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Another DAM Podcast interview with Mikako Ito on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Mikako Ito on Digital Asset Management


Henrik de Gyor:  [0:00] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Mikako Ito.

Mikako, how are you?

Mikako Ito:  [0:09] Good, how are you?

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

Mikako:  [0:14] I think I’m a little bit unique in this profession. A lot of people who manage the digital assets, may be dedicated their time 100 percent to managing their assets or creating the assets. I’m a Art Director at simplehuman.

[0:32] Then when I was appointed by CEO to investigate the DAM system, I actually didn’t know anything about the DAM system. As a designer, I wasn’t sure how this system is going to be helpful to our company.

[0:50] But now that we implemented the system, I can see that the DAM system is really useful to, not only the company like us, but design and then produce the product by design agency, or any other design related company. Actually, our company is pretty small, so the graphic design department is small.

[1:15] Then what we were doing was, we are putting everything into our company server. But as company starts to grow, we realize that, if we don’t organize these digital assets eventually it’s going to get really messy.

[1:31] One day, our CEO was the one who recognized the company was growing and so was our assets. He put me in charge of finding the solution. I did research, and then I found is there asset management system out there. Then, eventually I pick one of them, and then I implemented it.

Henrik:  [1:55] How does a designer and manufacture of kitchen, bath and beauty tools use Digital Asset Management?

Mikako:  [2:02] All the designers use the asset management system to work on their projects. Once we have the asset which is whether it’s photography that we shot, or rendering that we created, it goes to the retouchers.

[2:20] Then clean up the images and stuff, and then eventually goes up to the asset management system. Once it get in there, designer can pull any of the assets whenever we need it for whatever we need it. Marketing and the sales team also use the assets, the ones which are available to them.

[2:42] Before [DAM System], the graphic team would get constant requests from the sales and the marketing, and we were the department within the organization to send them a file. Since all the assets was in the server, and then only designer, and if you worked on that project, knows where images were, and then what the final assets are.

[3:08] Then every time sales or marketing team needed those assets, we get requests. We have to spend the time to search the image, reformat the image and then send it back to them. We are actually spending a lot of time on organizing the assets, and distributing assets.

[3:29] But once we implemented the DAM system, marketing and then sales can find the image, and then download it in any of the format that they want for themselves. Then the designer doesn’t have to spend the time to do that job for them. That was really helpful.

[3:51] The designers and then other departments of our company, use the system to find assets or archive the assets. When we are thinking of implementing the DAM system, we were wondering if we can use the system to organize, and then archive, and then transferring the files to the factory for the design files. The actual product design files.

[4:21] But design file consists of different parts, so that we found that organizing all the different parts become the one product. It’s not just a file that it creates so that they way that the DAM system organize the files, it was challenging to organize the files that make sense to using for the…to keeping, and then archiving the CAD file.

[4:52] We don’t use the DAM system for the product design file, the CAD file, but we use it for everything else.

Henrik:  [5:00] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Mikako:  [5:04] The biggest challenge was how to structure the system, so how many catalogs we should have, and then who should have the access to which catalogs. Because of the amount of the assets we have, and then some of them are not really meant to use outside of the company usage, so that we have to create a structure that really works to the different departments.

[5:37] Then certain departments need certain assets only. So that way, accidentally the important assets [don’t] go outside of the company. By the time we implemented the system, we had already a lot of these digital assets without knowing it. To organize those, and then putting into the system the first time, was really challenging.

[6:06] The success part of it overlaps with the answer that I gave to the second question. It helped the whole company to flow, and the design department the time that we used to spend to prepare, and then create all those assets to the different departments that got really reduced.

[6:30] For example, the sales person also creates the file… it’s called planogram. It’s basically what the product will look like on the shelf. Before we were getting similar request so that every time we get these requests we have to resize all the products into the correct scale and then put next to each other on a four foot shelf.

[6:59] Then all our products how that look like on this four foot shelf, so that kind of thing was taking a lot of time for the design department. But now we created this catalog that has every SKU that are available to the sales in the correct scale.

[7:18] All they have to do is to pull all those images, and then just put it into the shelf. That thing really helped the time part of it. Another success is that we always have the most updated assets available to everybody.

[7:39] Before, different designers working in their projects, for example, one designer created this icon, and then during the process of finish that project, the designer Mike, fixed the icon. But the icon didn’t go up to the DAM system and then just lived in this person’s hard drive.

[8:04] Then other designers trying to use the icon, they might not have the most updated icon and..they might use it in a wrong way, or but now that we have system, so one designer fix something and then updated assets go uploaded to DAM system, so that always the most updated assets available to the other designers to use it.

[8:28] That really helped designers to actually could have used the wrong asset or wrong icons and stuff for the project. The number one benefit that we did get from this system was that we were be able to spend the more time to actually designing it than try to organize the assets for other people or other departments.

[8:55] Asset is always available to us, and then I was saying all the available asset is always updated the most current one. That reduced the mistake part of it too.

Henrik:  [9:10] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to DAM professionals?

Mikako:  [9:14] The organization is really powerful. If your digital files aren’t organized, you’re wasting so much time looking for that right file, or your team through all the assets are wasting time searching, and sending the files out, like our graphic department was used to doing.

[9:37] With DAM it helps you save the time and your company is saving money, because you’re able to be more productive. For us, it was really good time saving, and then…time is money so the more the time is saved and then everybody works efficient.

[10:03] I think that was really helpful. If someone who’s thinking about implementing DAM system or not, I think in the long run if everything is organized, and I think eventually that will make much more efficient the whole system.

[10:22] Also ,I do use the system everyday, but at the same time, I’m a designer as well. Then I feel like I’m still not…I don’t consider myself DAM professional. I feel like if you 100 percent, you do is to organize, and then manage the system, then I feel like that person might have better advice but…

Henrik:  [10:48] Thank you, Mikako.

Mikako:  [10:51] Thank you, and I’m sorry. I don’t know if I helped a lot but I just wanted to say that having the DAM system really helped our company. Hopefully, this would help someone who listens I guess.

Henrik:  [11:08] For more and this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to For this and 160 other podcasts 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 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 naming 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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