hand pulled noodles
To trust the product, you must first trust the people behind the product PHOTO: Aditya Romansa

Before you visit a top-notch restaurant, you probably research the chef. 

After all, at those prices you want to feel confident your meal is being created by a passionate perfectionist using the very best ingredients — and that every member of the team is committed to delivering the same high quality. 

But do you put the same research into the brigade de cuisine responsible for creating the digital asset management (DAM) system you’re considering? Doubtless you will have done the online research, spoken to a salesperson and seen a demo. But what do you know about the team behind the product — the people who actually build your platform? 

Buying DAM Software Isn't Only About the Tech

Just as it takes skill, effort and passion to put Michelin-starred food on the table, so too does it take skill, effort and passion to build a software system that people will enjoy using. And it’s the men and women of the product team who must have the vision and know-how to create and evolve a platform that you and your users are going to want to come back to again and again. 

So don’t be shy about asking to meet these people before you buy. You can learn a lot about your potential vendor and the software solution they propose by asking some leading questions.

8 Questions for DAM Product Teams

1. Are you passionate about improving user-experience? 

If you could ask only one question — this is it. 

An interface that’s easy and intuitive to use, and can execute complex business tasks simply, will get users enthusiastically onboard. And that makes the interface one of the most vital features of a good platform. 

2. How flexible is the underlying software?

Remember the software architecture! To marketing buyers of DAM software this may feel like an overly technical question, but it’s crucial. 

Can the underlying software be configured (without custom development) for your business structure or purposes? Can vitally important aspects like metadata, workflows, user groups or site structure, be adapted for your uses? Can you as the site admin amend these yourself after implementation as your business changes and grows? 

3. What are your sources of inspiration? 

What software products do they admire? Do they recognize that today’s business users expect that same user-friendly and efficient experience they get from software used in their personal lives? 

People have an emotional bond with software. When things go right, they're happy to use it — when things go wrong, they don’t want to go there again.

4. Do you understand business, and more specifically, the marketing function? 

Product developers are techies first and foremost but you must be confident that they also understand how the marketing discipline is evolving, the real world marketing challenges that you face and how to create DAM software that meets those challenges. 

5. Do you grok the big picture? 

Product design must encompass strategic thinking about the future, the direction the industry is taking and what others in the marketplace are doing. It is about balancing innovation with market understanding.

6. How closely does your team work with the other teams in your business? 

Do they hold cross-department meetings with sales, marketing and client services to share the roadmap and product strategy? And if so, how often?

If they do you can be confident you’ll hear the right information, whichever team you talk to.

7. Can you tell me how the platform will grow in the future? Can you share your roadmap? 

Everyone at your vendor company — whether sales, marketing, client services or tech — must share common objectives about where the product is going. And they should be able to share that with you, as the client, at any point in the sales process.

8. Will your product team attend any of our sales meetings to hear first-hand what we need? 

If they are present, it’s an excellent sign that they are passionate about building the right product for you.

Building a Foundation of Trust

While good DAM software executes complex tasks via a simple, intuitive and easy-to-use interface, it’s the product team members who are responsible for achieving that. 

Trust the people behind the product, and you can be confident you’re buying a DAM platform that will satisfy you and your users' DAM appetite in the long term.