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PHOTO: Bruce Turner

Digital asset management (DAM) consists of the management tasks and technological functionality surrounding the ingestion, annotation, cataloguing, storage, retrieval and distribution of rich media digital assets such as photographs, animations, videos and graphics to facilitate and maximize their use and reuse in marketing and business operations. DAM must be seen as a critical component of the content and marketing technology (martech) ecosystem. We need DAM more than ever to act not only as the single source of truth for our content, but as the foundation upon which we build consumer engagement.

We see change everywhere: in the people, the processes and the technology with which we operate. Any successful DAM implementation requires more than just new technology, it requires a foundation for digital strategy. Using DAM effectively can deliver knowledge and measurable cost savings, time to market gains, and greater brand voice consistency — valuable and meaningful effects for your digital strategy foundation. But are you DAM ready?  

B.D: Before DAM Considerations

Even before you get started, have you considered the following:

  • What are your success criteria? — Spoiler alert … you need them.
  • Metrics and reporting — How and what will you measure?
  • Budget, procurement and legal considerations — If you don’t have a lawyer yet, go get one. And if you don’t have the money, go get some. Then go get some more money because you will need it to do DAM right.

You also need to be prepared for:

  • Buy-in and Executive Sponsorship? — DAM champions need to be found, groomed and appreciated — this is advocacy 101.
  • Project Planning — Please plan the DAM, because it takes time to do it.
    • Timeline / Charter / Risks / Product Roadmap
    • Roll-out Approach: Agile vs. Waterfall (remember: don’t go chasing waterfalls, I think you’re moving too fast). I would stick to what you are used to, and what works ... and that’s agile.

Lastly, make sure you did well at your requirements and discovery process, and finalized your DAM implementation partner selection.

Related Article: The Uncomfortable Truth About DAM

D.D. – During DAM Considerations

Congratulations! You bought a shiny new DAM ... now how do you get it work? Start with metadata and grow it from there. In order to execute, you need metadata to get going. A DAM system aims to improve workflow efficiency through the automation of tasks such as ingest, metadata creation and authenticated access. So make sure to work out your workflow, from ingestion to approval, and even migration of assets.

  • Rights Management
  • Digital Preservation / Archival
  • Governance (This is no longer optional. Do it.)
  • Hosting, Security, SSO

Are you assets under control? It is a business imperative that rights management becomes a core competency which will enable the optimization of your assets. Rights metadata has now become the key to success as effective metadata management helps manage complex distribution contracts and quickly exploits new consumer access channels and enables revenue optimization.

Related Article: Why Digital Asset Management Is Now Officially Martech

A.D. – After DAM Considerations

You've done it: you pushed the button, you launched the DAM. Your DAM is on! But did you forget to show and tell everyone?

Training is everything. Be sure to capture the one-off time costs of rolling out a new system: from initial installation through end user training, you should anticipate any time required of the people involved. Beyond that, you need to factor in the time it will take to populate the system with useful assets and metadata. Investments in people and time play critical roles in all manner of IT program transformations. In fact, users typically need training sessions and help guides just to understand how to manipulate all the controls to get their job done.

And, don’t forget to consider:

  • Internal Support
  • External support
  • Product upgrades
  • Change management / adoption plan

Communication and training are crucial for a digital strategy to be transparent to all stakeholders. Concise corporate policies also increase the confidence of external parties with relationships to the organization. Lastly, please remember resourcing … who is going to actually do all this great DAM stuff?

  • System Admin
  • Product Owner
  • IT resources

And, yes, Librarians are critical to the success of the DAM — so get one now.

Related Article: Librarians: Digital Marketing Needs Your Skills

Put the Effort in and Reap the DAM Rewards

DAM is strengthened when working as part of an enterprise digital transformation strategy, a strategy which encompasses the whole organization and which considers content management from multiple perspectives, including knowledge, rights and data. DAM will accelerate the conversation between business and consumer. 

Marketing, communications and operations people all need to deliver content when and where it's needed in today's competitive landscape. The ability to provide high-value, high-quality assets in a timely manner is no longer a “nice-to-have,” it is a must have — and DAM is what powers this. In other words, you need DAM. Do your preparation. When used effectively, a DAM can deliver knowledge and measurable cost savings, increase your time to market, and create a more consistent brand voice — all valuable and meaningful results for your organization.