If you work in the field of Digital Asset Management (DAM), you are likely already working remotely because DAM systems can be and is easily managed by professionals from literally any location. Regardless of any man-made or natural disaster, there is little to no reason why DAM can not be curated, configured, implemented, managed and used from any location, at all times. We still live in a world filled with VUCA, however, remote workers adapt to changes and integrate well with others more quickly.
DAM has been filled with VUCA ever since we could remember what either acronym stands for. DAM professionals can communicate well with users in virtual meetings and can be a great compliment to change management, daily operations, implementation, testing, training, troubleshooting, and user adoption. Working remotely is not just tolerated, it is a competitive advantage now. And so is DAM, hence its popularity.
DAM is more in demand now than ever. People and systems need access to digital assets to continue regular business operations. While the technology helps, it is the DAM Practitioners that ensures the DAM continues to produce increasing value for its users (people), its workflows (process), its metadata (information) and interconnected systems (technology).
Metadata won’t produce itself by osmosis nor by the assumption that it will automagically exist for digital assets without the help of DAM Practitioners.
In January 2020, there were 1,200 unfilled Digital Asset Management professional job openings. Oddly enough, DAM talent may not want to come to their overly expensive metro area, to sit in a cubical farm to simply support a ‘company culture’ of the way it has always been done. The ‘rules’ of the working world have changed to remote which is new norm and not just during the pandemic.
Unless you need to move physical objects around for work (such as hospital staff, store employees or delivery personnel), everyone else can find a way to begin working remotely. With basic remote computer skills, a laptop and a good internet connection, anyone can apply a remote working environment from anywhere in the country or the world.
If you are still looking for DAM talent, they are more accessible than ever from anywhere in the world remotely. Remote workers can participate in scheduled virtual calls, meetings, screencasts, webinars, as well as collaborate online and continue delivering results as good or even better than in a traditional onsite meeting with a whiteboard or in any offices. Of course, soft skills matter because this is still about communication.
Remote DAM Practitioners Survey
Please take a few minutes to complete this survey so we can all better understand Remote DAM Practitioners today:
More people are interested in getting a Digital Asset Management system to help them actually manage their thousands or even millions of digital assets they are accumulating every year. Storage is much easier today, but actually managing and finding what is needed in a timely manner takes more effort. Once an organization selects one of the 200+ possible DAM systems and get it operational, a harsh reality sets in which few people talk about… It still takes people to keep the system working properly. To be clear, I am not referring to people running on a hamster wheel to make it run. They run more in the sense of a mechanical turk. Not like the crowdsourcing service available today, but often an internal service with institutional knowledge of your organization’s workflow, business, culture and other needs. Yes, I am referring to people embedded within your organization or at least working closely with the teams of people who request assets, create assets, upload assets, meta tag assets (kind of important part often overlooked), distribute assets where they are needed repeatedly. It is a thankless job few people understand.
This is not an IT function. If the DAM “works as designed” and it often does, IT often does not care.
You need people (at least one) who are close to the actual users who are using the system. This is where you position them.
Yes, it takes people to aid the user adoption of a DAM system. It is much more than a cheerleader role. It is not just [build/buy/license/setup/test/train/make operational] and they will come. This might be true in baseball teams, but not with DAM. Your organization has to deal with change. And let us not discount how few people embrace change. The change can be positive, obvious and even pain relieving, but human nature and company culture will still prevail. Even if it goes against logic, change is still resisted.
Enter the DAM Professional.
Someone recently asked me how can they justify headcount now that they have a DAM since they were working from 7AM to 11PM. This sounded very familiar, so this sparked the idea to write this very blog post since I have helped several companies to do this.
First of all, here are some of the wrong ways to attempt to justify an increase in headcount for a DAM.
(Note italics on this blog are used to explain humorous, but incorrect methods which are sadly seen too often in the real world.)
Assume/Hope/Pray/Pretend people will notice you working insane hours and that will automagically grant you staff/assistants/contractors/helpers/elves/metadata fairies. May as well keep hallucinating and this might happen only in your mind. Back to reality. Try talking to your supervisors about the issue, but they will need to see measurable results that will be hard to dispute instead of a few weeks of long hours which is ‘normal’ nowadays in the workplace. Does the squeaky wheel get the grease?
Run around screaming with arms waving above your head while bumping into desks, doors and walls until exhausted. This is repeated a few times per week. More often, this behavior is replaced with whining to people who could not care less or have no power to change your situation. If there are true pain points, they need to be discussed sanely with your supervisors. Whining is not measurable result unless you are attempting to measure how much more you will be ignored and avoided by your co-workers among others.
Cry to get your way. Unless you have a weak supervisor who knows nothing, off to counseling you go for the emotionally unstable and deal with the unprofessional, childish behavior when the water works have ended. The problem will be waiting for you if/when you return. There is no crying in DAM.
Expect money to rain from the sky to help pay for more help. Keep hallucinating. This is not gonna happen even if your organization has millions, billions or even trillion dollar budgets. It ain’t gonna happen. Priorities need to be justified. Read on and I will explain how to justify this as a priority.
Yes. I have seen all these scenarios. Others reading this may have also.
I have seen many people resign, retire, outright quit, get fired and simply wimp out over DAM. Admittedly, its not easy and can be painful. But, there is still no crying. You are not alone even if it may feel that way sometimes.
Digital Asset Management is not for everyone. Long hours is sometimes part of the deal, but burnout should not be part of the deal. So how do you justify the increase of DAM solution headcount.
Even if you are a salaried employee, you work a certain number of hours every week. Maybe you work too many or maybe you are working a bunch more than you’d like doing tasks that are less fun then others. Multitasking or not, no task gets done without time. Someone’s time will be used to get a task accomplished.
No task gets done without time.
As a DAM professional, you have a lot of tasks which no machine can do. At least not yet. A few tasks can be automated and/or possibly done by other people.
If you need to justify your first DAM professional, I would suggest reading one of my earliest blog posts which is just as relevant today as the day I wrote it on Why do I need a Digital Asset Manager? If your organization still does not understand the need for people to run a DAM, they may need to fail in order to learn and someone will need to point out why they failed. Sometimes DAM Consultants can help point this out and help fix this since employees rarely speak up. It sometimes helps having an outsider say it [even if it was said before].
It does not matter what you title a DAM professional since I am in the opinion that titles mean less and less today. I was a Digital Asset Manager for a number of years and managed a DAM all by myself until I justified an increase in headcount. Working 60-80 hours can do that. If it is Tuesday and you have already worked 40 hours that week, you should be well on your way to justify an increase in head count as long as your accounting for what you did during your working hours. Sleep does not count toward work hours, but it helps to get some.
Bottom line, technology does not work alone. We have a while before it does. It works with and for people. Not the other way around. If you have no people using your DAM, you just adopted another shelf baby which will collect dust…instead of assets and value to your organization. Poof goes your ROI. Pick people who will champion your DAM for your organization.
When you are ready for some vendor neutral consulting on Digital Asset Management, let us know.
After many requests from the DAM community and over a year of work, the DAM Foundation has created and launched online courses on Digital Asset Management to meet the increasing demand.
Special thanks to Elizabeth Keathley, Mark Davey, some other DAM Foundation board members and other DAM professionals who helped create these online courses. DAM Foundation has launched the first online course in August 2014.
These courses are self-paced. Each assessment is reviewed by a DAM Professional.
According to the DAM Foundation website…
“The first lesson of the five-part Introduction to Digital Asset Management course is offered for free at damfoundation.org. Should participants complete the first lesson and achieve a passing mark from the education committee member overseeing their work, then the opportunity to sign up for the remaining lessons in the course will be offered. The cost of the entire five part course is $360.00 USD, and upon completion participants will receive a certificate from the DAM Foundation, as well as publicity via the DAM Foundation’s social media channels celebrating their accomplishment. The time frame for completed coursework is extended as it is expected that participants are working professionals themselves. Participants will be given six months from the pass mark of the first lesson to complete the coursework for all five lessons. Details of required coursework can be read on the Introduction to Digital Asset Management main page.”
UPDATE: DAM Foundation is no longer active as of January 5, 2017.