What do you like best?
Working with the Piction team on an institution-wide (150+staff) implementation of their system for both digital image and digital document management has been wonderful. Piction has been very understanding of our needs, and has been able to speed up or slow down parts of the process to work at our speed, which has not been my experience with other systems in the past. This has allowed us to take some time internally to clean up our assets prior to ingest, so that we do not have to deal with legacy filenaming/metadata/etc issues in Piction. As a result, there has been greater staff acceptance of the new system, and we can also leverage our assets in new ways, such as through request forms for new photography. Being from a large institution with many types of assets with varying needs, it has also been very helpful that Piction can customize metadata schemas and ingest/download workflows to feet the needs of differing image collections and now our document collections (still in the processing of implementing). Weekly calls during the implementation timelines make this possible. Their Help Desk is also very responsive.
What do you dislike?
Honestly there is really not anything that I dislike enough to mention here--whenever things come up that we need tweaked, or if certain of our needs are not being met, we are able to request updates/new features from Piction and have those implemented where feasible (as far as our regular support goes), or Piction will let us know if what we are asking for is a more involved development request, in which case they quote us for that added work. I have been pleasantly surprised though at the variety of needs and requests that are covered by the support that we pay for annually. For similar digital asset management systems, cost is usually a big "dislike," but compared to other products on the market, Piction is a great deal, and the unlimited number of licenses has been VERY important for our institution.
If there is anything that I would mention here as a "dislike" it is that sometimes communication can be a bit unclear when working with the Piction team because we are coming from two perspectives--they naturally consider our assets IN THE SYSTEM, while we need to make decisions (i.e. filenaming, metadata, etc) that take into account the life that these documents may have OUTSIDE OF THE SYSTEM. As a result, we may want to make decisions that they don't think are necessary, but generally we just communicate why we need something and there is no problem with that and we move forward. Ultimately, I mostly leave those conversations with the feeling that the Piction team has our best interests in mind and is looking for ways that we can streamline our processes and conventions.
Recommendations to others considering the product:
There is a growing community of cultural heritage institutions implementing Piction--I would suggesting reaching out to some of the institutions currently utilizing to get additional information and have your questions answered in advance.
What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
Cumbersome workflows for requesting new photography or for rights clearance have been replaced by request forms within Piction, which has saved so much time. Even better than that, unlimited licenses has meant that more staff can have access to the system and are able to fill their own requests by downloading images where copyright clearance isn't needed.
We will also be able to confidently manage our documents long-term for archival preservation. In the past, we have had no centralized location for institutional documents, and for born-digital items, this can be a huge problem. E-mail is particularly difficult to get staff to comply with records retention schedules, but Piction provides a plug-in for Outlook e-mail which allows staff to send e-mail chains directly from their Outlook inboxes to designated folders on their department or to communal project folders under our document management module in Piction. They have similar plug-ins for Microsoft Office Suite that we will also utilize. This is institutional memory that may have been lost, along with legal and fiscal responsibilities that we may not have been able to fulfill that now we can be more confident about retaining/destroying on schedule.