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Blog about Digital Asset Management


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How can I train DAM users remotely?


On a weekly basis, I need to train new DAM users as well as give quick tutorials to current DAM users on specific aspects of the DAM.

There are two ways I can train anyone regardless of where they are in the world as long as they have an internet connection. Neither involves expensive, time-consuming travel. Why should anyone spend a day traveling just to meet for an hour of training?

I regularly get a call, email or instant message with a specific DAM question. I often forward them a link from an intranet wiki with relevant information and supporting documentation to answer their questions. The wiki includes a FAQ page compiled of Frequently Asked Questions which links back to related parts of the DAM manual for details. This can include step by step directions on how to perform a specific task in the DAM. This is my indirect way to train, support and reinforce the ways to use the DAM.

Then, there is the direct way. If they need further assistance, we can setup a quick web conferencing session (a screen sharing conference call).  Most people are familiar with the idea of the conference call where many people can call one phone number to collaborate simply by voice. Now, add the component of sharing your computer screen with the people you are speaking with. Pull up the DAM on your computer screen so everyone can follow along, see your cursor and watch step-by-step motions during the training. Note that everyone needs a fast, reliable internet connection to do this and the person sharing their screen will need to really slow down their motions for the cursor to be followed because there is often a small delay between what is said and what is seen when screen sharing. If training involves people outside of my time zone, I am careful to schedule training when it is convenient for the majority, but we  are certainly not limited to the 9am to 5pm schedule any longer (that can be good and bad, depending what the priority happens to be).

There are several web conferencing tools available whether they are free or paid, but all . Some of the well-known free web conferencing services are quite good. The main differences I have noticed with the paid versions of web conferencing are often:

  • Better security
  • More reliability
  • More options (like built-in polling and IM)
  • Allow more users at one time on the same web conference

I have heard of some organizations recording and making available a series of  ‘how-to’ videos  to supplement their written documentation about how to use  the DAM.  This can be more time-consuming in the creation of these videos and if your DAM system ever upgrades, those videos may need to be updated to reflect new (often improved) changes to workflow. Luckily, Web conferences can also be recorded and watched on demand at a later date.

Of course, all these tools can be used for so much more than just DAM training and support. As an early adopter to these tools, I have seen many naysayers begin to eventually adopt the same tools (for the same reason$). It is amazing how efficient and effective tools can grow so rapidly in popularly. I hope this gives a helpful glimpse of how training can be done regardless of geographic location.

How do you train your remote DAM users?


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Why should we keep our assets in a DAM?


Some people actually ask themselves this question and wonder why they can’t go back to their old ways of doing business.

Sure, you can. You can also do the following…

  • We can find all my final assets really easily because I have them all right here on my desktop.”

We have:

  • Final1
  • Final02
  • FinalFinal
  • FinalFinalFinal
  • ReallyFinal
  • LastFinal
  • Extrafinal
  • Superfinal
  • SuperduperFinal
  • ExtraLargeFinal
  • Final_with_cheese
  • AlmostFinished_really_Iswear

Ok. I might have a little problem with version control and file naming conventions.

Yes, a DAM can have version control to take care of this little problem a few of us might have.

  • We store all our files on our own desktops.”

desktop is just another silo. Who else can see your assets on your desktop? Can you find all your assets on your own desktop? What happens to these assets when you lose your laptop or get a new computer?

  • We can keep all our assets on shared drives.” Yeah, those are so searchable, right? As long as your perfectly crafted file names say everything about every asset you’ll ever need to know. Oh, wait. Shared drives are not truly searchable to the asset level beyond a so-called unique filename.
  • We have unique file names for every asset.” File names are created by humans and meant for humans outside of a DAM. Many DAM systems do not care what your file names are as long as they are not 250 characters long, filled with spaces and special characters. Scary sounding, huh? Some organizations prior to having a DAM have some of these “unique file names“. You know who you are. Some DAM solutions assign unique identifiers to each and every asset uploaded/imported to the DAM and these make file names into metadata for the DAM.
  • We can keep assets on CDs or external drives so we can share them easily.” You must like burning money if you are still using CDs or DVDs today. Where is the latest version? Which CD is that on again? Or do you need to burn another set of CDs for the latest version of assets? External drives (regardless of how big or small) can get lost, dropped or corrupt very easily. External drives have the same version control issue as CDs, even if backed-up regularly. How often is new version created by someone else? How do you ship these to external clients? That’s free, right?
  • I will just email the asset around to everyone.” Are you planning to fill up every one of those people’s email inbox with high volumes of data? And each one will back up that data multiplied by how many people? What is the file size limitations for your email attachments? 5MB? 10 MB? Some email accounts do not even accept attachments, in fear of viruses. Will you continue to email this asset for each person who needs to see this each time they need to see this asset? Will you repeat this every time they need to see an asset again? Wow, that is a lot of email data repeated over and over again, isn’t it? With a DAM, you could simply send a link to the asset (not email the whole asset) to whomever needs the asset, whether they need just preview it or download the asset, based on permission set by the sender, through the DAM. Let us weigh this option again. Email attachments over and over again vs. email link to asset in DAM which can be updated as needed in DAM.
  • We’ll just FTP the assets to the person who needs it.” That is secure, right? No one else can see the FTP server nor add to the FTP server either, right? And where is the version control on a FTP server? Oops.

What have we learned so far?

  • Use a DAM for assets
  • Associate metadata to each asset in a DAM so you can search and find it again
  • Version control with a DAM
  • Distribute assets with a DAM
  • Prosper and save some money with a DAM.

Let me know if you have any other brilliant ideas on why you should not store assets in a DAM. I would love to share them with readers.