Fresh off her internship at Apple and now managing assets for a well-known furniture company, Laurentia has learned quickly to find success it is important to understand how digital asset management is scaleable inside a company.
What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?
I suppose that I first got my feet wet with DAM at Apple as a Digital Asset Management Intern in the summer of 2013. That being said, I had used various document control and asset management tools in my role at the University of Alberta (in Canada) for three years prior to that. In mid-2014 I started working for a well-known furniture company as a (digital) Asset Manager.
How do you describe digital asset management to others?
If I’m describing what I do to someone that has never been exposed to DAM before, I start by posing the problem I often try to solve as a digital asset manager.
My shtick usually goes something like this: At large companies with a strong creative marketing presence, you can easily end up with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pictures. You may only see 20 pictures of a product on a website, but to get to those 20 pictures, thousands were shot. When a photographer or creative director needs to find that one picture with the happy smiling family in South Korea with a hot air balloon flying in the background, how does the photographer find that image when they have a huge pool of images to sort through?
My job is to facilitate finding that image and manage the lifecycle of that asset from the moment it is shot to the moment it shows up on the web. That’s DAM, and it doesn’t just pertain to photos. It can be anything – legal documents, blueprints, sound files, videos – large organizations are creating all sorts of digital documents that need to be sorted somehow.
How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?
I learned DAM on my feet to begin with. At the University of Alberta it was just a matter of someone needing to do the work, and the University had tools in place to help along the way. I then interned at Apple where, again, I picked up a lot on my feet. At this point, I knew I wanted to learn more, so I took an online course as part of my masters program at San Jose State University in Digital Asset Management with John Horodyski. I learned a lot.
With all that said though, by far the largest DAM resource that I feel I have is our professional network, whom I have largely met through LinkedIn, the DAM Guru Program, and most of all through the DAM Henry Stewart Conferences. Having peers to bounce ideas off of, pick up tips and tricks from, and share frustrations with, is an incredible gift. So! Jump in! Start reaching out to other DAM folks in your area!
What’s the most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand about DAM?
Wow. Tough call.
I’d say it’s important for people to understand how DAM is scalable. Sure, you may need to hire a digital asset manager if you’re a large organization or if your company finds that you really need someone to manage a large pool of digital documents. But you can do DAM in little ways too; organizing assets and information can start with even a tiny pool of assets, and having an asset management strategy early on can only help you if your business / asset pool grows.
If you weren’t doing DAM as a career, what would you be doing?
Project managing. Working in User Experience. Working towards a PhD (it’s on my radar, someday).
What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?
Implementation & integration across the organization (both on the technical side and human side) is always a challenge. Also, creating a tool that is effective to users! Sometimes what may seem like a smart solution really just generates more problems.
What is your vision for DAM? What will it look like in 5 years?
I’m still pretty new to DAM and so it’s hard for me to comment on this one. I just don’t have strong enough knowledge and experiencing using most of the DAMs out there. So from a technical side, I can’t comment on DAM. In 5 years though, I do hope DAM roles become much more common and understood for their use in various organizations.
What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?
Hmmm…. Getting caught up on flashy DAM systems. At the last Henry Stewart conference (DAM LA) I was so excited to hear about all the latest DAM technologies and to bring this information back to my work. Then, I heard a lot of asset managers talking about their experiences using these DAM systems, and it sounds like sometimes the sparkle is just that – sparkle – and it can really inhibit getting work done. I’ve since learned that simple systems, though maybe not capable of doing everything I want, can be much more useful and reliable.
What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?
Check back with me in a few years! I feel like I’m still too young in the field to be commenting on my successes just yet.
What more would you like to learn about DAM?
I’d love to get more experience in blending my love for project management with DAM.