Guru Talk: Mikkel Ketter – Pandora

Lead Project Manager

The first step to a successful digital asset management implementation is understanding the user’s need for a DAM system.

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

At Pandora A/S, I am the lead project manager of the DAM/PIM project. The project was at a standstill and needed to be kickstarted.

I have also worked at MetroXpress A/S (free daily newspaper) as a production director and project manager. I implemented a DAM system for press pictures, workflow for outsourcing of picture cut out and ad production.

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

The most important item for someone new to DAM to understand is how and why it should help you and your organization in handling assets and relating workflows.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

The greatest challenge I face with digital asset management is the time and resources to change the DAM system at Pandora from an archive to a real DAM system with workflows, interconnections and dynamic descriptive information assigned to materials. Short term is missing classification and tagging.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

The biggest mistake I made with DAM was not involving the end-user and thereby not delivering a useful end-to-end system.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

A huge success for me was a setup of cross-continental workflows with very tight daily deadlines, plus setting up a project for tagging/classifying of 50.000+ assets.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

I am interested in learning more about workflows and assets working in a daily flow. I often see that everything is implemented to do this but the users end up doing workarounds because it is easier. I think it is a huge challenge to setup actual working workflows controlled by a DAM system in a daily production environment. I have tried numerous times and only really succeeded once, so I’m doing something wrong.

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Guru Call: USA

Looking for a Guru in TN, USA. Member is a student seeking guidance for a successful future in the field of digital asset management technologies. Student would like to learn more about taxonomy structures and best practices. Newbie speaks English.

Signup: https://damguru.com/signup/

#GuruCall

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DAM Guru Program Exceeds 500 Members

DAM Guru 500 Sign-ups

Global Digital Asset Management community welcomes 500th signup and adds DAM job board

 

DAM Guru Program, the world’s largest community of Digital Asset Management professionals, announced today that more than 500 membership applications have been processed since the program was launched in January of 2013.

A recent addition to the program’s website is a digital asset management jobs board. Hiring organizations can post DAM jobs for free. Job applications can be submitted right from the DAM Guru Program website and a selection of DAM Guru Program member skill profiles are available for viewing.

Program manager Ben Smidt credits much of the program’s recent success to member-generated content that provides targeted DAM-related training that was previously unavailable.

Read the full press release at Picturepark.com

  Category: Program Info
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Guru Talk: Jackie Limpert – Kimberly-Clark Corporation

 

Graphic Technology Manager

With 25 years working with Kimberly-Cark, Limpert understands that managing the lifecycle of digital assets from New to Active to Obsolete is always an ongoing challenge.

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

I have spent the last 25 years at Kimberly-Clark Corporation, which specializes in the manufacturing of products for the home. I have implemented 3 different DAM systems with K-C. I am considered the Subject Matter Expert on metadata taxonomy, business processes and user experience for K-C. Our system is used mostly to house an image of all the products that K-C sells (Kleenex, Kotex, Huggies, etc.) The Image Hub assets are used internally for presentations and externally for marketing advertising needs. In addition, Image Hub is a major component for our eCommerce needs. I am responsible for management of these systems.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

The single source of truth for digital assets of the products that we sell.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

Trial & Terror! You have to take some risks to see any rewards, but it’s never easy.

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

Implementing a DAM system takes at least 6 months longer then you anticipate. It is important to plan for delays to stay ahead of the game.

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

Traveling.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

Governance – managing the lifecycle of digital assets from New to Active to Obsolete.

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

My vision for DAM would be a seamless part of the product creation process of all digital asset types. In 5 years, I’ll be thinking about retiring but hope that my work has laid a foundation for a DAM system that can grow with technology and new multi-media marketing demands.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

Under estimating how much time & energy it takes to create a solid taxonomy for metadata classification and mapping out the business process. Include a Web Designer when building your DAM system. Technically, most DAM companies have great products but lack User Interface design.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

Getting the DAM to fulfill eCommerce needs.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

Viewing 3D digital assets in DAM without having special plug-ins.

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  Category: DGP Member Interviews
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Guru Talk: Brian Pobuda – AKQA

Senior Digital Asset Manager

Working with well known names like Audi, Apple and Getty, Pobuda understands how to manage multiple DAM projects and generate universal success.

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

I’m currently the Senior Digital Asset Manager at AKQA on the Audi of America account, where I provide the day to day maintenance of CQ5 and Scene7 assets for the Audi of America website and iPad Applications. I am the point person for sourcing, re-sizing, uploading, tagging and general archiving of both videos and stills. I meet regularly with business analyst, user experience and creative teams to ensure assets meet business, functional and creative requirements. Additionally, I spend time collaborating with art directors and motion designers on defining asset requirements based on creative direction and front-end capabilities.

In the past I have worked as a Picture Desk Editor at Getty Images, Photo Manager + Corporate Photographer at Gensler, Image Traffic Specialist & Digital Librarian at Apple and DAM Consultant at Apollo Group for the University of Phoenix.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

Organizing digital files with metadata using software to view and manage and share. Connecting distribution channels and networks allowing for seamless collaborations.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I was taught the fundamentals of DAM while working as a Picture Desk Editor at Getty Images.

They have an amazing workflow and best practices program that is the best I’ve seen. The photographers in the field upload files that have multiple pages of metadata embedded in each asset using the editing tool Photo Mechanic. These assets go directly up to the Getty Images website and to clients. They were constantly updating the day-to-day workflow allowing for the most efficient workflow possible for both the photographer and photo editors.

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

It is critical to get file and folder naming conventions established right from the start.

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

When I’m not Damming, I’m shooting commercial photography assignments. Recent clients include University of Phoenix, AVG, and Engine Yard.

I’ve had multiple DAM consulting projects that have led to large-scale photography assignments. The same creative teams are always attached to DAM projects. Since I’m looking at the brand assets, I get to know the brands from an insider’s perspective. I shot a massive brand campaign for the University of Phoenix while working as a DAM consultant. I was shooting stills and web videos and Damming for a two-year period. It was amazing collaboration.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

Staying on top of the multiple tasks assigned to me in a day. I’m currently doing all the post-production on all the web assets, file naming, metadata tagging, video encoding, uploading and authoring in CQ5, so I’m maxed out.

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

Post-recession, I’m seeing more clients going back to the old school server archiving method. Keeping a highly organized file and folder naming convention that everyone understands.

To cut costs, companies are now only using the available content management systems like Adobe’s CQ5 and Scene7. These programs have basic DAM functionality built in. This solution is extremely limited but useful and saves companies DAM startup costs and long-term maintenance fees.

I see the “drag and drop process” in the future for DAMS, with a permanent lockdown versioning control abilities.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

Starting a large-scale project for a well-known brand without a budget.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

Providing the Digital Asset Management support to help launch the redesigned Audi of America website.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

SEO. It’s critical for effective search on the web and I’m seeing how this is now the final step in the overall DAM process. It’s also the only shot you have to properly protect images with the embedded data.

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Guru Talk: Emily Kolvitz – JCPenney

Digital Asset Manager

Having experience managing over 4 million digital assets in a single project, Kolvitz has the understanding and knowledge to drive all DAM projects toward successful outcomes.

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

I have worked as a digital projects archivist at the Oklahoma History Center in the Research division, where I helped manage a DAM project involving over four million assets.  In that project, all of Oklahoma’s historic newspapers from the 1840s to the 1920s were digitized, indexed, cataloged, and made available online at the Gateway to Oklahoma History website.  It was an enormous project and a great experience in organizing, sorting and grooming assets for production outside of a formal database in a shared network drive environment, surrounded by other information professionals.

In my current role, I am a DAM professional at the JCPenney corporate headquarters, where I support marketing production in a works-in-progress DAM environment.  Coming from an archivist’s perspective, managing assets in this environment can be chaotic at times, but the underlying theory that is present in LAM institutions can also apply in the corporate environment.

In my role I work not only as a DAM SME but as a workflow automation specialist.  I also advocate for better information management and better knowledge management practices by sharing information, advocating for it, communicating the need for it, and extensively documenting any workflows and any information pertaining to our DAM.  Problem-solving and building are two of the most satisfying parts of my job.

The hardest part of my job is navigating through the complexities of a corporate environment where the culture sometimes discourages knowledge sharing unless it is on a need-to-know basis.  Mostly I pretend I don’t know about that.  Ask for forgiveness right?

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

I generally keep it very simple and tell people that I help manage an image database or library for photography assets.  People’s attention spans are short, so I try to be succinct in this arena, but I guess that’s kind of a boring way to describe it, isn’t it?  If pressed, I will tell them that it is about getting the right assets to the right people at the right time, and protecting the integrity of the digital files.  Of course, DAM is a novel, not two sentences.  It’s kind of like trying to summarize the Game of Thrones novels into two sentences.  Well–it’s kind of about dragons and Westeros.  Mostly it’s about the quest for power, wine-drinking, and revenge.    Now you have people’s attention, which brings me to another point.  Make it exciting for them–not everyone shares your passion for description, organization or workflow automation.  Some people even find it off-putting.  Even when you are telling people about what you do for a living you are advocating for your DAM.    Please don’t mumble, “Well I um, apply metadata and organize things and automate stuff” in a monotone voice when you introduce yourself to a group of people who know nothing of DAM.

DAM is a battleground for the single point of truth, of combative laggards who hate change and make you want to drink wine at the end of day, rogue assets out of place, and sometimes victorious cheering when you take revenge on those rogue assets by cataloging the hell out of them. DAM can be about the quest for power, wine-drinking, and revenge too.   It can also, at times, all come together in the way that you choreographed it, but most of the time it’s much more exciting than that.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

Learning DAM has been a combination of self-education, LIS coursework, mentorship, and on the job immersion.  It’s interesting that we all take different paths into DAM and have such varied backgrounds.  Some people have been doing DAM for years and they don’t even know it!  It’s no secret I am a fan of sharing– I owe a lot of my DAM education to online, open, and freely available resources.  Before I even started graduate school, a good friend, Adam Hess, who has worked as a DAM professional at Yale and also the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum recommended DAM Survival Guide to me.  I had a mentor before I even realized it, and I think that is so crucial that we share our knowledge with others and help guide people when they enter into the world of DAM.

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

No one has all the answers, and there are multiple ways of accomplishing the same task.  Good governance rules need to be established for your DAM, but sometimes work and building the DAM is happening in tandem with the establishment of procedures and policies.  Be prepared to climb a mountain for years, not sprint to the top of a hill.

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

Law librarianship, corporate archives, art museum archives, or information management consulting.

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

My vision for DAM is that the business rules that govern the DAM will always inform the logic that is used to construct workflows, control permissions, and reign in chaos.  There are unique opportunities for DAM search sophistication to improve, especially in terms of semantics, Did you mean? suggestions/spell-checking, as well as autocompleting search.    If DAM is there to support getting the right assets to the right people at the right time, then I want to have multiple ways to discover built into the UI–navigational, faceted, federated, browsing, suggestions based on popularity or rating to name a few.  Maybe the future of DAM utilizes image mining techniques to populate description or show like-assets.  Maybe future DAMs mine their own analytics data to make suggestions to users of good candidates for re-purposing (for example, non-selects that have been abandoned by art directors, never to see the light of day.)

Ultimately, my vision for DAM is that it becomes more elastic in what it can do, more clean-cut in it’s appearance, and more data-driven in regards to ROI, use, and reuse statistics.  Basically a DAM that calculates ROI for you, looks clean like Google Docs, and leverages third-party open source tools for the betterment of the users, the industry, and the business it is supporting.

I think of current-state DAM as a bucket–a very sophisticated bucket, but the content is what we are all interested in, not the container.  People will move to the technology with the least amount of barriers to access and the greatest return on investment.  A shift in the way we think about the technologies surrounding DAM, or even the technologies surrounding a very simple problem can often open up new solutions that were not apparent previously.  I’ve heard people say things like “In the future, maybe assets will describe themselves and we will just be around for a human qc spot check or where a subjective decision is required,”  but that’s not so far-fetched.  If the data used to catalog the assets has already been entered into a disparate system before the asset was created, then you have a situation in which assets can “catalog themselves” by linking together metadata fields from the original database and the image repository through an automation tool or script.

There’s a wealth of data that can be used to populate metadata fields for images, especially in marketing production environments where extensive planning has gone into the front end of creating the asset which can then be used to describe it, and from there, an even richer description can be appended to the asset by a human cataloger.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

In the past, I approached DAM advocacy in the wrong way.  I thought an essay on the need for DAM and a policy could help enact change, but none of that matters if you can’t tie it to immediate business needs.  People want to know how it affects them now and specifically what problems it helps solve in the weeds.  That has been a hard lesson to learn, but so important.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

Having upper management buy-in and a strong, supportive direct supervisor, both of which allowed me to have enough freedom to re-engineer processes and help grow our DAM.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

I’d like get really good at a specific programming language to help with workflow automation, but I know that’s kind of a full-time undertaking to get really good at one.  I’d also like to learn more about system integrations with DAMs, not only how systems can communicate better, but about good governance rules for maintaining authenticity and integrity of assets when they leave the DAM.

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