DAM Guru Program Director Change

DAM Guru Program Appoints Ralph Windsor As New Director

London / Aarau, January 23, 2018.  Ralph Windsor, editor of DAM News and Project Director of Digital Asset Management consultants, Daydream is to become the new Director of DAM Guru Program (DGP).

DGP is a community DAM education and human resources matching service first established in 2013 by DAM Survival Guide author, David Diamond and sponsored by DAM vendor, Picturepark.  DGP has over 1,100 members and is open to digital asset managers, vendors and consultants from across the DAM industry.

“I am very excited to be chosen as the new Director of DAM Guru Program by the DGP Board.  Since it was first started, it has become a focal point for DAM industry practitioners and the promotion of high quality educational resources.  Consolidating the combined resources of DGP with DAM News represents an ideal opportunity to establish far greater cross-industry collaboration, continue the sterling work already carried out by DGP towards enhancing DAM education and to foster an environment that encourages greater innovation in the DAM sector.” said Windsor.

“What started as an idea overnight has turned into the industries’ largest DAM community: DGP has organized highly successful webinars, relentlessly connected members, posted countless DAM jobs and events, and published hundreds of interviews with DAM professionals – all serving the DAM community. I’m very proud of these achievements and I’m convinced that Ralph and his enlarged team will successfully manage DGP to be even better connected and useful to those that matter most in our industry, the DAM users.” said Ramon Forster, CEO of Picturepark .

The same team that manages DAM industry journal, DAM News (including the DAM Vendor directory, DAM Glossary, DAM Whitepapers and DAM Books) will assume responsibility for the day-to-day operations of both DAM News and also DAM Guru.  All existing DGP services will continue to be provided as previously and a wide range of new initiatives are planned for 2018 and beyond.

An Open Letter about DAM Guru Program

Dear DAM Guru Program members,

In early 2013 David Diamond texted me from San Francisco. A U.S. competitor had just released its affiliate program. We had been preparing our own such program over the last weeks for launch the next day. Now, that competitor was grabbing the market’s attention ahead of us.

Of course, David was super-furious. He swore to me the same night that he would come up with a completely different and far more innovative program.

When I woke up a few hours later, I found an expose of the DAM Guru Program in my mailbox. The paper sketched a not-for-profit association that connected Digital Asset Management experts with people new to DAM, advocating education in DAM and giving members, at the grassroots level, a voice and platform. Although not a source of revenue, I was excited by the outlined program, and provided the funds for getting it going.

What had started years ago overnight has turned into the largest Digital Asset Management community of more than 1,100 members with expertise across all sectors and systems. The program has organized highly successful webinars, relentlessly connected members seeking guidance and assistance, posted countless DAM jobs and events, as well as published hundreds of interviews with DAM professionals.

Now, after nearly five years, we are opening a new chapter with DAM Guru Program that aims to establishing far greater cross-industry collaboration, by enhancing DAM education and fostering an
environment that encourages greater innovation in the DAM sector.

With these changes, I’m excited to announce Ralph Windsor, who most of you know best from DAM News, will become our new Global Director of DAM Guru Program. I have known Ralph for many years as an active member of the DAM community. We might differ from time to time in opinions but we share the idea of a new association required for the DAM industry, which itself needs to wake up and become more active in defining its future.

I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to all DAM Guru Program members who have contributed to the program and shown their trust in Picturepark for funding and operating it, but never abusing their data for sales-related activities. You are the reason why this program exists and why we will continue to grow our DAM community further.

We are excited about this next chapter for DAM Guru Program!

Ramon Forster
CEO Picturepark

You can learn more about the changes coming to the program in the press release here.
Connect with Ramon on LinkedIn and Xing.

See the Forest: 6 Tips for Digital Asset Management (DAM) Sustainability

Photo by Tim Schramm on Unsplash

As technologists, especially in digital asset management (DAM), we often work in feature-rich systems. One system can do a lot and be utilized for multiple purposes. That flexibility and the capability to be a content hub is one of the reasons DAMs have become desired systems in the enterprise.

When implementing digital asset management solutions, we gather requirements, assess our focus technologies, align requirements to capabilities, then go to our tech to build. But, we are in a unique position to take a step back from just feature-function and problem-solving. To see the forest for the trees as it were. To create solutions that are not just purpose-built, but have a sustainable purpose. An ecosystem, not just a shrub.

Here are 6 tips for DAM Sustainability to keep you out of the weeds:

  1. Make sure you can always clearly answer these two questions: “What problems are we trying to solve?” and “What will success look like?”. Keeping these questions front-of-mind will keep you focused on building a DAM solution with a solid purpose.
  2. Don’t ignore processes, content, and data outside of the departments that will use the digital asset management system (DAM). An essential component of DAM sustainability is connecting with people in those departments who can assist you in understanding how the DAM could or will touch their worlds.
  3. Define content providers and consumers of the DAM, including people, systems, and processes. Map them out in detail (e.g. using brief surveys and interviews). Again, branch out. There are likely overlaps and inefficiencies to uncover that are being felt. Improving those processes (if you can) as part of your solution ecosystem will make the solution stronger.
  4. A caveat to #3, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Shoe-horning a solution where one is not needed does not add value. Pick your battles wisely.
  5. Let the technology inspire you not box you. Many parts of the solution will NOT involve tech. Exposing non-technical issues and solving them in the context of the DAM project can increase its value in the business.
  6. Go back to #1. When you are about to roll out, remember “What will success look like?” equals “What’s in it for me?”. Define and communicate the solution’s purpose, but also tailor the message to all levels. Not just future users, but stakeholders, financial sponsors and the business as a whole. Then check-in regularly to verify value is being realized and felt. Pivot your message, and perhaps solution priorities if needed.

What digital asset management tips do you have? We’d love to hear from you. If you have more DAM sustainability tips, email us! DAM Guru Program would love to publish your suggestions as blog posts. Help other DGP members build and maintain more sustainable solutions.

Carol Thomas-Knipes is the Director, Digital Asset Management at LogicSource.

Photo by Tim Schramm on Unsplash

Guru Talk: Kathleen Cameron – Nest

Kathleen Cameron - digital asset managerKathleen Cameron’s digital asset management experience over the years has shown her that DAM is about the ease in discovering content. If done correctly, users no longer need to be reliant on knowing someone else’s folder structure.

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

My first digital asset management gig was organizing content for the Headlands Center for the Arts in exchange for studio space. I built them a DAM system and created the metadata schema (pre-VRA core). From there I worked at Quokka, which was a sports content provider, and each production team had their own instance of a DAM system to utilize, while the IT department looked into an enterprise DAM solution. It was my first experience working with an IT group and requirements gathering. I learned Dublin Core and built the taxonomy for the Sydney Summer Olympics. I was responsible for building out the workflows to get content into the tool and also responsible for digital rights management.

After my time at Quokka, I began working at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) as their Manager of Digital Content Development. It was not traditional DAM but more of a blended role of digital project manager and DAM manager. My first project was to build a DAM for the health sciences based on HEAL and my last project was submitting the requirements for a systemwide digital library for the University of California. In between I took on digitization projects for the library, as well as helping other departments organize their assets.

The Stanford Graduate School of Business hired me after they licensed at DAM system to manage the school’s content. This was a make-it-work situation as the tool was not the right fit for their requirements, but the IT manager was committed to the product. I grew the collection from 0-36k assets in 3 years with a focus on migrating existing digital collections from outdated servers to the ECM. I built in connectivity with social media so that users could easily push content to YouTube or Facebook, as well as connectivity with the CMS being used and a new LMS (learning management system).

My current role at Nest Labs has returned me to a more traditional digital asset management role. I function more as a Digital Archivist where I am actively collecting and describing content, thinking through content lifecycle and improving workflows. I’ve built out the taxonomy, migrated content from a non-traditional DAM system they were using, conducted user-training and revisit requirements annually.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

DAM is about the ease of discovering content. No longer reliant on knowing someone else’s folder structure, users can find content more readily through structured and unstructured metadata.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

First, it helped that I had a background in analog archives and understood the power of organization and description. In 1992, I looked at one of the first digital asset management tools while working as a library manager for a photo archive in NY. From there, we began planning digitization. I had a great mentor that I worked alongside when I was a photo editor at Benjamin-Cummins. I did a lot of research. I felt it was important to understand structured metadata so I learned Dublin Core – all other metadata schemas are somewhat based on this, so picking those up later was easier. I spent a lot of time working on preservation and taxonomies in grad school. This can be learned outside of the MLIS process, but are important to understand. Active preservation is part of the conversation in higher ed but less so in non-academic environments and is essential to protecting the investment we make when building a DAM.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

Right now it is change management. People get used to the tools they use even if those tools are not efficient. I work with a group that would prefer to work in Smartsheets, Google Team Drive, Box, Jira, etc. instead of one place. We lose efficiency and I don’t always get final assets.

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

The DAM industry goes through cycles. Right now we are in an upswing with a lot of products out there, some of which are too complex and some of which are simply too buggy for the price. I expect that in 5 years, the choices will slim down again with the most stable products remaining available.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

One of my biggest mistakes with DAM was being talked out of the right choice for an organization and being stuck with the wrong choice! The effects of something like that last a very long time.

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Guru Talk: Keith McKeon – Hogarth Worldwide

Keith McKeon - Digital Asset ManagerKeith McKeon is a Digital Asset Manager who understands that chasing features, without having a clear vision for the goal of a company’s DAM system, will lead to frustration and failure.

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

I initially started as technical support for clients using our digital asset management system while employed by Hogarth Worldwide. After a year, I took over technical account responsibilities for a few clients. For some of these clients, a full rebuild of their site’s configuration was necessary; others needed more guided training for their administrators. Strictly speaking, I have been a full-time Digital Asset Manager for Johnson and Johnson’s DAM instance. This role was comprised of user-management, training, implementing a quality control process and a full rebuild of their taxonomy among other projects. I currently mentor 2 junior Digital Asset Managers for Hogarth Worldwide and represent the professional services team for Hogarth in the Americas which includes close partnership with out DAM product team and London professional services teams.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

Most of what I know about digital asset management in the commercial, practical sense, was learned by rebuilding and repairing DAM implementations. However, I took a number of classes on image archives and collections while getting my Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS). I have also had the opportunity to assist the technicians in building the Frick’s image library and scan, and organize a personal library of slides and negatives from my family. There are lots of great places to learn about DAM. One of the best ones has been the Meetup NYC Digital Asset Managers. I’ve gained some insight and had many a conversation with some great panelists. I also recommend attending one of the Henry Stuart DAM conferences if your budget permits.

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

Understand that the best software for DAM will not solve the simplest implementation of DAM unless you know exactly what you need and have a committed team to bringing the use of the DAM into your organization’s existing structure. I’ve seen too many instances where the client chased features and either oversold or did not clearly communicate to their internal teams what the DAM software was for. Lastly, make sure the software you choose has a stellar support team and by support, I mean beyond a simple front for answering technical support tickets. In your first year, it is worth paying a little more for at least %20 of a person from the vendor to ensure you are capitalizing on your investment and they hear where your pain points are. If the product isn’t performing, don’t rely on a support ticket alone to give you the final answer. It is highly possible an alternative method of working can solve your problem and any good support team will be grateful for constructive feedback.

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

This depends on the industry. For creative and marketing agencies I see it becoming nearly indistinguishable from other parts of operations. The proverbial “upload” button or, event that moves content from one stage to another will become more transparent in creative operations. Creative software can publish directly to a DAM and integrate with custom metadata requirements set by other tools in the workflow process. As DAM is better understood, it will become integrated as part of the larger content management strategy. Success will be measured by the ability to meet tighter deadlines and less time scrambling for information across other channels of communication. For other industries, like archives and libraries it’ll remain much the same on the surface, but I expect deeper levels of metadata and more connections to other archives will develop and hopefully, unique collections will be easier to find. The so called ‘invisible web’ will become more visible by AI provided paywalls and standards continue to develop.

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