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Another DAM Podcast interview with Julia Thompson on Digital Asset Management

Hear Another DAM Podcast interview with Julia Thompson on Digital Asset Management


Henrik de Gyor:  [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I am Henrik de Gyor. Today, I’m speaking with Julia Thompson.

[0:07] Julia, how are you?

Julia Thompson:  [0:09] Great, thank you. How are you?

Henrik:  [0:10] Great. Julia, how were you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Julia:  [0:14] I’m the Digital Asset Manager at UNICEF, New York headquarters. Part of that role, I’m the administrator of our Global Digital Asset Management System. This includes things like configuring the ACLs, developing and maintaining metadata, working with the DAM vendor on issues, any changes we’d like to make, and features that would be useful to us.

[0:34] My role also includes the development of DAM workflows and advising on best practices, and user support and training.

Henrik:  [0:42] How does an organization focused on long‑term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries use Digital Asset Management?

Julia:  [0:52] The DAM system that I manage contains just finished materials at this stage, rather than works‑in‑progress, although I see that being something that we may be using the DAM system for in the future. At the moment, it includes photos, videos, branding materials, publications and social media assets and things such as infographics.

[1:12] And also other related peripheral materials, mostly communication materials that are ultimately destined for an external audience. So we work in more than 190 countries and territories and we have content creators and offices all over the world. For us having a global DAM system helps us to break down content silos across the organization.

[1:33] It provides us a way to make rich media created all around the organization, available to UNICEF staff everywhere. The staff use the DAM system to locate materials for repurposing and reuse when they are creating new communication assets. So we offer B‑Rolls for creating new videos, photos that they use in new publications.

[1:52] We also use the DAM system to distribute editable versions of assets for localization. So that means that an office can create versions of assets in their local languages. We use the DAM system as a tool for sharing downloadable assets with news media and with our many partners and stakeholders.

[2:09] It also provides a source for high quality assets for publication on websites and social media, and other internal platforms and it’s integrated with, for the publication of photos by the DAM system API. I’d say that one of the most important roles of Digital Asset Management for us is in helping to protect the rights of the children in our photos and videos, helping us to ensure that assets are used appropriately.

[2:32] So we have some assets, images of children at risk, such as children associated with armed groups, which requires special approval and particular care in their use. The DAM system helps us to handle usage approvals.

[2:45] We are able to use the system to embed the usage terms and conditions and some asset types like images, to make users aware of the usage terms and conditions upon accessing assets in the DAM system.

[2:56] We use the DAM system to pull together packages of assets that relate to a particular focus area or a campaign, which makes it quicker and easier for staff to find the communication materials that they need and the DAM system also provides a definitive source for our branding materials, so that we can keep the UNICEF brands clear.

Henrik:  [3:13] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Julia:  [3:17] So in some ways our successes and challenges are fairly closely linked. Because the DAM system has become quite central in supporting our communication goals, our users are starting to see the benefits of the DAM system in their work, which is a good thing. It’s exactly what we are aiming for.

[3:34] One of the consequences that we found of having a system that people like and see the value in, is that we’re finding ourself needing to assess and culminate new needs that are arising, we’ve seen the emergence of new use cases, new demands on the system, which have created new challenges to address, new workflows to develop, additional metadata to add, changes in the way that we handle permissions.

[3:57] So these new needs have been a challenge to address. Some taking extra resourcing, requiring changes in the way that we are working with the system. But it’s also nice to see the value of Digital Asset Management in such a large organization. Another challenge that we’ve faced is balancing our shorter and longer term needs.

[4:15] We need our Digital Asset Management to support an often high paced flow of assets within the organization and to outside partners and news media. But we also need to ensure that we have full and accurate metadata needed for the long‑term accessibility of those assets.

[4:30] In an emergency situation such as after the recent Nepal earthquake, the DAM system was used to make photos and videos available to the organization and to the news media, which needed to happen quickly. So in a situation like that there’s not always time to spend fully cataloging an asset before publication and distribution.

[4:50] However, we do need full metadata to ensure that someone can find those assets in a few years and that they have enough contextual information to know what their looking at. So I definitely wouldn’t claim to have all the answers to that dilemma yet. That’s really something we are still working through. But I think in the future, it’s going to have to involve a staged approach to Asset Management.

[5:09] We have a workflow and a system that’s live and user‑friendly enough to meet their short‑term needs, combined with oversight by information professionals, maybe filling in the metadata and making sure that everything looks right at a slightly later stage.

[5:24] And also, I think accepting that good‑enough is sometimes the best you can do. There is really no question that Digital Asset Management in a large organization like that, operating in different time zones is a challenge.

Henrik:  [5:36] I bet. What advise would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Julia:  [5:42] One of the things I would recommend is the future proofing as much as possible, being aware of the importance of flexibility and scalability when procuring and configuring a DAM system because you will inevitably be making changes, particularly when working in a large organization.

[6:00] We found it really important to have a system that allows us to be really flexible, making changes to metadata, accommodating new asset types, new asset genres and supporting new asset cases.

[6:12] Related to that, I’d say that it’s important to keep talking to your users well beyond the initial planning and implementation stage, so that your system and workflows can evolve along with the new user needs that will emerge. We’ve definitely had a lot of changes with the way that we are using Digital Asset Management within the new organization, even over a fairly short period of time.

[6:33] For people aspiring to become DAM professionals, I would say that it’s getting hands‑on experience and so getting some exposure to Digital Asset Management in a real organization is super important.

[6:44] I would think that although getting a good handle on Digital Asset Management theory and best practices is key, it’s also really important to be able to navigate the unique culture of an organization to be able to successfully identify business requirements and end‑user needs.

[7:00] At least from my point of view that seems to be where the biggest challenges lie, but also the biggest opportunities for success in Digital Asset Management.

Henrik:  [7:08] Great. Well, thanks Julia.

Julia:  [7:10] Thank you.

Henrik:  [7:11] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to For this podcast and 160 other podcast episodes, go to If you have any comments or questions please feel free to email me at Thanks again.

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Kenneth Wilson on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Kenneth Wilson on Digital Asset Management


Henrik de Gyor:  [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Kenneth Wilson. Kenneth, how are you?

Kenneth Wilson:  [0:10] I’m good today. How are you?

Henrik:  [0:11] Great. Kenneth, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Kenneth:  [0:15] I orchestrate the operation of Kohler companies’ digital supply chain, the center of which is the company’s DAM system, and I’ve also recently taken ownership of the communications resource library. That’s how I’m involved in Digital Asset Management.

Henrik:  [0:33] How does an American manufacturing company use Digital Asset Management?

Kenneth:  [0:36] Kohler is a multinational manufacturing company. We have a very diversified group of businesses that are part of the Kohler company, that make up the company. Most people know very well in the plumbing, kitchen, and bath businesses.

[0:52] We also have a hospitality group that has The American Club, which is a five‑diamond hotel, that is in Kohler Wisconsin, along with many golf courses that make up Destination Kohler, along with golf courses in Kohler… Whistling Straits, Blackwolf Run… along with a golf course in Scotland, the Old Course hotel. That makes up the hospitality group.

[1:17] We also have an interior section headquartered out of Chicago, where we have furniture businesses… Baker, McGuire. A custom tile manufacturing company called Ann Sacks in Portland, along with… can’t forget our global power group, who has a number of companies they operate throughout the world.

[1:38] All those companies make up the Kohler businesses and we handle a lot of the communications for all of those different businesses. Right now, we use our DAM system to store a lot of the final marketing images, and the graphic layouts for most of our North American businesses.

[1:56] The global businesses also use the system to some extent. A lot of the products are US SKUs that are also sold in other places but some of our global businesses have SKUs that are specific to them. We’re actually trying to work to encourage them to supply our system with those unique‑to‑their‑location assets.

[2:21] The DAM system that I manage will house the packaging images, the web images that are used for the catalog, as well as the layouts for printed literature, catalogs, the sell sheets that go to our showrooms and also archives digital imagery that serves to document the history and happenings of the company. This documentary and archived footage is mainly captured digitally now.

[2:51] We’ve begun efforts to digitize years’ worth of the history that was not digital, both still and video, and that will all make its way into the system as well. At the digital supply chain, if we look at it as a whole, the front end of it we’ve got a lot of different content creators. We have our own photo studio.

[3:14] We’ve got photographers, who create content, and at the front end of that supply chain, you’re not trying to shape the standards for file formats and making sure things are consistent there. While we have our own staff photographers for the different businesses, globally, we’ll use a variety of photographers, so trying to make sure everything comes in in a consistent form.

[3:37] On the back end, assets from our DAM system are syndicated to a content delivery network (CDN), so that they can be published to our websites and to the web catalogs, and also manage that practice.

Henrik:  [3:52] Kenneth, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with DAM?

Kenneth:  [3:58] Personally, one of the biggest current pain points that I have comes around tracking renditions of assets that are headed for both digital and print destinations. It’s tricky to figure out what should be a version when changes are made, or what should really turn into a derivative asset. That’s probably one of the biggest pain points that I currently have.

[4:24] It’s really about educating the art directors on what it means when they version something versus what it means when they create a brand new asset. With all those businesses, we’ve got a lot of printed stuff that we still do, but there’s also a really big focus on digital, of course, using the web. A lot of our businesses are starting to do website redesigns, so that’ll continue to frustrate me this next year.

[4:53] That’s one of our biggest challenges right now. It’s trying to make sure that we don’t have a lot of duplicate content that varies so slightly that people couldn’t really do a search and be confident in the results they find within the DAM, and not really have to sort through, oh, this one’s slightly brighter, this one’s slightly darker.

[5:18] One of the biggest successes that I’ve seen in DAM lately is starting to overcome the notion of simply being a storage repository for the organizations that adopt it, more than a search tool to find things that already exist.

[5:34] One way we’re trying to get over that is the reuse of things we’ve already shot. An image that was shot for our hospitality businesses could be reused in marketing materials for the power businesses.

[5:50] So, that return on investment there. One of the bigger successes is DAM’s ability to shape workflows. One of my major initiatives this year is to implement a review on an approval workflow that we call creative review. In a digital form, it’s something that our creative groups already do, and it’s largely on paper. Trying to move that into a digital space is the big win.

[6:22] One of the major benefits we can get out of it is being able to inform content creators, our photographers, how successful they are shooting to a shot list, by having those discussions by art directors around the images and content they’re creating.

[6:41] Having some sort of record and being able to say, “It’s done, this set of images, you can do this slightly differently and these images will be able to serve a wider range of uses.”

[6:55] That’s one benefit of that workflow type of creative review and approvals implementations.

Henrik:  [7:02] These are very common issues that many organizations have. Getting collaborative tools to your point, and also getting the tools to not only deduplicate, and control renderings, and version control, but also to know what the single source of truth is for brand consistency.

Kenneth:  [7:18] Absolutely. That single source of truth is another pain point. I attend conferences, and a lot of the organizations that are attending may be in search of just starting the DAM process, as far as finding which software to use and how to set it up, how to govern it, and that’s always a battle with whoever holds the purse strings.

[7:41] I think one of the things I may have to be an advocate for within Kohler may be a greater emphasis on a PIM system, product information management tool, and how it integrates with a DAM system, because we use our DAM to drive that syndication of assets out to our web catalog. All those images have to marry to information about whatever’s pictured.

[8:05] Those catalog images, the data from that should come from a PIM. Right now we’re taking that information and inserting it into our system, manually, per asset. We have an opportunity there to automate that more by establishing a single source of truth for that product information.

[8:32] When product information changes, if something gets discontinued, all that information will flow automatically into the DAM system, and so that metadata is more dynamic, living, breathing kind of metadata.

Henrik:  [8:47] That’s a very popular and hot topic in DAM, is to get to product information management to your point, tying with DAM so you don’t have to reproduce the data from one system to another, and have the master record of your information, your catalog items, and all the SKUs, product codes, et cetera, in your PIM, and sync up with the DAM.

[9:06] Your master record is your PIM and the repository of all the imagery that may or may not be active, to your point, is in your DAM.

[9:14] There are several vendors who are very interested in making that easier for companies. You’re not the only organization out there that has this issue, which is great to hear.

[9:24] Kenneth, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Kenneth:  [9:29] That’s a good question. I can share a little bit of how I got there. Maybe that helps those aspiring to becoming DAM professionals and even inspires those who are. There’s a lot of talk about convergence. One of the topics at a recent DAM conference was, “Are we all becoming each other?” In a way, the convergence helps us push past some of the boundaries we run into.

[10:00] The breadth of knowledge has definitely been a factor in the success that I’ve had with DAM here at Kohler. Before being in this role, I was pursuing a career doing photography professionally.

[10:13] I’ve got an understanding of what the photographers, who are delivering creative content to be stored in this repository, a frame of reference to what they’re thinking or doing. In addition before that, I studied at the University of Michigan.

[10:29] I studied industrial product design, and I was in a school of art and design, and was able to take all the photography requirements as well in my time there.

[10:41] The industrial design thinking, the problem solving, the creative problem solving, those have really been helpful in coming into Kohler, a place that already had an established DAM system, and being able to see what was already happening, and trying to come up with new, more efficient ways to do some of the things they were doing.

[11:06] Our studio’s been digital for probably the last 10 to 12, maybe 15 years. There was a lot of existent content when I got here, but we’re creating more and more images each year than before.

[11:20] The design thinking has really helped to push the boundaries and to come up with creative, new ways of looking at solving the workflow problems, or how content comes into the supply chain, how it moves around and really completes a circle for the asset life cycle, I like to call it, where it may go out to a vendor, but it’s got to come back and it lives in the system. How does that asset end up becoming an archive that we reference back, historically.

[11:49] This year, I’ll be collaborating a lot more with our corporate archivist, as she digitizes a lot of the historical content that she has in her archives. Our history is increasingly becoming captured digitally. We’ll still have physical artifacts in archives in the future.

[12:09] A lot of the speeches that may have been written 60 years ago, that we have a paper‑printed copy, they won’t have a digital equivalent. Trying to preserve some of these things so that they are useful, working assets now, but turn into archives later, that design background has really helped me there. Even before that, I started off pursuing an engineering degree.

[12:37] Coding, computer science, writing code, is also a really good set of skills to have when implementing a system, working with IT to resolve and troubleshoot issues. I think that convergence is something that will really help shape and push the boundaries of the industry. That’s what I would share.

Henrik:  [13:01] Great. Thanks, Kenneth.

Kenneth:  [13:03] Thank you.

Henrik:  [13:04] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to Another DAM Podcast has over 150 podcast episodes for you to listen to, including this one. Visit If you have any comments or questions, feel free to email me at Thanks again.

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Matthew Patulski on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM podcast interview with Matthew Patulski on Digital Asset Management

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor:  [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Matthew Patulski. Matthew, how are you?

Matthew Patulski:  [0:08] I’m good, Henrik. How are you?

Henrik:  [0:09] Great. Matthew, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Matthew:  [0:13] Henrik, for the past seven years, I was the Digital Asset Management Solution Manager for Capgemini’s Global Marketing Communications Team. Capgemini is a Global Systems Integrator with 140,000 people in 40 countries. As a member of their global marketing team, there are about 700 of us. The need for DAM solution came about after doing two years of business to business video.

[0:38] We had to have something more consistent and robust to deliver, either brand assets to produce content or to deliver finished content, either through our Internet and we realized that moving video around the organization had become a pain point.

[0:53] Developed a brief in a budget and worked with our stakeholders to identify some potential solutions including Digital Asset Management. Once that was approved, we started building this platform out, which is what I’ve been doing for the last seven years.

Henrik:  [1:08] How do you see APIs and Digital Asset Management working together?

Matthew:  [1:12] APIs or Application Programming Interface is a means to connect different applications to each other to accomplish work that’s outside of a particular application’s core functionality. Its impact on DAM is that, it all of a sudden allows Digital Asset Management application to become part of a constellation of applications, and with that develop workflow.

[1:39] We’ve developed workflow in two different ways. DAM application resource space is an open source LAMP application, and by LAMP, I mean that it’s running on a Linux server with Apache, MySQL database and PHP was our tool choice at Capgemini.

[1:55] One of the things that we did for that application is that we developed an API specifically so that we can integrate our tens of thousands of videos and brochures and photographs with our corporate Internet. We commissioned an API that would allow us to integrate our CMS that was driving our Internet, with our DAM application. Behind the scenes though, the CMS is talking to the DAM through the API, in essence an XML feed.

[2:25] Instigating a series of searches to find the file location, to find the dimensions, to find the poster frame and it’s dropping it into that CMS. We have eliminated the pain point of downloading that file and uploading that back into the CMS.

[2:41] When we adapted DAM into the Capgemini’s Marketing Communications team, we also leveraged Capgemini’s relationship with Amazon web services and hosted all this in the Amazon cloud. This solution is optimized for delivery anywhere in the Capgemini organization in 40 countries. We eliminated the upload‑download‑upload, of constantly having to move a file into the CMS, or that file changes you have to put a new file.

[3:05] We eliminated that because the DAM always have the original file, but then we leveraged the cloud itself, and the massive bandwidth of the cloud to deliver that video anywhere the Internet or was being viewed, that could be in India, that could be in New York City, that could be in Paris. It didn’t matter.

[3:24] Everybody got the same high quality presentation. The other one is when you use your DAM application to leverage another application’s API. In this instance, we were leveraging YouTube. We built an integration that would allow our resource base instance to talk to YouTube, via YouTube’s API.

[3:42] A secure connection between two platforms allowed us to push HD quality video from our application with the correct title, the descriptions, the keywords, everything that went into that record straight into YouTube. Two minutes later it’s live, it’s online, we’ve got a link and then we’re dropping into emails or putting out the social media. We’re pushing out as part of a marketing plan.

[4:04] If we didn’t have that API connection between YouTube’s API and our DAM, again we’d be downloading something from the DAM, uploading it in the YouTube, an hour later our video will be published. Capgemini in 2014 published over 400 videos to YouTube. That’s a video a day. We’ve all of a sudden, saved somebody an hour a day. 400 hours of just watching a file go up into YouTube.

[4:30] That’s the value of the API. You’re saving time. You’re driving consistency. You are leveraging applications outside of the core competency of the DAM.

Henrik:  [4:42] Matthew, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with DAM?

Matthew:  [4:46] Henrik, that’s an interesting question because in my experience with DAM, some of the biggest challenges have also resulted in some of our biggest successes. The challenges have never been technical. They’ve never been a piece of software or server or a file format, or a metadata issue. It’s never something technical.

[5:11] Those are everyday challenges, you should expect that. The biggest challenge I’ve probably have had is being around culture. The concept of DAM and integrating that into the Marketing Communications culture of a distributed organization was a much bigger challenge than I expected, because adapting DAM requires your teammates and the organization to change how it goes about doing work.

[5:36] In Capgemini, we distributed teams, people scattered all over the planet. Bringing in a Digital Asset Management solution on one hand, centralizes all that activity in that it puts all of your brand assets, all of your templates, all of your legal material, to go to market, to create internally and externally. That first action is to put all that in one place. Everybody can find those logos, and find those InDesign templates and those intros and outros to video.

[6:06] All of a sudden, a light bulb goes off in your team. There’s cultural change happens and they realized, “Wait a minute. I can do my work more efficiently because this is the right logo. I don’t have to go find it,” and that kind of “Aha” moment with the light bulb doesn’t happen until people actually see it.

[6:23] You can spend weeks or months talking to people about how Digital Asset Management is going to change their life, as a professional, but until you’ve showed them that moment of, “My logos are in one place,” that’s when it starts making sense.

[6:38] What I realized in evangelizing and rolling out this platform was I needed to find those kinds of moments. I needed to find those persons who are interested in talking about the tool in evangelizing the application and talking about it, not just with me but with people I’ve never met, their teammates, their managers.

[6:59] Literally, have them show their co‑workers what I had just shown them. It’s an abstraction until somebody can use it. Its extra work until somebody finds a reason for it. As we gathered those up and then started building processes around those and sharing the success stories, in particular with video and presentations, from there its moved into photography and collateral and graphics.

[7:27] All of a sudden, as soon as people could find a use case that made sense to them, in what they were doing they became power users, because they were empowered. What has happened over the last five years or so, with Capgemini’s DAM is that we’ve seen this exponential growth in user sessions and exponential growth in consumption.

[7:49] In 2009, we had no video impressions on the corporate Internet. In 2014, we had 325,000 video impressions, page views of video content delivered from our DAM. Those challenges begat those successes, somebody found a reason to use the application to deliver a video and they shared it with a colleague.

Henrik:  [8:11] Matthew, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals, and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Matthew:  [8:18] My one piece of advice to DAM professionals and to those persons aspiring to be DAM professionals, get to know your client first. Set aside your application choice, set aside your server environment, all of that. Get to know the client and what they’re trying to accomplish. Be a good listener. It’s very important.

[8:38] Because they’re going to tell you the direction you need to go as a Solution Architect or as an Administrator. Tell you what kind of governance you need, the pace which you might roll out features or scale that you need to start at, that initial conversation. That goes back to what I was saying earlier about culture, whether you’re just starting out or whether you’ve been doing this for 15 years, it all comes back to culture and listening.

Henrik:  [9:04] Great. Well thanks, Matthew.

Matthew:  [9:06] You’re welcome.

Henrik:  [9:06] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, log on to For this and 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview go to If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at Thanks again.

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Barbara Alexander on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM podcast interview with Barbara Alexander on Digital Asset Management

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor:  [0:02] This is Another DAM podcast about Digital Asset Management. Hi, I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Barbara Alexander. Barbara, how are you?

Barbara Alexander:  [0:09] Good, thank you, and you?

Henrik:  [0:11] Great. Barbara, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Barbara:  [0:15] The function that I handle essentially handles all digital assets for our company across all markets. We manage all product images, videos, presentations. All the assets then come in, and we tag them with metadata. The types of metadata that we embed assist our different markets and our different functional teams in sourcing the images that they need.

[0:44] For our marketing teams, they use the DAM to find and launch assets to all the different markets. When we’re rolling out a new program, we’ll supply all the print assets for ad production. All the assets for POS and displays, social media assets, and videos and other related assets roll out in their countries

Barbara:  [1:07] One of our big initiatives was to really focus on the consumer this year. We paid a lot of attention to our relationships with our retailer accounts. One of the things we do with our assets is we organize them in collections. Each collection has a single link that we can send to our retailer, or it can be embedded in a spreadsheet. They can click on it and have access to the assets without needing to log on to the DAM. This has been a big success for us.

Henrik:  [1:42] How does a global beauty manufacturer use Digital Asset Management?

Barbara:  [1:48] Primarily we use it to make sure that only approved assets are used in the marketplace, and to be sure that usage rights are complied with. We’re able to expire the assets on our platform. Our platform will send out notification to anyone who’s downloaded the asset that’s expiring to alert them to the fact beforehand. So that they can pull the asset and supply an alternative asset.

[2:17] It’s a great governing platform. It gives a worldview to the global marketing teams. It allows them to see how the markets are using the assets. If they’re really using the whole palette that’s been provided to them, or if they’re taking a few select assets. It allows the marketing team to assess their budgets and where they should spend their money.

Henrik:  [2:42] Barbara, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen in the Digital Asset Management?

Barbara:  [2:48] We’ve had a lot of successes and some realistic struggles. The successes have been with our ability to really service our markets and our retailer accounts, which are very important. We’ve been able to really focus on consumer‑facing experiences.

[3:06] The struggles really center around the internal reorganization our company has gone through, which has been quite traumatic. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about where the DAM is located within the organization. It really matters in terms of its overall success and survival.

[3:25] The closer you are to the core of the corporate level, I think the more successful the DAM function can be within the organization. The further you are from that, the more vulnerable you are to new people coming in, or a new emphasis. That’s been very difficult. The DAM function right now is getting re‑assessed. It’s becoming more global marketing focused, we’ll have to see what happens with it. [laughs]

Henrik:  [3:51] A lot of people struggle with being more center to the core rather than being on the fringes and being possibly at irrelevance, unfortunately, because it’s not even known to the rest of the organization.

Barbara:  [4:03] That’s exactly right. We’ve had such a reorganization and shift in people, and as a result, DAM is not understood, or really factored in as a very core, relevant function of our company.

Barbara:  [4:19] We’re struggling with that right now.

Henrik:  [4:21] I understand, and I think a lot of organizations struggle with that. I’ve heard that from many organizations. That they don’t know where to put DAM. Is it IT? Is it marketing? Is it some creative function? Or is it tied to distribution or something? It’s a struggle for many organizations.

Barbara:  [4:37] Exactly.

Henrik:  [4:39] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

“We have to think of ourselves as more than just a DAM professional. It’s more a media professional. I think that the more certification and knowledge that you can gain will only assist you.”

Barbara:  [4:44] We have to think of ourselves as more than just a DAM professional. It’s more a media professional. I think that the more certification and knowledge that you can gain will only assist you. I know the DAM Foundation has a program. I would recommend that. I also think it’s very important to attend industry functions whenever you can.

[5:10] There’s so much information to be gained by your colleagues in the industry that you really can’t source online or from a book. That face‑to‑face contact and understanding is really important. Definitely the DAM New York Meetup, the Henry Stewart DAM New York Conference, and Metadata Madness [laughs] .

Henrik:  [5:33] Which we’re attending right now.

Barbara:  [5:34] Exactly.

Henrik:  [5:36] Thank you, Barbara.

Barbara:  [5:36] Thank you, Henrik.

Henrik:  [5:38] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, log on to If you have any comments or questions, please refer to email me at For this and a 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview, go to Thanks again.

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Lauren Philson on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Lauren Philson on Digital Asset Management

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor:  [0:02] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I am Henrik de Gyor. Today, I’m speaking with Lauren Philson.

Lauren, how are you?

Lauren Philson:  [0:11] I’m great, Henrik. Thanks for having me.

Henrik:  [0:13] Lauren, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Lauren:  [0:16] I am involved, typically, with the implementation of new technology in an organization or a company. A lot of that involves analyzing current processes and systems, and then working with the staff and individuals on optimizing those. Taking the organization through vendor selection, building out specs for integration and potential tools, and working with them in terms of change management.

[0:44] I currently am with The Rockefeller Foundation, working with them to upgrade their current system. In the past, I’ve worked in production environments and had a little bit of experience with broadcast as well. Varying ranges.

Henrik:  [1:00] How does one of America’s oldest private Foundations use Digital Asset Management?

Lauren:  [1:07] The Rockefeller Foundation, as you can imagine, has a very wide reach ‑‑ global organization. We have thousands of grant recipients and external partners that we are working with around the world.

[1:19] A lot of our media traffic centralizes around the acquisition of photography, video that’s coming in, and also making that content available for the creation with our external partners in terms of publication on the work that we’re doing.

[1:35] All of the media that we receive just represents a very, very small piece of a rather large puzzle that we are working on and solving some of the world’s biggest problems. For a 100‑year‑old foundation, Rockefeller is highly innovative and is committed to innovation as part of their mission and role.

[1:54] They really value inter‑connectivity. For that reason, they’re currently placing a huge emphasis on story telling that allows us to use media ‑‑ to use words ‑‑ to provide a context. Each of those little bits of the puzzle can later add up and demonstrate what the larger strides that we are making in these initiatives.

[2:16] There’s also the component of archiving and cultural preservation. Rockefeller has a very impressive archive center in upstate New York. We are not fully connected with them. There’s been a chasm as most organizations experience with DAM and with Digital in general.

[2:36] What we’re doing is working and laying the groundwork so that digital files that are important to history and are important to cultural preservation are able to be more easily routed to those archives.

Henrik:  [2:48] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Lauren:  [2:53] In general, with both of those ‑‑ the challenges and the successes ‑‑ have usually revolved around governance and user adoption. No matter what the end goal of an organization or a company is, we do see common threads of challenges that come up. Often times, I’ve seen DAM go from being a departmental solution to an enterprise solution, literally, overnight.

[3:15] Priorities change pretty rampantly. Managing expectations and being smart about how one scales and on boards. Just, in general, having a very positive campaign around the tool. Without the users, you can have the best metadata schema, you can have the fanciest tools and integration. you can spend a ton of money on top of one system, but without your users, you’re bound to have some issues.

[3:41] It’s really remarkable once you do have all the individuals that will be involved with the system in alignment how quickly you can see a project turn around in terms of success.

Henrik:  [3:53] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Lauren:  [3:59] Particularly for folks that are looking into Digital Asset Management and venturing into this field, my biggest piece of advice would be to tap into the community. I’ve never met a group of individuals that are more willing and helpful to share information and knowledge. The reason for that is that there is no single formula to solving the problems that come with DAM.

[4:22] It’s an ongoing and ever growing puzzle to solve for us. Tapping into that wealth of knowledge, building the network and being able to apply others’ experiences to your current situation is the most valuable tool that you can have.

Tapping into that wealth of knowledge, building the network and being able to apply others’ experiences to your current situation is the most valuable tool that you can have.

Henrik:  [4:37] Thanks, Lauren.

Lauren:  [4:38] Great!

Henrik:  [4:39] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, log on to For this and 150 other podcast [episodes], go to If you have any comments or questions about Digital Asset Management, please feel free to email me at

Thanks again.

[Note: Lauren Philson is one of the 55+ speakers at the Henry Stewart DAM Conference in New York City in May 2015.]


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