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Blog about Digital Asset Management


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Where are all the remote Digital Asset Management jobs?

When it comes to working remotely, I have pushed for it since 2000. My main limitation was the mindset of the people I worked for who often cling to an increasingly packed workspace. As if we needed to justify the commercial real estate spend of employers while everyone gets less desk space and less floor space each year, I fail to see the value here even if we are “together”.

What office?

If there were no more commercial offices, smart companies would figure out how to survive and thrive. If they did not, maybe the market did not need them to continue existing. If the market needed their products or services to exist without offices,  simply switch out any of their leadership or management that cling to the self-limiting beliefs like “must work in an office together” and other such fallacies.

Enter COVID-19. Ready or not, if you are not moving physical objects for your work, you will work remotely until further notice. Get used to it. Become effective, then efficient, and find the benefits in doing so.  Otherwise, goodbye. Time to find someone else who is flexible and can adapt quickly to VUCA.

Employer and employee locations are no longer relevant

Notice I did not say work from home #WFH, but rather work remotely or work anywhere. Location is now almost irrelevant. You choose where you live and you choose whom you work for. Break the mindset of believing where your employer is located matters. It does not. Work is not a location, but rather an activity. Where you are located is your choice. Not an employers’ choice if you don’t move physical objects for your work. Let us be very clear about that. Let that sink in. You choose the location with a good internet connection to continue getting the work done. No one in their right mind is running back to a packed office simply to have a desk.

Time zones matter more than location

Since location is almost irrelevant, taking virtual meetings and calls is as simple as scheduling them based on calendar availability and time zones. No wasted travel time. No commuting. If the online calendar invite is accepted, it is assumed that at the scheduled date and time on a specific means of communication, we are available to discuss the said topics on the agenda. The calendar should adjust for any time zone differences between parties so it is a reasonable time for everyone regardless of location.

Digital asset management work

Months later, we still are working remotely and we are adapting. Some adapt faster than others.

During the [Webinar], I spoke about the fact that digital asset management can perfectly be done as remote work. Most of us did not have a choice of working in an office anyhow. Yes, there is an emphasis on the fact that all that work is digital since we seem to forget what those three words mean and what they stand for since we say it so often, but miss the point that digital has no borders. Even more now. Those 1s and 0s don’t typically sit in a cubicle either, so why should you?

New DAM Job Applicants

If you are applying to a DAM position and you are not explicitly provided in writing that your position will be remote, ask “why not?” and listen to their [outdated factory worker mentality] excuses. Ask why you can’t work remotely without returning often or ever to the office if you continue to provide your employer the proper work, input, output, support, and value that you ‘normally’ would as if you were an if provided the necessary tools that you should be provided anyhow to do your job.

Water cooler talk

What about water cooler talk or conversations in the hallway or around the coffee machine or office kitchen? Really? In case you have not been paying attention for the past few months (and before), this is what 1 on 1 video calls are for. Whether it is with your co-worker, supervisor, management, leadership or external partners, it does not matter. Those can be scheduled. Try a 15-minute call for efficiency and effectiveness in one of those types of convos.

Communication matters

Face to face communication will be virtual for the foreseeable future.

Seeing the person is not really necessary, even by video call.

Verbal communication by using our words with the right tone to communicate is crucial. Being seen virtually or in-person is not as important to communicate. Think phone and less video chat.

Since we are still not reading minds, clear verbal communication still matters a lot.

It can not be garbled without restating it. It can not be assumed without confirmation. It should not be implied. It should be clear, confirmed, and understood. When it is not, ask.

Conversations should be framed with the context of a specific topic.

Communication with explicit intent and specificity can be received clearly and confirmed by the receiving party.

We should continually work on our smart communication.

If your communication skills are lacking, it is high time to work on those skills and practice exercising them regularly, regardless of our age, experience, role, or title.

Collaboration online only

If you have not figured it out yet in the past few months, you don’t need to be physically together in order to collaborate over concepts, electronics documents, ideas or anything that does not involve moving physical objects for your own work. You won’t be shaking hands anytime soon and HR frowns any other forms of touching each other since close proximity is not a good idea. Working physically together is now over. Collaborate online or don’t collaborate.  You can manage workflows and people remotely.  In case you needed someone to tell you, the days of running to an office only to crowd into a meeting room are now over. If you need help figuring it out, I may be able to help you as a consultant. This is not free advice. There are solutions to anything regardless of the challenge, big or small. Sometimes, those solutions are not technology, but rather communication.

Manage your time

You are either available based on your up to date online calendar for your co-workers to know when you are available or in a state of deep work (by setting “do not disturb until [YY:YY] time” on your messaging app). You should set clear hours for work with very few pre-scheduled exceptions when your work hours need to shift, not increase.

Manage your technology

Do you have a poorly evolved IT infrastructure that is not cloud-based or has a limited VPN? If your ISP bandwidth where you are at that time is too low, improve your Internet Service Plan and ask your employer if they will pay for your internet service like some (Google) do. I have an ISP at home as well as one internet hotspot on my smartphone as a backup. I also have several other locations I go regularly for other wifi hotspots and most of them are not indoors. Some are available 24/7.

If you have self-limiting IT management and leadership, maybe it is time to evolve beyond them if they can not adapt to the new IT needs of the company.

Issue the tools to get the work done

Employees should be issued a laptop with needed software licenses and tools.  If you need a mouse, a headset for calls,  a second monitor or something else, some companies issue a specific standard based on the different roles within the companies by buying them in volume. Otherwise, some companies give employees an allotted amount of money each year to spend on such things including coffee to remain welcome in a coffee shop.

Hiring DAM Professionals now

Hiring the right people for the work is a challenge at any time. Not just now. Quickly evolving to the needs of the company is still a necessity. Poorly evolved HR practices and mostly obsolete business cultures are often poorly defined and outright meaningless since the same organizations wish to survive and keep hiring viable candidates regardless of their location. Work is not a location anymore, but rather a function, a role, and a series of tasks.
I spoke with several DAM Professionals hired during the first wave of COVID-19 (between March 2020 and June 2020) and they are expected to work remotely without the need to come to any office. Ever.
How did they get to work remotely from day one on the job? They simple asked to. It is really that simple. And it should not take a pandemic to get digital knowledge workers to work from home or work anywhere as long as the work gets done.
Some people report being more productive than ever before. It helps to not run a daycare and school within your household at the same time. Now that they don’t have to waste time commuting or running around an office hunting for people in person. Everyone is one call, email, or message away as they have been in the past. Instantaneous responses are still not to be expected though. Prescribed response times should be set as a standard such as within X number of business hours, just like in a SLA.
Interestingly enough, remote work or work anywhere policies are still missing in more than half of the companies in order to set some ground rules for safety, productivity, maintain connectivity, provide access, provide needed tools (such as a laptop with software), maintain security, maintain continuity (for people, process, information, and technology) and stay within needed regulations. Companies should not need a pandemic to plan ahead with some guidelines for everyone. We wish common sense was widely available, but guidelines can help since it is not.
The way this evolves is that we set the ground rules before day 1 of any person working anywhere (Ask why or why not questions) and/or justify how you wish to continue working going forward. Either way, you continue to prove that you can be as productive, efficient, and effective as part of a distributed workforce without the need for space in a crowded office.

Where are all the remote DAM jobs?

As I review DAM jobs weekly as I have for the past decade (not because I want any full time position as a consultant, but rather studying the DAM job market),  I would expect all open positions to be remote DAM positions. I would expect companies and HR to have evolved during the past several months of the pandemic. I should in fact stop hoping for logic to kick in and write about it instead. Digital Asset Management is a digital job, not a physical job requiring the person to be onsite for anything. DAM jobs can and should be done from anywhere (especially remotely) since DAM professionals are not moving any physical objects around for their own work. Location is almost irrelevant and if companies can’t figure out the tax code for that, they should hire new HR people and accountants who can. All Digital Asset Management professional positions should be able to work from anywhere with a good internet connection, not just from an office nor just from their home. Digital Asset Management should not be limited nor confined to any location and neither should anyone working with DAM. Location should be the workers’ choice if the companies want to hire and retain the best people. Maybe those companies want to stay relevant and survive too. Offering remote positions is one step companies can take towards retaining their own relevancy and continuity plans.


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What specific skills should Digital Asset Management professionals have today?

rights A reader recently asked what specific skills should Digital Asset Management professionals have in order to be competitive in the job market today.

Previously, we have explored:

We can explore the skills the job market is commonly asking for now as well as other skills to consider (even if not yet realizing it).

Learn the Basics

I would encourage everyone to continue growing your knowledge and skills of how to work smarter with:

  • Spreadsheets because they are a necessary evil. Live it, learn it and love it once you understand how to make data format and flow properly through the fine art of filtering, sorting, pivot tables, vlookups and using other formulas rather than creating basic, monolithic data entry tables with little purpose and lacking smart automation.  Character validation for metadata is also possible here.
  • Word processing because you can do more than write letters and resumes with it. Explore the awesome world of macros to empower you and text.
  • Presentation software because you may need to give a few presentations and sometimes even make them for others. If you want your points understood by anyone, think more visual and less bullets. Since presenting is a well-known fear which some considered worse than death, I recommend facing your fear (presentations, not death). Learn from the masters and practice presenting regularly.
  • Collaborative software tools because it allows people to share information as group, discuss it and make decisions together. You might not be working in proximity with some people now or in the near future (such as people working remotely or even globally), but that does not mean you can not share ideas, discuss topics and decide as a group by referring to other people for their experiences, ideas, insights and perspectives.

Social skills

Meet with real people (not just friends, co-workers and family). Not just online. Not just at parties or because there are drinks available. When you meet someone new who you want/need to continue the conversation with, connect with them online professionally and follow up on the conversation. This is called networking.  Real relationships are a give and take (not just one way). Remove your blinders regularly and meet other people around you who may have different interests and perspectives. You may be surprised what you can continually learn by meeting other people. Relevant communication is key.

Project Management

Whichever project management methodology you happen to study (Agile, PRINCE2, Waterfall), these are invaluable business skills to keep projects:

  • on time
  • on budget
  • within specifications/scope

Learn the principles and key skills such as:

  • Business analysis techniques
  • Work breakdown structures
  • Program sequencing techniques
  • Risk management methods

Coding Languages

A working knowledge of the following coding languages can be very helpful:

You can grow your skills further by learning the full LAMP stack.

Learn to create regularly

Everyone should practice an art of creating something regularly.  It does not have to be fine art, but learn to:

  • write
  • take photographs
  • record sound
  • shoot video
  • create something on your own (or as a group) that can be shared
  • digitize it if it is a physical creation

Learn to edit

Learn to edit so you can do something constructive with what you create.  Learn to see how you can improve things by sharing it with others who will give you constructive feedback.  Learn what can be done about issues before they are created (and sometimes how to fix them afterward). Improve your skills as you learn to edit various media which you may be managing at some point as DAM professional. You will literally see and hear the results.

  • Text editing is a very useful skill. Sometimes it is easier to edit someone else’s text than your own.
  • Photo editing is process like any other. You can start with editing and managing your family/friend/sports/pet photography as it grows over time. The key is to learn how to manage your photography for the long term (think years) beyond simply the week the images were captured. This can be the beginning of learning the process of digital asset management using photography assets (which have value to you) along with related metadata (so you can search for them easily) and understanding the efforts involved.
  • Audio editing is as complex as you want to make it and  is often layered. This skill also helps to fine tune your ears. You can read all about how I create a weekly audio podcast which accompanies this blog called Another DAM podcast
  • Video editing is another set of skills to learn how to piece multiple types of components together with some continuity in order to tell a story.

Learn how to use metadata

Once you have created and edited digital files over time, you will want to search for these. Not just visually search because that does not scale over time. This often requires metadata.

  • Learn what metadata to apply (take a look at some of the variety of metadata standards available)
  • How to apply metadata (embedded vs. associated)
  • Why apply metadata (to search and find assets based on common fields and values applied)

Rights Management

When it comes to managing whether an organization has the licenses and permissions necessary to legally use, reuse and re-purpose any digital asset acquired from external parties, this requires a dive into the field of rights management. While this is often a forgotten liability for many organizations, external vendors are pursuing copyright violations more than ever to recover their lost revenue through image recognition technology among other technologies. Having the skills to understand the rights, communicate the media needs, license media properly for usage and limit liability is a plus for any organization.

Stress management

Stress does not automagically go away by itself. Learn to deal with stress in a health way. Do not attempt to work all 168 hours per week. The work will still be there if you go home. Avoid procrastination, but take short breaks as needed. Keep in mind that worrying about something does not resolve anything. Do something about it. Focus your energy on either communicating the specific issues with recommended solutions or resolving the issues after weighing the possible solutions.

Time Management

Learn to manage your time and your tasks wisely by prioritizing. Learn how to prioritize anything. Time management can be applied to all aspects of your work and life, especially if you thrive on accomplishment. Keep in mind that tasks are not successfully completed without the necessary time to accomplish them.

What specific skills should Digital Asset Management professionals have today?

Let us know when you are ready for consulting or assistance in finding Digital Asset Management professionals for your business.


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What is your DAM title?


While seemingly more unimportant nowadays, business titles within an organization can sometimes explain a person’s functional role, authority, seniority and/or pay grade.

I have blogged about a variety of DAM titles used within the Digital Asset Management field, like Digital Asset Specialist (DAS), Digital Asset Management Manager (DAMMmmmm), DAM Director (DAMD), DAM VP or the title I have at this time… Digital Asset Manager.

I hosted a podcast where I interviewed someone who has a DAM title that will catch people’s attention.  Instead of calling himself Digital Asset Manager, he was creative enough to come up with Darth Lord of the DAM and includes this on his business card.

Better than some other business cards I have heard of.

It sounds better than DAM lord. That is similar to another movie I saw. And he likely prefers it his way. No helmet required.

If you work in the field of Digital Asset Management, what is your DAM title?


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What are some DAM job descriptions?

“Mind readers wanted.”

This is first line from an actual Digital Asset Management (DAM) job description posted this year. More on that later.

Aside from asking where to post and find DAM jobs, several people are asking what are typical DAM job descriptions. After presenting this information during a DAM Conference, here are parts of actual DAM job descriptions and knowledge shared by several DAM professionals on the job market today.

This is part of the equation that involves people along with process and technology for DAM.

While some people may use Digital Asset Management (DAM) sometimes within an organization, there is an increase in the need for people who may work full-time on DAM within an organization. We’ll explore several of these positions so you can have an idea of what some organizations have for talent and resources for those who do this type of work.

Here is a part of a job description for a Digital Asset Manager:

  • Responsible for leading overall strategy, implementation and workflow of the Digital Asset Management system for [organization]
  • Acts as primary liaison between [organization] and various photo studios with regard to image names, new photography and archiving
  • Responsible for assigning appropriate metadata for assets to ensure accurate usage rights
  • Manages the Digital Asset system and facilitate the uploading of assets as well as maintaining and upgrading the system
  • Registers internal and external users to the Digital Asset Management system based on permissions
  • Facilitates retrieval of previously cataloged images/shoots
  • Processes raw images using the appropriate software
  • Archive assets as necessary
  • Generates asset download reports
  • Maintains accurate procedures and records for the system
  • Keeps informed of latest Digital Asset Management technology trends and innovations
  • Other duties as identified and assigned

What are we looking for when filling the human resources gap with people needed to help manage your organization’s digital assets?  There are no hard and fast rules, but rather guidelines. Any of these could be staff or contractual positions:

  • Administrator (DBA)
  • Archivist
    • With Digital, not just analog (print) experience
  • Analyst
  • Consultant
    • Either an internal, permanent staff for ongoing consultation OR an external (temporary), outside perspective looking in with a fresh viewpoint
    • Advisor, coach and/or functional role
  • Digital Asset Manager
    • Support DAM system and users
    • An industry expert in the field
  • DAM Specialist/Coordinator
    • Organize and upload assets
    • Metatag assets
  • Data Entry Specialist* (depending on volume)
  • Engineer/Developer/Programmer/Information Architect
  • Help Desk
  • Intern
    • Temporary position (more on this in a future blog post)
    • Willingness to:
      • Learn about DAM
      • Work on metadata and taxonomy
      • Upload assets
  • Librarian
    • With Digital, not just analog (print/physical cataloging) experience
  • Metatagger (aka Metator, Cyberian)
  • Project Manager
  • Sales
  • Taxonomist

What we call the position (job title) is less important than what they actually do.

DAM professionals who communicate with management need to have an understanding of high level business needs and how DAM can meet those needs. Why? Because it is important to quantify:

  • Cost savings
  • Time savings
  • Reductions in risk (with knowledge of rights)

Yes, Digital Asset Management is a business need, not just a technology or another database.

If you are looking to hire a DAM professional, such as Digital Asset Manager, have potential candidates include their answers to the following questions as part of the job application:

  1. Have you worked with a Digital Asset Management System? Where? How long?
  2. How much experience do you have creating Metadata Schema?
  3. Do you have any training experience? What type?

That should help gauge the level of experience of most candidates.

Now about that “mind reader” job posting. Often, management and human resources do not know what DAM professionals are supposed to do (a bit difficult to write a job description that way), but they are slowly realizing there may be a need for Digital Asset Management and that is followed by realizing the need to fill a position with a DAM professional. That professional may be assigned (or volunteered) within the organization. The professional may be hired from the outside. Beside that, DAM professionals should use best practices and notice common behaviors when these practices are not followed. How?

  • Communicate
  • Evaluate
  • Recommend
  • Reference
  • Document
  • Estimate
  • Train
  • Plan
  • Budget
  • Deliver
  • Report
  • Anticipate
  • Follow up

That does not take any mind reading. I am not a mind reader. I am a Digital Asset Manager.

Besides, I forgot my mind reading hat at home.

What is your DAM job description?

Administrator
Business Analyst
Consultant
DAM Architect
DAM Director/DAM Manager/Digital Asset Manager
DAM Specialist/Coordinator
Digital Archivist/Librarian
Engineer/Developer/Programmer
Intern
Project Manager
Taxonomist/Metatagger (aka Metator)