five leaves in hand, symbolizing the changes of the seasons
PHOTO: Providence Doucet

“What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for? A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw — that it finally forces us to grow. A year we finally accept the need for change.” – Leslie Dwight

2020 has been a remarkable year, fraught with disruption. Even the best strategies and plans have faced challenges due to economic changes and other external forces. The negative impacts, such as business closings, market disruption, misinformation and more will hamper business growth and prosperity for decades. Yet we've also seen positive impacts, such as closer connections with customers, enhanced models for selling direct to consumers, and growth of online sharing and capturing of data.

Change is everywhere: in the people, the processes and the technology with which we operate. But some of us in the DAM world have become so busy with the proliferation of content and its associated processes that we haven't yet responded. We need to recognize the opportunity for change here, an opportunity for digital asset management (DAM) to be seen as a critical component of the content and marketing technology ecosystem. We need DAM more than ever to not only be the single source of truth for our content, but the foundation upon which we build consumer engagement. The good news is that more than ever, now is the time to change.

The DAM Opportunity Ahead

Why do we change?

  • We change to advance forward.
  • We change to make ourselves stronger.
  • Without change, there would be no improvements.

The opportunity in front of us is clear: we can invest in this effort and be part of the positive power of change. The benefits of DAM are within reach. Dedicate the investment — the effort — into your people, processes and technology and work hard to make the complex simple.

The demand to deliver successful and sustainable business outcomes with DAM systems often collides with transitioning business models within marketing operations, creative services, IT or the enterprise as a whole. So take a hard look at the marketing and business operations and technology consumption with an eye toward optimizing processes, reducing time to market for marketing materials, and improving consumer engagement and personalization with better data capture and analysis.

DAM needs to work within an effective transformational business strategy that involves the whole enterprise if we are to respond quickly to these expectations. Whether you view digital transformation as technology, customer engagement, or marketing and sales, intelligent operations coordinate these efforts towards a unified goal. DAM is strengthened when working as part of an enterprise digital transformation strategy, which considers content management from multiple perspectives, including knowledge, rights and data. Using DAM effectively can deliver knowledge and measurable cost savings, deliver time to market gains, and deliver greater brand voice consistency — valuable and meaningful effects for your digital strategy foundation.

Related Article: DAM Governance Practices for the Long Haul

Data

Data is growing and growing in complexity. Organizations need to make clear the measures they are taking to safeguard it, in order to build trust and confidence. The best way to manage your data is with the rigorous application, and the power of metadata. It is the best way to protect and defend digital assets from content clutter and mismanagement. Data also requires time, energy and resources to identify, define and organize assets for discovery. Access is everything. Classification is meaningful. And, action is needed now for the volume of digital assets on our desktops, storage drives, shared drives, collaborative spaces and content repositories throughout the corporate structures created to manage content.

People

Technology is decidedly human. In the face of rapid workforce change, learn how to unlock value from your greatest asset — your people. Think about the digital experience for users and ensure they identify, discover and experience the brand the way it was intended. Integrity of information in this case means it is trusted as authentic and current. If we define an asset as something that has value to the organization, then clearly we should place controls on access. 

Process

You, and no one more than you, know your assets and what they can do for you. Defining a strong digital strategy involves collaborating with those who best know the systems and other resources needed to release your assets’ potential. Digital assets are needed for many different reasons in your transformative strategy. As long as change exists in your business, your strategy will change. It is never really “finished.” Part of  preparing for this is ensuring your solution is flexible and well governed. Successful collaboration starts by defining what your customers and business want to do with digital assets and then creating the plan to achieve it. After that, communicating how your assets are used to drive business will inspire others, from IT staff to all users present and future, who seek to innovate them for future use; it’s access in action.

Related Article: What Does DAM Do?

What Future Are You Working Towards?

It is difficult to predict the future accurately and what disruption might lie ahead, but you certainly can shape it, if you’re willing to think and act differently and be part of the change. We need DAM to work within an effective transformational business strategy that involves the enterprise. DAM is strengthened when working as part of an enterprise digital transformation strategy, which considers content management from multiple perspectives, including knowledge, rights and data. DAM will accelerate the conversation between business and consumer. In order to remain competitive and responsive to future disruption, your company’s marketing, communications and operations teams need to deliver content when and where it’s needed.

What future world are you working towards? For businesses to evolve, they will need to move from just protecting what they have today, to creating the organization they need to become. Businesses across all industries have come to rely on digital information to drive market penetration and profitable growth. As business challenges become more complex and require collaboration and cooperation from contributors across the enterprise, the practice of effective change is needed more than ever.