Guru Call: USA

Looking for a Guru in USA, New York.  Newbie is seeking some assistance with developing a new enterprise DAM system. Specifically, Newbie is interested in information regarding policy, processes and insight to appraisal/selections within the new DAM. Newbie is in the sporting goods industry and speaks English.

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Guru Talk: Laura Fu – Sears Holdings Corporation

Senior Digital Asset Specialist

By having a collection management policy and cataloging procedures, Fu has found success in helping users better understand the value of a complete digital asset management system.

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

I have been Senior Digital Asset Specialist for Sears Holdings Corporation since 2011. Before that, I was the Video Assets Manager for AnswersMedia, LLC from 2008 through 2011, and News Archivist for Sinclair Broadcast Group between 2002 and 2006.
I wasn’t familiar with the world of DAM until joining the SHC family. Looking back at my previous roles, though, they fall very much in line with a typical DAM position. Digital Asset Management is relatively new to many companies, so that those who are or will soon be a DAM professional may already have been on that career path without even knowing it.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

When I tell someone what my title is, they never know what I do. I have to explain that I’m an image librarian. I see DAM as a way to centralize digital content on an enterprise level to help manage branding, decrease duplicate effort and spending, and increase efficiency and automation of content delivery. The successful DAM will ultimately share content and information and allow users to not only find what they’re looking for but also discover content that they may never have known existing within the company.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I learned a lot of the skills I use daily from previous jobs in video tape libraries and from coursework at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Much of what I’ve learned about DAM in the last 3 years I learned by doing. The most helpful resource I have found is talking to others in the industry. Most everyone in DAM is more than happy to talk about what they do, so find someone on LinkedIn or via DAM Guru Program and ask them questions!

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

There is no one correct way to do anything. DAM is still such a young and growing field. Although there are a lot of standards set up, there is still a lot to discover, share and teach. It leaves many DAM roles with a wide open path. Sometimes it’s difficult being the new kid in school, if DAM is relatively new to your employer. Someone new may not have people to lean on internally or go to with questions, simply because not many people know or understand what DAM can do. But you this to your advantage!  Advocacy, internally and externally to your employer, will help you build a system that supports your users’ specific needs. Take that opportunity to teach your users the benefit of DAM.  Each user group has different needs, so configure your procedures and tools as needed.

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

I started school as a violin performance major. It obviously wasn’t meant to be but I still play and would love to be good enough to be a professional violinist and play in Carnegie Hall. If I hadn’t found my way into DAM, my original career path was in video asset management, creating and maintaining video libraries for news outlets. My dream library job is still to work at CNN’s massive news library in Atlanta.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

Enforcing data governance. DAM teams work had to create a metadata schema with definitions and controlled terms, but we don’t create content. We rely on content providers to adhere to our database’s rules but that doesn’t always happen. Someone needs something ASAP or is a new hire and wasn’t told how things work, and the DAM receives content that has incomplete or incorrect data. Some of it we can catch and correct; but often times, errors go through undetected and content could be lost. I explain to our users that we are librarians, not authors. So if there is a typo in a book, it goes on the shelf with a typo. Enforcing users and providers to abide by rules is tough; but if they wrote a book, they wouldn’t just toss it on a random shelf at their local library; would they? There is a process to receive assets and metadata. Just like any library, we have a collection management policy and cataloging procedures. Getting people to understand and appreciate that can be very difficult.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

I have been successful promoting our tool internally by making myself available virtually and physically to all of our users. Many companies have IT or support who are accessible by phone, email or an online form. Not having a name or face to go with the people who are managing your system distances users from their support team. I have had a tremendous response from our users, internal or external, associate or contractor, by being accessible. I make myself available to our users at three area offices. If I can’t be there in person, I can be reached by phone, email, Skype, Lync, or our internal social media portal. Users seem more ready to provide feedback and are more patient with issues, like bugs or outages, when they know the person who is working on it. I am out there talking to our users as much as I can to let them know we are real people who are here to help. Earning trust is vital to providing a good user experience, so go out there and meet your users. Ask for feedback, even if it is negative because that is how you learn how to improve your DAM.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

I enjoy hearing from others in the industry, about their users, their successes and failures, and any first-hand stories that can teach me how to improve the experience for our users.

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Guru Talk: Jennifer Terbosic – DePuy Synthes

digital asset manager

Having worked in digital asset management for over a decade, Terbosic has worked and re-worked to improve company processes and build efficiency within the DAM system.

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

I am presently the Digital Asset Manager at DePuy Synthes; this is where I began my career in DAM and I’m still currently employed.  I started as a Digital Imaging Specialist bulk uploading content, testing different hierarchy scenarios and experimenting with metadata. In my current role I help to manage/coordinate projects and document processes around our DAM system.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

In the DAM world or to someone who is new and interested in DAM I explain it as a database used to classify and organize assets.  A powerful tool for any company who wants to easily organize assets and utilize the power of metadata behind each asset.

For my friends and family I explain it as a digital library or database that organizes our electronic assets.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I learned DAM mostly by just learning our DAM system and working closely with our IT team and exploring the business needs.  I also like to attend Henry Stewart DAM conferences to stay connected in the industry as well as learn from other DAM administrators.

Few other resources:

I recently purchased the newest DAM book Digital Asset Management: Content Architectures, Project Management, and Creating Order out of Media Chaos by Elizabeth Keathley.

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

You need a dedicated resource, and as your system grows your team needs to grow as well.  Also connect with and include the business, ask them questions and try to meet their needs and involve them; this will greatly help with user acceptance.

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

I have a background in photography and photo restoration and a love for music, so my dream job would be a concert photographer.  I also love fashion and could maybe see exploring DAM in that industry as well.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

Currently it is getting all the right processes in place and making sure you have the right people in place to help define these processes.  The end result is you want your DAM to run like a well oiled machine and to getting to that point takes time and patience and lots of communication.

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

I think DAM will finally begin to be recognized as a powerful necessary tool for most companies.  I also think the power of metadata and search will continue to expand from DAM to external channels with DAM being the localized source of data.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

I don’t really have a perfect example of this I would like to think of the mistakes made as lessons learned.  I was part of the day one of implementing DAM at our company and we have made mistakes along the way, but I like to think each one came with a valuable lesson.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

I think my biggest success is being part of team that brought DAM into a DAM-less organization and being part of its growth and acceptance.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

I would love to learn more about how DAM is fully utilized in other industries.  Maybe even learn more about the backend of DAM and explore the consulting side of the industry as well.

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Guru Talk: Amanda Cortese – Ogilvy & Mather

Digital Asset Manager

Learning digital asset management from the ground up, Cortese has gained valuable experiences with planning and change-management for DAM systems.

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

I originally worked for Schawk Retail Marketing, where I managed the tangible assets. I now manage the Digital Asset Management system at Ogilvy & Mather Chicago.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

I describe DAM as a centralized repository for digital assets. The DAM I created in my current role is actually two-fold: it’s a digital library and it’s a streamlined production workflow. The digital library is, in a way, very prototypal – it has a style, a taxonomy and a schema all it’s own, but for all intents and purposes, it’s a well-functioning digital asset management solution. The workflow is a culmination of the technology, the existing way the agency worked and a little sprinkle of research, understanding and improvement.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I learned about DAM while working in advertising. I originally worked [for an agency] managing tangible assets. I worked in a basement and shipped samples to [my agency’s] photo studio. From there, I moved into a Project-Manager-meets-Production-Coordinator-meets-Account-Manager type of role. I felt like I worked more hours in that role than in any other I had – which is how I learned the ins and outs of production within advertising. That knowledge is what led to my current role, where I was hired to lead the project in building a Digital Asset Management solution for Ogilvy & Mather in Chicago.

Since my collegiate background isn’t in Advertising or Library Sciences, everything I learned in these fields has been from my professional experiences. It’s been an interesting way to learn about such a large and growing industry.

I’ve also attended two Digital Asset Management conferences and a number of webinars. A few of my favorite sources are DAM Coalition, DAM Guru Program & Henry Stewart Events.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

I think the largest hurdle I’ve had to jump is in regards to change-management. It took a good two years for some people in my agency to accept the fact that the way they used to work was changing. I wouldn’t have had it any other way, though – this pushed me to express how important and necessary this project, tool and department was to the agency. It tested my strengths and patience and taught me a number of skill sets I couldn’t have learned in any other situation.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

My biggest mistake with regard to DAM is thinking I could do too much, too fast. It took me a few years to understand that technology isn’t instant. Building a workflow, a database, a structure, takes time. The research that has to be put into every detail of what you’re designing and building has to make sense. It’s far less effective to be reactionary at every turn than it is to take the right amount of time, the first time around.

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Guru Call: China

Looking for a Guru in the Asia region. DAM Guru Member is seeking advice on implementation of a CatDV system for their organization.

DGP member situation will require a network solution, one that works with the problematic internet access of Mainland China. Every office will have an admin person who imports, catalogs and tags the digital assets in CatDV, in catalogs that are shared across all four offices. DGP member speaks english.

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China