The company's entire photo archive was stored on a shared disk, and a separate system of folders was developed for sorting files. Files were located by name.
This is common for our market: most companies have media libraries where there is a shared disk with folders created by date or by project name. Folders contain additional folders and so on, and one must open dozens of directories and files to open one image. Even if the structure of the system is logical, image search is time consuming, as one must look through all the pictures in the catalog to find the right picture.
Ultimately, one person who knows the structure of the folders and their contents is responsible for the selection of images. During peak periods (for example, annual and social reporting) this employee would spend days only working with images.
Windows Photo Gallery was used for a while, which made searching and viewing images a little easier, but Microsoft stopped supporting it in 2012. In addition, it did not work so well when there were more than ten thousand uploaded images.
Polymetal is a geographically distributed company. Photo shoots take place in the Far East, Chukotka, Yakutia, Kazakhstan, and the Urals.
Images could only be transferred to the headquarters via FTP and only within the company's IT-perimeter. Significant data transfer overloaded corporate communication channels, which is why these processes were given low priority and data transfer took a long time.
Photos from the database were only available to corporate headquarter users, and regional divisions could not see each other's images. Images for newspapers and the corporate portal were sent via a parallel channel (by mail or through separate folders). One had to contact the editor to search for the source file.
Images were sent to counterparties through file sharing services, which are not always time-efficient or reliable. There were three main problems:
1. The data was stored on a server at the headquarters, which made it difficult to access files from regional divisions. This required significant backup resources.
2. Browsing and searching used operating system resources. Windows or MacOS are not designed to store corporate images. It is therefore impossible to use all the advantages of metadata to quickly search and export images.
3. Several employees were responsible for distributing files to the necessary folders, keeping the entire system in order, and searching for images. This made it impossible to automate routine processes, and an employee had to be always present for the system to function.