Another DAM Blog

Blog about Digital Asset Management


DAM DC Meetup: Digital Asset Management tour of Discovery

Discovery Communications will host a venue for the DAM DC Meetup group by giving a Digital Asset Management tour.

This tour will be held on Thursday, January 5, 2012 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM.

DAM DC members will be able to:

  • Network with their local area peers involved with Digital Asset Management
  • Get an overview of Discovery roles within their Media Fulfilment and Media Operations using Digital Asset Management
  • Followed by a DAM tour of Discovery

This event will be in the Washington DC area and will be limited to 30 people.  If you are interested in joining DAM DC for this and future DAM venues, sign up now. More details on Third time is the charm.

If you want to hear about Digital Asset Management at Discovery, listen to Another DAM podcast interview with Clayton Dutton.

Do you want to host a future DAM DC meetup event?

Have you been on a DAM tour?


How to avoid DAM burnout

There are 168 hours in a week. Many of us work about 40 hours each week. Some of us may work more, less or not at all.  I have worked plenty of 22 hour work days and 100 hour work weeks. But this is not a race on how fast we can burnout.

After working with Digital Asset Management for a number of years, there is constantly more to do. The work and data multiples over time and the way it happens is much less fun than how rabbits multiply.

Schedules fill up and then get double booked. And there is plenty of fighting fires as well. Eating gets postponed past dinner. Sleeping is postponed again. Breathing got canceled too.

Scaling and automation is explored in any way that will increase accuracy, efficiency and effectiveness. Otherwise, mentions of cloning ones self continue to arise.

Weekends evaporate into part of the work week.  Then holidays become more time to focus on work. Then vacation time vanishes. Another high priority project get scheduled over a planned vacation. Again.  Last time I did take some vacation days (vacation hours), I was emailed and called in a panic to fix something critically important.  Did I forget to mention I how much I love not having backup (person) to resolve these kind of matters? How dare I sleep at 3:00 AM or become sick or go on vacation. My no-life membership card might get revoked.

Projects come and go. Or simply accumulate because of some other new priority. Or resolve some [fire] of the day. Not to worry, the world still spins whether we are working or not. Deadlines may fall behind if a user [forgot] something important. These projects have a closing date, right?

Dealing with time

There are 168 hours in a week. What do you do with those hours?

Document what you do with your time and find out. Regardless of whether you:

  • are hourly or salaried
  • have a time sheet to fill in or not

Note every task you work on during each block of time.

How long did you spend on each of these tasks? Build metrics. Note patterns. Adjust accordingly.

I happen to add this information to my online calendar(s) everyday (before or after the occurrence) so it is recorded in one place for the purposes of weekly reports, improving my time management (eliminating wastes of time and pin pointing what really takes up my time every week).

This also documents the time spent for others to see later on, to help prove whether you need help to scale the efforts of digital asset management within your organization beyond the one person who is often solely dedicated to this. Imagine this. One person, workload tripling each year. How do you prove you need assistance to the business people in your organization?

  1. Ask for assistance (do not whine)
  2. Prove you need assistance with your documented work hours on xyz tasks completed over a given period of time (such as a few quarters or a year).
  3. Prove the workload is increasing with measurable numbers.
  4. Repeat

All of these tasks may be necessary, but it will help identify and document what takes up your time so you can realize “Oh, it is Tuesday and I have already worked 40 hours this week. Again. This is normal, is it not?”
Find out what tasks really eat up most of your time.

In a perfect world, I divide all my waking hours with an uneven balance between:

  • Work time
  • Family time
  • Friend time
  • Me time (alone)

Moderation is one of the keys. Excess of anything is not a good idea.

While you may be the internal representative and/or go-to person for the DAM system, you are not the DAM system. Do not take it personally when the DAM does not work “perfectly.” If there is criticism or suggestions to improve the DAM, get this in writing (email usually works) from the person making the comment. Then, prioritize it among all other tasks and address it accordingly. There may be very valid points made, so keep your ears open and listen.

The reality is each of us is just one person, but we are not alone. You should refer to others when they may know more about a particular topic. I refer to others often because I do not pretend to know better about everything.

Getting the work done

I love to get the work done right the first time. I thrive on it. The key is getting it done right. Right is done the best you can. It needs to be right, not perfect. Nothing is perfect because everything can be improved over time.


Anyone in today’s working world has stress. Or they simply do not do anything.

What matters is how you deal with stress. Not how much you have. Realize what you are involved in and some its drawbacks. Then, realize there are things you can control and things can not control.


Many wondered how I work so much at my regular job and still find time to write this blog over the past few years. Lack of sleep is one answer. Not a good idea though. Time management of my 168 hour week to the extreme? Scheduling sleep cycles as necessary. Not a good idea either. You might note I post to my blog much less often. That is because I sleep more now. I also found recording and editing podcasts faster than writing my long form blog posts. Sleeping 6 to 10 hours is a really good idea. Don’t worry, the work will still be there when you awaken. The earth does not stop rotating for anyone.

Watch your health

Your body is telling you something, but are you listening? If and when you do lose your health, you may not be able to care for yourself nor anyone else. Your health is worth paying close attention to.

If your work is negatively affecting your health (mentally and/or physically) that should be a clear sign you need to address the issue and take action to resolve it. I am not a doctor nor do I claim to be one. It is your life. Literally.

What do you consume

How did I get a dozen empty coffee cups on my desk today? Oh wait, they are all mine. From today.

  • Stay hydrated (just add water)
  • Eat right (something dispensed from a vending machine does not equal breakfast, lunch and dinner)

When is it time to move on

Do not give up. Everyone has a different threshold. Some people can take more than others. We are all tested in one way or another.

For every position I have had since my very first job, I look at the following:

  • Can I make a difference?
  • Am I listened to?
  • Am I treated well?
  • Is this what I want to do?
  • Am I paid well?

I believe if none (or only one) of five questions has been answered with a yes, it is time to move on.

Listen to your family and friends

If you have an issue like being a workaholic (know any?), they will likely tell you at some point. If during social interaction (yes, with real live people. Not just virtually) the only stories you remember are work related, they may take notice. But do you notice? Some people are more vocal than others. The vocal ones care to tell you what no one else is telling you. Listen. There may be some logic in there somewhere. This is one of the reasons to make time for them. They may even want to spend time with you. Imagine that.

Are you always connected?

Do you really need to be? You may need a digital diet. Take the free quiz to find out if you need one.

If you’d like to connect, let us know when you are ready for some vendor neutral consulting on Digital Asset Management.

How do you avoid DAM burnout?


How mature is our DAM and other ECM solutions?

Once we implement a Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution, we are far from done. Unless we want another shelf baby. Our organizations are likely just getting warmed up (some faster than others) when comes to managing their digital assets. This holds true regardless of where we stand with many Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions when an organization comes to the realization that they need to manage their content as they grow up, scale up and move forward into the 21st century. There is a way of measuring this level of maturity within any organization, seeing what needs work and follow a specific roadmap through a maturity model.

This was developed by and credited to several groups of subject matter experts including Wipro, The Real Story Group (formerly CMS Watch), Smigiel Consulting Group, and Hartman Communicatie over the past few years. And it is free to use.

The Enterprise Content Management Maturity Model  is exactly what it sounds like. No matter what level of maturity our organizations have today, is in fact “… a hidden gem.” It is ready-to-use and available to all as a PDF download. Once downloaded and reviewed, it is easy to find out what needs improving based on each of our organization’s level of ECM maturity.

According to ECM3, there are five levels of ECM maturity:

  • Level 1: Unmanaged
  • Level 2: Incipient
  • Level 3: Formative
  • Level 4: Operational
  • Level 5: Pro-Active

This model dives into “thirteen maturity dimensions across three categories”:

  • Human
    • Business Expertise – Employee and executive education and understanding of core ECM precepts
    • IT Expertise – Ability to properly take advantage of incumbent and new systems
    • Process – Extent to which enterprise has analyzed its content-oriented business processes
    • Alignment – Extent of effective Business – IT collaboration, understanding, and synchronization
  • Information
    • Content/Metadata – Extent to which enterprise has analyzed its content and metadata
    • Depth – Completeness of content lifecycle management
    • Governance – Extent of policies and procedures addressing information management
    • Re-use – Extent realization of content re-use opportunities
    • Findability – Ability to find the right content at the right time
  • Systems
    • Scope – Relevant range of ECM functional capabilities (DM, BPM, DAM, etc.) adopted
    • Breadth – Evolution from departmental to enterprise-wide management systems, where necessary
    • Security – Extent to which actual content access reflects enterprise entitlements
    • Usability – Application fitness to purpose

Every organization has room for improvement, especially if the organization is unaware of any of the parts listed above. An organization that is aware of its own ECM maturity has one big step ahead of the rest in knowing where it stands among its competitors and what it needs to focus on going forward.

In my opinion,  when trying measure their level of maturity across all these dimensions many organizations will find themselves in level 1 (unmanaged with no progress) or level 2 (the beginning of progress) of ECM maturity, with a long road ahead.

Why? The causes are:

  • A general lack of awareness.  This has been, is and still will be a growing issue regardless of when we face up to it. If all thirteen points listed above do not ring any alarm bells, look into them. Do not assume the organization is aware of this just because we happen to know about it.  Survey your own organization and find out why.
  • Mistaking age for maturity.
  • The rapid growth (kind of like an avalanche) of digital content including a vast number of digital assets (being created and/or getting acquired) by the organization. Do we know how many and how often?
  • Little or no focus on managing digital content and assets until that realization comes too late. Are we ready to pay more later on? Are we ready to start prioritizing?
  • Organization find themselves scrabbling to ‘do something.’ Repeat.
  • Organizations are often unsure exactly what to do nor how nor when. Are we comfortable with this? We should not be comfortable with the lack of a plan.
  • No staff  regularly working on any/most of these issues. Yes, that may often mean dedicated, knowledgeable individuals. Not simply adding tasks to someone’s endless list of things to do.

As time passes, some people ignore the facts hoping these issues will go away. Their days are numbered because those times are already over. ‘Pay me now or pay me later’, you will have to pay for this cost of doing business today. If we ignore the first estimates of what DAM and other ECM solutions may cost an organization today (including the possible ‘fixing’ costs for any legacy assets/content), wait until we see the next (likely higher) estimate.  Once these solutions are implemented and actually being used, that only marks the beginnings of the ECM maturity process.

DAM professionals and other ECM professionals have their work cut out for them. It may even require a few diaper changes as well tears wiped from a quite few faces within some organizations. Or the organization will simply fade into history.

While the roadmap to maturity may be long and winding, this road has been paved thanks in part to ECM3. To go further down into the rabbit hole, take a look at the Mike 2.0 Methodology

What is your organization’s level of maturity?

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And the winner is…

Laura DeMuro won the book drawing for a free copy of  “The Information and Knowledge Professional’s Career Handbook“, co-authored by Jill Hurst-Wahl and Ulla de Stricker. This book drawing was first announced on Another DAM podcast and on Another DAM blog. The book will be mailed to Laura directly from the publisher. In full disclosure, the author of this blog and podcast receives nothing.

In case you wanted to know who won the Second Annual DAMMY Awards, you can find out here.

Congratulations to all the winners.