The DAM Revolution Heats Up
In all business segments, trends and fads come and go with the seasons. Once in a while, however, a trend becomes a paradigm shift and has such an enormous impact on our business that it makes everyone stop dead in their tracks.
Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a shift of this caliber: a trend that is on the verge of exploding into a revolution. Regardless of who you are and what you do in the cycle of brand development or management, you cannot hide from DAM's effect. This one development is going to change the way you think and work. The challenge you'll face is how to manage the process to
The Digital Asset Management concept is simple. It's a library that stores digital assets in an organized fashion, so that they can be searched and retrieved effectively, and/or associated asset information—metadata—may be captured. Do remember, though, that some of the more powerful DAM solutions offer more than this, and becoming familiar with what is available, possible and useable is like finding a needle in a haystack. The key is to define what you want, need and expect from the system, and to ensure this information is shared with the appropriate people.
Tips & tricks for your DAM expedition
If you know exactly what you want from a DAM system, then you're ahead of the game. For the rest of us, a needs analysis is time consuming and cumbersome, yet worth every minute.
First of all, you need to research and document the areas of the process that will immediately benefit from a DAM solution. From enabling a faster approval process to automatic notification, to having the DAM system track asset use automatically, every possible benefit must be listed. Then, consult with others who have already walked this path. DAM solutions suppliers will certainly give copious amounts of information and advice, but at this stage, be careful to avoid being brainwashed or sold on one solution over another.
The end user is the ultimate resource, and this is true even if they are not in the exact market segment in which your company resides. Talk to as many people as you can, and try to learn from any mistakes they've made along the way.
Once you have created your DAM roadmap, it should be sent out to any potential suppliers. The next action item is calculating potential return-on-investment (ROI). Once an ROI statement has been completed—and you've determined what, if any, value-added services the solution will enable you to sell your clients—you should review the DAM supplier's responses and compare them to your projected ROI statement and the roadmap you've prepared.
Digital asset management is still very much in its infancy, and working with a supplier with whom to partner or a solution to implement is just the tip of the iceberg. Still, it is a vital component of the digital workflow on which we're all attempting to get a handle.
These are just a few ideas I've formulated in my search for digital asset management. You may have developed a different set of guidelines during your own expedition. So, if any of you have ventured where few have gone before, write to me. I'd love to hear about your journey so far.
As vice president, director of print and digital production for SAATCHI & SAATCHI, Eve Asbury oversees all print production for the New York City-based agency. A strong advocate for digital advertising, she and her team are playing a key role in leading the agency push for publishers to accept digital ads.