While I believe DAM belongs in the same sentence with customer experience management (CXM), “omnichannel,” “engagement” and “marketing automation,” I am also convinced that your creative professionals cannot be productive (and thus have more time to do “engaging” things) if they’re wrestling with how your DAM handles creative files, collaboration and creative workflows. You need to fix this problem before you jump on the Experience Management bandwagon.
Who's Creating in DAM?
Digital Asset Management is a type of technology that is closest to creative professional's hearts. Yet, DAM is about as unfriendly to those creatives as it can possibly get. Where’s the disconnect?
While it's true that creatives mostly work in applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, various photo processing and editing software, maybe even still Quark, and video editing software from AVID to iMovie -- DAM is the foundation, as it (in theory) provides a central repository where all those creative files can be created, stored, searched, collaborated on and managed
The problem also derives from the fact that the designers, who were the original “creative natives,” are no longer the only ones creating complex assets. Marketers, social media managers, community manager, sales force and many others are now also actively engaged in the process of content creation, utilizing various assets and collaborating across multiple teams and continents to get that packaging material or brochure right.
Practically all people in the organization are conceiving, creating, iterating, getting approvals and looking for better ways for creative workflow, production and distribution opportunities within their DAM system. The times of a single designer exporting his PSD file into a nice, distribution-ready PDF are long gone, even for print-driven businesses.
What You Want =
What You Get
What organizations are often looking for is an integrated global workflow management process. What the DAM system usually provides is an array of mainly disjointed tools and processes. A toolset or semi-integration with, say, Adobe Bridge for designers, an integration with CMS for content managers, Dropbox and Google Docs for collaboration and file sharing among marketers, measly if any integration with Facebook and Pinterest for social media managers, and often very little insight into the DAM system for sales force.
The DAM vendors are partially at fault for failing to provide the necessary support for creative workflows. Systems designers and implementers also share the blame, for not doing a better job designing and implementing creative workflows and proper access rights. And let's not forget “user error.”
But in reality, there’s nothing insurmountable in designing and implementing your creative workflows more efficiently. Granted, it helps if you’re working with a DAM system that is open and flexible enough for you to custom-develop any needed functionality, even if it doesn’t exist out of the box.
Getting More Creative with Creative Workflows in DAM
While your goal may be better Customer Experience Management, it all starts with assets: the assets that live in your DAM and that multiple people touch in the creative flow. When you start by fixing the problem of ill-designed creative workflows, you start to eliminate duplication of efforts. Do you know how much time is wasted as the asset moves from internal designers to internal approvers to external agency and back? Creative workflows, collaboration, governance and associated processes allow you to be faster and more agile. And that means the creation of more revenue -- whose CFO wouldn’t like that?
Imagine how happy your marketers will be when they can respond better and faster to customers and create personalized content? Do you have a creative workflow for that? What about customer service reps who can respond to customers with product issues much better and faster if they had access to proper assets (yes, the RTFMs included) in your DAM system and had a way to modify and personalize those assets? Or be able to order a broken part much faster? Automating certain workflow tasks is closely associated with cost savings.
There are multiple opportunities for businesses that start with a truly functioning creative workflow in the DAM system. Where will you take yours?