Another DAM Blog

Blog about Digital Asset Management


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What does a Digital Asset Manager need to know?

After reading one of my most popular blog posts, a few readers have asked “What does a Digital Asset Manager need to know?”
This is assuming an organization realizes why a Digital Asset Manager is needed who is skilled and experienced in the field.
That said, they will need to know how to work with the following:

People

  • Be helpful. You should there to help the people, the process, the technology and the information work together. No small feat in many cases nor a temporary effort.
  • Be resourceful.
  • Be honest. Brutally honest if needed. Do not hold back much. The truth may require revealing news people do not want to hear, but rather need to hear (if you have read my blog or know me well enough, you will know what I mean).
  • Be patient. Not everyone will be technical nor understand what is involved.
  • Listen. To your users. All of them. Not just to yourself talking and repeating yourself.
  • Be specific. Do not assume people know, even the obvious. Remember, not everyone is technical.
  • Explain issues and their solutions to the people who need to know about it in their perspective. Keep in mind who your audience isUse visuals to explain as needed. Document how to resolve issues often, then share this documentation openly and often. Repeat.
  • Simplify. Do not overcomplicate unless you like confusion, fixing errors and having delays.
  • Be an agent of change. Change, not because it is shiny/new/cool, but needed for increased effectiveness and efficiency across the organization.
  • Know who is responsible for what. If you are not in charge of something, who is? If no one is in charge, take charge. “Initiative isn’t given, you take it”…along with responsibility.
  • Speak up. Interject as needed. Do not ‘wait your turn’ or your points will be overlooked. Leave your emotions elsewhere. This is business.
  • Be accountable and hold others accountable for their actions (or lack thereof) when it comes to the DAM and everything else in your purview. It is a ‘two-way street’ whether we realize it or not. Top to bottom and back.
  • Be proactive as well as reactive as needed. You should not be ‘fire fighting’ issues all day, every day (otherwise, there is a prioritization and process issue).
  • How and when to say “No.” Contrary to some people’s belief, ‘yes men‘ can hurt the organization as well as themselves especially if a constant “yes” is believed to always be the right answer. It is not. Reality checks are necessary for all.
  • Do not kill yourself, physically nor mentally. Nor anyone else for that matter. Even if it starts to sound really tempting. Really.

Process

  • There is at least one process, right? And it is followed?
  • How do DAM users interact with the Digital Asset Management process and system?
  • Help establish a process, test the process in the real world, document the process in writing and train users on the process/workflow as needed (especially when lacking). Work one-on-one or with small groups. Why? Large groups and committees are like large ships…they are harder to steer in any direction and slower to start, stop or react in general. Don’t believe me? Try it. Find out yourself.
  • How does metadata entry occur from sources (owned internally and/or externally) to normalization of the data to entry into the DAM. Then, track the process all the way through to use within system to yield the requested search results.
  • Manage by assigning, measuring and prioritizing daily. Of what you ask?
    • Assets
    • Accuracy of metadata entries and usage
    • Error rates
    • Performance of systems and users
    • Tasks
    • Users
    • There is plenty more to assign, measure and prioritize…
  • Establish a process of user adoption from the beginning of the selection process of a DAM system to the integration of other systems to the regular operations of the solution. What are you doing to encourage your users?
  • How to make coffee (or tea) without spilling it nor burning yourself. (Like most things, carefully.)

Technology

  • Digital Asset Management solution within your organization
  • Metadata validation and when applicable, metadata automation
  • How to use and apply the LAMP solution stack (in case you thought there was nothing else to learn to improve your skills)

Information

  • Love information and data. Really. It may not love you back, but it is a give and take relationship. You get what you put into it, along with compounding value over time. Of course, I am talking about metadata. You should be one of the information experts within your organization.
  • Know what is available (and what is not), where it lives, how to get to it, how report on it, how to filter it and analyze it.Explain it. Train people on how to take ownership of it in their role, how to complete their part (metadata), the value of this information and why.
  • Know the difference between data, information and knowledge.
  • If you want a baseline to know how mature your DAM solution is now within your organization, start studying the DAM Maturity Model (DAM3), which was based on ECM3 as it continues to mature. Using DAM3, you can plot how mature your DAM solution is within organization today as well as where it could improve.

I write this as I leave my position where I was Digital Asset Manager for over 5 years. I have accepted another position as a Digital Asset Management professional in a different capacity to assist other organizations with DAM.

If you need vendor neutral assistance or advice on Digital Asset Management, let me know.


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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.