graffiti which reads "Together, we create!" on a brick building
PHOTO: "My Life Through A Lens"

“Trust is hard to come by” — Eminem

Technology succeeds when it is used to transform data into information and then information into insight that can generate action and meaning. But in order for technology to create these benefits, businesses need to establish trust and transparency in every element of this process. Trust then acts as a foundation on which to build.

When colleagues work together, they build mutual trust, which aids in knowledge-sharing opportunities, lowering transaction costs, resolving conflicts and creating greater coherence. Trust sets expectations for positive future interactions and encourages participation with technology. 

When leaders communicate the meaning and purpose of why a technology tool is being used, they will build trust with those who use the technology. Trust in technology and the data flowing through its pipes will lead to greater participation, which will in turn increase information’s value and utility.

“Trust is built with consistency” – Lincoln Chafee

Data provides the fuel that allows processes and technology to be optimized. But if the data delivered does not match user expectations, trust may be lost. Information, intellectual property and content are critical to business operations. They need to be managed at all points of a digital life cycle. At a time of accelerating data creation and complexity, trust and certainty that data is accurate and usable is paramount. Leveraging meaningful metadata in contextualizing, categorizing and accounting for data provides the best chance to establish trust and increase its return on investment. A successful digital experience for users will then be defined by their ability to identify, discover, and experience an organization’s brand just as the organization has intended.

Related Article: What Is Explainable AI?

The Study of Diplomatics

Archival studies include lessons on “diplomatics,” the critical analysis of documents. The Society of American Archivists defines diplomatics as, “The study of the creation, form, and transmission of records, and their relationship to the facts represented in them and to their creator, in order to identify, evaluate, and communicate their nature and authenticity.” Arguably the greatest modern proponent of Diplomatics is Luciana Duranti, who reminds us to consider “the persons, the concepts of function, competence, and responsibility” when considering digital assets and trust, from creation to distribution.

Anyone working in DAM should also be mindful of these factors as we study our digital workflows, as we design our metadata models, and we govern our DAM for the present and for the future. 

Trust in DAM

“Transparency builds trust” – Denise Morrison

Integrity of information means it can be trusted as authentic and current. When assets are allowed to move freely, the chain of custody can be lost, undermining trust that the information is authentic. By establishing rules around originality and custodianship, or document ownership, assets can be relied upon as the “single source of truth.” If we define an asset as something that has value to the organization, then it is clear we should place controls on access to information assets. If no controls or insufficient controls are in place, the consequences can be embarrassing and costly. Possible outcomes may include damage to a company's reputation or loss of trust of clients or consumers.

Metadata is a strategic imperative in the endeavor to effectively manage a company’s knowledge. The success of any content-related strategy requires the implementation of a holistic metadata schema that is supported by technology, people and process. Metadata increases the return on investment of a content system by unlocking the potential to ingest, discover, share and distribute assets. Metadata helps us find the facts needed to establish that truth.

Governance is the structure around how organizations manage content creation, use, and distribution and plays a critical part to developing trust. Ultimately, governance is the structure enabling content stewardship, beginning with metadata and workflow strategy, policy development, and more, and technology solutions to serve the creation, use, and distribution of content. Content does not emerge fully formed into the world. It is the product of people working with technology in the execution of a process … the transparency needed for the DAM to be successful.

Related Article: Losing Sleep Over Your Lack of Digital Policies? You Should Be

With DAM Comes Great Responsibility

The struggle to manage content within the digital world is as complex as the digital workflows underpinning the efforts. Trust provides the link that allows processes and technology to be optimized, and hopefully where learning and intelligence may begin. 

Having a DAM is a step in the right direction to gaining operational and intellectual control of your digital assets. DAM brings with it great responsibility for how the organization’s assets will be efficiently and effectively managed in its daily operations. DAM as a single source of truth in the organization helps quantify the value of digital assets, through their discovery, use and reuse in daily operations. Trust may be built through effective metadata and trust may be earned through good governance — your DAM depends upon it.