Some people believe the DAM will magically be adopted by everyone who is involved and expect everyone to love the changes instantly, especially if it makes sense to management to have a DAM. If it were only that simple. A DAM is rarely a set it and forget it solution. A DAM can grow with the organization, but the assets don’t automagically get uploaded and used. That takes user involvement. Change in many places is often met with the excuse “we’ve always done it this old way and it works. So why change now?”
Here are a few things to consider regarding user adoption:
It is a change in mindset to begin using a DAM as a centralized repository for assets which can be searched thoroughly instead of using any prior asset storage methods. Why do I need a DAM? This involves explaining to users exactly how and why the DAM will make their lives and work easier.
It is a change in workflow to use a DAM. In order to change the workflow to use a DAM, the users pre-DAM workflows first need to be understood and documented for each role by interviewing people who will potentially use the DAM in the future. Genuinely ask users for their assistance and feedback on a regular basis. Ask them to be open, but respectful with their comments/suggestions, use candor and discuss the workflow thoroughly from beginning to end. Ask senior employees as well as junior employees because their perspectives may vary as well as their ideas for improvement. Listen to the critics you interview with a grain of salt and see what valid points they make. You may find that mind sets may be stronger with some people than others. Early user involvement will help user adoption. This is particularly true if the DAM and its workflows directly help the users in their daily operations and resolves some of their previous workflow issues. If users see the DAM and the new workflows using the DAM as beneficial and easier in the long run than what they used to do in their previous workflows, user adoption will occur.
- What are their current issues with the workflow without a DAM?
- How do they search and find assets without a DAM?
- How long does it take them?
- Can they find what they are looking for most of the time?
- Does everyone understand their role in the workflow?
- Do they have any ideas on what could be done to improve the workflow?
- What are the workflow variables? How can they be minimized or handled better?
- What is missing?
How will the DAM be rolled out to users? Will it be rolled out by:
- User/organizational role
Make sure to have a lot of patience. User adoption, acceptance and understanding will not happen overnight.
Users will need some training depending on their role and involvement with the DAM. No one will come out of the womb with this knowledge, but try to keep it simple. If you need a software engineering degree to use the DAM, you might need to have some engineers make it easier to use. Hopefully, the DAM has an easy-to-use GUI (Graphical user interface).
Threats of firing employees who do not “accept” generally do not go over very well and are rarely fruitful. Some employees may have great difficulty changing their workflow and if they clearly “don’t get it” after numerous training attempts and some time to adjust to the changes, they may need to be reassigned to something else or possibly dismissed if they can not perform the new workflow tasks.
Have some type of support for the DAM users and the workflow in person as well as documented in writing. This can include a service level agreement from the DAM vendor, but an administrator who knows the organization and workflows around how the DAM is used is recommended. Having step-by-step instructions with screen shots can help the documentation. Any documentation should be kept up-to-date whenever the organization and workflow evolves.
What is the best use the skills and institutional knowledge of the users and roles in the new workflow with a DAM? What will need to change and what will remain the same for each user/organizational role?
How will metadata be acquired or created for assets to be uploaded/imported to the DAM?
If you are missing some people with a particular set of skills for this new workflow, some people may need additional training or hire some with these new talents. This may include skills to deal with metadata, taxonomy and various scripting to automate parts of the workflow when possible.
Having a contest to help name the DAM may help give users an increased sense of ownership. Eventually, many of the assets the users create, acquire or use on a daily basis may be uploaded to the DAM. The more the organization recognizes the DAM as a resource where users know they can find what they need, the quicker the user adoption will often occur.
As more assets get uploaded to the DAM, promote the existence of assets available in the DAM to users and potential users to increase awareness. This will build the DAM as known resource which will increase in popularity and increase user adoption.
What are you doing to increase user adoption?