Every DAM solution available has its strengths and weaknesses, but the best solutions are fully scalable and flexible in order to meet business needs. If you can not find a DAM solution that does what you need it to, customize the best DAM solution you can find to mean those business needs.
In speaking with DAM professionals at a few past venues, I have encountered organizations that literally accumulate DAM systems. Some have 3 DAM solutions. Others has 5 DAM solutions. One even has over 50 separate DAM solutions. So, I ask the obvious question which no one seems to want to ask for some odd reason, “Why do you have so many DAM solutions within the same organization?”
The replies I typically get include:
“Our departments don’t like to share.” (Should have learned how to share in Kindergarten)
“Different budgets, different DAMs.” (Likely weak and wasteful reason to inflate budgets across the organization)
“Well, some are old DAM solutions and some really old DAM solutions, but we have never bothered to upgrade nor consolidate any of them.”
“Each solution serves a different group and different purpose.” (Should learn how to use a DAM)
So I ask again, WHY?
You work for the same organization. Start acting like it. Share. Stop building silos. Stop hoarding piles of DAM solutions. Start consolidating that pile of DAM solutions.
If you do not like working together, resolve that issue first. Work together and adapt. If you can not, there is a door and retirement is available, if needed.
If your a stakeholder or sponsor in any of these organizations, demand a full report on each and every DAM solution within the organization including the:
- Audit every DAM system within the organization (Accountability is not just for Finance, but your digital assets and data as well.)
- Exact purpose of each DAM (No, they are not all supposed to have exactly the same purpose. Otherwise, why do you have multiple DAM systems?)
- Number of assets in each DAM (We do have some assets in there, right?)
- Type of assets in each DAM (How many still image collections do you have? What about Video? Audio? Graphics? Other media?)
- Number of users for each system (better not have one login used by all users, said Mr. Security and Mrs. Compliance. Unique logins for every user or you are just cheating yourselves out of valuable user data)
- Groups or department(s) which use each DAM (Why are the rest not sharing a DAM solution with proper permissions to what each role, group and/or department needs to see and do with a DAM?)
- Activity logs (uploads, downloads, etc) for the past year (These solutions are actively being used, right? Prove it.)
- Documentation from the day someone signed off to acquire the DAM system to how much it costs to run today. (Finances still matter and so does responsibility. Who is responsible for your organization’s DAM system?)
If you have too many DAM solutions, assign a team to plan to consolidate the solutions to a minimum (preferably around one DAM solution, but definitely no more than the fingers on one hand if they each have a real, viable reason to exist.) There will likely be some whining at first, but this is possible to do. The idea is not simply cost cutting, but requiring groups to use Digital Asset Management as intended. No additional dumping grounds. No additional silos. If the DAM can support collections, then role-based permissions can restrict who can see what collections (folders) and assets within those collections. Remapping of metadata will likely be needed between DAM solutions (if metadata even exists for the assets in each of those systems). There is no logical reason why any organization, regardless of their size nor scope along with their assets, would need to use, maintain nor pay for 50 DAM solutions. Well…aside from complacency. They must love silos because they use a tool (DAM) that is meant to break them down, but instead created more silos by acquiring more separate DAM solutions. FAIL.
How many DAM solutions does your organization have?