A DAM is an investment. What is an organization gaining from the implementation and utilization of a DAM? Are you getting a continued return on your investment? If you do not know, you are probably not getting much from your DAM right now or you may not be using it much either. This can be fixed.
A DAM is made to yield ROI if used properly. The benefits may be a combination of both hard costs and soft costs.
Realistically, if you have a DAM, you have invested time and money into it. You obviously want to get your money’s worth on a regular basis, right? Originally, one group or one department may have needing a DAM when you first got it. If more people knew what DAM could do for them, they would want to use it too! That is a GOOD thing (We will talk about budgets and sharing the costs later). Sharing the use of the DAM across departments and groups can bring more ROI as long as you have some governance behind this ‘spreading the wealth’ with the DAM.
About that governance part, you do want some control over who does what with the DAM because the last thing you want to happen is a free for all nor dumping ground for everyone’s garbage with no order nor metadata. That is a very bad thing. It is worse than ‘garbage in, garbage out‘. In the case of a DAM, it is often ‘garbage in and garbage stays in‘. This is because people rarely revisit the metadata of assets once it has been imported to the DAM and the simple lack of metadata makes finding assets much, much harder. Your DAM is only as good as its metadata.
Beyond content, file type and versioning in a DAM, an asset is an assets is an asset. You need to be able to find any asset quickly. If that is not happening, improve the DAM’s metadata and/or search functions to yield quicker and more accurate results.
All of the people able to upload to the DAM (aka power users) should be well trained, disciplined and methodical. Your workflow with the DAM should require this. Training and ongoing support should encourage this. As discussed in an earlier blog post, documentation can enlighten when it is written properly, made readily available and updated as needed. Any user must understand that metadata is what is used to search for assets. Without this, users are not going to be happy when trying to find specific assets.
Your organization must determine who should access what assets in the DAM. Many DAM solutions can be set up to have multiple collections of assets. Each of these collections can have assigned users and roles (a set of users). Your organization can deem whether to give permission to specific users to access specific collections in the DAM. With the idea of controlling permissions, you can add more assets and share them accordingly.
If you really look at what assets are in the DAM and what assets could be added to the DAM for use throughout departments, it is rare to see only a select few individuals needing access to these assets. If only a few people need to see these assets, that is often called a silo unless there are legitimate security or confidentiality reaons. The more people know what assets are there and where to readily access them, the more likely these assets will be used, reused and/or repurposed. The more assets are used, reused and/or repurposed from the DAM, the more ROI you get. Build workflows to determine what should occur with these assets.
If you share assets throughout the organization, you could share the costs of the DAM throughout the different departments which use the system. How you divide the costs is up to you to decide, whether it is by:
- Monitoring who uses the DAM the most
- Who stores the most in the DAM
- Dividing the costs per user
- Dividing the costs equally among all groups
Carl Pritchard said “Knowledge is Power – Shared”(sm)
A DAM is all about sharing assets among users. These assets are often institutional knowledge and/or intellectual property which the organization has created and/or acquired. Share these assets more widely within your organization and you have brought more ROI to both the DAM and more importantly, your assets.
This is the case unless you like silos. Do you hide assets in the DAM and plan to keep them there for posterity? Do you want different groups creating the same asset over and over again? Do you like inconsistency or lack of continuity within your organization?
Do not start the process of finding ways to squeeze out more ROI from a DAM while wearing blinders. Explore all the options first. Then, you can narrow the options down to what brings out the most value. You may find that sharing assets via a DAM with most of the organization is a good idea.
Knowledge is Power - Shared (sm) is a registered Service Mark of Carl Pritchard of Pritchard Management Associates.
February 2, 2009 at 12:12 PM
Amen and amen. What’s compelling about your thoughts on DAM is that you’re bringing out ways to make the “power” of that knowledge even more authoritative. If you can provide BOTH the thinking AND the rationale behind the thinking (which is often borne out of metadata), you’re doing the user twice (or more) the service.
December 14, 2011 at 8:18 AM
Jim Harris wrote You Only Get A Return From Something You Actually Invest In How true it is if you invest in the people, process and technology to manage this data/information/knowledge.
February 5, 2012 at 1:29 PM
Here is the audio podcast version of How can I bring more ROI to our DAM?