Envisioning and implementing an enterprise digital asset management system from scratch is no small feat, but Reshma has done it successfully and shares her insight on the matter.
What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?
I started working with digital asset management (DAM) at VeriSign where I brought a DAM solution onboard. Upon the subsequent acquisition of VeriSign by Symantec, I had the DAM solution onboarded at Symantec. At both companies, I managed the respective design teams for corporate marketing.
When I joined VeriSign and Symantec, a DAM system for the management of graphical assets was not in place at either company. This was a painpoint for the design teams at both companies, which were considered the go-to teams for brand assets. They generated numerous graphical assets daily in multiple languages, purchased a wide number of stock imagery, and commissioned photographic imagery. The challenge of housing, managing, retrieving, and making a growing number of assets available globally was daunting and became the impetus for putting a DAM utility in-place at both companies. In my current group at HP, we are looking at improving our existing system.
How do you describe digital asset management to others?
In my experience, digital asset management has been about the curation of digital media in a centralized, organized, and meaningful manner. It’s the maintenance and cataloging of a repository of files and access provisioning on-demand. You are essentially filing things away so you can find them when needed.
What’s the most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand about DAM?
An important point for someone new to DAM to understand is that a DAM solution is a significant investment in capital, as well as time resources. And, it’s really only as good as its implementation. Therefore, ensuring the tool is configured to meet your organization’s specific requirements, being diligent about the administration and usage of the tool, and populating the tool appropriately to ensure it provides the needed value help to drive its usefulness and usage—whether it’s just within a team or the larger organization—and hence, realize an ROI on your investment.
What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?
One of the biggest challenges I found with DAM is workflow. DAM solutions, like many other applications, tend to work as standalone tools versus as part of an integrated corporate system. As a result, they are not usually interconnected to other workflow tools used by teams to enable a seamless end-to-end process. For instance, many teams use a project tracking tool and content management tool which are unlikely to interface with a DAM tool; thereby, making the process multi-pronged and further entrenched in islands of stand-alone applications.
What is your vision for DAM? What will it look like in 5 years?
The mobile use-case scenario for DAM is an interesting one. While a full feature-set on the mobile platform would be an over-investment, the support of core user functionality like browsing, upload, and download as well as some admin capability hold even present-day value.
What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?
When the DAM system was initially implemented and rolled-out, we enabled users to apply metadata keywords they deemed appropriate. As a result, we grew a lengthy and unruly list of keywords, some of which held little meaningful value. There were duplicates in different formats, such as the singular and plural form of the same word, acronyms, as well as the spelt-out versions of abbreviations, internal code names and jargon, and a host of short-forms and interpretations of things. This did not make for a consistent or valuable tagging system. We, therefore, opted for a controlled vocabulary which meant keywords were pre-defined allowing users to choose from a list of available keywords to associate with their assets.
What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?
My biggest success with regards to DAM was putting one in place. Our previous system of ‘no system’ was not sustainable, nor was it working for us internally or with our stakeholders. Putting in place an enterprise-class tool that was specifically designed to meet our needs helped keep us organized, enabled us to be more efficient and productive, and allowed us to better meet the needs of our stakeholders globally.