From the ticket counter to the baggage carousel, more than 70 million Lufthansa Group passengers are in good hands each year. Flight management is something this aviation giant’s 100,000+ employees have definitely mastered. But then there’s file management.
Making the company’s rich library of images readily available was a priority. The safety of those valuable images was a concern. But, network security was absolutely critical—and there was no room for compromise or error.
Lufthansa chose Canto Cumulus and Canto partner Vitras because Cumulus offered the hybrid of security, features and ease-of-use the company had in mind. Plus, the integration and customization expertise of Vitras with its IWO Web Interface enabled Lufthansa to turn Cumulus into a global resource it could deploy to untrained users, expand over time, and trust on its high-profile network.
Lufthansa’s first image database was open source, but the “free” honeymoon didn’t last. Jens Polkowski, manager at Lufthansa Direct Marketing explains.
“The open source system was state-of-the-art at the time, but no update development was available. So, the state of the art evolved, but our system didn’t.”
Lufthansa needed a solution that could keep pace with progress—and get a handle on the rapidly increasing workload fueled by the search limitations of the open source system.
“Each week, we’d get upwards of 50 requests that required us to find images, burn them to CDs, and ship them. A lot of staff time was wasted.”
Even worse, asset deliveries added expense, and meant overseas requests often arrived too late.
“If someone in Singapore needed a photo now, we just couldn’t deliver it in time to meet their deadline.”
When a company whose business is flying jets says it needs a faster way, you know the need is serious.
Lufthansa considered other vendors and DAM systems before meeting Vitras, who showed Lufthansa Cumulus for the first time.
“The moment Vitras showed us Cumulus and explained what they could do with it, I knew they were both exactly what Lufthansa needed.”
Vitras was local, which Polkowski valued, but their attentiveness and know how won him over.
“If we ever have a problem, Vitras is on it immediately. They make this very easy for us.”
Lufthansa chose Cumulus because it offered the perfect balance of everything the airline needed, when compared to other systems it evaluated.
“One system was bloated with features no one would ever need, and another had to be built from the ground up. We wanted to buy state-of-the-art DAM, not reinvent it from scratch!”
And what role did price play in the decision?
“Choosing the right system was most important. Cumulus cost far less than the other systems, which was good luck for us, but we bought it for what it could do.”
A core concern for Lufthansa and Vitras was network security. But the multi-level security of the Cumulus Web architecture gave Vitras the tools it needed to keep confidence high.
“Cumulus lives in the same server park as our ticketing system, employee database, etc. I was impressed Vitras could successfully integrate Cumulus into such a high-security environment.”
Within four months of the start of integration, Cumulus was live at Lufthansa, and the ROI took off at supersonic speed.
“Everything is now available from anywhere in the world—24/7—and that was our goal.”
Weekly manual image requests have dropped by more than 95%, and Lufthansa can now protect their images with copyright and usage instructions— something they couldn’t easily do before.
Users download images in diverse formats created by Cumulus, so only one master is needed, and Lufthansa can add new download format and processing options any time it needs.
Even PDF contact sheets are created by Cumulus on the fly, offering users a “to go” version of their collection baskets that’s handy for offline and future reference.
But to Polkowski the marketer, the benefit most important is clear.
“People who can’t find the perfect image use whatever they can find. Now, the images we want used are used, because they’re easy to find.”
Expanded internal use of Cumulus will offer each Lufthansa division their own production catalog. Polkowski also plans to use Cumulus to take better control of the airline’s video collection. “TV stations need footage for broadcasts. We hope to have Cumulus handle that for us too, because there's really no reason not to."