happy sloth in a tree
PHOTO: Javier Mazzeo

A good digital asset management (DAM) program can be an epic undertaking. It can take years to get to the level of digital transformation that might only exist as a twinkle in your eye right now. Half the battle in life is having a good attitude and believing “I can do this,” even when your brain is screaming, “No, I can't!” 

It all begins with a good attitude and with that first step. Instead of trying to climb the whole mountain in one day, I’d like to offer some tips and tricks to prepare you for the long hike ahead: 

  1. Solve one problem really well.
  2. Land and expand.
  3. Have a DAM good team.

Solve One Problem Really Well

Think of DAM as a problem-solving program. In software development, in math, in life, there are always multiple ways to go about solving a specific problem. With DAM, your problems are your use-cases. You are always shooting for the most simple, straightforward way to solve this problem — and this is where technology sometimes gets in the way. Perhaps something isn’t as simple as it needs to be. Sometimes this is your internal process, sometimes it’s the software and sometimes it’s meeting somewhere in the middle. 

The momentum from solving one really big problem can ignite a spark for your team. You start to wonder, “What else can we do?”

An entire DAM program can be a series of iterative, problem-solving projects focused on specific use-cases and specifics teams. Once one big problem is solved, you’ll long to tackle the next one. Maybe one of the biggest bottlenecks in your organization is ingesting vendor-supplied imagery for your ecommerce site from thousands of suppliers across the globe. This is a problem that can be automated and tackled with DAM process and streamlined workflows. 

A single successful DAM project within a larger DAM program instills confidence from others that your DAM practice can scale to the larger enterprise if you take it one step at a time.

Takeaway: Have a vision for what DAM can do in the long term, but execute very specific DAM projects in manageable chunks — and execute them very well.

Related Article: 12 Months of Digital Asset Management Projects

Land and Expand

You may be starting (or re-kindling) your DAM program from a small team or department. You don’t have to solve all the problems in one day. A manageable way to start on your DAM journey is this philosophy of “land and expand.” Just as you may solve one problem today, you can also start with one team, one use-case or one single department. If you’re looking to onboard 10 global offices across departments and teams in one swoop, you leave open a lot of potential for things to get missed. It’s not impossible, but the more sophisticated and complex you make your initial go at DAM, the more opportunities for failure. 

There is also this myth that one key DAM person can’t show proof of concept and get buy-in from the larger organization. Of course you can’t do everything on your own, but you can influence the strategy greatly with enthusiasm, knowledge of best practice, and getting the right people to understand efficiencies gained and problems solved. So one passionate DAM project champion can potentially have a much greater influence on an entire organization’s DAM strategy than one may initially think. 

Remember, your passion as a champion of DAM and digital transformation, coupled with attention to individual use-cases and feedback from teams can be contagious (in a good way). So make it a point to sit with other teams on a regular basis to identify their needs and gather their feedback, because this is the qualitative data you need to solve your DAM problems.

Takeaway: The takeaway here is to smart small and grow organically. By this, I mean to use word of mouth and evangelize the successful DAM projects to the larger organization. Communication is key. Tell others about your DAM and spread the good word. Finally, show a successful proof of concept with a smaller team first before taking it to the entire enterprise.

Related Article: Spring Shopping for a DAM System

Have a DAM Good Team

This one may seem obvious, but how good is your DAM team? What other key people can you bring in who you know are passionate and want to impact positive change in your organization’s processes and daily work? We discussed the impact one DAM champion can have — now think if you have a team of them.

Spend some time identifying people who can allocate time to your DAM program. These people can be creative problem-solvers. They can be internal technical resources. They can be creative directors. You never know exactly what role these people may be coming from which is why communication of your DAM program is so crucial. When the word gets out, some of these people may even come to you. But if you don't want to wait, track them down. Use your company directory or LinkedIn. Look at your company’s org. charts. Don’t be afraid to drop by their desk, send a cold email or invite them to a meeting. Just make sure when you do, you’re message is concise and clear, that they understand the purpose of your DAM initiative, and what you’re asking from them in terms of level of commitment. 

Takeaway: A DAM good DAM team goes a long way. Even if it’s just a team of two or three, having a shared vision for what could be inspires one another and enables you to execute on more long-term DAM strategies within your organization. 

Related Article: Closing the DAM Expectation Gap

Climb the DAM Mountain

I know you are mapping out many future moves in your strategic roadmap for DAM, and you’ve got a long list of daily DAM activities to do — but don’t get bogged down in the minutia without looking at the larger strategy for your DAM program first.

Use these three key concepts as a compass for executing the strategic aspect of your DAM program today.