Another DAM Blog

Blog about Digital Asset Management


Where can I find a DAM mentor?

During one of my presentations at a recent Digital Asset Management (DAM) conference, the audience made a request for a DAM mentorship program. A recent poll shows growing interest in such a program and some of you have already contacted me about this program. I welcome others to contact me about being mentored (being a mentee). If you have experience as a DAM professional (preferably at all levels of experience listed in my earlier blog post) and are also interested in being a mentor, let me know.

If you are awaiting the internship program, there are several major universities in the US who have contacted me since my post about career planning and mentioned they are already (or are about to start) offering DAM courses and interested in an internship program for their students. There is work being done toward spreading the word online as well as at several DAM conferences about these educational programs. Details coming soon.

There are not enough mentors today (in most fields for that matter), so I have made it one of my goals to start this DAM mentor program and remain vendor agnostic.

When will this start? Beginning in January 2010, I will begin offering a DAM mentoring program online on periodic basis (probably twice per month). There is no obligation to meet twice a month. You may choose to participate as often as the conversations are scheduled.

How and where will this mentor program start? Since geography and time zones are what really separates us today, this program will begin as a live voice conversation online (via VOIP) and any visuals can be shared (via screen sharing software). Mentoring can be done as a group or individually. In the future, we will explore in-person conversations, but those are likely to be even more limited in time and location.

What time and day would these online conversations happen? It all depends on your time zone and schedule. We are not bound by any geographic limitations nor travel necessary.

In what language? Individuals in the US and Europe have already contacted me about this and I welcome others globally as long as they speak fluent English.

Who can be a DAM mentee? Any individual working professionally toward the implementation of a DAM solution within an organization. This can also include individuals who already work with a DAM solution within an organization and who want to have a regular conversation about DAM. This is not about DAM for individual use, but about DAM for use within an organization (or even across an organization).

How much will this cost? Free. It will only cost you time for the conversation. I am donating my time and using free software (legally downloaded) to have these mentor/mentee conversations. Think of it as a DAM professional giving back to the DAM community to enrich the knowledge others. As long as the mentee is willing to learn and ask questions, I am willing to give guidance and/or suggestions. It is your responsibility what you do with the guidance or suggestions given. I assume not responsibility for (a) any hurt feelings (shoulder to cry on not included), (b) any action taken based on my guidance, (c) my suggestions and/or (d) any bruised egos. I will guide you as if I were in your shoes, based on the information you provide.

What about the mentee’s identity and affiliation to an organization? The mentee’s identity and affiliation is kept confidential unless they want to reveal it themselves. I will continue to blog about commonly encountered questions about DAM (which you can read about on this blog) in future posts without any organization(s) names nor the names of any individuals listed. Chances are you are not the first to ask those DAM questions.

Interested in being a DAM mentee?

  1. Contact me directly
  2. Tell me where in the world you are located (in order to find a suitable time within your schedule and my schedule).
  3. Note what topics you would like to discuss so I can possibly sync them with others wanting to discuss the same topic in a group discussion. If you need this to be an individual discussion, please specify.
  4. I will send you details on when we can have a live periodic conversation and some free software tools to do so.

Where can you find your DAM mentor?


What are the levels of DAM experience?

Before I mention DAM jobs descriptions themselves, many of these positions require experience, but what are the levels of experience in Digital Asset Management? How do you qualify the experience or even rank experience with DAM?

There are several levels of DAM experience from basic (1) to increasing in complexity (7). These levels include:

  1. Simple DAM user (this is often the majority of DAM users)
  2. Power user(aka Super users)
  3. Practitionein DAM Operations
  4. DAM Administrator
    • Possibly network maintenance
    • Possibly maintaining servers
    • Maintaining database(s)
    • Working with API and Web Services
    • Running reports from DAM
  5. Configuration
    • Understanding the relationship of DAM system options, implications of the decisions made and configuring those system options to best suit business/workflow needs
    • Testing configurations to make sure they work the way they are intended to
    • Setting up roles
    • Setting permissions per role
    • Setting users within those roles
  6. Implementation
  7. Customization
    • Identify and understand what is missing from the system which your organization may need
    • Explaining what is missing from the system with written documentation
    • Explaining the value of adding the customization since it will cost extra (time and/or money)
    • Drafting the vision of what the customization may look like and how it could work with a written end result.
    • Possibly coding the solution
    • Thorough testing of solution

Ultimately, the best would be to have experience in all of  these hands-on experience at one point or another. If this is not an option, try to experience the most number of levels available. This way, you have experienced what it is like to do this work, know what is involved and ultimately train others in the future on how to do this work more efficiently and effectively. As a Digital Asset Manager, I have experienced all listed above at some point or another over the years. This helps me when I need to write documentation for a specific role (audience) or when I give training so I know what is involved in what that user needs to do with the DAM. I try to not over complicate any explanation to any particular person unless they really need more detail, so I try to keep information at a high enough level to minimize confusion.

Now, if you want to discern between individuals who have similar experience in these roles, then start by asking:

  • How many different DAM solutions have they worked with?
  • How many different organizations using DAM solutions have they worked on?
  • How long did they use the DAM and how often?
  • How many DAM solutions were successfully implemented and are still in use today?
  • How many users does the DAM solution serve?
  • How many assets are managed?
  • How do they measure ROI using DAM?

You could use these questions in a DAM job interview as well. What levels of experience do you have with DAM?

There is plenty to learn.


How do I plan for a career in DAM?

Most of us did not go to college nor university knowing we would be working on Digital Asset Management (DAM) today. Many might even say ‘DAM picked me. I did not pick to work on DAM.’ Those of us who are working on DAM come from diverse career backgrounds, which may include:

  • Archives and records management
  • Business Management
  • Design
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Film
  • History
  • Journalism
  • Library Science
  • Marketing
  • Photography
  • Project Management
  • Sales
  • Video
  • And many other career paths

Is a career in DAM really planned at all? It may be fair to say that at the time of this blog post and according to a recent poll, most people did not plan on a career in DAM, but rather volunteered for it or were volunteered for it. Either way, that is okay. Allow me to explain why…

  1. DAM is a growing field
  2. Growth in DAM means growth in careers which manage information  (Has your organization stopped accumulating digital assets? This is not likely to happen anytime soon)
  3. DAM has the ability to measure growth and progress within an organization, which is very lucrative in any business, as long as you know exactly what is being measured
  4. Part of running a DAM can lead to better record keeping and Rights Management which reduces liability within the organization (aka not getting sued for unauthorized use)
  5. There are more and more DAM jobs waiting to be filled
  6. There are not enough DAM professionals available with the needed experience, some even say there is a shortage of qualified individuals
  7. More education about DAM is coming soon to help reduce this shortage and further the knowledge of people who find themselves newly involved in DAM
  8. DAM internships and mentorship program are now available in order to share the knowledge and hands-on experience needed
  9. It takes a certain type of individual to work on DAM and not everyone can do this type of work. You may be that person and not realize it. Do not expect overnight change, but rather baby steps of progress
  10. Some organizations are still scratching their heads wondering why there is a low adoption of their systems, while their own people don’t understand how to use them and there is no one to help them internally. As soon as it dawns on them, they will begin seeing the value of a DAM professional who can assist them within their organization whether it is an internal resource who knows their processes (is that you?) and/or an external resource (such as a consultant) if you are not sure where to start or how to move forward in a phased approach. Yes, I will be blogging about the phases of DAM too.

There are courses available in DAM from:

  • CMSWatch (also offered by AIIM) offer an online certificate education course on the Fundamentals of Digital Asset Management Technologies
  • King’s College London to offer a Master of Arts in Digital Asset Management (MADAM) in late 2010. This is being offered not because we needed more acronyms in this field, but because we need more education about DAM.
  • Tutorials offered before and after each Henry Stewart DAM Conference held in the USA and Europe
  • More events and workshops for DAM users are coming soon
  • Internships are now available
  • Mentorship program has been established for professionals.

Of course, DAM vendors offer documentation and support for their specific DAM systems, but it is not enough. Who will drive the adoption, implementation, operations, support and workflow of the DAM within your organization? Enter the DAM Professional.

Anyone can supplement their DAM education and experience with:

  • Books (take note of their publish dates though because technology changes rapidly)
  • Blogs (not just this one)
  • DAM Foundation (the author of this blog is an active member)
  • LinkedIn groups about “Digital Asset Management”
  • Podcasts (you do not need an iPod to listen to them, just a computer or smart phone, and internet access)
  • Vendors publicly offer great marketing materials  (even if they are not your preferred vendor, you may learn something new)
  • Webinars (there are several every month)
  • Twitter (users and vendors are both there)
  • Do not limit yourself nor your sources of how/where you can learn something new

In an upcoming post, I will list some job descriptions and various levels of experience for DAM-related positions.

How do you plan your career in DAM? Educate yourself and keep informed.


Are you interested in a DAM internship or mentorship?

During one of my presentations at a recent DAM conference, the audience made a request for a DAM internship or mentorship program. This poll is meant to find out how many people are interested in an internship program and/or mentorship program, specifically about Digital Asset Management. This program would be led by DAM professionals who use DAM and are willing to mentor. Please vote so we can publicly gauge the need for such a program. You may also email me directly if you are interested in this type of opportunity.