It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity” — Kofi Annan

One of DAM's distinguishing qualities it that it can serve as the single source of truth for rich media content across publications, broadcast, social media channels and geographies. In today’s global economy, the ability to leverage content wherever it may be generated is critical to growth, efficiency and even risk management. When applied as an integrated strategy, DAM technologies and processes can form the foundation for communication and content sharing between internal departments, external suppliers and customers across borders.

The global marketplace is driving DAM growth trends due to:

  1. Proliferation of media types and channels
  2. Demand for product releases everywhere globally, and in every way
  3. Shrinking product lifecycles and time to market
  4. Compliance — content is connected and DAM maintains those connections

Global DAM Issues

Globalization is not a monolithic force but an evolving set of consequences – some good, some bad and some intended. It is the new reality” — John B. Larson

Most organizations doing business in multiple markets face challenges in managing information. A single policy for content storage, security, retention and rights management no longer suffices. Each market may have its own set of requirements while also needing to collaborate with others. 

In addition, the lifecycle of digital content may be altered from traditional use cases as new regions are addressed. This requires an understanding — from inception — of content use possibilities so that metadata is designed to support a broad range of use cases. While the ability to leverage content across markets improves its ROI, it also increases its risk profile. To mitigate these risks, organizations must put in place quality controls as well as rights management processes.

Along with technical considerations, organizations must take into account language and culture differences between markets. What is a “boot” in one country is certainly not a “boot” (aka “car trunk”) in another. Similarly, a “jumper” is not always a “jumper” … that is, a comfortable sweater. Related issues like the need to translate and localize content for particular markets only adds to the complexity of a global operation. Vocabularies will evolve over time to stay relevant, which requires processes to manage this change. In a global context, new terminology may add to assets as well as synonyms and/or slang terms. Think “globally” and act “globally” is the best offensive strategy.

Governance is Good

Globalization means standardization” — Arundhati Roy

Applying an effective layer of governance and change management effectively future-proofs the DAM ecosystem. Governance helps define the rules of the DAM program and acts as the framework that ensures goals are reached at each stage of the initiative, from implementation to cruising-level two, five, 10 plus years in. The governance structure establishes the strategic, operational and technical decision-making processes that ensure the DAM program excels in its mission.

Establishing formalized operating metrics at the outset of the project will ensure success of implementation and provide a mechanism for tracking use. Governance begins with developing a project charter, working committee, and timelines, and continues as an ongoing practice to deliver ROI, innovation and collaboration. Governance oversees the DAM program elements like the core metadata standard, user workflows and general practices that will be carried out on an ongoing basis. DAM governance provides strategic leadership, establishes priorities and policies, and is accountable and transparent to the organization.

Connections, Context, Content

Information Technology has been one of the leading drivers of globalization, and it may also become one of its major victims” — Evgeny Morozov

Now more than ever, we live in a connected world. And within marketing operations, DAM can serve as the core of marketing automation and production for a global content lifecycle. Consistent messaging drives brand loyalty and it is important to define their purpose and function.

  1. What are your assets?
  2. Where are your assets?
  3. What are you trying to do with them?
  4. When will you need to access (identify, retrieve, distribute) them?

Building a metadata schema that serves these answers and includes the user, the content creators, the editors, the distributors adds value to digital assets and increases their use into the future to support ongoing global strategies.

Creative Workflows

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing” — W. Edwards Deming

Globalization brings with it the complexity of managing content across a distributed workforce. The ability to identify, capture and ingest assets within a DAM system to facilitate access to multiple locations requires coordination and a formalized workflow process. Strategically defining workflow offers the opportunity to build better relationships among internal teams and partners across regions. 

To determine how a global DAM will achieve stated goals, think about how and when digital assets are created and modified, how they move through the process of distribution and finally how they will be stored and retrieved later. These factors will drive the processes that support the DAM.

The DAM Axis

As organizations grow in size, evolve and take on additional global market opportunities, change will be the constant for the people, processes and technology supporting business and marketing operations. DAM plays a critical role in this change serving as the single source of truth for digital assets, and as the center of global marketing operations management. Metadata, workflow, technology and cultural context all effect global operations and must be addressed in the DAM. For many large organizations, managing global content does not have to be a burden, but rather an opportunity to optimize the asset lifecycle. DAM can be the axis upon which your content is managed, for one and for all.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by  Rob Swystun