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At last -- your company heard you, all those meetings and presentation are finally paying off. Your DAM project has officially been given a go by the CMO. That day kicks off a long journey: let’s see how to make it easier and feel shorter.

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably not working in a small 10 man shop where a cloud-based solution could be adopted in a matter of hours. You’re facing internal politics, budget constraints, internal IT skepticism and management's high expectations. To succeed and shine in the hall of fame of DAM projects, here's a little advice.

The Initiation Phase

First, do not underestimate the power of the initiate phase of your project. Identify some positive-minded key users and nominate them early adopters. They will be your best advocates, and having them on board from day one will be a great help when you go through tough times. They will help you -- and they must understand this -- select the product. This is key.

Get some support in the selection process, and make sure early adopters share your arguments in favour of the awarded vendor. This will be one road block less – product choice won’t be revisited every week. This first step is setting the tempo of your project. Make it weak or disputable and the whole project will be built on sand.

Once the initiate phase is over and you have a proper and realistic project plan in hand, it’s time for execution. On kick-off day you’ll probably face two, five, maybe eight friendly colleagues from development, infrastructure and security team in the meeting room. If they’re not friendly, then the only goal you should have at this point is to make sure they’ll support your choice. They will make the integration within your enterprise technical landscape a success, whether you go for an on premises installation or a cloud solution.

Usual issues that will arise include 1. security and integration with enterprise SSO and Active Directory, 2. processing power required for asset transformation and 3. amount of storage required at both file and database level.

The Implementation Phase

A couple of weeks later your development and integration teams will start to implement your solution. But what solution?

On top of the out-of-the-box setup you’ll have some business processes to map into the DAM. These will probably be around asset distribution -- and transformation. This exercise is very touchy as transforming a human workflow into a software workflow is a complex process requiring a change of the workflow. Computers cannot call each other on the phone to discuss the size of the image to transform or to check if the blue is not too green or red on a picture.

The advice here is simple: keep it simple. Start with basic workflow that won’t disrupt the current human workflow and will ease people’s life and work. Over-engineering is your enemy at this stage of the project, and it can be a deadly one.

Once the first few workflows are complete you can go for another iteration and dig into some deeper processes to implement. We’ve seen a lot of examples where human processes were put in place over several years because there were no DAM in place. So mapping these processes within a DAM was a challenge, but needed.

That’s it! You’re project has gone live. Let me know how it went in the comments below. 

Title image by kayugee (Flickr) via a CC BY-ND 2.0 license