Another DAM Blog

Blog about Digital Asset Management

Leave a comment

Why should I care about the DAM Community?

In the past few years, I have been asked a lot of questions by people…

  • Who are you doing this for?”
  • Who really reads this stuff?”
  • What is in it for you?”
  • Why do you do all this for free?”
  • Why do you care so much?”

I wanted to take the opportunity to explore these questions and explain…

A few years ago, when I started working with Digital Asset Management (DAM), there were a few conferences, a few books, an expensive journal and experts who knew what they were talking about. All those still exist, but now DAM is growing.

Who are you doing this for?

It all started when I was frustrated and had very few people to discuss DAM with (how many of you can relate to this?). I learned about DAM myself, I volunteered to work on DAM, but in the past, found it difficult to communicate with people who knew little or nothing about DAM. I learned how to explain why DAM is important. I also wondered why  I could not find much on the first-hand experience with DAM explained, specifically in the user and administrator perspective of Digital Asset Management. I knew I was not the only person with this question. So, out of frustration, I started blogging about DAM.

After my second blog post, I was contacted by people who could relate to what I wrote about and they love/hate my blog to this day. I was even offered to be paid to blog for them. The day I drafted my first blog post, I decided early on that my blog was for everyone to share openly and learn about DAM in the user and administrator perspective. I do not talk about using DAM product X or DAM vendor Y, but rather I stay vendor agnostic. In order to stay vendor agnostic, I would not take money from DAM vendors (and I still don’t). If you have read my blog posts before, you will note I hold very little back and I am very open about what I talk about.

Who really reads this stuff?

Literally, thousands of people all over the world read my blog posts every month. My blog is aggregated on other sites which also get a lot of traffic. Some of my posts are more popular than others. Content is king. I deliver a fair amount of content in many of my blog posts. There are other DAM bloggers as well. I happily list them on blog roll when I find out about them. Sharing the experience is good. DAM is all about sharing. I know most people read about DAM during weekdays (I don’t blame them), so that is when I normally schedule new posts to appear. DAM users, potential DAM users, DAM vendors and even DAM analysts tell me they read my blog regularly.

What is in it for you?

When I have the energy, time and a DAM related idea to write about, I blog about it. I do this on my spare time. Blogging is a hobby. DAM is my career. Due to the popularity of my blog posts, I am invited to speak and moderate at conferences around the United States. When I go to events, I get to meet like-minded people…eager to share experiences and best practices about DAM. If I have a DAM idea to blog about, but don’t have the time to blog about it, I make a quick audio recording with a speech-to-text app which sends me an email with what I said, so I can revisit it later when I do have the time.

Why do you do all this for free?

To this day, I am not paid to present at conferences nor to blog.  Yes, that is correct. I did not charge the people I mentored on a monthly basis either. I get motivated by helping others understand the subject. If someone really wanted me to consult for their organization, they could ask me directly. For the most part, I write in general terms about DAM. My generosity of information pays a multitude of dividends. People have told me and written that I happen to be one of the top bloggers in the field of Digital Asset Management. I do not believe this is by accident. How do you communicate you are experienced and knowledgeable about a subject such as DAM? hint: you genuinely share that knowledge by blogging about it. People read and hear about it. People recognize what you write makes sense. People learn and benefit from what is shared. And you repeat this often.)

My goal was write and share 52 blog posts per year. Done.

Why do you care so much?

Yes, someone actually asked me all these questions. I love this question so much, it inspired me to write this specific blog post. Why should I care so much? Why should anyone care about the DAM community? Not only will you learn first hand you are not alone in thinking about and using DAM, you will become part of a group of people who want to learn, get/give feedback and share experiences. It can be a career. It is for me and many others. You will soon find out I am not the only one. These days, it does not matter where you are geographically located because you can be a member of the DAM Community in person and/or online. What matters is whether you are willing to learn and share your interest in Digital Asset Management to not only survive, but thrive with DAM.

Let us know when you are ready for consulting on Digital Asset Management for your business.


How can I bring more ROI to our DAM?

A DAM is an investment. What is an organization gaining from the implementation and utilization of a DAM? Are you getting a continued return on your investment?  If you do not know, you are probably not getting much from your DAM right now or you may not be using it much either. This can be fixed.

A DAM is made to yield ROI if used properly. The benefits may be a combination of both hard costs and soft costs.

Realistically, if you have a DAM, you have invested time and money into it. You obviously want to get your money’s worth on a regular basis, right?  Originally, one group or one department may have needing a DAM when you first got it. If more people knew what DAM could do for them, they would want to use it too! That is a GOOD thing (We will talk about budgets and sharing the costs later). Sharing the use of the DAM across departments and groups can bring more ROI as long as you have some governance behind this ‘spreading the wealth’ with the DAM.

About that governance part, you do want some control over who does what with the DAM because the last thing you want to happen is a free for all nor dumping ground for everyone’s garbage with no order nor metadata. That is a very bad thing. It is worse than ‘garbage in, garbage out‘. In the case of a DAM, it is often ‘garbage in and garbage stays in‘. This is because people rarely revisit the metadata of assets once it has been imported to the DAM and the simple lack  of metadata makes finding assets much, much harder. Your DAM is only as good as its metadata.

Beyond content, file type and versioning in a DAM, an asset is an assets is an asset. You need to be able to find any asset quickly. If that is not happening, improve the DAM’s metadata and/or search functions to yield quicker and more accurate results.

All of the people able to upload to the DAM (aka power users) should be well trained, disciplined and methodical.  Your workflow with the DAM should require this. Training and ongoing support should encourage this. As discussed in an earlier blog post, documentation can enlighten when it is written properly, made readily available and updated as needed. Any user must understand that metadata is what is used to search for assets. Without this, users are not going to be happy when trying to find specific assets.

Your organization must determine who should access what assets in the DAM. Many DAM solutions can be set up to have multiple collections of assets. Each of these collections can have assigned users and roles (a set of users). Your organization can deem whether to give permission to specific users to access specific collections in the DAM. With the idea of controlling permissions, you can add more assets and share them accordingly.

If you really look at what assets are in the DAM and what assets could be added to the DAM for use throughout departments, it is rare to see only a select few individuals needing access to these assets. If only a few people need to see these assets, that is often called a silo unless there are legitimate security or confidentiality reaons. The more people know what assets are there and where to readily access them, the more likely these assets will be used, reused and/or repurposed. The more assets are used, reused and/or repurposed from the DAM, the more ROI you get. Build workflows to determine what should occur with these assets.

If you share assets throughout the organization, you could share the costs of the DAM throughout the different departments which use the system. How you divide the costs is up to you to decide, whether it is by:

  • Monitoring who uses the DAM the most
  • Who stores the most in the DAM
  • Dividing the costs per user
  • Dividing the costs equally among all groups

Carl Pritchard said “Knowledge is Power – Shared”(sm)

A DAM is all about sharing assets among users. These assets are often institutional knowledge and/or intellectual property which the organization has created and/or acquired. Share these assets more widely within your organization and you have brought more ROI to both the DAM and more importantly, your assets.

This is the case unless you like silos. Do you hide assets in the DAM and plan to keep them there for posterity? Do you want different groups creating the same asset over and over again? Do you like inconsistency or lack of continuity within your organization?

Do not start the process of finding ways to squeeze out more ROI from a DAM while wearing blinders. Explore all the options first. Then, you can narrow the options down to what brings out the most value. You may find that sharing assets via a DAM with most of the organization is a good idea.

Knowledge is Power - Shared (sm) is a registered
Service Mark of Carl Pritchard of Pritchard Management Associates.