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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 Mary Litviak and Matthew Wilhm on Digital Asset Management

Here is Another DAM Podcast interview with Mary Litviak and Matthew Wilhm 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 Mary Litviak and Mathew Wilhm. How are you guys?

Mary Litviak:  [0:11] Doing fabulous, how are you?

Henrik:  [0:13] Great. How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Mary:  [0:16] I am the administrator of all the [Digital Asset Management] users and I’m the one that does all the cataloging. I’ll do intake, clean up, I help manage the online photo library that comes from our Digital Asset Management software.

[0:31] I help with all image requests and art files in the company. I’m also very involved in the customization projects that go on. That’s why we have an IT staff that does all of our technical parts.

Mathew Wilhm:  [0:44] I’m the Director of Creative Services. I’m a user, but I’ve been involved in, not so much the execution but the purchase of the Digital Asset Management software for the company. We purchased the software that we use, Cumulus, probably 15 years ago.

Henrik:  [1:05] How does a nonprofit organization funded entirely by Wisconsin’s dairy farm families use Digital Asset Management?

Mary:  [1:11] The best answer to that is the value that they’re getting out of it relative to probably what it could be. The market sells products in Wisconsin nationwide, and to give us the biggest bang for our buck, we need to be able to intake not just high resolution energies but the art files that drive our promotions, manage the digital photos that are taken, because all of these things are reportable. They are also resources that we use to recreate new things.

[1:41] As an art staff, its part of the ongoing marketing efforts with materials that have life spans, short ones. We’re able to retrieve things quickly and create new things from what we have in our library, to the value of the Wisconsin dairy producers. These assets also serve a lot of editors these days who are writing about cheese, reporting about cheese.

[2:07] A lot of the industry leans on our expertise for images and information, so it’s a really rich catalogue that does a lot with a very little. I think that’s the best way to describe it.

Matthew:  [2:20] It what would help too, is to get an idea of how we serve the market place. Because the way we look at it is, we serve the dairy farmer families with communications about the marketing programs that Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board offers.

[2:38] We also consider the retail industry. That would be grocery chains with point of sale so they can better market Wisconsin cheese with our point of sale programs. We also work with the cheese manufacturers and dairy processors, if you will, by creating programs that market Wisconsin dairy products and Wisconsin cheese.

[3:02] The reason we focus primarily on Wisconsin cheese is because roughly 90 percent of the milk produced in this state goes into cheese making. Wisconsin dairy goes to way, way back to European heritage, because Wisconsin topography is much like Europe.

[3:20] That’s why so many European farmers settled in the state of Wisconsin because it reminds them of home. It was a natural progress for them to bring their dairy heritage to this state.

[3:33] One of the other areas we work with is food service. We work with restaurant chains, casual themed restaurants. We also work with chefs to provide them with digital assets. We probably have the most extensive dairy library that’s usable for any of these markets in the world, I would think.

[3:54] All of our assets are free to them as long as they promote Wisconsin dairy products, and that would be another reason why the dairy industry of the state benefits from our Digital Assets Management.

[4:07] Like Mary said, our customers can get these assets online. We knew from the beginning that we would eventually market these, or at least make them available to the people that want to promote Wisconsin dairy products. As Mary said, including the food editors of newspapers and magazines nationwide.

[4:32] One of the other areas that we are getting into, like most people, more and more is the social media aspect of it because we’re working with bloggers to promote Wisconsin dairy products. We also have two advertising agencies that serve the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and they do marketing programs for us in a number of those areas.

[4:56] We get many of the files from the ad agencies, but what we do in return is make them aware because we have such a high resolution, great photo library of food photography, cheese photography, dairy product photography, that it’s available free of charge as long as people promote Wisconsin dairy.

Mary:  [5:15] We provide a lot of incentives to offering means of media, online, and through this library, so there’s very valuable asset to the Wisconsin dairy producers.

Matthew:  [5:26] It started years ago. I’ve been with the company for 20 years, you’d probably know, it was all film to provide to these people many years ago.

Henrik:  [5:35] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with this Digital Asset Management?

Mary:  [5:39] Challenges, of course, the learning curve, bringing in the new technology, there are people that have to learn it. There is the discipline of keeping a tie with the IT department, making sure the equipment is running, make sure that you have the expertise to run back‑ups and be able to handle the hardware aspect of it.

[5:58] You have user training, in our case I’m the only one that takes care of the software and it’s the big huge beast, the big huge creature that needs a lot of feeding and taking care of like a big baby. I have to make sure that it’s taken care of and running efficiently because we’ve been through situations where if something falls through the cracks and it breaks, the phone starts ringing off the hook.

[6:25] The last number I’ve seen was over 6,000 registered users of our online photo library. That’s a testament to how very popular we are for many people that use our pictures for many different things. When that goes down, the phone rings off the hook, you’ve got to be able to deal with that.

[6:43] Working with a software company, being able to carry on a longtime relationship with the company that is also in a market that is changing with the tides and going forward dealing with things like social media. Like Matt said, being able to take on the challenges.

[6:59] When companies change or the company itself may change, restructure, reformat, you have to keep up with that. It’s just a matter of keeping up with that and taking good care of it. I think we found that not doing it, or we slip through the cracks could just be not a good situation. I think me and Matt really talked on lots of benefits.

Matthew:  [7:21] From a user perspective and being involved from the inception of choosing a digital asset management software, I think one of the biggest challenges was picking the right software that fit our needs. Because we are a nonprofit organization funded by the dairy farmers of Wisconsin, we have to make sure that all of our purchases of software are cost conscious.

[7:47] It was probably a three year learning process before we finally chose Cumulus and landed on her. We had looked at Cumulus, at Cumulus’s inception version one, and that was going to be my preference of choice for the software. I’m a Macintosh user, I do much of the design work, Mary does design work and we have another graphic designer on staff as well.

[8:11] We had a number of consultants that said they could come into Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and build us a library. Because we worked with color separators, 15, 20 years ago and it was moving into a digital marketplace, the color separators that we worked with archived all of our digital images.

[8:31] They said they could build us a digital system but they just focused on photography. We needed a software that would focus on Word documents, Excel documents, graphic design documents, Quark documents, InDesign documents, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, all of our digital images that had been scanned prior to that, because we are on a Macintosh platform and we have roughly 50 employees, the remaining employees are on PCs.

[9:04] We needed to focus on a cross‑platform system that would house all of that data. Cumulus was probably the best choice for us at that time, because it really was a cross‑platform, off the shelf software package that was relatively inexpensive that we could work with that company and they were willing and ready to work with us to help us build our system.

[9:30] Choosing the software in general was a challenge and trying to deal with all the people that said, “Oh, we can do that, we can do that.” They could do that but it was always beneficial to them and not to us. Canto knew that if they were a partner with us that we would both benefit. I think after a 15 year business relationship, we are still heavily involved with each other and using the software, it’s evolved and it has been great for us.

Mary:  [10:00] I’ll just check on our success in dealing with this too. To take off from where Matt left off here, when they came in here and they were training us on how to use the product, the Canto Cumulus product came with a web piece right out of the box.

[10:16] The nice thing about that is that the guy that was training us was part of the original Canto product. He was very, very smart and our web master wasted no time trying to get him to see if we could get that, the web version customized so we can put our photo library online.

[10:35] I think that was a huge success for us, because when I first started here in Creative Services in ’02, there was a time when I was doing nothing but image requests from the moment I got in to the moment I left. I was frustrated because I didn’t have time to do the other stuff I was doing.

[10:52] Canto stepped in, they offered us services of someone that could build us a customized interface, which we did, and when we put that light, it almost single handedly took all that work off my desk and handed it over to the website, which I thought was fabulous because now I can focus in on doing the other important Digital Asset Management, taking care of it, loading it, cleaning it, so on. It’s just been a huge success.

[11:20] That one thing right there and going forward as we continue to grow, like I mentioned before, the software just keeps going. It keeps ticking. It’s been a huge success for our company having it here.

Henrik:  [11:32] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Matthew:  [11:37] I work by the philosophy of “Garbage in, Garbage out.” When we started working with Cumulus, we knew that we had to make sure that our file naming conventions were specific to the areas that we serve. By that I mean, the retail area and the sub‑sets of the retail area, the food service area, the sub‑sets of the food service area, the trade show area, the sub‑sets of the trade show area, because we worked with librarians to get this moving forward, that the file naming conventions were key to making this product work.

[12:15] I wanted to make sure that if anybody were to step in in my job position, or Mary’s job position, or the other graphic designers’ position, this database would be user friendly, easy to search by the key word, and people would be able to find images and data readily.

Mary:  [12:36] That’s a very key thing. I’m actually going to be talking in September at the Chicago Henry Stewart Conference. I’m going to be talking about this very thing, because I went to my first conference in ’06 in New York City. Since then, through Henry Stewart, I’ve met lots of people that do the kind of thing that I do.

[12:55] To an astronomical extent where you are talking about worldwide conglomerate like 3M, who has tens of thousands of users across the globe in different cultures and languages. Then, you got small companies, may be 1 to 10 people, and every single one of them want Digital Asset Management.

[13:14] Unless you think about the really important aspects upfront of what you have to have in place, Matt talked about remaining conventions and the taxonomy systems, having that figured out in the beginning is probably the best idea possible.

[13:29] Knowing what you want to catalog and knowing what you want to feed into the system. Having the administrative staff to be able to fill it, maintain that, having the IT staff that will co‑cooperatively work with the group with the Digital Asset Management, to make sure that it’s physically running.

[13:48] Having buy‑in from the executives in the company, that they are willing to make an investment that it is indeed the return on investments, for whatever the purpose is. Having the know‑how of people, how tune the product, I mean, just choosing the product.

[14:04] Matt was talking about choosing, knowing how to go out there and search and find out what’s the best option. Today, there are dozens of companies out there doing this right now, and I’m sure they are all good and they are all doing wonderful things.

[14:19] I’ve seen lots of samples. Finding the right one is key, finding the one that’s going to serve the company as a whole, or whatever that business is, is key.

[14:30] If you don’t have the expertise inside the company to put together a team, to agree with, shop hard and really look at these things, there are consultants out there that can do it for a company, and they do a fine job. There are avenues out there, but I think that I’ve met a lot of people who think they know what they are buying, and then somebody goes out and buys it, and hands it off to somebody, usually one person and told to do this.

[14:59] It’s amazing how many people I’ve met that that’s happened to and these poor people are floundering. They have no idea on how to go about forming it and developing it. It’s a lot more that it looks like, and I think taking these measures up‑front can be very important.

[15:15] That’s what I’m prepared to tell the industry people in September, and if only they have done what we’ve been through here, having your ducks in a row up‑front is the best solution to any potential problem that could happen if you don’t. That’s the best way I can answer your question now.

Henrik:  [15:32] Thanks. Great advice. For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to For this and 150 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 Jamie Litchfield on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Jamie Litchfield 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 Jamie Litchfield.

[0:08] Jamie, how are you?

Jamie Litchfield:  [0:09] I’m good. How are you?

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

Jamie:  [0:14] I work at a full‑service ad agency. I’ve been here for almost seven years. It’ll be seven years this summer. I was originally hired to manage one of our clients third party digital asset management system, which I do still currently do for them.

[0:31] I’m an admin, so I manage all of their users. I manage the assets. Mostly the assets that my agency creates, but then I also do work with some of our partner agencies and their assets as well.

[0:43] Through the time that I have been doing that, I started getting involved with our agencies internal system. I’m currently working to make some improvements with that system, and kind of rebranding for a new launch stock this summer to all of our internal employees.

Henrik:  [0:58] Jamie, how does a full‑service marketing and communications agency use digital assets management?

Jamie:  [1:03] At my agency, Digital Asset Management has been fully growing over the time I’ve been here. I came on board again seven years ago when there was a legacy system in place. It’s been in place for a very long time, before I started.

[1:18] That system was never really fully utilized to its fullest potential. It’s functioning kind of as a server that people can mount locally to their machine and browse through on that side. There are practically no users who log into and use the web interface that links over the repository.

[1:37] We definitely use the solution that we purchased a while back kind of as that functional server side, but not to the fullest extent of an asset management system that it really could be. That’s what I’m working on now with my team is overhauling the system, making improvements, doing some upgrades and things like that to make it a functional and usable system.

[1:58] We’re hoping to launch it this summer in phases to various departments at our agency. It’s still the same legacy system, so basically our end goal is to increase user adoption. Awareness is going to be a huge part of that. A lot of people don’t even realize we have a system like this.

“…our end goal is to increase user adoption. Awareness is going to be a huge part of that. A lot of people don’t even realize we have a system like this.”

[2:15] We’re doing all these things. We did the improvements on increased functionality and the user interface and things like that, so that when we do launch it this summer, hopefully we’ll have some great adoption, because it will really easy to use.

Henrik:  [2:26] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with digital asset management?

Jamie:  [2:30] At our agency, probably the biggest one is just simple lack of knowledge about the system that I just mentioned, because it’s been utilized just people think of it as a server, which has the very basic. You log in and mount the server on your desktop and you click through folders and your finder window. There is no smartness to the system. You just have to manually click through things.

[2:51] Sometimes they don’t even know that we have a librarian, like myself at the agency who is tagging files and making things easier for people to find our assets and things like that. That’s one of the biggest challenges, is just teaching people that across the agency.

[3:05] Once people know about it, they get really excited and they really see the value. When we roll out this summer, we’re hoping to partner with our human resources department and launch some training sessions.

[3:16] Get in when we have new hire sessions so we can get even 10 minutes intro with those new groups coming in to tell them about the system and get them log in from the beginning and things like that.

[3:29] Another challenge that I mentioned earlier was that this is a legacy system. We did look into a few years ago purchasing the new system, we did the whole use cases and things like that, but just couldn’t really get the dollars to spend the money from our financial team.

[3:46] We do have this system, and it was set up so long ago and no one has ever updated it since then, so we have out of date processes in place and out of date user profiles and things like that. We’re working hard to overhaul that and really bring it up to 2015. How we work now, it’s very different than how we worked when we first purchased the system and set it up.

[4:08] As far as successes go, right now we are in a very exciting time at the agency. We are working with our IT department, and we’ve got some buy in from higher up people to make some upgrades and enhancements for our user interface and increase some functionalities.

[4:26] We are excited to re‑brand and re‑launch our asset management system as a tool to our agency. People are pretty excited, there are some buzz going on, because they are starting to see the value of a digital asset management tool.

[4:39] Obviously, which a lot of listeners are going to be familiar with, but especially I think at ad agencies the time to market is so quick and creative and project managers in various departments are stretched so thin and doing so much. I consider anything we can do as our jobs as librarians to help them find the best assets in the quickest amount of time.

[5:01] They can really save hours, if not days off of a complete schedule, especially if we can find something that might have already been retouched and approved asset, we can save all of that retouching time and approval routing time and get that right out of their schedule and save them days. It’s definitely going to be a powerful tool.

[5:20] People from the feedback I’ve heard are very excited to have it launched. We’re also just starting to work and ingest new kinds of assets into our system. Up until now, we had been working just with static print assets, but we are going to be working to ingest our broadcast team video files, and potentially our digital teams’ digital banner files, and website files and things like that.

[5:47] It’s pretty exciting to be broadening up our horizon into those different mediums as well.

Henrik:  [5:54] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Jamie:  [5:59] This is a good question. When I first started at the agency, I didn’t even know what digital asset management was. I was just out of college and I was excited to have a job at a great agency. Over the years as I’ve learned, I think it’s important to be your own advocate, to be an asset management advocate.

[6:16] If you’re lucky enough to be in an environment where there is already an established asset management system in process, that’s great, but if you’re one of the many people I have a feeling who have a pretty small group and it’s not well known, I think you definitely can’t be afraid to do research and come up with ideas to push your asset management system forward.

[6:38] Especially if asset management isn’t established at your company, no one else is going to do it for you. You have to definitely be your own advocate.

[6:47] The other thing I would say, I think it’s great to participate in any opportunities you can. I do webinars and Webex all the time with vendors that aren’t our own vendors, but just to familiarize myself with what else is out there, other services. You make contacts that way.

[7:04] I think conferences are also great. I’ve been lucky enough to go to the Henry Stewart Conference in New York City two or three times now. I think that’s a wonderful conference. There are so many vendors there. It’s a great place to walk around and you can get a demo of pretty much every big system in the space, all in one day, which is a great opportunity.

[7:24] I think it’s just great information, the sessions are great and it’s very eye‑opening and informative. It’s a great couple days. I always find it very inspiring and exciting.

Henrik:  [7:34] Thanks Jamie.

Jamie:  [7:35] Thank you.

Henrik:  [7:36] For more on this and other digital asset management topics, log onto Another DAM podcast is available at to find 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview.

[7:54] If you have any comments or question, please feel free to email me at

[8:00] Thanks again.

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Kevin Gepford on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Kevin Gepford 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 am speaking with Kevin Gepford. Kevin, how are you?

Kevin Gepford:  [0:10] I’m fine. How are you?

Henrik:  [0:12] Great. Kevin, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Kevin:  [0:16] I work for Comedy Central at their in‑house Brand Creative department. We create all the advertising, the billboards, the video promos, graphics for digital platforms such as iTunes, Xbox, and Hulu.

[0:30] Specifically, I work on the print side of things. I’ve got hands‑on involvement with our photo re‑touching. We also do the mechanical production and the final delivery of the files to their destination. I work in a team of brilliant right‑brain creatives, but I’m more of a left‑brain sort of person.

[0:48] I got interested in DAM originally as a self‑defense against the distractions of non‑core tasks. I’m talking about requests like digging up logos for someone, cracking open old archives just to print out an ad from last year, or hunting for a specific image among all the assets that we had that were scattered across the universe of portable hard drives, servers, optical media, and the like.

[1:15] The DAM that emerged from this is something that’s been a resource for the whole company for about 10 years, and it’s grown and evolved. Later, as time went by, it led to my involvement with content management. The volume and scope of our work had expanded tremendously, but our approval process didn’t grow along with it. It had become sheer chaos. It was in dire need of order and coherence, and I decided that this was an opportunity for me to make a bigger difference.

Henrik:  [1:46] Why does a television channel, focused on comedy programming, use Digital Asset Management?

Kevin:  [1:53] We use asset management to support our promotional efforts here. Just to be clear, I want you to know that this is not a function of our long‑form programming. We are part of Brand Creative, and our primary partner is the Marketing team. Everything that we do is focused on promotion and marketing, and the graphics that go into that production.

[2:17] I want to talk about the two prongs of asset management here at Comedy Central. The first one is DAM. These would be our libraries of static assets used across our advertising and promotional campaigns. The second is content management. We developed a system here to manage our internal work‑in‑progress. This could be the review and the approval of all of our creative output.

Henrik:  [2:42] What are the biggest challenges and successes that you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Kevin:  [2:45] For the first prong, Digital Asset Management, we started building our asset libraries about 10 year ago, as I said. All of our logos, our images, artwork, and including a PDF archive of all of our print work. That’s been updated over time ‑‑ not only the assets, but the back‑end ‑‑ but it still performs its original mission, for the most part.

[3:07] As far as challenges are concerned, I would say the first challenge was getting it off the ground. We obviously needed corporate resources so we could invest in the system, and then operate it on an ongoing basis.

[3:19] After that, it took a lot of work to prepare the assets. That’s the first step for any system that’s going from nothing to something. You’ve got to organize, you need to upload, and you need to keyword all the assets.

[3:32] After that, we had the ongoing challenge of keeping it up to date. The main issue for us, as I imagine it is for a lot of people, is that we don’t have a dedicated staff, so we do it in our down‑time. Even though we ourselves are dedicated to it, there’s often a lag between when an asset gets created and when it goes up to the library.

[3:51] For instance, if we do an entire ad campaign, the last thing we do before we archive it ‑‑ all the resource files, we make PDFs and put them in our asset library. So there’s a lag, depending on the scope of the campaign and how long it’s taking.

[4:08] After that, I would say probably the biggest challenge is just getting everybody on‑board. This took training, this took patience. People have been used to coming to my team directly, and just asking us for anything. Once we got this up and running, we would remind them to check the asset library first.

[4:27] Sometimes the thing they wanted wasn’t there, or it hadn’t been keyworded, or it just didn’t exist. Part of the training process was that we would fix the problem, upload the asset, and then make them go back and look again.

[4:40] This really went a long way to building good habits. Nowadays, people will come to me and say, “I already searched the library, but I couldn’t find what I was looking for.” And that’s really music to my ears.

[4:53] As far as successes are concerned, there’s a funny little story. A little while back, I was talking to my assistant, and I asked him, “Does anybody even use this system that we’ve put all our work into? I mean, why do we even bother?”

[5:05] He answered my question with a question. He asked me, “When is the last time that anyone came and asked you for a logo? The system is just working.”

“That’s when I knew [DAM] had become an essential resource for Comedy Central.”

[5:13] Almost prophetically, the system went down a few days later. Within about 30 minutes, I’d heard from about a half‑dozen people. That’s when I knew it had become an essential resource for Comedy Central.

[5:27] The second prong of asset management that I wanted to talk about is content management. I really enjoy talking about this, because it really is such an interesting project, and it’s made a profound difference in how we work.

[5:39] I think it really shows a path forward for our field as we imagine our future, and try to be more creative about how to make it dance.

[5:46] Our content management system is kind of like asset management on steroids. It’s active, it’s alive, and this has become a centerpiece where anyone can instantly see everything that we are doing, in real time, by visiting the site.

[6:00] Our content management system is a tool that we use, basically, to manage our work‑in‑progress. It has a longer name that nobody uses ‑‑ we call it the Creative Review and Approval System. It is, from the standpoint of most of our users, a Web based application.

[6:18] It lives in the cloud, and it’s used to coordinate the efforts of all of our design teams. The graphic designers, the Web designers, the animators ‑‑ they upload their work for review and approval. Then they can also get comments and updates from their team members.

[6:37] A great example of our workflow prior to this would be how we made Web banner ads. This is going back maybe four years. The team for building Web banner ads would be ‑‑ a developer on one end, the marketing department on the other, and in between you would have project managers, designers, and one or two or more creative directors.

[6:57] The number of individually posted files of updates and the number of emails about them, just to get one ad approved, was insane. All the comments were buried in enormous email‑chains. There was no way to really visually track an ad’s progress, and when the first ad was finally approved after 20 rounds, we had two dozen more to go. There was almost no way to really compare the ads to ensure consistency.

[7:26] What we built was a content management system to fix the process. Over time, we expanded and re‑built it so it would service not only the Web banner ads, but it would also serve the entire Brand Creative department, and it would be able to handle video clips, Web banner ads, and basically any kind of static asset.

[7:50] Now, all from one place, our users can do a number of common tasks. They can upload files, update it with new versions, they can email their team members, they can view and leave comments. Their managers can review, approve, and reject things. They can create lightboxes they can share with anybody.

[8:07] Then they can take anything that’s in the system and pretty much share with anybody else with just a couple of clicks. For the last piece, you could see the entire campaigns with just a click, it’s an automagic slideshow, for anyone that wants to review the entire campaign, or for any normal user who wants to just take a look and see what other departments are doing. The magic part, though, is when a campaign is archived, it becomes a searchable library of our completed work.

[8:38] So… challenges, you asked.

[8:41] Well, once again, it wasn’t easy to get resources for our initial investment. It took a lot of persuasion that what we envisioned would be a better product than anything we could get on the market. But then we got some seed money, and we were able to show proof of concept, and then grow it from there.

[8:59] A surprising challenge was simply getting the teams to work together and be open to sharing their ideas with each other. They really all liked living in their happy little silos. I got feedback from a couple of people that really were worried that their projects, which were so important to them, would just be sort of lost in all the other projects of other people that were working on the same campaign. From my perspective, that’s kind of the point. No man is an island, anymore. You are playing in a bigger sandbox.

Henrik:  [9:31] True.

Kevin:  [9:31] The other part of the challenge, for me, was just patience. It took more than a weekend to build this and I would say that it was the fruit of many months of development and testing, and we’re still getting comments and feedback. I got some comments just this week that we intend to work on to improve the functionality of our lightboxes. It’s a work‑in‑progress.

[9:55] Now, as far as successes are concerned, I would say that it’s pretty obvious. Everybody is just collaborating like we never have before. We’re talking to each other, we know who is working on the other projects, and we have quick ways of communicating with them, to get a visual overview of what we and other people are working on. So it really has, just by its design and by its very nature, helped collaboration.

[10:20] User engagement with the system is just phenomenal. My co‑workers and colleagues care enough to give feedback all the time, and it’s not all positive. Sometimes they come in and they just demand better features, or they have a great idea to make an improvement. Their engagement is just wonderful, and I appreciate it so much. Any kind of feedback is a sign that they care, rather than just accepting the status quo. That’s why we started this whole thing to begin with.

[10:52] Another success ‑‑ and this one totally surprised me ‑‑ our most popular feature turned out to be lightboxes. These have just revolutionized the way that we give presentations. There’s no more poking around in the middle of a meeting to find assets on a server somewhere. It just puts everything in a streamlined slideshow that you can navigate with the arrow key on your keyboard.

[11:16] This was a feature, I know and am glad to say, that nobody asked for, and nobody even imagined something like this could be possible. And yet, there it is, and they love it.

[11:29] The last thing, and this always gives me a chuckle. We kept the old system on standby. Just in case, you know? It slowly and gradually fell into disuse, and finally, when the old thing crashed, nobody even noticed for several days.

Henrik:  [11:46] [laughs]

Kevin:  [11:47] What does that tell you?

Henrik:  [11:48] Time to make it extinct.

Kevin:  [11:50] Yeah.

Henrik:  [11:52] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Kevin:  [11:57] I am kind of a contrarian by nature, but I really think that formal education, maybe formal training, is not necessary to enter this field. It’s wide open for anybody who wants to make a difference. I really bet that if you took a survey of influential people in the field, very few have actually gone to school for it. What you need is a desire to make a difference ‑‑ a passion for it. It also helps if you get a lucky break and you have the right contacts.

[12:26] Lastly, I think anyone wanting to become a DAM professional needs determination and patience for the long journey.

Henrik:  [12:34] Great points. Thanks, Kevin.

Kevin:  [12:36] It’s a pleasure.

Henrik:  [12:38] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, log on to

Another DAM Podcast is available on AudioBoom and iTunes.

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at

[12:54] Thanks again.

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

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Beth Goldstein on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Beth Goldstein 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 Beth Goldstein.

[0:10] Beth, how are you?

Beth Goldstein:  [0:11] I’m good. Thank you. How are you?

Henrik:  [0:12] Great.

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

Beth:  [0:16] I’m the International Digital Asset Manager for my company. I train and evangelize our DAM to all our business partners across the globe.

Henrik:  [0:24] How does an American healthcare company use Digital Asset Management?

Beth:  [0:29] Even though we’re based here in the US, we really are extremely global. We as a company use our DAM internally to save time, money, and better leverage our investments in all of our creative content.

[0:41] We call our DAM, the e‑Library. The e‑Library is only one component of our greater and smarter digital initiative that we’ve been rolling out, to our marketing teams across the globe for the past three years.

Henrik:  [0:54] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Beth:  [0:57] Honestly, the biggest challenge is moving the business partners and marketers from the old way of doing business. Some of them believe in shared drive, SharePoint sites, USB drives, FTP sites, and many times all of these at once. Then seeing the value of going to a cloud‑based stand, where everything works harmoniously together.

[1:17] I believe that change management is a huge part of my job in engaging businesses, partners understanding I will just save them time and money. I think that change management is always going to be a problem whenever you’re dealing with lots and lots of people.

[1:31] But if you can show them in big steps, if you get one group together that has a big part of your digital asset like a global team, and get them lessons first and show that they’re uploading files, it tends to get the smaller teams excited as well. I believe our biggest success to date has been the adoption, since our launch last September, 2014.

[1:52] Currently we have over 41 countries trained and using, over 800 users, and over 10,000 digital assets in our e‑Library right now. Our biggest push was going to the global teams that create massive amounts of material like I was talking about, and showing them how easier they can create and distribute materials to country marketers.

[2:12] It was a big win for everyone in that conversation. Most of big companies have a lot of little countries like Malaysia, or Taiwan. They don’t have these big marketing budgets. But the global in US teams has much bigger budgets, so it’s easier for them to make these big pieces.

[2:26] iPad apps or big inactive PDFs, or videos, and be able to put them into our DAM. Then the countries can bring them down, localize them at a cost that is right for them, and use them.

Henrik:  [2:39] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals, and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

“…be relentless, but gentle…”

Beth:  [2:45] The advice I would give is to be relentless, but gentle with your business partners. I think that any new process people have to get used to the fact that they’ll be doing something different, or in a new way. Embrace that by making it fun.

[2:57] Have a naming contest for your DAM, which we did. The e‑Library was actually named by one of our employee, who wanted to make sure that it had a positive connotation and that it was brought in across the business, and that’s what we did.

[3:11] We also had a contest to see which team internally could have the most assets uploaded by a certain time. Our time frame was September to the end of the year, and we just got done with that contest. It created a lot of excitement and competition, which marketers are very competitive. It was a really great thing.

[3:27] I think that with my job here, a big portion of it is you have to believe in what you’re doing so that other people believe in it, to get them to buy in. If I don’t believe that what we have is amazing and is going to work for so many people, then no one else will.

[3:41] Believe in your DAM with your business partners as well. Also communicate. My DAM users continually hear about me, whether they like it or not. It’s not just something that we launched in September, and then just continue something that went into the background.

[3:55] I have weekly DAM Monday emails, and I kind of tongue in cheek say, “Again, it’s DAM Monday.” I give to them a tip or trick, or communicate to them that something big is coming, or training, or just asking for feedback.

[4:08] This is a really great way to be, but to continually keep it in the back of your mind that you have these tools out there, and you need to remember to go into it because it’s a new process. I also have every other month email communication newsletters that I send out, and that gives actual updates to integration, new things that are out there, new training, new team members, all that kind of stuff.

[4:30] If you want to become a DAM professional, definitely get into understanding how you can be a great business partner. I think that the job sits between a business partner and an IT. If you have a good background of both, then you’re able to be a good business partner and saying that you can communicate to the rest of the business.

[4:49] Not just the technical aspect, but what will be the benefit to the entire company. I think that you’re going to go far.

Henrik:  [4:56] Thank you so much Beth.

Beth:  [4:57] Of course.

Henrik:  [4:58] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, log onto

Another DAM Podcast is available on AudioBoom and iTunes. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at Thanks again.

Note: Beth Goldstein is one of the 55+ speakers at the Henry Stewart DAM Conference in New York City in May 2015.

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Another DAM podcast interview with Michelle Lowe

Another DAM podcast interview with Michelle Lowe | Listen

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • How does an organization focused automobile advertising use Digital Asset Management?
  • What are the biggest challenges and successes you have seen with DAM?
  • What advice would you like to share with DAM Professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?

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 Michelle Lowe.
[0:09] Michelle, how are you?
Michelle Lowe: [0:10] Hi, Henrik, good. How are you?
Henrik: [0:11] Good. Michelle, how are you involved with Digital Asset
Michelle: [0:15] I am the Digital Asset Manager in an automotive agency, and I
was introduced to the Digital Asset Management more than a decade ago when
we started producing digital assets and that created a need of storage for all
the photography, illustration, videos. Now, in the recent years, we started the
apps, too, the applications. At the beginning, we created a rudimentary digital
storage. We didn’t have anything. We called it a jukebox. That was based on the
[0:37] hard drives, DVDs and servers, which didn’t work very well with us.
But later on, we were able to acquire a Digital Asset Management system, and
our lives completely changed, became a lot easier.
[1:01] A couple of years ago, I moved to another agency that didn’t have any
type of storage system. They were in big need of a DAM. With my previous experience,
I was able to put in place a Digital Asset Management system, making
sure all the assets are easy to be accessed, the metadata is correct, the rights
and expiration dates are up to date. For legal matters, this is very important in
the advertising world.
[1:30] I am responsible for adjusting and processing all the agency’s assets and,
also, for delivering them to our clients’ central DAM system. They have one, too,
because they have many agencies they work with. They use all the assets such
as digital assets, from every other agency.
[1:51] Our agency’s digital asset system is a central repository where every art
director, or designer, or buyer, competitor even, account executives can access
the assets and use them for their project.
[2:05] DAM is a very flexible storage system, we have all kinds of files, APS, has
JPEG s in designs. We have them in all kinds, audio and video files, too. That
helps a lot.
Henrik: [2:21] How does an organization focused on automobile advertising use
Digital Asset Management?
Michelle: [2:26] Because our client operates globally, we must be efficient.
When it comes to digital assets, advertising now is a very fast paced environment
and projects have a quick turn around and having DAM systems helps immensely.
[2:41] We’re introducing a very large number of assets with our projects
but at the same time, for budget purposes, we have to share the assets with
other agencies that work for the same clients. To meet these needs, we deliver
to our client everything we create along with the metadata and they add them
to their central DAM system where the other agencies, around the world, have
access to.
Henrik: [3:07] What are the biggest challenges and success that you’ve seen
with Digital Asset Management?
Michelle: [3:11] Usually, adoption would be one challenge, and getting people
to know about Digital Asset Management system and accepting it and finally
using it. But since I have the system, I had to train and many times, I go one-onone
team members and it’s challenging. [3:30] Another challenge is the metadata
which is a very important part of any DAM system and everyone needs to
involved in it, in the input of it. Not only for the legal aspect of it but also
because the quality of the metadata we applied to the assets can affect the
chances of them being found and subsequently used. Every word becomes
of keyword.
[3:55] Eventually, if you research that, DAM has a great future. I would like to be
better at it that and advertising. It’s a challenge, at this point, too. That’s the
best thing when we have our colleagues and team members learning something
about it and working with it and finding that it’s making their lives a lot easier
that is the best thing.
Henrik: [4:23] What advice would you like to share with other DAM professionals
and people aspiring to be DAM professionals?
Michelle: [4:27] A Digital Asset Manager needs to have great organizational
skills, be focused, and try to stay consistent. I think a bit OCD, if I can say that
would actually work because a perfectionist is an ideal candidate for the DAM.
[4:46] Another advice would be understand the user’s rights and copyright law
and really understand the work flow process of your organization that you are
involved with that is very, very important.
[5:00] I’ve been doing this for a while and I think working on DAM is just perfect
because it gives you challenges and gives you joy. Every day, I can tell you,
it’s the best.
Henrik: [5:13] Thank you, Michelle.
Michelle: [5:14] You’re welcome. It was a great pleasure.
Henrik: [5:17] For more on Digital Asset Management topics, log on to Another DAM Podcast is available on Audioboo and
iTunes. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at Thanks again.


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