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Blog about Digital Asset Management

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Do you use a DAM Dashboard?

When we drive most vehicles, these have a dashboard with gauges telling us the important things we need to know about what is happening with the vehicle and how it is going. The dashboard may indicate speed, how much fuel is left plus warnings like temperature in case things are not going as well as they should be.

When executives want to know the status of what they are in charge of to help them make informed decisions based on the data, they could have a online dashboard with that information. This dashboard may tell them what they need to know about sales figures, units produced, project milestones reached, global growth by region or whatever information is relevant to them as it changes daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and/or annually.

Computers have dashboards as well and so do some mobile phones.

Some DAM systems have dashboards too. Sometimes these dashboards are part of the DAM system and sometimes they are extra add-ons which may measure data from other related ECM systems as well.

Why have a dashboard? Would you rather be uninformed? Do like shuffling reports or spreadsheets instead? Would you rather script your way through this data because there is some illusion that this is easier to do on a daily or weekly basis, then filter to the information needed each and every time?

Does a frequently updated (or live) presentation of the information you need to make informed decisions (based on the actual data, not gut feelings) sound more useful? Why would you not want this? Are you afraid of progress or the lack of it? Do you fear having this measured for you in useable numbers and digital charts so you can find out what is not working as well?

To paraphrase Peter Drucker, we can not manage what we do not measure and we can not measure what we do not define. If we do define what we need to measure, we can add this to dashboard, analyze the data in a clear, manageable way and make informed decisions as we watch the changes over time.

In May 2011, I gave a presentation about DAM Reporting, Measuring and Auditing at the Henry Stewart DAM Conference in New York City. I spoke about how to measure what is happening within the DAM and the power of DAM reporting. Some might think it is a really boring topic. So did I, but it was worth talking about since no one else was. It was so boring that the room for this presentation was standing room only. Not so boring I guess.

How to measure what is happening within the DAM comes down to filtering and using a dashboard. You could do that with reports with more processing and analysis. It is just more work.

Everyday, we are have more data, information and knowledge rain down on us. Managing this mountain of data is a matter of filtering to what is needed. If we are drowning in it, Clay Shirky put it best by explaining this is simply filter failure.

Being uninformed and ignorant of what is going on with your technology as well as your business is so 20th century. Filter. Analyze. Prioritize. Get a dashboard and use it to look at what the data and information says about what you define, measure and manage.

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Poll: How long did it take to get a DAM working within your organization?

As discussed earlier, how long did it take to get a DAM working within your organization from the day it was decided by stakeholders and sponsors to the day you measured user adoption with favorable results of a working Digital Asset Management solution will vary. Obviously, this is not just about a DAM vendor handing off an empty shell and running away, but rather having DAM with:

  • Defined users, roles and admins able to use the system
  • Up-to-date training with supporting documentation
  • Assets
  • Searchable Metadata
  • Working features and functionality
  • Configurations set for your initial needs (and adjustable for the future)
  • Any customization completed and in use by users

Answer this one question poll

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Why should I pay for the DAM when the entire organization uses it?

Someone asked me about this question and remembered I wrote about this briefly in an earlier blog post, but wanted me to ellaborate. So here is blog post to explain it.

Let us say one group or department is the original requester of a DAM solution within an organization. Likely this same department becomes the business owner, stakeholder and/or sponsor of the DAM solution. This same department or group pays to administer and maintain the DAM. They might pay for any monthly/quarterly/annual licensing fees and/or service level agreements (SLA) for the DAM solution as well. Now let us say other departments see the value in using the DAM to keep the organization’s branding, graphics, photographs, publications, presentations, reports, video or other intellectual property (IP). The DAM gets more user adoption by more departments. Now who pays for the DAM within this organization?

Often, what occurs is the original requester, sponsor or stakeholder continues paying for the DAM solution. Because of this, they might say “Wait, I am paying out of my department’s budget for other departments to benefit from this solution as well? What’s in for me? Why should I pay for the DAM when the entire organization uses it?”

Consider this idea “Why am I the only one paying for it? If we share the DAM, share the cost.”

Enter the idea of chargeback or simply charging the department who requests to acquire/create/use something with the actual expense in resources used by refunding it. This idea is likely a change for many companies in how they deal with budgets and how departments are accountable for the resources they use. This also keeps a department which may overtax another department’s resources in check. So, with this idea every department or group has their own budget as usual, but since every DAM user should have a unique login (right?) and possible different collections of assets they can access or share, why not split the total cost of these expenses based on actual usage of the DAM solution per department? Charge each department based on usage of the DAM solution.

If one department uses the DAM more than another department by a measurable amount or percentage, should they pay a larger share of the cost each month/quarter/year? Should each department be able to share this cost evenly or should each department pay for what they use based on a percentage? Or have one department pay for it all?

How do you measure usage of the DAM? With usage reports from the DAM which could list:

  • Who are the DAM users (by individual login) accessed the DAM? (keeping individual user accountability)
  • Who has the most active DAM users within a given period of time?
  • Who wants/needs/asks for the most time in administration, maintenance, support and/or training?
  • When did they access the DAM? (keeping time accountability)
  • How often did those users or group of users access the DAM? (time based usage)
  • How long did they access the DAM over a period of time? (number of minutes or hours)
  • How much was downloaded/exported from the DAM? (by the number of assets and/or file size if bandwidth is measured)
  • How much was uploaded/imported to the DAM? (by the number of assets and/or if bandwidth is measured)

I would recommend looking what you are paying for internally and externally to gauge what are the costs of doing business.

Some DAM vendors charge for bandwidth (how many GB is uploaded/downloaded to/from DAM within a given period). Some don’t.

Server space costs money regardless of whether it under your own IT department’s domain, a vendor’s domain or in the cloud. Who is using the storage space?

Is the data deduplicated? Do you want to dedupe the DAM data to minimize duplicate assets?

Some DAM vendors charge per DAM login or per concurrent user. Some DAM systems limit how many users you can have or the total users at one time. Can your organization add/remove DAM users without the vendor’s help?

How much does it cost to administer, support, maintain a DAM and train the DAM users? How much does it cost in errors and problems when you don’t?

Why should I pay for the DAM when the entire organization uses it?

Are these costs of doing business worth sharing as you share business tools such as a DAM solution?