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Webinar: The State of ‘DAM User Adoption’ Today

User Adoption is typically one of the key factors that dictate whether or not a Digital Asset Management initiative is successful. While there are many resources that cover the features and capabilities of #DAM technology, practical information about the adoption subject is much harder to find. This webinar panel discussion aims to address that imbalance. 
 Sponsored by Insight Exchange Network and the DAM Guru Program, join and interact with Lisa Grimm, Ian Matzen, Henrik de Gyor, and Ralph Windsor as we discuss one of the most complex and demanding problems faced by DAM users today. This webinar will be moderated by Frank DeCarlo.

Register for The State of ‘DAM User Adoption’ Today – LIVE Online Webinar: https://bit.ly/2AHCdO1

When: Thursday, October 17, 2019 from 11:30 AM-12:30 PM Eastern

Cost: Free


Attend the Insight Exchange Network’s DAM Practitioners Summit on January 30-31, 2020 in New York City. You can find more details here. Use the discount code M131ADC for a 15% discount on registration (applicable to the early bird pricing rates too).


Need a Digital Asset Management Consultant?

Another DAM Consultancy can help. Contact us today.

 


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Do I need people to run a Digital Asset Management solution within my organization?

More people are interested in getting a Digital Asset Management system to help them actually manage their thousands or even millions of digital assets they are accumulating every year. Storage is much easier today, but actually managing and finding what is needed in a timely manner takes more effort. Once an organization selects one of the 200+ possible DAM systems and get it operational, a harsh reality sets in which few people talk about… It still takes people to keep the system working properly. To be clear, I am not referring to people running on a hamster wheel to make it run. They run more in the sense of a mechanical turk. Not like the crowdsourcing service available today, but often an internal service with institutional knowledge of your organization’s workflow, business, culture and other needs. Yes, I am referring to people embedded within your organization or at least working closely with the teams of people who request assets, create assets, upload assets, meta tag assets (kind of important part often overlooked), distribute assets where they are needed repeatedly. It is a thankless job few people understand.

This is not an IT function. If the DAM “works as designed” and it often does, IT often does not care.

You need people (at least one) who are close to the actual users who are using the system. This is where you position them.

Yes, it takes people to aid the user adoption of a DAM system. It is much more than a cheerleader role. It is not just [build/buy/license/setup/test/train/make operational] and they will come. This might be true in baseball teams, but not with DAM. Your organization has to deal with change. And let us not discount how few people embrace change. The change can be positive, obvious and even pain relieving, but human nature and company culture will still prevail. Even if it goes against logic, change is still resisted.

Enter the DAM Professional.

Someone recently asked me how can they justify headcount now that they have a DAM since they were working from 7AM to 11PM. This sounded very familiar, so this sparked the idea to write this very blog post since I have helped several companies to do this.

First of all, here are some of the wrong ways to attempt to justify an increase in headcount for a DAM.

(Note italics on this blog are used to explain humorous, but incorrect methods which are sadly seen too often in the real world.)

  1. Assume/Hope/Pray/Pretend people will notice you working insane hours and that will automagically grant you staff/assistants/contractors/helpers/elves/metadata fairies. May as well keep hallucinating and this might happen only in your mind. Back to reality. Try talking to your supervisors about the issue, but they will need to see measurable results that will be hard to dispute instead of a few weeks of long hours which is ‘normal’ nowadays in the workplace. Does the squeaky wheel get the grease?
  2. Run around screaming with arms waving above your head while bumping into desks, doors and walls until exhausted. This is repeated a few times per week. More often, this behavior is replaced with whining to people who could not care less or have no power to change your situation. If there are true pain points, they need to be discussed sanely with your supervisors. Whining is not measurable result unless you are attempting to measure how much more you will be ignored and avoided by your co-workers among others.
  3. Cry to get your way. Unless you have a weak supervisor who knows nothing, off to counseling you go for the emotionally unstable and deal with the unprofessional, childish behavior when the water works have ended. The problem will be waiting for you if/when you return. There is no crying in DAM.
  4. Expect money to rain from the sky to help pay for more help. Keep hallucinating. This is not gonna happen even if your organization has millions, billions or even trillion dollar budgets. It ain’t gonna happen. Priorities need to be justified. Read on and I will explain how to justify this as a priority.

Yes. I have seen all these scenarios. Others reading this may have also.

I have seen many people resign, retire, outright quit, get fired and simply wimp out over DAM. Admittedly, its not easy and can be painful. But, there is still no crying. You are not alone even if it may feel that way sometimes.

Digital Asset Management is not for everyone. Long hours is sometimes part of the deal, but burnout should not be part of the deal. So how do you justify the increase of DAM solution headcount.

Even if you are a salaried employee, you work a certain number of hours every week.  Maybe you work too many or maybe you are working a bunch more than you’d like doing tasks that are less fun then others. Multitasking or not, no task gets done without time. Someone’s time will be used to get a task accomplished.

No task gets done without time.

As a DAM professional, you have a lot of tasks which no machine can do. At least not yet. A few tasks can be automated and/or possibly done by other people.

You can review in this previous blog post on what skills a DAM professional needs to know and the levels of DAM experience.

If you need to justify your first DAM professional, I would suggest reading one of my earliest blog posts which is just as relevant today as the day I wrote it on Why do I need a Digital Asset Manager? If your organization still does not understand the need for people to run a DAM, they may need to fail in order to learn and someone will need to point out why they failed. Sometimes DAM Consultants can help point this out and help fix this since employees rarely speak up. It sometimes helps having an outsider say it [even if it was said before].

It does not matter what you title a DAM professional since I am in the opinion that titles mean less and less today. I was a Digital Asset Manager for a number of years and managed a DAM all by myself until I justified an increase in headcount. Working 60-80 hours can do that. If it is Tuesday and you have already worked 40 hours that week, you should be well on your way to justify an increase in head count as long as your accounting for what you did during your working hours. Sleep does not count toward work hours, but it helps to get some.

Bottom line, technology does not work alone. We have a while before it does. It works with and for people. Not the other way around. If you have no people using your DAM, you just adopted another shelf baby which will collect dust…instead of assets and value to your organization. Poof goes your ROI. Pick people who will champion your DAM for your organization.

When you are ready for some vendor neutral consulting on Digital Asset Management, let us know.


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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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Why does a DAM need an API?

Most reputable Digital Asset Management (DAM) vendors offer a solution with a GUI and API. Not all DAM clients use the API though. At least not yet.

With the growing need to converge DAM, WCM, CMS, wikis and other ECM solutions, the API is one way to tie all these solutions together on the back end so each solution can talk to each other instead of us jumping from one solution to another repeatedly and also playing the endless copy/paste game. Since many organizations are only accumulating more digital assets by exponential numbers each year, this convergence will be needed faster than most people realize. Or people could continue living as if it was still the 20th century because they wish to continue getting buried further underneath poorly managed digital assets on a daily basis. Some people may have not awakened to the possibilities of how the solutions listed above can assist their daily work rather than needlessly burning time at the office, shuffling paper in order to act busy even though they can’t find that file created a year ago, a month ago or even a week ago. Do you know anyone who meets this description?

People need to make the conscious decision to work smarter with digital assets. This involves:

  • Finding the right tools for the organization’s business needs regarding digital assets
  • Finding out how digital assets should be managed within an organization (that is managed and organized, not one or the other)
  • Having up to date documentation explaining the process and systems involved today
  • Having training and ongoing support for users of these systems and processes
  • Following through with a standard workflow or process (how do you spell consistency)
    • What do I do with a digital asset once I have created or acquired it?
    • What do I do if I need to use a digital asset again?
  • Having scaleable systems that can grow with your organization (rather than be limited to what seemed adequate or cool or shiny at one time)
  • Holding people accountable (If you don’t know, ASK lots of questions and push for decisions instead of making lots of mistakes. If you do know, document it so others will know as well.)
  • Having someone who can program systems to communicate with each other via the API
  • Having an API on the systems which will ‘speak and listen’ to the same (programming) language(s) both to and from each system

Does your organization’s DAM have an API? Does your organization use the API?