Someone asked me about this question and remembered I wrote about this briefly in an earlier blog post, but wanted me to ellaborate. So here is blog post to explain it.
Let us say one group or department is the original requester of a DAM solution within an organization. Likely this same department becomes the business owner, stakeholder and/or sponsor of the DAM solution. This same department or group pays to administer and maintain the DAM. They might pay for any monthly/quarterly/annual licensing fees and/or service level agreements (SLA) for the DAM solution as well. Now let us say other departments see the value in using the DAM to keep the organization’s branding, graphics, photographs, publications, presentations, reports, video or other intellectual property (IP). The DAM gets more user adoption by more departments. Now who pays for the DAM within this organization?
Often, what occurs is the original requester, sponsor or stakeholder continues paying for the DAM solution. Because of this, they might say “Wait, I am paying out of my department’s budget for other departments to benefit from this solution as well? What’s in for me? Why should I pay for the DAM when the entire organization uses it?”
Consider this idea “Why am I the only one paying for it? If we share the DAM, share the cost.”
Enter the idea of chargeback or simply charging the department who requests to acquire/create/use something with the actual expense in resources used by refunding it. This idea is likely a change for many companies in how they deal with budgets and how departments are accountable for the resources they use. This also keeps a department which may overtax another department’s resources in check. So, with this idea every department or group has their own budget as usual, but since every DAM user should have a unique login (right?) and possible different collections of assets they can access or share, why not split the total cost of these expenses based on actual usage of the DAM solution per department? Charge each department based on usage of the DAM solution.
If one department uses the DAM more than another department by a measurable amount or percentage, should they pay a larger share of the cost each month/quarter/year? Should each department be able to share this cost evenly or should each department pay for what they use based on a percentage? Or have one department pay for it all?
How do you measure usage of the DAM? With usage reports from the DAM which could list:
- Who are the DAM users (by individual login) accessed the DAM? (keeping individual user accountability)
- Who has the most active DAM users within a given period of time?
- Who wants/needs/asks for the most time in administration, maintenance, support and/or training?
- When did they access the DAM? (keeping time accountability)
- How often did those users or group of users access the DAM? (time based usage)
- How long did they access the DAM over a period of time? (number of minutes or hours)
- How much was downloaded/exported from the DAM? (by the number of assets and/or file size if bandwidth is measured)
- How much was uploaded/imported to the DAM? (by the number of assets and/or if bandwidth is measured)
I would recommend looking what you are paying for internally and externally to gauge what are the costs of doing business.
Some DAM vendors charge for bandwidth (how many GB is uploaded/downloaded to/from DAM within a given period). Some don’t.
Server space costs money regardless of whether it under your own IT department’s domain, a vendor’s domain or in the cloud. Who is using the storage space?
Some DAM vendors charge per DAM login or per concurrent user. Some DAM systems limit how many users you can have or the total users at one time. Can your organization add/remove DAM users without the vendor’s help?
How much does it cost to administer, support, maintain a DAM and train the DAM users? How much does it cost in errors and problems when you don’t?
Why should I pay for the DAM when the entire organization uses it?
Are these costs of doing business worth sharing as you share business tools such as a DAM solution?