With a passion for music, Walter has been working his way through a variety of impressive companies, helping them make sense of their digital assets.
What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?
I began my career in digital asset management at Time Inc./TimeWarner, eventually working my way up to VP Publishing Technologies. I built automated systems for print publishing during the desktop publishing revolution of the early 90s. Brought analog photography and graphics in-house with an all-digital imagining and design department, integrating corporate data with images, page layouts and digital proofing.
I continued integrating publishing solutions with internet-based networking and CMSs during my time as DAM Director at Bertelsmann. I also consulted for awhile designing and implementing large scale DAM/MAM solutions for broadcast TV, music and publishing companies.
Now at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, as their Director of Media Asset Management, I oversee digitization of video and document archives, manage video production systems, integrating disparate data and media workflows.
How do you describe digital asset management to others?
Making sense of digital processes and creating efficient workflows and systems for managing them in many ways, including production, preservation, distribution and archiving.
How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?
I learned DAM through my own production experience recording and producing music. You could say I am primarily self-taught, leveraging graduate work in IS, tech books, online tutorials and industry groups. I built DAM systems for images and text in a large publishing environment before any existed.
I have found sharing experiences and resources with colleagues facing the same challenges is always quite helpful. Additionally, conferences and training by DAM vendors (Apple, Adobe, Quark, Oracle, Artesia/OpenText, etc.) provides insights and knowledge to help me achieve my goals.
What’s the most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand about DAM?
You’re already doing it. Formalize your methods and reach out for help. But keep the business needs foremost in your mind during design and implementation. It’s about solving business problems, not technology.
If you weren’t doing DAM as a career, what would you be doing?
I have a music degree and would probably be a working musician. That was the plan since junior high.
What is your vision for DAM? What will it look like in 5 years?
Graph databases will connect media and fuel tremendously powerful and creative solutions.
What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?
My greatest success involves integrating disparate data and systems to eliminate stumbling blocks for users. Ideally the solution gets out of the way so users can apply their own expertise in their job, instead of wrestling with minutia.