Michelle knows that a successful DAM requires understanding the perspective of the stakeholders. Those who use it daily will ultimately determine the system’s success and adoption rate.
What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?
I work for Triad Retail Media. We sell, manage and execute Digital Retail Media programs on websites, mobile devices and in-store TVs — in fact, on any Digital Retail Platform targeting consumers. In the last couple of years, we have been expanding globally with offices in the UK, Germany, Netherlands and Australia.
My role as Digital Asset Manager was to find a DAM system that would meet the growing needs of our company, and help with the challenges of collecting large files (print, web, video, audio, etc.) from our clients so that our creative teams, internal and remote, can collaborate and build world-class engaging designs to meet our clients needs to drive sales while keeping their assets secure so that we do not breach our non-disclosure agreements. I was responsible for:
- spearheading the search for the DAM,
- leading an internal and outsourced team to collect the assets,
- working with the DAM vendor and our IT team to customize the DAM to meet our companies needs,
- determining permissions, taxonomy, metadata attributes,
- tying-in a custom delivery portal for our clients so that they could drop off files directly into a specified folder within the DAM that would trigger an email to stakeholders that assets have arrived,
- ingesting the assets from our drives into the new DAM,
- creating the training docs and train all internal and external end users on the new DAM, and
- working with the stakeholders to update and improve the process documentation to streamline and incorporate the new DAM.
How do you describe digital asset management to others?
A secure repository for all of your assets, (copy docs, video files, audio files, lifestyle imagery, working files and final artwork, banner and page builds), all in one place where they can be easily searched, shared, tracked and repurposed throughout the company and across the globe. Think of it as a virtual library that can be accessed through a secure login through your browser and you can add the items to your cart and quickly download them or send them to others you are collaborating with on any project.
How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?
I knew about DAMs through my research for a tool that would meet our company’s needs and through using our clients DAMs when they asked us to search and download items from their sites. Through working with others DAMs, I learned what wasn’t working for them and what systems would not meet the needs of our company. When we decided on a system, I studied all of the documentation from the vendor and did extensive testing of the system to see what would work out-of-the box and what would need to be customized in order to meet my company’s needs and the way we work. DAM Survival Guide has been instrumental in my understanding of DAM principles and framework.
What’s the most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand about DAM?
It is important that you sit down with the stakeholders (the end users of the DAM) and understand how they intend to use the system. Only by understanding everyone’s role and needs (internal users and external users) will you be able to make sure that the system is customized to meet their needs. Rarely is a DAM ready for use out-of-the box. You will need to do some customization or tweaking so that it will perform the way your end users will be expecting it to perform.
If you weren’t doing DAM as a career, what would you be doing?
Probably something in IT—I love computers and learning new technologies and helping others learn new ways to make their jobs easier.
What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?
Getting end users to not be afraid to try a new tool and instead embrace the DAM as something that will help them find things easier, faster and allow them to track content and the contracts associated with them. Also, to get them to understand the concept of virtual folders and that fewer folders are better than too many, and that metadata is your friend and can help you search easier than a multitude of nested folders.
What is your vision for DAM? What will it look like in 5 years?
I would like it to be more than a repository. I would like for the designers to be able to easily work with creative software suites from within the DAM and be able to save their files while they work and collaborate from within the system. I would also like for there to be a way to send those files securely for approvals and feedback from within the system so that the client can markup and provide feedback directly on the files without them being able to download or email feedback separately. The current system requires 3rd party plugins and is not as secure as it needs to be.
What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?
Listening to the concerns of some of the end users who wanted a lot of folders. Because of this, I had to redo the taxonomy multiple times so that it would not overtax the DAM. The final structure was much more streamlined and intuitive and easier to use.
What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?
Working with the vendor to create a “blind delivery portal” for our external clients so that we could send out a secure link to multiple clients working on a single project and they could upload their files easily without being able to see anything within the DAM. Thus keeping our client’s assets secure and our company safe from breach of contract worries.
What more would you like to learn about DAM?
Everything. I want to learn as much as I can so that I can continue to make sure that it becomes an intuitive tool that is easy to use for everyone, meets the company and clients business needs and becomes something that everyone is eager to use and talk about with others.
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