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Forrester Releases Its Very Brief List of Digital Asset Management Best Practices

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Josette Rigsby avatar

Forrester has released a new report that defines bestpractices for digital asset management (DAM). Surprisingly, Forrester was ableto distill the behavior down to three practices. Before you get too excited atyour chance to become a DAM expert in three easy steps, you might want to readthis article.

DAM: The Immature Content Management Sibling

If you aren’t familiar with digital asset management, youcan cutyourself a little slack. According to Forrester, lots of people aren’t. Unlike the related enterprise and web content management disciplines,manyenterprises have no real concept of DAM outside of being somethingbeaversbuild or a misspelling of a swear word. Despite thelimitedunderstanding, the necessity for DAM solutions is growing as enterprises leverage increasing amounts of rich media.

DAM focuses on managing multimedia. While much of theconversationregarding DAM is about tools, the technology is only an enablerforthe concept. At its core, DAM is about making managing rich mediaresourceslike videos, images and audio faster and more efficient.Activities like search,asset reuse, ensuring brand consistency andcollaborating with external agenciesoccur whether or not technology isinvolved. In fact, you could accomplish DAMin an ECM platform withmultimedia capabilities and the appropriate workflowconfiguration.

Best Practices Revealed

Forrester derived the ECM-inspired list of DAM bestpractices basedon interview with vendors, customers and industry professionals.Youranticipation is probably building. Calm down. The best practices are useful, but far from revolutionary. Forrester selected the followingbroadrecommendations:

  • Develop a taste for the different flavors ofDAM.
  • Apply rich media-specific governance.
  • Make rich media metadata management a religion.

Fortunately, the report elaborates on each item providingadditionalguidance as well as pitfalls to avoid when implementing DAM.

Develop a taste for the different flavors of DAM.

The first best practice focuses on minimizing the risk of selecting an inappropriate solution. Significant segmentation exists in the DAMmarket;there are wide variances in product capabilities and features.Companies mustcarefully evaluate solutions and ensure alignment withasset management strategies.Failure to do so can have seriousconsequences -- extended timelines, failure toachieve optimal benefitsand extended budgets. Forrester provides additional guidanceoncapabilities, like ability to integrate into the technology ecosystem,that organizationsshould consider in detail when selecting a tool.

Apply rich-media-specific governance.

The second best practice is more process focused than theinitialguidance. Best practice number two addresses the necessity of having appropriate procedures, guidelines and organizational structures inplace toensure that content is properly managed. The report accuratelyhighlights thatif a governance process is not defined and enforced,no solution will besuccessful. In addition, Forrester warns against:

Learning Opportunities

  • Failing to understand requirements for newcontent types
  • Overly aggressive disposal policies
  • Poor awareness of content growth and usage

when creating a governance strategy.

Make rich media metadata management a religion.

The final best practice advises organizations on theimportance oftaxonomy and metadata management. Taxonomies and metadata arecriticalcomponents for ensuring content is easy to locate. No matter how sophisticated the solution, if users can’t find its contents, the valueislimited. Searching a DAM solution is not like Google: it requires abit morework to be useful.

Next Steps

Forrester provides three additional best practices, which itterms“next practices” that organizations should consider pursuing afterimplementingthe three basic best practices:

  • Strategize for globalization/localization
  • Understand DAM’s expanding role in the assetlife cycle
  • Consider multichannel distribution

Forrester provides a diagnostic tool that allows readers toevaluate thesophistication of their DAM program before implementing the report’s recommendations.

Overall, the report felt a little too heavily technology focused.Organizations that have immature DAM programs might benefit more from best practices related to creating a DAM strategy than guidance on selectingtools. Thereport admits that many organizations don’t even understandthe definition ofDAM, so jumping to a discussion of tool selection andmetadata seems a bit premature . As with all analysts’ reports, everyonehas an opinion or three aboutwhat should have been included. What areyour thoughts on Forrester’s selectionfor DAM practices? We would loveto hear them.