When is a digital asset management system like a good mixed drink? When it’s optimally integrated with other systems that act as complementary liquids do in a fine cocktail.

That’s the working metaphor for “DAM Evolution in 2013,” the title of a talk by Theresa Regli, Principal and Managing Director of The Real Story Group, presented at the DAMNY conference now taking place at the New York Hilton. Regli, a cocktail aficionado, coined “DAM mixology” to describe the skilled mixture leading to happy DAM users.

About Balance

It’s all about balance, Regli said, as companies using a DAM system try to “mix together technologies.”

For that drink (which you might well order in multiples after a day of trying to get the technologies to play nicely together), Regli noted a bartender needs a Base Spirit like gin or bourbon, a citrus juice, a sweet addition like kirsch, and an herbal liqueur like Green Chartreuse.

Similarly, the Enterprise DAM cocktail contains the Base Technology (the DAM system), the work-in-progress juice (like Adobe Creative Suite, Apple Final Cut or a workflow management tool), a sweet user experience (through HTML5, targeted mobile apps, touchscreen interaction and/or a single UI) and an herbal complexity (such as information lifecycle management, a Web content management system, a social media platform or marketing automation).

Silos and Hangovers

Continuing the metaphor, Regli said the problem was that “most of us are still making a straight shot,” instead of a mixed concoction, and “waking up with a hangover.” That is, managing individual systems as silos.

As you contemplate how your asset management is being so easily replicated by your favorite bartender, Regli said that organizations should focus on who/how their constituent parts are coming together, and ask such questions as:

  • “Who in your organization is thinking of bringing this all together?”
  • “What are your marketing goals?”
  • “What is the ‘cocktail of technologies’ you want to get there?”


Mixologist Theresa Regli making everyone thirsty at the Henry Stewart DAM Conference New York

Not a Quick Fix

It’s not a quick fix, she said, any more than mixed drinks should be considered the fastest way to get drunk. To get everything to “taste” just right, Regli recommends:

  • Determine the “where-ness” and the “how-ness” of your brand.
  • Design an immersive, trans-media experience.
  • Ensure you have the metadata structure to support your process, and that it can support multiple technologies
  • And ensure the technology is designed and engineered for the future

For some companies, the right DAM mixology might be Web CMS with DAM, while for others it could be marketing automation plus DAM. Or Social Marketing and DAM, or DAM, Web CMS and Web Experience Management. Pick the system for the task, and make sure you understand which system is the “system of record” where the final results reside.

Regli noted that brand management these days is “not just one ingredient,” but involves overlapping systems that blend together nicely.

In other words, a good drink.