With deep photography roots and a background in IT, Hendriks has worked to meet the needs of modern day digital asset management systems for a variety of audiences.
What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?
Working as a self-employed Commercial Photographer in the early 2000’s, it was in my opinion a pure necessity to implement DAM as part of my business, even when digital photography still existed with film photography. This paid off when our company – Bob Hendriks Concepts – added graphic and web design to its services, everything digital, every asset accounted for, every project searchable.
In both ventures I was the (only) DAM professional and had to make it work, my background in IT and curiosity in the subject helped me tremendously. In 2009 I embarked on an even more DAM heavy adventure with In Transit Images, a boutique photography licensing house, in the capacity of Managing Director and working on a different scale, we gathered a team of professionals around and developed our own platform with at the foundation a enterprise DAM solution.
My role in this project was to create the IT architecture, make sure the budgeting was available and steer the project and development teams, basically designed it from the ground up.
How do you describe digital asset management to others?
Every day I will speak with people familiar with the concept but not with the jargon or people who face the challenges of missing DAM in their organization without knowing there are solutions. In either case I will describe them a virtual warehouse with many parts ready for use or sale, the warehouse needs to know where, how many and what parts are available and being used. Each part will have a sticker or tag describing what it is and its part-number maybe even a barcode. DAM is a digital inventory system, each asset or part tagged with keywords and certain characteristics – metadata – to be able to find and keep track of the assets you need on-going updating of that system.
What’s the most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand about DAM?
Digital Asset Management needs consistency, uniformity and inclusion. Consistency provides timely updates with precise data, DAM is a marathon run not a sprint. Uniformity comes with processes and standardization, all professionals involved working the same way, all the time. Inclusion means that every organization, big or small, needs buy-ins from every level, funding and support from executives and involvement from IT for example. Inclusion also means that every asset or possible asset is evaluated and included, even the archived ones.
If you weren’t doing DAM as a career, what would you be doing?
My interests go far and wide and will involve digital technology in many of them, DAM would possible be part of that as well except for creating fine art and cooking but I digress.
What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?
Metadata. Plain and simple, everything else can be solved.
File formats, convertible.
Scale, more resources.
Metadata off, big problem ! Often a compounded caused by multiple factors and not easy to resolve without re-allocating new resources; new people, more money, new deadlines. The old motto in DAM is “if it not searchable it cannot be found” translates for most organizations into “no business” and is always a concern to me as well. Imagine finding out that more than a million assets require revision or comply with a different standard.
What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?
The biggest mistake many make as well as myself in the past, is underestimating the required work involved, whether it is underestimating hours of labour, budgets, stakeholders involved or scope. Best lesson learned, learn as much as you can, or even better involve experienced DAM professionals. Investing cheap can otherwise turn out to be the most costly option.