Mapping Out Your Digital Asset Management Strategy: Expert Tips & Advice on the Most Important Considerations Companies Should be Thinking About

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If you’re thinking about adopting a digital asset management solution, it’s time to start thinking about mapping out your digital asset management strategy. From configuring workflows, assigning and managing asset ownership, and creating a taxonomy that fosters findability, to fostering user adoption and measuring results, there are many things to think about as you begin the process of mapping out your DAM strategy.

To help you ensure that you’re weighing all the important considerations and taking the right steps to set your company up for digital asset management success, we’ve rounded up 50 expert tips and insights on the top considerations companies should be thinking about as you map out your digital asset management strategy.

Browse below for tips and insights on:

Why You Need a Digital Asset Management Strategy

The major issue with many businesses today is that they have no DAM strategy." - Quay Consulting

1. Without a coordinated approach, it’s difficult to know what assets are, why they exist, and how they should be used. “The major issue with many businesses today is that they have no DAM strategy. Digital assets have been acquired or created without any coordinated approach resulting in an inability to identify what they are, where they are and how to use them effectively.

“In fact in many cases there is actually no comprehension of what digital assets are and the role they play for an organisation.

“This is highly inefficient and will eventually erode the business’s competitiveness where speed and turnaround is of high value. Hunting for assets or recreating them is a hugely inefficient and costly exercise. The lack of a standardised approach can also lead to version control (quality) and third party licensing (liability) issues, not to mention the cost of storing duplicated assets.” – The Case for a DAM Strategy, Quay Consulting; Twitter: @QuayConsulting

2. Digital asset management fosters brand consistency across channels. “Digital asset management plays a critical role to improve brand consistency across campaigns and channels. It serves many roles inside and outside of an organization. Thus, it must support greater automation in managing global or local versions of assets, various renditions of assets across channels, and integration with key systems of engagement.” – Christian Kemptner, 7 Considerations to Choose Digital Asset Management Right, Pimcore; Twitter: @pimcore

"During the past 10 years, brand-conscious firms have embarked on journeys to tame the chaos of their branded assets in the wild." - Geoffrey Bock

3. A DAM strategy provides a framework for storing, organizing, protecting, and distributing digital assets. “Managed assets fuel content value chains for delightful digital experiences, but there are a number of steps involved in creating that experience. A digital asset management strategy should include innumerable editorial, management and production activities — editing and enhancing assets, reviewing and approving final versions, storing and indexing multiple renditions, channeling the distribution to marketers across the company, identifying derivative works, and the like.

“Finally, there is the significant matter of commercial rights and payments — tracking how particular assets are being used, verifying that usage terms are met, generating data for royalty payments and detecting problems before they become costly mistakes. Business models for commercial content are complex and not easily reduced to algorithms and predefined rules.

“During the past 10 years, brand-conscious firms have embarked on journeys to tame the chaos of their branded assets in the wild. Their efforts are now coming to fruition with the successful deployments of DAM systems of record for storing, organizing, protecting and distributing digital assets.” – Geoffrey Bock, Push your digital asset management strategy beyond metadata, SearchContentManagement; Twitter: @sContentMgmt

4. Organizations need to understand the customer journey and what they’re building for whom. “Understanding the consumer journey and what we’re building for whom and when is very important. So I’ve set up a group that has product-development expertise. They translate business requirements into technical specifications. They maintain the responsibility for not just building and overseeing the build of digital products, but also ensuring that they’re measured and optimized. We treat them as platforms rather than projects.

“A big shift in our organization has been to manage those over time and to iterate and build upon them as opposed to consider them a discrete project that had a beginning, a middle, and an end. When you put an app into the app store, you’re potentially finished with it, but the consumer is expecting updates, improvements, messaging. And that’s something that we’ve built into our organization that didn’t necessarily exist in our former model.” – Gail Horwood, Developing a global digital strategy, McKinsey & Company; Twitter: @McKinsey

"When your IT department enables and manages a cloud-based DAM, your marketing and other teams can convert files more quickly, with less bandwidth and less time spent." - Spiral Scout

5. Digital asset management frees up time for marketing and other departments, allowing them to focus more time on revenue-generating activities. “When your IT department enables and manages a cloud-based DAM, your marketing and other teams can convert files more quickly, with less bandwidth and less time spent. They’ll get the content into the hands of consumers and can move on to their next challenge without manual requests and clunky workflows to slow them down.” – Factors Impacting Digital Asset Management in 2017, Spiral Scout; Twitter: @SpiralScout

6. DAM strategy and analytics give companies a competitive edge. “Every day, in every organization, the massive volume and diversity of decisions and actions which are informed by analytics and insights derived from Enterprise Data – are increasingly driven by new and evolving Digital Asset Management frameworks, digital architectures and technology platforms. In every industry sector, companies are in a race to accumulate unique data assets and develop data exploitation methods – before their competitive rivals outmaneuver, outpace and outperform them. Those companies which do not see data as a core enterprise asset, or are unable to develop a Digital Asset Management Strategy are in danger of decline – and ultimately risk business failure.” – Nigel Tebbutt, Data Asset Management – DAM, The Digital Transformation People; Twitter: @TheDigitalTP

"Having an automated way to manage digital assets can dramatically change the way a creative team gets things done." - Smartsheet

7. Digital asset management can change the way your creative team gets things done. “Having an automated way to manage digital assets can dramatically change the way a creative team gets things done. For example, a DAM system can:

  • Streamline File Creation and Repurposing: This provides the ability to create an asset once, or edit an existing asset, and distribute it quickly via multiple channels.
  • Provide More Efficient Workflows: Automated workflows keep projects moving forward, and alert stakeholders so they remain on target to meet deadlines for reviews and approvals.
  • Ensure Brand Consistency: This improves the quality of published assets by preventing accidental use of assets that are off-brand or outdated.
  • Reduce File Search Time: Using metatags enables users to find what they need faster, and eliminates the need to re-create unfound assets.” – The Essential Guide to Digital Asset Management, Smartsheet; Twitter: @Smartsheet

8. DAM democratizes access to content. “Deploying a DAM can both control access to content where needed, but it can also democratize access to content. A DAM is a single repository where all work is stored, and work that is ready for distribution can be shared with others, and work that isn’t ready can be kept accessible to only the team working on it. As employees leave and enter the company, the data doesn’t go with them.” – How a DAM Can Help Marketing Leaders Unite Teams, MerlinOne; Twitter: @MerlinOne_Inc

Digital Asset Management Preparation

"Much like other digital or social media marketing strategies, knowing what you have and how it's used is the first step." - Marisa Peacock

9. Audit your assets to discover what you have and how it’s used. “Much like other digital or social media marketing strategies, knowing what you have and how it’s used is the first step. So start by identifying the use cases for digital assets. Asking questions that identify how and why digital assets are used helps establish your needs now and in the future.

“Once you understand how DAM is being used, identify where assets are stored, how they are accessed and what is required to manage them. This will help IT departments and digital asset managers compile a list of system requirements,

“By this point, it should be clear which departments or staff members are involved in creating, employing and managing digital assets. These are the people who should be involved in discussions about the future of DAM within your organization. Because they are involved in the day-to-day DAM activities, they can speak to their frustrations, their wants and needs.” – Marisa Peacock, How to Develop a Digital Asset Management Strategy [Infographic], CMS Wire; Twitter: @CMSWire

10. Talk to your people. “Take time to speak to your colleagues. Find out how they use digital assets in their daily work. Listening to and involving people who will be involved in the work early on will help build trust and support.” – 10 Steps to a Digital Asset Management Strategy, Collections Trust; Twitter: @CollectionTrust

"A formal business plan outlines what the DAM system will accomplish—its value to the organization—quantifies it, and then justifies the investment." - Srikanth Raghavan

11. Create a business plan. “A formal business plan outlines what the DAM system will accomplish—its value to the organization—quantifies it, and then justifies the investment. The starting point is documenting the way things are done now and what it costs in terms of time, effort, and resources. With this as a baseline, you can project any cost-savings in time, effort, and resources when the DAM system is deployed. A business plan maps out where you’re at, where you’re going, and the plan to get there, and serves as a blueprint for the entire project.” – Srikanth Raghavan, 10 Steps to a Successful Digital Asset Management Implementation, OpenText; Twitter: @OpenText

12. Define DAM project objectives. “There are many ways to define DAM project objectives. A great method is old-fashioned face-to-face meetings. Sit down with your stakeholders and users and learn what’s important. You need to get into the trenches and figure out what the problems are.

“Take the time to talk to people, both the users and the stakeholders and find out what are the most critical issues they want to solve. Once you’ve found these, it’s much easier to figure out what the objectives need to be. For instance, if your goal for the DAM is to increase the speed of brochure production, then this should be defined and documented at the beginning of the project.” – Cory Schmidt, How to Measure Digital Asset Management Success, Canto; Twitter: @Canto

"Having made the decision to invest into digital asset management, the most immediate requirement is deciding what software platform(s) to use as the basis for the DAM system." - Daydream

13. Determine your minimum software requirements. “Having made the decision to invest into digital asset management, the most immediate requirement is deciding what software platform(s) to use as the basis for the DAM system. For enterprises, there is rarely a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for digital asset management and a careful analysis of organizational needs, wants and requirements must be conducted before any technology can be commissioned.

“Managers should consider the key objective of the DAM system. Some common high level requirements include:

  • Managing media for marketing production purposes
  • A specialist repository for media preservation
  • A media distribution facility
  • To market and sell media products online

“It may be the case that there are multiple objectives, but one specific usage scenario should be determined early on as the top priority, to avoid the software requirements becoming bloated and too expensive to deliver. Once this has been decided, other objectives can be tackled as follow on phases. A list of candidate solutions can be ranked by those that best meet the primary objective and then those that can more easily be extended to deal with other requirements later.” The 8 Steps to DAM Success: A Manager’s Guide to Planning and Costing Digital Asset Management Projects, Daydream; Twitter: @daydreamuk

14. Plan on implementing DAM in small steps rather than a broad, company-wide roll-out. “Start by figuring out the priorities, and plan on taking small bites over a period of time. Compared to a broad, enterprise-wide roll-out, this approach provides the opportunity for the DAM team to work closely with each user group, build a solution that works, and learn valuable lessons with each step.

“This approach also surfaces people who are capable, and willing, to become champions of the new ways of working – your chief assistants and advocates for the project. Rather than name a whole team up front – and have them wait for the action to come their way — build the team as you go. At a minimum, the team should consist of a number of “digital champions” that are both invested in the project and have strong relationships within their business units. For most end users, digital champions will be the face of the project from start to finish. They will help gather requirements, assist in testing, and most importantly, lead the training and roll-out within their groups.” – Steve Rubin, Seven Keys to Success in Planning a Digital Asset Management Implementation, LinkedIn

"If planning was not successful, it’s likely that user adoption won’t be either." - Adam N. Hess

15. Design solutions with every team member and their workflows in mind. “Spending the proper time planning an ideal DAM solution for your organization should naturally lead to employees using the system. Designing solutions with everyone and their workflows in mind should ease any issues that surround user adoption, and help you avoid comments like, ‘It doesn’t do what I need it to,’ or ‘That isn’t for my department.’ If planning was not successful, it’s likely that user adoption won’t be either. It is therefore critical that no matter the DAM project, every user’s needs are considered in terms of how he or she will interact with the system.” – Adam N. Hess, Best DAM Practices: A Digital Asset Management Philosophy, DAM Guru; Twitter: @DAMGuru

16. Don’t go it alone. “Make a list of people inside and outside your organization who can help you. My first experience with media management was at the Vancouver Aquarium – which has an absolutely amazing collection of images, and film going all the way back to the opening of the organization in the 1950’s. Although many attempts had been made to categorize and properly file the images, there was the usual amount of duplications of images in more formats than you could imagine and very little metadata so it was incredibly hard to find an image. 50+ years of employee and volunteer turnover meant that much of the knowledge of the subject, dates, names and authors of the images was long gone. Fortunately, there were some volunteers who were still around from the early days, so we were able to capitalize on their knowledge to get some of that missing information. Asking previous employees also proved to be helpful. In any case, this is not an activity that you can do alone. You need others in the organization to help you.” – Dawn Bassett, DAM, You Can Do It: Getting Started with Digital Asset Management, SLA Western Canada; Twitter: @SLAWCC

"DAM solutions are rarely siloed, so consider how they will integrate with other key systems, such as web content management (WCM) and eCommerce." - Stephen Powers

17. Think of DAM as a piece of the larger customer experience puzzle. “DAM solutions are rarely siloed, so consider how they will integrate with other key systems, such as web content management (WCM) and eCommerce.” – Stephen Powers, Top 10 Best Practices for Digital Asset Management (DAM), Document Strategy; Twitter: @DOCUMENTmedia

18. Consider whether to appoint a full-time or part-time DAM admin. “Should you have a full-time DAM admin? The short answer is YES, if at all possible, because it really is a full-time job. Your DAM admin is on site every day, tagging metadata fields, training users, administering system maintenance, handling adoption and more. There are so many components to the DAM admin role that having someone managing the system full time, someone that’s dedicated solely to that role, is a big plus. In some cases, a team of DAM admins may work better, each owning their particular component of the DAM system.

“You’re also going to want your DAM admin on board before you begin any work in your DAM system.” – Sam Schnepf, How to maximize your content management strategy with digital asset management — Part 1, Widen; Twitter: @WidenEnterprise

"Take Inventory – put together a working document of all the assets you have that you want migrated." - Tony Rems

19. Consider whether your assets have a naming convention that can be used to infer metadata. “Take Inventory – put together a working document of all the assets you have that you want migrated. Start to look for any structure that can help inform your taxonomy (organized by department, by product line, by country, etc.). Do the assets have a naming convention that allows us to infer certain metadata and enable discoverability (i.e. /Dept/Products/Widget1/Widget-WingNut.jpg)?” – Tony Rems, Preparing for Successful Digital Asset Management, HERO_digital; Twitter: @herodigitalsf

20. Remember that technology is not a replacement for sound policy. “Organizations can sometimes confuse a lack of policy with the need for technology. By not recognizing what is essentially a policy failure, many organizations have spent fortunes on software solutions they expect to fix the unfixable.

“Policy breakdowns are not something DAM software can solve for you. DAM software supports business policies; it does not define them. In fact, DAM software is typically configured to honor existing policies. Without policies in place to dictate how your workflows should work, your DAM can become nothing more than a digital version of manual chaos.” – David Diamond, Are You Ready for Digital Asset Management?, Picturepark; Twitter: @Picturepark

"Implementing efficient and innovative processes for delivering communications is a growing necessity for companies across all markets and industries." - Aptara

21. Partnering with third-party providers with the expertise to deploy digital asset management operations is beneficial for many companies. “According to ReportsnReports.com, the number of businesses adopting digital asset management systems will continue to grow. However, there is also a ‘lack of skillful workforce that can easily leverage the solution and other features such as web analytics for heightened business progressions.’ Therefore, the source indicated, the companies that will maximize their potential for success will be the ones that partner with third-party providers that possess the industry know-how and expertise to effectively deploy such operations.

“Implementing efficient and innovative processes for delivering communications is a growing necessity for companies across all markets and industries. By working with a DAM system vendor that specializes in digital asset and acquisitions, content development and quality and compliance assurance, organizations will be able to increase their return on investment and further improve their bottom line by focusing on other strategic business operations.” – The importance of digital asset management, Aptara; Twitter: @Aptara

Considerations in Setting Up Workflows and Asset Management Practices

22. Define the order of operations for your workflows. “Most workflows follow a standard order of operations:

  • Obtain files
  • Attach information to your files via metadata or fetch it automatically. For example, you can store or retrieve this type of metadata in the IPTC/EXIF data attached to some online pictures.
  • Rename and modify original files so they all follow the same naming structure and all have the same metadata fields filled out
  • Catalog and organize files in different folders and/or tag them (generally done either by category type or date)
  • Document this process- Describe in writing how files are organized for others
  • Share files with other users with your documentation created describing the process

“Of course, there are many ways to establish your workflow. However, most, if not all, workflows generally follow the above flow.

“Remember, when creating a workflow that it’s best to assign specific tasks to specific users rather than task every individual with all steps of the workflow.

“This cuts down on chaos and keeps people focused on their task at hand longer than trying to remember all the steps. It also avoids having users unknowingly create different workflows.” – Digital Asset Management Best Practices in 2017, Spiral Scout; Twitter: @SpiralScout

"It should go without saying that any system released by the marketing department absolutely has to be completely brand compliant. " - Ralph Windsor

23. Ensure that your DAM solution will support complete brand compliance. “It should go without saying that any system released by the marketing department absolutely has to be completely brand compliant. The Digital Asset Management system you implement must reflect every element of your brand. If you are using an off-the-shelf system supplied by a vendor you must be reassured that you can adapt all of the above if necessary. If you are going in-house, make sure the technical team take your brand guidelines seriously and are not overly focused on the functionality.” – Ralph Windsor, Digital Asset Management: Implementing a Strategy, Daydream; Twitter: @daydreamuk

24. Determine how handoffs will be coordinated across teams. “For an operation of any size, it’s rare that only a single team will need to handle, repurpose, tag, reuse and publish a digital asset. Be sure you’ve mapped out all those handoffs, who will perform what tasks on a given asset or asset group when, and where they’ll be stored along the way. The Adobe XMP standard allows metadata and product attributes to be stored within the asset itself. This allows modification of tags and other metadata in real time as the asset moves through the production process, rather than having to enter information separately in each repository. And understanding manual workflow paths can often be more important than those that are automated in improving quality and time-to-market.” – Jeannine Bartlett, Top 5 Reasons Your DAM Workflow Has to Grow Up (and Out), Earley; Twitter: @EarleyInfoSci

"Perhaps the most critical data management requirement is to define a minimum acceptable data set for each asset." - Rob Corrao

25. Define a minimum acceptable data set for each asset. “Perhaps the most critical data management requirement is to define a minimum acceptable data set for each asset. That information includes metadata like modification history, file size, file type (e.g., image, video, audio clip), source, description and tags.

“From the user’s perspective, tags and descriptions may be the most important metadata since it determines how easily they will find files with the right context, and how many results they will get. From a data management perspective, tags can be a challenge since they require human judgment and interpretation. We see too many organizations invest significant time and money in DAM and other enterprise content management technology, and then give little or no thought to metadata. It’s important to either train and guide people within the organization, or get outside help from companies like ours that specialize in metadata and other information curation services.” – Rob Corrao, Beyond the digital asset management database, LibSource; Twitter: @thelibsource

26. Keep it simple. “Start by implementing workflows for basic processes (content ingestion, approval, archiving), before moving on to full or automated process flows. Reviewing and revising workflows as you augment their capability and automation will help establish workflow processes as a standard part of your DAM system’s use. Efficient workflows will make employees’ jobs easier, and that in turn, will increase their use of the tool. Instituting standards and creating measurable performance indicators will help track gains in efficiency and enable continuous improvements and evolution of the workflow processes’ effectiveness.” – Cathy McKnight, DAM Workflow: Plan for success, Digital Clarity Group

"With recovery frequently difficult, and sometimes impossible, it’s becoming more critical that we build in safety net measures to catch and protect our content before it’s too late." - DAM Webinars

27. Don’t forget to develop a disaster recovery plan. “Planning for the worst is an investment in prudence, the wisdom of which is often difficult to appreciate until disaster strikes.

“With recovery frequently difficult, and sometimes impossible, it’s becoming more critical that we build in safety net measures to catch and protect our content before it’s too late.

“As metadata and digital asset worth are becoming more recognized we need to explore how DAM can play a central role in prevention, preservation and protection.” – Disaster Recovery and Digital Asset Management: Planning, Valuing, Insuring, Recovering – and more!, DAM Webinars; Twitter: @henrystewartdam

28. Who needs access? What level of access do they require? “These questions have complementary goals. The first is obviously just to get a handle on how many people will need access, but the follow-up question will again inform your permissions. Will those people need to be able to upload assets? Update the metadata?” – Laurel Norris, Plan for DAM: Move assets and metadata into your DAM system, Digital Asset Management by Widen; Twitter: @digitalassetmgmt

"For any cataloguing system to be successful, the structure, names, and tags must be standardized and used." - Dawn Oosterhoff

29. Utilize a standardized system for the structure, names, and tags. “Consistency and succession are also critical considerations in maintaining an accessible archive. For any cataloguing system to be successful, the structure, names, and tags must be standardized and used. An additional advantage to using standards is that others can contribute to or access the archive as needed. Teaching others to access the system protects the legacy of the archive; if only one person understands how the images are managed, the knowledge about the assets goes with the person.” – Dawn Oosterhoff, The Anatomy of a Digital Asset Management System, Envato Tuts+; Twitter: @tutsplus

30. Consider whether a nested taxonomy or flat structure best meets your needs. “A common approach to taxonomy is to create a nested taxonomy, which is a hierarchy of parent categories containing multiple levels of subcategories—such as in a computer folder structure. End users are only able to access subfolders by first clicking into the parent folder and high-level subfolders that contain them.

“A more recent approach to taxonomy is to create a flat structure that supports multi-faceted searching, which is conducted by applying any combination of facets, or filters, to narrow down the results in the DAM.” – Carey MacDonald, The librarian’s guide to building a taxonomy for digital asset management, Bynder; Twitter: @Bynder

"After analyzing your current state and existing workflow, work with stakeholders to develop a list of criteria for choosing a DAM solution." - Amy Chan

31. Develop a list of criteria for selecting DAM software. “After analyzing your current state and existing workflow, work with stakeholders to develop a list of criteria for choosing a DAM solution. Key considerations might include:

  • Ability to scale—Where is your company today? What are your growth plans? And how many users will need to access your system as you expand?
  • Hosting options (premise-based, cloud, mix)—Different vendors offer different hosting options so check with IT to determine what works best for you.
  • Licensing options—How many people will need to access the system? How many will be uploading assets?” – Amy Chan, What is Digital Asset Management and How Do I Choose the Right Solution?, Extensis; Twitter: @extensis

32. Examine integration and pain points in creative workflows and remove obstacles for utilizing a DAM system. “Your company might not have big binders to sift through in 2016 but workflow bottlenecks still exist in every work environment. In the digital age, people spend a ridiculous amount of time looking for lost or missing assets. Even if you just spend 10 minutes searching for an asset, that amount of wasted time and energy becomes considerable when multiplied across your entire company, even more costly when multiplied across a global enterprise.

“Creative workflow has a lot to do with delivering ROI, too. Going upstream and understanding how other people work and leverage the technology at their disposal is critical. Providing an easy and efficient way to upload, tag, and categorize RM assets in the native application can provide a wealth of time savings and ensure data quality down the road. Examine the integration and pain points in a creative workflow and remove any obstacles that prevent data from getting into your DAM system.” – Les Barker, How To Get Big ROI with Digital Asset Management, Extensis; Twitter: @extensis

"One way for smooth adoption is not to disrupt existing workflows." - MerlinOne

33. Streamline user adoption by complementing, rather than disrupting, existing workflows. “One way for smooth adoption is not to disrupt existing workflows. That may mean not asking users to leave tools they are already familiar with. That is one of the reasons Merlin has integrations to popular creative tools like the Adobe Creative Cloud. Creative teams live in an Adobe-centric workflow, so we’ve tried to adapt to user workflows. One way we’ve done this is by integrating directly with Adobe CC. Simply click a button in Adobe Photoshop or other tools and have all your assets at your finger tips within the program. Users can version assets or simply upload new assets to the DAM, all within a familiar interface. It’s fast and easy.” – Digital Asset Management User Adoption, MerlinOne; Twitter: @MerlinOne_Inc

34. Establish best practices and enforce guidelines. “Knowing the right way to navigate a DAM is your team’s first defense against silly mistakes. Use your guidelines to train your team, and explain the reasoning behind the taxonomy you choose. Work toward creating a culture of shared accountability so your DAM system stays in place.” – Lisa Callahan, Why Digital Asset Management has Become a Must-Have for Marketing Teams, MarTechExec; Twitter: @MarTechExec

"Your files don’t live in a vacuum but, rather, they are related to your business. Metadata can be used to define a file by your products, brands, markets/geographies and themes (i.e. families, women, men)." - Tessa Court

35. Add robust metadata to your digital assets. “Metadata can be added to your digital asset directly or via your DAM platform.  When developing your taxonomy structure, it’s important that your metadata consists of the following key aspects.

  1. Your business: Your files don’t live in a vacuum but, rather, they are related to your business. Metadata can be used to define a file by your products, brands, markets/geographies and themes (i.e. families, women, men).
  2. The file:  Information relating to the title, description, who the file was created by and when, as well as the date of creation, the file type, the file’s unique ID, etc.
  3. Copyright information:  Metadata relating to copyright, ownership, licensing, renewal date and other usage information should always be included, especially when dealing with digital assets owned by third-parties or even internal assets related to your own branding.” – Tessa Court, Metadata Matters When Managing Digital Assets, Intelligence Bank; Twitter: @intellibank

Getting the Most from Your Digital Asset Management Strategy

36. Incorporate Big Data analytics. “Making sure your organization gets the most it can from a single asset is the most cost effective strategy. By analyzing what users in your organization are searching for, you can identify the language they’re using to find assets. If you notice a common search term returning low or no results, you have a few routes to take to improve the in-need resource: either create more content that satisfies the search (and the need it represents) or, if such content already exists, tag it appropriately so it can be found.

“More globally, by analyzing the download counts of your assets, you can identify issues and adjust your tags or associated metadata appropriately. This produces the most efficient outcome, ensuring assets aren’t lost or forgotten. And gradually the language will begin to shift within your organization, making communication overall more effective.” – How To Start Using Big Data In DAM, MediaBeacon; Twitter: @MediaBeacon

"The metadata structure needs to be crystal clear to everyone who uses your digital asset management system." - Laurel Norris

37. Use metadata to amplify search and SEO power. “Metadata is important! It’s the language of your DAM system — a way to define and describe assets in system, typically with keyword phrases and specific attributes of the asset and your organization. Good metadata makes the DAM search process easier and more efficient.

“It can also boost search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, especially if you’re adding relevant keywords to your image names. Doing so makes it easier for Google and other search engines to understand the content of your image, increasing the SEO value of the web page, blog or social media post the digital asset lives on. And when the SEO value of a page goes up, so does the page’s authority (credibility), increasing your chances of being found more easily in search results.

“Since both digital asset management search and Google search work so similarly, it’s easy to see the value in optimizing your image names, as well as all your metadata fields with relevant keywords and attributes.

“The metadata structure needs to be crystal clear to everyone who uses your digital asset management system. So in order to create a successful set of metadata fields, you’ll need to discuss user metadata needs with actual users and potential users — and truly listen to their answers. It can sometimes be surprising how actual user needs differ from the DAM admin’s expectations of what those needs are, making good communication a critical component to setting up solid metadata.” – Laurel Norris, 5 ways DAM supports content management strategy, Digital Asset Management by Widen; Twitter: @digitalassetmgmt

38. Develop a process that identifies and enables users. “Develop an incremental, extensible process that identifies and enables users, and engages stakeholders with feedback loops, user testing and evaluations. Remember that metadata is a ‘snapshot in time.'” – John Horodyski, Metadata Matters … it’s everything., LinkedIn

If no one can find anything, there is a risk that users might start hoarding their assets in personally owned collections." - Ralph Windsor

39. Insufficient metadata hinders findability. “DAM systems provide the ability to search for assets very quickly, but they only get found if they have been cataloged using descriptive and meaningful metadata that reflects the underlying media file. The risk is that assets just get uploaded and only perfunctory cataloging metadata is added. If no one can find anything, there is a risk that users might start hoarding their assets in personally owned collections. To ensure that does not happen, a findability strategy together with cataloging procedures and training which support it are all needed.” – Ralph Windsor, Managing Risks With Digital Asset Management, CMS Wire; Twitter: @CMSWire

40. Incorporate DAM into your content roadmap. “Incorporating DAM into your content roadmap ensures your strategy is implemented quickly and easily. It also facilitates better tracking of how each of your digital assets is used, from lifestyle imagery to logos, video, and beyond.

“Start by aligning your DAM with your company’s strategic goals. Decide what your monthly or quarterly goals are and audit your DAM to see if you have the assets necessary to support a new product launch or your first video campaign. DAM makes it easy to audit your digital assets, instead of wading through hundreds or thousands of assets buried in an internal server. Simply search for assets tagged with your new product’s keyword, or by asset type, and immediately see whether or not you have a content gap in your digital asset library.” – Steve Baker, How to Implement 2017 Marketing Trends Using DAM, Brandfolder; Twitter: @Brandfolder

"Now more than ever, most stakeholders understand that DAM systems are cogs inside a far bigger wheel." - Ralph Windsor

41. DAM is a cog in a larger wheel. When combined with AI, the DAM supply chain can offer contextual awareness for improving cataloguing metadata. “Now more than ever, most stakeholders understand that DAM systems are cogs inside a far bigger wheel. Digital Asset Supply Chains represent an acknowledgement of this fact; they are the process of adding value to a collection of binary data by different processes. That value is most commonly stored and represented by metadata (or extrinsic value).

“AI text recognition and the extraction of concepts and keywords from documents (e.g. automated summaries) is far further ahead than visual recognition because the problem domain is a more restricted one (and therefore simpler to implement). The Digital Asset Management Supply Chain combined with some AI text analysis (rather than just visual recognition) therefore, could offer some alternative methods to gain the required contextual awareness necessary to improve cataloguing metadata.” – Ralph Windsor, Combining AI With Digital Asset Supply Chain Management Techniques, DAM News; Twitter: @DAMNEWS

42. Choreography and collaboration should evolve with changes in the business environment. “Assets should be tagged and organized for easy and efficient assembly. Platforms need to be available to facilitate collaboration. Business processes should be refined to smooth the handoff and approval from department to department. Agencies and sourcing providers need to produce assets as components rather than only as composites to enable reuse in multiple contexts. Images need to be created at various resolutions and formats. Video assets need to be transcoded and stored for appropriate distribution. Rich media assets need to have the correct content models and taxonomies.

“DAM and content live and flow in an integrated ecosystem of processes, tools, applications and channels. Coordination and choreography for managing this integration need to evolve with the changes in the business environment. Without this integration, it will be harder for enterprises to compete. When executed correctly, the results are lower costs, greater efficiency, increased effectiveness, better customer service and true competitive advantage.” – Seth Earley, Why is managing digital assets more challenging than herding cats?, Earley; Twitter: @EarleyInfoSci

"The management of the asset creation process has also undergone some fundamental changes." - Richard Price

43. Leverage DAM to streamline the creation of creative assets. “The management of the asset creation process has also undergone some fundamental changes. Many organizations are now looking to better manage initial creative briefs and iterations they typically engender by giving regional teams visibility of the asset creation process as well as the assets themselves. This means coordinating the production of the assets between the corporate marketing team and the internal team, and possibly a third-party agency. This centralized view of asset production meets a number of requirements relevant to the approach that many organizations are taking to improve the production process. This approach also fundamentally cuts costs on the asset production itself, creative agency streamlining, and asset re-use and compliance.” – Richard Price, What is Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Why Do I Need It?, Northplains; Twitter: @northplains

44. Make sure you’re providing assets of value to users. “The first step to success is what the DAM Foundation refers to as the ‘Ingest’ function. When it comes to uploading content, make sure you’re providing assets that are valuable to your local affiliates. Tag it with terminology that makes sense to your affiliates, not just your in-house designer. Provide clear instructions and training to your local affiliates about how to use the DAM correctly when it comes to everyday operations, like uploading local photos to ensure consistency.” – How to Get the Most From Your Digital Asset Management Software, Pica9; Twitter: @Pica9

"Everyone who will be touching the DAM solution — from sales and marketing to finance and HR — should be trained on how to use it." - Joe Staples

45. Don’t skimp on training. “Everyone who will be touching the DAM solution — from sales and marketing to finance and HR — should be trained on how to use it. Provide in-depth, comprehensive training for the system admins who will be naming and adding new files, organizing assets, setting expiration dates, capturing metadata, and more. You’ll have to define your naming conventions, folder hierarchies, and required metadata fields in advance of this training.

“Regular system users, on the other hand, only need to know how to find files, access the DAM from mobile devices, distribute files to clients and customers, and create collections for ease of collaboration.

“Also consider assigning one or more individuals from your group to act as a ‘Digital Asset Manager’ or ‘Librarian,’ who will be tasked with consistently cataloguing and updating information in the database. This can help prevent key information from being omitted or misspelled — errors that can make it difficult to locate important assets in the future.” – Joe Staples, 5 Tips for Making the Most of Digital Asset Management, MarTech Advisor; Twitter: @MarTechAdvisor

46. Establish a brand community blog or interactive forum. “Marketing and branding personnel don’t have the exclusive on ideas about how to make the business stronger. Innovative suggestions can spring from anywhere in the company.

“That’s why it can be particularly productive to provide an interactive space in which employees can communicate with one another, managing digital files, sharing ideas and knowledge and feeding back reactions to brand issues.

“With a community manager acting as official moderator, responsible for the efficient operation and supervision of the debate using an Approval Workflow tool, such a forum can function as a fertile seedbed for the growth and nurture of new thinking and ideas.” – Anna  Cotton, How to get the most value out of your digital asset management platform, Brandworkz; Twitter: @BrandworkzWorld

"Implementing and successfully introducing a Digital Asset Management system is only the first step – genuine user adoption needs to be measured over the long-term." - Templafy

47. Measure and learn from outcomes. “Implementing and successfully introducing a Digital Asset Management system is only the first step – genuine user adoption needs to be measured over the long-term. In the early stages, monitor how many times users have logged into the system, how many uploads and downloads have taken place, at what times and by how many users, and how long users are spending searching for assets.

“Pair that data with some qualitative feedback from super-users to understand what is and isn’t working. Once you have this information, additional training or simply email updates can be used to target gaps and help users, rather than have them give up from uncertainty or frustration.” – Digital Asset Management Systems: Top 5 tips How To Make It Work, Templafy; Twitter: @Templafy

48. DAM solutions with automated workflows can save hours of time. “We believe in making the machines do the grunt work, while the human does the higher level jobs. To that end we built a Workflow Engine: you build a workflow by defining what you want done, and every time you drag and drop an object onto that workflow, it gets executed. Remember earlier you needed to take 3 photos, resize them three different ways, forward them to three different work groups, and put a watermark on one of them? Set up that workflow once (takes a minute) and from then on you just drag the objects to that workflow and you go on to do something else. You get more time to do the creative part of your job, and the machine gets to be useful doing the grunt work it is happy to take care of.” – DAM Automation overview, MerlinOne; Twitter: @MerlinOne_Inc

48. Weave in the spirit of collaboration. “Having a great set of martech tools alone doesn’t guarantee marketing success. It’s about how you’re able to weave the spirit of collaboration through all the stakeholders in the team so that they can use the tools and its outputs meaningfully, for better decision making, better innovation, and better outcomes.” – Abhinandan Ghosh, 5 Ways Collaboration Can Boost Your Martech Stack Performance, MarTech Advisor; Twitter: @MarTechAdvisor

49. Watch for signs that your current digital asset management strategy is failing. “You are wasting time if you duplicate tasks throughout the day. Review your daily tasks to make sure you aren’t spending large amounts of time redoing your graphics over and over. This is a common downside to free online storage systems, and happens often when users aren’t properly trained to use the new software.” – Kathi Furman, Signs Your Current Digital Asset Management Process is Failing, MarTechExec; Twitter: @MarTechExec

50. Establish a platform for continuing education and training. “Achieving high user engagement and active participation post-launch is challenging, especially if metadata quality is poor, which can make users lose confidence that the DAM system will return expected search results. Your user adoption strategy must be supported by effective communication and targeted messaging to internal users, external third party users, user groups, and user levels, given varying levels of technical expertise and user permissions. Establishing a platform and culture for continuing education and training will take time to socialize, but empowering users to properly upload, download, share assets, and apply metadata is invaluable to improving user adoption.” – Emily Quan, How to Improve DAM User Adoption and Maximize ROI, Optimity Advisors; Twitter: @Optimity

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