Guru Talk: Allison Pearce – Weber Shandwick

Allison Pearce - Content Manager

Having enterprise success with digital asset management systems for multiple companies, Pearce understands the importance of always being willing to adapt and innovate to meet the needs of this industry.

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

I started working in Digital Asset Management as an intern at advertising agency JWT. At the time, the company was going digital and as part of an intern team I helped to transcode and compress decades of television advertisements to store on the DAM. I was eventually hired by the agency and helped to manage and organize new post-production projects. Additionally, I worked as part of a global team that helped to showcase and elevate the best of the best content produced by the agency across their network.

I also worked for retail giant Victoria’s Secret in their corporate headquarters. There I managed the ingest and trafficking of their extensive library of photography assets, direct from the photo shoot to final output on their website and in catalogues.

I am currently the Content Manager at Weber Shandwick, helping to grow the internal brand.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

As most people aren’t quite sure what I do professionally, I usually explain my job in a simple way: “I organize content.” Content is broad term, so when I elaborate, I usually explain that by using keywords, I help to build structure around assets. The goal is to use data to help make the work our agency produces more accessible to other teams.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

DAM wasn’t something I initially thought I would go into as a career, so most of my learning was on the job. I was fortunate to work with some other talented professionals and be part of vendor scoping and implementations. I also think that one of the key ways to be successful in this arena is to stay relevant. I am constantly staying on top of what is out there in terms of technology, vendors and idea workflows.

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

Be willing to change and innovate. Technology is here to aid companies not drive how they do things. Data should help a company move forward and constantly adapt to changing needs. Not all DAM solutions are going to fit with company culture, so try not to standardize your way of doing things. You should always be prepared to evaluate what the company really needs and focus your efforts in that direction.

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

Photographer or lawyer.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

I find that, especially when it comes to implementation, it’s hard to get others into the right mindset for what the ultimate goals are. I think companies tend to want a solution to help better organize their assets, but the challenge is always getting there. I think that setting expectations when you begin that journey is key. Try a staged approach. Set clear goals for your road map so that you will see success along the way.

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

I think the industry is changing, especially as cloud-based storage becomes a big priority for companies. I am hoping to see more vendors adapt to the changing environments and offer partnerships versus a service to its customers. Some of the best DAM vendors I’ve worked with recognize that they need to work with a company to develop their tool.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

I’ve had some experiences in the past where we have tried to fit a digital asset management solution into a scenario where it was not needed. I think better discovery sessions with the teams would have helped to show that—also keeping those groups smaller with key stakeholders. A larger group can get caught in the weeds with simple customizations and lose sight of the ultimate goal.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

As simple as it sounds, I think after implementing a DAM with a team for the first time and seeing how excited they get when the tool helps to cut down on search and make them more productive is a sign of success.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

Learning from other professionals about their experience is the best way to learn. Seeing other examples in practice can help you maybe move forward with an issue you may have been stuck on.

—–
Would you like to be a DAM Guru Program featured DAM professional? Signup now (for free) or contact your DAM Guru Program manager.

  Category: DGP Member Interviews
  Comments: Comments Off on Guru Talk: Allison Pearce – Weber Shandwick

Guru Talk: Collin Rickman – Special Counsel Information Governance

Collin Rickman - Digital Asset Manager

Coming from library sciences and archival collections, Rickman now focuses his efforts on helping global teammates find the marketing materials they need to succeed.

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

I am a recent arrival to digital asset management. I am an Assistant Digital Assets Manager through Special Counsel Information Governance, working for a client to manage photographic and marketing assets and get those assets into the hands of a global group of stakeholders.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

To those unfamiliar with any kind of information work, I usually draw a quick comparison between the idea of a traditional public librarian organizing physical things like paper books and making them accessible to an external audience, and a digital asset manager organizing digital things like design files and making them accessible to an external audience. A librarian for digital files.

I also give them the example of organizing their own digital music collections at home. How do you find things if the titles are wrong or missing? What happens if you need to replace some files? What happens if the software glitches? What kinds of file types and qualities do you decide to use? And so on. These are obviously simplifications, but putting it in terms that they can identify with in their own lives usually gets them interested to know more.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

It might be a bit premature to say I’ve “learned” DAM, but on-the-job training is always the best teacher, as well as working alongside a more seasoned professional, if you have that luxury. I also have immersed myself in the subject by taking advantage of great online resources. A couple of my favorites are DAM Foundation and Henrik de Gyor’s Another Dam blog. I’m also looking forward to devouring Elizabeth Keathley’s Digital Asset Management: Content Architectures, Project Management, and Creating Order out of Media Chaos.

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

I’d like to think I’d be a novelist living in a remote lakeside cabin, chain smoking and pounding away furiously on a typewriter at all hours. But, I’d probably be working in a role similar to that of an archivist or special collections librarian, which was what I was doing before getting involved with digital asset management.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

The complexity inherent in workflow process and asset distribution in a large company and how things can change at the drop of a hat. I’ve learned that it is impossible to account for all the various silos that people use instead of a DAM solution because they find the solution inadequate, don’t know it exists, or prefer to do things the way they’ve always done them. The challenge is to keep pushing towards that solution that centralizes and standardizes how a company manages its assets, knowing full well you’ll never reach that 100% on-board participation mark, but constantly reaching out to others, investigating how people do things, and improving your own processes anyways. Always be moving.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

For me, the biggest success is when the stakeholders I support thank me and say I’ve made their jobs a little easier and their workloads a little lighter. That recognition and appreciation of what digital asset management does when it’s working the way it’s supposed to work makes all the detail-oriented work behind the scenes worthwhile in the end. This doesn’t happen very often (we don’t often hear anything until something goes wrong) so it’s extra special when it does happen.

—–
Would you like to be a DAM Guru Program featured DAM professional? Signup now (for free) or contact your DAM Guru Program manager.

  Category: DGP Member Interviews
  Comments: Comments Off on Guru Talk: Collin Rickman – Special Counsel Information Governance

Guru Talk: Kristy Smith – SBC Advertising

Kristy Smith - Digital Asset Manager

When building a digital asset management system, Smith knows it’s most effective to start small and do what makes sense to your organization.

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

I started my career at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, located in Columbus Ohio. Recently I became the digital asset management administrator for a large advertising agency, also in Columbus, called SBC Advertising.

I started as an assistant in the photography department for Nationwide Children’s. This was a new role created to fill a need on the photography team. My main focus was to assist the in-house photographers in managing day-to-day task like: coordinating and assisting on photo shoots and creating new standards for how we digitally manage assets on our network servers. At the time I was hired, the hospital was growing very quickly, and so was the need for a DAM system to manage the growing number of assets and accessibly to these assets. The Marketing & Public Relations department was charged with acquiring a DAM provider and implementing the new system. Since I was already managing the photography assets, I took the lead in the implementation of the new system. I continued to work with Photography and also started to work with the in-house Design team, so I could effectively manage all assets going through the creative services team.

At SBC, I have just begun the process of implementing a new DAM system for the agency and their clients. We are at the beginning stages of implementation but the goal is to improve the way assets are ingested, managed and distributed through the agency and to our clients.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I learned by doing. I definitely fell into this field- because I am good at problem solving and have borderline OCD tendencies when it comes to organization, I naturally excelled at managing assets and the data associated with them. I was also fortunate enough to work with an amazing DAM provider (Widen) on my very first implementation. They have an excellent resource library where you can access white papers, videos and webinars.

http://www.widen.com/resource-library/

I also subscribe to CMSwire news and they provide a lot of relevant DAM content and free webinars.

http://www.cmswire.com/news/topic/dam

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

If you are implementing a DAM system for the first time- start small and grow the DAM in a smart way that makes sense to your organization.

I also think it is important to take the time to talk to as many groups/teams as possible within your organization- understand how they currently interact with assets and in what ways the DAM could help alleviate some of the pain points in their workflow. By gaining this insight, you can later provide personalized examples of how the DAM is going to help improve the efficiency of their daily tasks and in-turn receive valuable DAM buy-in from your core user groups.

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

I went to school to be a commercial photographer. I think the end goal was to eventually get a job with a large commercial studio or retailer and take product shots for their ecommerce sites. But it didn’t take long for my roadmap to change. I think you start in a field that you are interested in and you will naturally go in a direction that fits your personality and individual strengths.

—–
Would you like to be a DAM Guru Program featured DAM professional? Signup now (for free) or contact your DAM Guru Program manager.

Guru Talk: Don Middlebrook – Hyatt Hotels

Don Middlebrook - Sr. Analyst – Digital Asset Management

Having worked for three major enterprise companies, Middlebrook knows the value of a solid digital asset management system is derived from sound taxonomy structures.

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

I have worked as a Digital Asset Management professional with three companies. The first one was with Baker Hughes an oil and gas company. And the second was with ContinentalAirlines/United Airlines. I started off as a contractor with Continental, then the two companies merged. Currently, I am Associate Product Development Manager with Hyatt Hotels.

At Baker Hughes I was a Web Content Specialist and maintained all of the assets from marketing materials to the source files and illustrations for those documents. The company used the system called MediaBin. I started off as an illustrator for the company coloring the engineering drawings of the tools the company produced. From there I placed each image on the intranet on individual pages in order for the marketing and engineering employees to have a single place to retrieve the assets.  This was the dawning of my DAM career.

With Continental/United they also Used MediaBin as their DAM tool. But my job there was much more extensive than with the previous company. Not only did I maintain marketing assets (web campaign assets) but also the photos and licenses for all the source photography. I set up and maintained the brand design teams SharePoint. And also managed the brand portal. This was the point of contact for the company for all branded assets such as logos, photography, brand statements and guidelines. I also helped with the setting up the taxonomy for the assets and created new metadata fields as the company assets and needs evolved. One way that it evolved was with the integration with the CMS from the web production team. We used MediaBin to store all assets and used the CMS to pull assets into templates that would then get pushed to the website.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

My description of digital asset management has evolved over the years because of the change in type of management I have done. I originally just told people that I maintain files in a database and added meta tags to the files so that they are searchable.  These days I go into more detail on what all I manage, such as photography and all of its derivatives. I explain that I also manage the licenses for the photography and describe how those licenses differ from agency to agency. And I explain about the brand portal and how managing those assets in one central website allows for easy access from internal employees and external agencies to the companies branded assets and content.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I was doing DAM before I even knew of the term. It was only until the company purchased MediaBin that I came to understand what DAM was and what it meant for a company to start managing assets. And from there it has just been a continuing learning process. For me DAM blogs have been my main source for information.

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

Being thoughtful about setting up proper taxonomies and metadata is important. It took me a while to understand that concept. Because I was the only person overseeing the digital assets I created taxonomies and metadata based on how easy it would be for me to find assets. I quickly found out that it wasn’t about how easy it was for me to locate assets, rather it was more about being thoughtful in how the end user would search for files…and customizing the data for their benefit.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

My biggest success with DAM is in continuing to grow my career by expanding outside of just maintaining files within one system but across many systems. With my last positions I oversaw the DAM along with the companies brand portal and I was reaching out to other groups to utilize the system for their work as well. The DAM was also integrated with the CMS for easy access to files that would be pushed to the web. In essence I was working towards creating a corporate solution for managing all files.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

Learning is what makes you a stronger in the field. I attend conferences, read blogs and network with others in the field to learn more about DAM. My main goal is to learn from what others are doing with their DAM in order to draw inspiration on how I will use a DAM.

—–
Would you like to be a DAM Guru Program featured DAM professional? Signup now (for free) or contact your DAM Guru Program manager.

  Category: DGP Member Interviews
  Comments: Comments Off on Guru Talk: Don Middlebrook – Hyatt Hotels