for quality, insurance and legal reasons. Being able to find a specific set of photos 10 or 15 years later is often critical.

Do you know where you company's important digital photo assets are? Could you find a specific photo if you needed to?

A photo collection, organized and data-tagged, is worth many, many times more than one which is not. An unorganized, hard to find, often lost, set of photos residing on computers all over the company is terrible waste. A searchable, easy to find, never lost set of images is a great thing and can be the difference between waste and gold.

Surprisingly there is little process or effort to make this transformation if one has the correct software. Digital photography and software is a marriage made in utopia if there ever was one. Good photo database management software can make tagging hundreds or thousands of images a snap. It can apply saved sets of data, such as company address and copyright info, to any number of photos all at once. Shortcuts to frequently-used data is just one more time saver in this area. It can utilize data to create effective ways to browse a collection based on analysis of data. This data may be keyed tags, GPS stamps, or data stored by almost all digital cameras. It is able to allow many virtual sets of photos to be built, which simply point back to the original photos, saving the headaches and storage space of duplicated files. And of course searching across all data is snap. As is the option of finding images recently added to the database, the ones most often viewed, and the images recently added.

Because a good digital photo management solution shares its ease of accessibility across the entire enterprise, everyone in the company can take advantage of the importing and organization efforts of everyone else.

Add up the cost of replacing a lost set of images of an oil platform when the engineering group needs to review their design. Personnel costs, maybe $10,000 for the helicopter, and lodging? Perhaps it's the four hours lost in expensive engineer's time trying to find the right images? Maybe it's just lost opportunity; or was that the lost court case?

It's not hopeless. With just a little process and the right software tool the value of your collection can increase ten-fold. And that can't but help make a difference to your bottom line.