Getting a Grip on Rich Media: Digital Asset Management 101 #DAMNY

4 minute read
Noreen Seebacher avatar

If you're still struggling to define digital asset management (DAM) to someone who claims he doesn't need it, try this: Just say Pinterest.

"Think of Pinterest as a DAM," John Price, product marketing manager at Open Text, told an audience of DAM practitioners during a panel discussion at DAMNY today. DAM offers a way to catalog, file and permanently store digital assets, which must also be available for instant access … just like Pinterest.

And, as other conference attendees were quick to note, like many other social networks and consumer facing sites, from Instagram to Flickr.

On the final day of this two-day event for digital asset managers, the mood was upbeat, enthusiastic and just a bit boastful. Organizers and attendees agree that DAM has moved beyond its origins as a software tool to manage and distribute completed brand assets or images to become "a vital spoke in a large wheel of enterprise technology."

"DAM has finally grown up," Tracy Askam, vice president of rich media solutions at HP Autonomy told the crowd. "It provides content where and when users need it."

So Much Media, Too Little Management

DAMNY is sponsored by UK-based Henry Stewart Conferences and Events. The gathering at the New York Hilton in Midtown marked the organization's 11th annual New York conference on "The Art and Practice of Managing Digital Media." As always, the conference approached the topic from the user's perspective and every kind of digital asset — from imagery to text to video to 3D rendering and beyond.

Attendees participated in keynotes, roundtables, talks and panel discussions where a host of vendors, consultants and industry experts shared their knowledge on the entire digital asset life cycle.

Participants include CMSWire contributor John Horodyski, a partner at Optimity Advisors, a consulting firm with expertise in DAM, metadata and taxonomy design, digital and social media marketing and brand strategy. Horodyski will facilitate a roundtable DAM discussion later today.

Learning Opportunities

What was DAMNY all about? Nothing captured it better than this tweet:

During the presentations and informal discussions, several facts became clear.

  • DAM doesn't exist in isolation: It is essential to integrate it with a content management systems (CMS). They are not the same things but play well together.
  • In an omnichannel, data-intensive, always connected world, DAM managers as "sitting on piles of gold." They hold the keys to the things everyone wants: rich visual assets.
  • Everyone who manages content, for a brand, enterprise or other organization, is a publisher. And publishers have to be able to provide quick, easy, intuitive access to every type of digital asset.
  • Standards are the keys to effective DAM. They are the foundation of ease and consistency. 

Sure There are Challenges, But ...

While the speakers emphasized the improvements in the latest generation of DAM, they also noted that challenges remain. John A. DeMarco, manager of Enterprise Content Excellence at 3M Co., noted that there is still some resistance to DAM adoption.

"It's always a little bit of a carrot and a stick," he said during the morning keynote. "We actually had a business unit in Germany that refused to use our DAM."

It took a call from a company vice president to a managing director — who pointed out that the unit's obstinance was costing the company money — to prompt change.

But, overall, the attendees and speakers concurred, things are getting better. DAM is becoming increasingly integrated into other technologies, more widely adopted and more user friendly.  As one participant noted, DAM is morphing from a commodity to something that could ultimately become hot, cool and hip ... sort of like Pinterest.