Guru Talk: Bob Hendriks – In Transit Images

Managing Director

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.

Connectivity, solvable.

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.

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Guru Talk: John Horodyski – Optimity Advisors

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Having extensive history and education in the field of Digital Asset Management, John Horodyski approaches DAM from the perspective of potential—it’s not what DAM has done in the past that matters, but what DAM can do for each organization moving foward.

What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?

I am currently a Partner at Optimity Advisors where I lead the Metadata and Taxonomy practice for Digital Asset Management and IT Advisory and Business Intelligence. I have been privileged to work with some amazing organizations ranging from Media & Entertainment (Television, Video Games), Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) (Food, Fashion, Flowers, and more), Pharmaceuticals, Technology, Healthcare and Insurance.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

DAM consists of the management tasks and technological functionality designed to enhance the inventory, control and distribution of digital assets (rich media such as photographs, videos, graphics, logos, marketing collateral) surrounding the ingestion, annotation, cataloguing, storage, retrieval and distribution of digital assets for use and reuse in marketing and / or business operations.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I first learned about DAM during my graduate studies in university studying information science and archival studies back in 1998.  I knew then that DAM was the real deal, and an exciting place to be centered at the convergence of rich media content and discovery.

What’s the most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand about DAM?

I always tell people that DAM is much more than just a technology acquisition and that it is not simply a project, for a project by definition has a finite beginning and an end. For DAM is a product or better yet, a program that requires ongoing and active strategic management, corporate vivacity, and evaluation to ground its purposefulness within the organization so as to direct its maturity and growth.

If you weren’t doing DAM as a career, what would you be doing?

I love what I do. I would definitely be doing something involving content, marketing, managing information and working with people and organizations helping to solve their information problems. Or quite possibly, living it up as a global food critic, a mixologist on a tropical island or having fun with music or sports marketing. 🙂

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

The greatest thing about challenges is that they draw us all together to work collaboratively and collectively for the greater good. For DAM does not live in splendid isolation; it is an opportunity for all groups, team, and departments in an organization to to work together and create a program for sustainable success. The challenge and the opportunity for organizations is to come together to understand the value of DAM as a single source of truth for their content and to then leverage that content for use and reuse.

What is your vision for DAM? What will it look like in 5 years?

DAM as an industry has evolved and matured well over the last twenty years and will continue to evolve with the rapid changes in technology, social media, and mobile consumption for consumer experience and engagement. With DAM, the power of metadata, content, access, use and distribution will continue to grow and be seen as the foundation for digital strategy work for all organizations.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

I have no regrets, for everything that I have ever done, accomplished, failed at, etc. has led me to where I am right now and made me who I am. Don’t dwell on the past, only focus on the future.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

See my previous answer.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

I am a life long learner and love the new experiences gained from clients both new and old. Don’t accept mediocrity for there is always something new to learn and something to make better.

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Guru Call: Germany

Looking for a Guru in Germany. Newbie is interested in general informations about Digital Asset Management systems.

Needs help to compare different systems and would like to know which features are standard and the most important for DAM. Additionally, Newbie seeking pros and cons for Pixelboxx, Celum, and Adobe Scene7.

Newbie speaks German and English.

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Guru Talk: Karl Jackson – United States Marine Band

Digital Asset Management Professional

Working nearly two decades with “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, Karl Jackson has set the mission and strategic vision for the Lab and overseen its success through multiple technology evolutions.

What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?

I have worked for the United States Marine Band since 1995. I am responsible for all manner of technical support, but specifically related to audio and video support. One aspect of that role involves creating, organizing, and providing access to a recorded media archive dating back to 1889 and containing all manner of analog and digital formats. My work as a DAM professional began in the late 90s when it became clear that establishing a process for organizing both digitized and born digital media would be necessary to safeguard the collections as well as make them more readily available.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

I describe it as attending to every stage in the life cycle of a digital asset, including creation, identification and description, storage, access, and reformatting. I try to emphasize that digital assets are different than the analog ones we used to deal with in that managing digital assets is an ongoing process, whereas analog assets can sometimes be left unattended.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I was first introduced to the concept through the Association of Recorded Sound Collections at a local meeting in 1995 or 1996. Since then I have listened carefully to smart people in the library and archives world and tried to stay abreast of changes in the field as they happened. A high point for my continuing education was attending a workshop called “Stewardship of Digital Assets” in 2007 presented by NEDCC and PALINET (now Lyrasis). That opened my eyes to a deeper level of professional work being done in the field.

What’s the most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand about DAM?

That it’s very hard if not impossible to go it alone when it comes to DAM. The types of subject matter expertise to do it right for an organization of any real size really do require a team effort and ideally even collaboration across organizations for knowledge sharing and standardization. I’m lucky to have a great team to work with here at the USMB.

If you weren’t doing DAM as a career, what would you be doing?

DAM is only one of my current roles, so I would be focusing more on another role, likely audio and video production work.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

Finding the time to dedicate to ingesting some of the wonderful historical performance recordings that could be valuable assets to the organization if digitized and made available. We’ve made great progress, but have many years of work left.

What is your vision for DAM? What will it look like in 5 years?

We are moving toward broader adoption of DAM as a core strategic competency for organizations of all stripes as we all seek to rapidly leverage growing collections of assets for a range of requirements including operational, marketing, and research. Video assets in particular are exploding. DAM efforts aren’t easy or cheap, but there is growing clarity around the value proposition.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

If I had it to do over, I would expend greater effort on getting executive sponsorship up front both in order to increase our leverage when we encountered challenges and in order to bind the team more tightly together around an organizational imperative. The importance of the boss delegating their formal authority to the project really cannot be overstated.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

I was able to articulate a clear vision when we started that has guided us through staff changes, technological evolution, and various challenges along the road. We started with no digital assets managed in 1995 and have a system now that provides both preservation and access for a wide range of assets, and does so in a way that provides clear value to the organization.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

I’m interested in increasing my understanding of the ways in which DAM is integrated into organizations in other industries and fields. I’ve got a good sense of how we work in cultural heritage organizations, but am excited to broaden my perspective.

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Guru Call: USA

Looking for a Guru in Washington DC area. Newbie is evaluating the current state of stewardship procedures for born-digital assets within their library. Seeking to facilitate proper preservation practices for these materials.

Newbie requires a digital asset management system to facilitate current access and to foster organization of these files. System must handle a variety of metadata schemas and will play well with library-centric cataloging standards (i.e. MARC).

Newbie speaks English.

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Guru Call: USA

Looking for a Guru in TN, USA. Newbie is looking to tie an external server to an internal server for a more streamlined DAM system. Newbie is working with graphic designers, customers and marketing department. Needs to satisfy multiple stakeholders.

Newbie speaks English.

Signup: https://damguru.com/signup/

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Guru Talk: Roy Walter – Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Director of Media Asset Management

With a passion for music, Walter has been working his way through a variety of impressive companies, helping them make sense of their digital assets.

What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?

I began my career in digital asset management at Time Inc./TimeWarner, eventually working my way up to VP Publishing Technologies. I built automated systems for print publishing during the desktop publishing revolution of the early 90s. Brought analog photography and graphics in-house with an all-digital imagining and design department, integrating corporate data with images, page layouts and digital proofing. 

I continued integrating publishing solutions with internet-based networking and CMSs during my time as DAM Director at Bertelsmann. I also consulted for awhile designing and implementing large scale DAM/MAM solutions for broadcast TV, music and publishing companies.

Now at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, as their Director of Media Asset Management, I oversee digitization of video and document archives, manage video production systems, integrating disparate data and media workflows.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

Making sense of digital processes and creating efficient workflows and systems for managing them in many ways, including production, preservation, distribution and archiving.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I learned DAM through my own production experience recording and producing music. You could say I am primarily self-taught, leveraging graduate work in IS, tech books, online tutorials and industry groups. I built DAM systems for images and text in a large publishing environment before any existed.

I have found sharing experiences and resources with colleagues facing the same challenges is always quite helpful. Additionally, conferences and training by DAM vendors (Apple, Adobe, Quark, Oracle, Artesia/OpenText, etc.) provides insights and knowledge to help me achieve my goals.

What’s the most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand about DAM?

You’re already doing it. Formalize your methods and reach out for help. But keep the business needs foremost in your mind during design and implementation. It’s about solving business problems, not technology.

If you weren’t doing DAM as a career, what would you be doing?

I have a music degree and would probably be a working musician. That was the plan since junior high.

What is your vision for DAM? What will it look like in 5 years?

Graph databases will connect media and fuel tremendously powerful and creative solutions.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

My greatest success involves integrating disparate data and systems to eliminate stumbling blocks for users. Ideally the solution gets out of the way so users can apply their own expertise in their job, instead of wrestling with minutia.

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