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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 Anne Lenehan on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Anne Lenehan on Digital Asset Management

Full Transcript:

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

Anne Lenehan:  [0:09] I’m very well, thank you Henrik.

Henrik:  [0:11] Anne, how are you involved with digital asset management?

Anne:  [0:14] At Elsevier, I’m currently the product owner for our digital asset management system, and I was also involved in creating the business case for the DAM we introduced into Elsevier, and ensure that not only through the business case but also through the implementation phase at Elsevier.

Henrik:  [0:31] Anne, how does the provider of science and health information use digital asset management?

Anne:  [0:35] It’s a great question, when you think about science or health information you don’t necessarily think about all of the types of rich media and video, and audio materials that are part of not only just the diagnosis part of medical information but also in the learning and also in the patient information. The way that we use digital assets at Elsevier is they’re part of every product that we produce, every book, every journal and every online product that we have has images, videos, audio files, Google maps files or map files.

[1:08] We have special 3D and interactive images, we have interactive questions and case studies, all of which have a lot of rich media as part and parcel of those content pieces. Those are all digital assets that we want to store and manage, and potentially recompile and re‑use in future products. It’s really at the core of our content information. It is as big of a part of our content flow as the text content has always been.

Henrik:  [1:39] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with DAM?

Anne:  [1:42] I think one of the most difficult thing with digital assets and how we manage them through a DAM, is really understanding the work flows that are involved in creating the assets, and how they can fit together in an end‑to‑end workflow for production pieces. I think that’s probably the biggest challenge.

[2:00] The way that we view creating, say images or videos, are viewed as very much separate work streams, where in fact, they are very frequently work stream that all flow together or workflows that flow together and are connected in a way. Actually having a DAM enables us to view those work streams and workflows in a much more continuous manner and help us to improve our processes for creating rich media assets that are then part of the DAM.

[2:30] I think this has been one of the biggest challenges that we’ve seen within my company but that’s also a common thing within other companies is that certain parts of the workflows are not always identified as having the potential to be part of working with the digital asset management system. It’s actually very good way to manage assets coming into the company from our author base.

[2:51] It’s a great way to manage distributing those assets for improvements or for transformation to our vendors. Digital asset management system is a very helpful way for us to review those assets, to view them in [Inaudible 3:03] and the way that they are going to be used in our content product. Also to distribute those assets down the road to our product platforms and also as part of our compiled objects, be they books or journals, online content, e‑books, whatever the output is.

[3:19] That’s a great success and it’s actually seeing how the DAM can be in content, but the biggest challenge is really helping people understand how those workflows fit together.

Henrik:  [3:30] Anne, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Anne:  [3:35] I think one of the most important things to understand is actually how the assets are used in a company, and what the importance of those assets are. This was a big change for us at Elsevier, we had always viewed rich media assets with somewhat secondary..or a secondary part of our content pieces.

[3:52] It was only really when we started to think about video assets and image assets, and all other kinds of rich media assets as being core and central to our content pieces that we started to really look at DAM as being a way to manage those content pieces.

[4:07] The one important thing for an aspiring DAM professional is to really understand the business that they are looking at, and what the content pieces are that go into it, and how those content pieces, be they, digital assets. How are they working together? What is the overall picture, and the overall view or the overall importance of digital assets to that company?

[4:27] As those assets become more important and as the record or the management or the potentially the re‑use becomes more important. That would be something very important to understand and to translate to, particularly to senior management, in supporting and funding origination of a DAM system.

[4:45] The other thing that I would really recommend for aspiring DAM professional is to understand a lot about metadata and taxonomy and how they work together to support the assets that you are creating, storing and managing in a digital asset management system. I can’t overemphasize this enough, but this was really a core part of our mature view of digital assets within Elsevier is that we had established a really good taxonomy.

[5:11] That we are using as part of a process we call Smart Content across our product assets and platforms. We were using the taxonomy to tag our content and manage it to improve the search and discovery of the assets and content that we had on our platforms. One of the outgrowths of the Smart Content program was really to understand that rich media assets were being searched and were being used.

[5:37] That actually translated to…how do we use the taxonomy? What a taxonomy is? How it could be used in your particular industry and the importance of how that can be used to enable search and discovery and lead in the efforts of the DAM.

Henrik:  [5:50] Well, thanks Anne.

Anne:  [5:51] Sure.

Henrik:  [5:53] For more on this and other digital asset management topics go to

For this and 150 other podcasts 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 Brooke Holt on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Brooke Holt 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 Brooke Holt. Brooke, how are you?

Brooke Holt:  [0:08] Good.

Henrik:  [0:09] Brooke, how are you involved in Digital Asset Management?

DAM is a large part of my daily work. I’m a one woman DAM team.

Brooke:  [0:11] DAM is a large part of my daily work. I’m a one woman DAM team. Our system, which we call SEAL, houses photos, videos, logos, marketing collateral, and all the typical files you would expect to see.

[0:24] I’m the only team member with DAM responsibility and we have employees all over the country, so I spend a lot of time training them, serving them, maintaining the health of the system.

[0:35] I created the taxonomy metadata fields, standards, workflow, user communication, and overall aesthetics of the system. I also have a number of non‑DAM responsibilities, but they are not as fun.

Henrik:  [0:46] Can I ask what SEAL stands for?

Brooke:  [0:47] It stands for SeaWorld Entertainment Asset Library.

Henrik:  [0:50] Brooke, how does a chain of marine mammal parks, oceanariums, and animal theme parks use Digital Asset Management?

Brooke:  [0:58] We use our system in three major ways. One is an archive. Our company is fifty years old. We have a lot of physical and digital assets. So there’s an archive area of our DAM, where we can store files that have historical value but don’t need to be accessed regularly.

[1:13] As a sharing portal. We have teams and partners all over the world. It’s vital to have a central depository in which new logos or key visuals can be stored by anyone with the appropriate permission level.

[1:25] Some of our events are held simultaneously at three different parks, so putting them in SEAL allows us to have one place. It cuts down on sending large emails or worrying about who may or may not have the most recent version of a file.

[1:38] We have two children’s education television shows that air on TV. Each week there’s a new batch of promotional assets for those and I can easily put them in SEAL and get them out to all the various people that need them. They can continue accessing them.

[1:52] The third way is as a development tool. This is kind of new for us. We use it for storage and sharing hub for projects that are under development. So in this scenario a very limited number of users have access to the files as they develop maybe a new show or attraction.

[2:09] It’s unlike the rest of the system which is really final files. It allows us to be able to share things with partners and vendors in a more secure area than just using Dropbox or any file sharing system.

Henrik:  [2:21] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Brooke:  [2:27] For me, the biggest challenges are overcoming bad user and past user experiences. I overhauled a DAM system that previously didn’t have standards, an accurate taxonomy, or modern features. Any user that had previously encountered difficulty with the system was hesitant to give it a second try.

[2:45] Another challenge I have is what to keep and what to delete. Everything does not belong in there. It’s tough to balance what should be ingested. Do we want all B‑roll, do we want all of our RAW files, do we not, and how long do we keep these active before we move them into archive? Those types of things.

[3:01] Lingo is a challenge for me. We have teams that fall within the zoological field, entertainment, sales, legal, and a number of other ones. They all use different terminology for things. A good example is that someone in the veterinary field might come looking for a manatee calf, but everyone else that uses the system is going to call it a baby manatee.

[3:26] Making sure that I’m accommodating all those options. We have a lot of internal abbreviations for our Halloween event, Howl‑O‑Scream. Are people going to search for Howl‑O‑Scream or they going to search for HOS and not find anything?

[3:39] Then some of the big successes that I’ve seen are empowering people to do their job. When a user is able to get what they need without asking anybody else for help, that’s a huge success for both of us.

[3:51] Also security, so without DAM, you know we have very little security. People can have assets wherever they want and we have no way to monitor what’s happening. We have a EULA in place for non‑users who receive files from the system to just agree to our terms and conditions.

[4:08] We can track anyone who has shared a file, downloaded a file. I can immediately replace things that are outdated. I can get very granular with the controls over somebody who can see something, versus someone else may be able to download that or of those types of things, so improving security.

[4:23] Also culture change over my last year and a half there, I’ve created a DAM culture that has gone from basically, “Like ugh, I hate this thing”, “I can never find anything”, “This is the worse”, to more like, “This is so much easier to use, oh my gosh, it made a PNG for me”.

[4:40] “So and so should be using this” or “The rest of my team should be using it.” This is still a work in progress. I certainly don’t hear these things every day. Culture change is a big success for me.

Henrik:  [4:54] I don’t think any DAM Manager hears wild reviews every single day.

Brooke:  [4:58] Yeah.

Henrik:  [4:58] No worries.

Brooke:  [4:59] I’ll take one every six months.

Henrik:  [5:00] That’s fair. What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people who inspire to become DAM professionals?

Brooke:  [5:07] I would say DAM is awesome. I’ve been working in this field for about ten years and a variety of industries. I do not have a library degree or an IT degree. I have a degree in Spanish and a Masters in Linguistics.

[5:19] The beauty of that is that you can have any type of education background, basically. The field is a good combination of many things. My passion is photography, helping people, teaching, art, grammar, I love arguing about commas, organizing language, and then technology.

[5:37] Still working with people and also working with technology. I fell into this field I think a lot of people at this point have just kind of fallen into it, but it’s growing a lot. One of the things that I would like to see professionally would be more standardization, DAM job titles, and departments.

[5:57] It’s really hard to find positions because they might be called content manager, creative services, a librarian, a systems engineer. It can fall under a variety of departments, so maybe it’s IT, a business department, or marketing. The reality is that any major company is getting more and more digital assets, so there’s great job security in this field.

[6:20] I would recommend anybody looking for a DAM job, to just apply. There are not a lot of people that have tons of DAM experience. There are so many facets that if you have experience helping people, organizing files, using a CMS system, or manipulating digital files, that might be good enough.

[6:39] A lot of people just fall into this DAM jobs. I say it’s important to enjoy working with a variety of people, being able to listen to people, having attention to detail, and be passionate about technology and creativity.

Henrik:  [6:55] Thanks Brooke.

Brooke:  [6:56] You’re welcome.

Henrik:  [6:58] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to If you have any comments or questions please feel free email me at

[7:09] For this and 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview, go to

[7:17] Thanks again.

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Another DAM podcast interview with Karl Lord, Lovisa Idemyr and Tom De Ridder

Another DAM podcast interview with Karl Lord, Lovisa Idemyr and Tom De Ridder | Listen

Here are the questions asked:

    1. How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
    2. How does a global organization focused on furniture and housewares use Digital Asset Management?
    3. What are the biggest challenges and successes you have seen with Digital Asset Management?
    4. What advice would like to give to 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 Karl Lord, Lovisa
Idemyr and Tom De Ridder. How are you?
Lovisa Idemyr: [0:11] We’re good, thanks.
Tom De Ridder: [0:12] Good, thank you.
Karl Lord: [0:13] We’re very well, thank you.
Henrik: [0:14] How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Lovisa: [0:17] Karl and I, we’re working for Inter IKEA Systems, which is the franchise
store of IKEA so for us it’s really important to safeguard all the intellectual
property and the media assets. For me for instance, I’m involved because I was
a project leader for the first Digital Assets Management and rotation with it.
Since then I’ve been working with additional projects related to them and also
the questions that start to pop up once you go into this DAM business.
Karl: [0:44] I work on the IT side so I’m responsible for operations and securing
that the services within the company are working as they should so that the
business has the right availability for the DAM solution.
Tom: [0:56] I am the CTO of a company called Stylelabs and we’re based in
Brussels. We had startups, we started out as a WCMS company but we gradually
moved to the dark side. The back office for marketing solutions and then
DAM is our main thing right now.
Henrik: [1:15] How does a global organization focused on furniture and housewares
use Digital Asset Management?
Lovisa: [1:20] We use it for a lot, and we even have multiple DAMS with them
because we are so many different IKE A companies. We as a franchise to work
we need to protect the brand and also secure intellectual property. We are
making sure that the officially approved assets are available in our DAM so
that we can make additional usage of the assets, so that we can use it for local
marketing, etc. [1:46] We are using it both for the global marketing which is more
about the IKE A catalog, and so on. Then we’re also enabling local marketing activities
because the retailers can click the assets and make additional assets for,
let’s say additional artwork productions based upon that. So we kind of provide
the original assets that have the furniture design, everything is “hunky dory”
and good. Then they can further utilize the assets.
Karl: [2:15] We also use them in addition for the marketing purposes, we use a
lower resolution version for 3D for internal requirements for commercial planning
and store design. We build in 3D complete stores before they’re actually
in the world. The 3D products which we have in the assets as in the DAM will
be used, placing within a 3D model of the store. It’s for the building and design
of the stores and for the retailers. [2:41] So when we go out and deploy a new
store, we’ve already gone through and seen exactly what the flows are. The
passenger, the traffic requirements and so forth, and where the products and
volumes are necessary. Put that all in.
Henrik: [2:52] Excellent. What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve
seen with Digital Asset Management?
Lovisa: [2:58] Well I would say that when we started this that we were kind of
a bit naive in terms of what DAM meant so it was kind of happily naive [laughs],
because we didn’t really understand what it would take from the business.
Everything from business to IT to infrastructure, and so on. We started off with
this great idea of having [laughs] the possibility to manage all the assets in a
nice way and being able to store and distribute that. [3:23] Then of course we
started a bit small having images, now 3D and product information. During this
roadmap basically getting to learn more about what is DAM all about, what are
the opportunities? A big help there has also been getting good support from
Stylelabs in terms of advising how can we use this technology in a way that fits
us. I would say that having good advisers, that has really helped us in that work.
Henrik: [3:51] Excellent.
Tom: [3:52] Generally speaking for Stylelabs, we’ve done other implementations
also. I can say that next to the technical challenges, the biggest challenge is
user adoption but it’s also the biggest reward. So if your community likes it then
the solution grows and you get back response which is great. So that’s the best
reward and the biggest challenge at the same time.
Lovisa: [4:14] For us for instance, we come from a quite scattered landscape,
having assets available at a dozen number of suppliers. So instead of people
having to find the right person at the right agency or production company, now
we actually know that we have at least one copy in our DAM, and we have a
good support organization for that. [4:38] It’s also a security from a corporate
point of view that all the assets are safeguarded, and it’s not so dependent on
only one person knowing who to call and so on. So that has been quite a reward
I would say because it’s actually working. People are more happy with getting
access to the assets and now it’s getting more popular also to talk about DAM
and intellectual property.
[5:04] Everyone is quite happy that the basics are in place because that’s the
biggest hurdle I would say, getting commitment, getting buy in, getting investments
and so on.
Henrik: [5:12] Of course.
Tom: [5:13] Doing it one step at a time is actually the way to overcome this. Take
it easy, the maturity of the client or the customer plays a big role in how much
we, as an integrator, allow in a first phase. We always try to say, take it easy because
big bang solutions are ready to fail. You shouldn’t try too much at once.
Henrik: [5:34] Makes sense. Baby steps.
Karl: [5:36] Yes.
Lovisa: [5:37] It is a lot to cope with in Germany, within IT, within business. So
many things that are popping up. So basically when you’re doing those kind
of questions, you have to drive additional question marks within the company
that no one has addressed so far. So you’re getting into taxonomy, archiving,
lifecycle management, you name it, search tags. [6:01] All the kind of things that
make sense to put together in a nice harmonized way but no one has really had
the chance to do that in the past. So I would say stepping into DAM that’s also
stepping into all those open, let’s say small silos. [laughs] Getting that into one
big you know [laughs] .
Henrik: [6:20] And what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals
and people aspiring to become DAM professionals.
Lovisa: [6:24] I would say, I went to one of the global DAM events four years
ago as a kind of “DAM for dummies” for me. It was totally new to me. That I
found really good because I got quite a broad input because you had the business
track, you had the technology track, and so on. Also being able to speak to
the people behind the project. Both the successful ones and also the failures.
Henrik: [6:49] Exactly.
Lovisa: [laughs] [6:50] Which was even more interesting. Basically getting to
know people, also being able to listen to, what were the pitfalls. Can we avoid
doing the same mistakes? Are there people there that can help us with certain,
let’s say parts that we cannot manage within our organization? So I think a kind
of mixture of trying to understand what you want to do. [7:13] Having good advisers
on board and having a good network of people that you can call and say,
“How do we manage this? How do you do that?”
Henrik: [7:21] Excellent.
Karl: [7:22] Yes, having that advisory board and being able to get that feedback
about the good and the bad. What’s good about being here now this time
around is that we’re now able to present our success and our discoveries back
and contribute now to the other people working with DAM. Having had the
access to the information now being able to contribute information back is a
good thing.
Henrik: [7:44] Excellent.
Tom: [7:45] I think what’s interesting also in this DAM space is that it’s almost in
between marketing and IT. An impossible bridge to make most of the time but
that’s the beauty of it that you open up your eyes and you hear the stories from
both sides which I think is a rich experience for anybody to have.
Henrik: [8:08] Excellent.
Karl: [8:09] If you’re going into practical requirements, for example, I would say
preparation, preparation, and preparation to go into a project. Really know exactly
what exactly it is that you want to accomplish, and what the requirements
from the users are. Don’t just build a DAM because it’s cool to have DAM. If
there’s a need, use case, take that, establish and use that as your grounds for
going forward.
Henrik: [8:30] Great points.
Lovisa: [8:31] I think also, in terms of a rise or looking into what we can gain
from it. I think not only calculating what does it cost or what do we gain, but
also say that it’s not really a choice, it’s really necessary. There isn’t really a, “No
we can’t do this.” So it’s more about saying, “What can we gain over time?”
[8:53] So there’s a basic implementation first, and then you can do anything to
gain leverage based upon that so the more you add, of course, the more return
on your investment you will get. It’s really nice to have the foundation in place
and now everything we add to that will just be beneficial to the business.
Henrik: [9:11] Excellent.
Tom: [9:12] I could add something about technology if you want. So technology-wise
I would advise to be open for anything and pick the best in breed of specific
use cases. Don’t try to go just with one silo big thing. Just open your eyes,
talk to a mixologist, and he or she will help you get your solution together.
Henrik: [9:37] Thank you.
Lovisa: [9:38] Thanks.
Karl: [9:38] Thank you.
Henrik: [9:39] For more on this and other 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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Another DAM podcast interview with Lincoln Howell

Listen to Another DAM podcast interview with Lincoln Howell

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • I understand your organization focuses on end-to-end signal transmission solutions, what does that mean to customers?
  • How does an organization focused on end-to-end signal transmission solutions use Digital Asset Management?
  • 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 am Henrik de Gyor. Today I am speaking with Lincoln Howell.
Lincoln, how are you?
Lincoln Howell: [0:09] I am doing well, thanks.
Henrik: [0:11] Lincoln, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Lincoln: [0:14] I have helped lead the implementation of our current Digital
Asset Management solution, and essentially have two ongoing responsibilities
with it. The first is driving improvements to both the content and the delivery of
those assets. But second of all, I am one of our global administrators. So I provide
some of that administrative oversight to rights management and any ongoing
proposed structural improvements.
Henrik: [0:36] Lincoln, I understand your organization focuses on end-to-end
signal transmission solutions. What does that mean to customers?
Lincoln: [0:42] We live in a world that is filled with signals. You have audio signals,
video signals, data signals, every time we get onto the Internet. These signals
all require an infrastructure of copper, fiber and other networking solutions
to help get them from that point of origin to each of us as a consumer. [1:05]
Now, I work with Belden Incorporated, and Belden provides that infrastructure
that enables those signals to go from that starting point to the ending point.
[1:14] For example, each time you watch a sports event on TV that originates
down on a field somewhere with somebody working the camera. In between
that camera and your television is a whole network of fiber solutions, copper
solutions, networking switches and routers. All of that processes that signal, the
audio and visual signal from the field to your living room. That’s the infrastructure
that’s enabled by these Belden solutions.
[1:46] Additionally, data centers, every time that you’re working with Internet
solutions or cloud based applications, data centers run solutions, also, that
can be provided by Belden on the copper, fiber and other solutions within the
data center.
[2:02] Manufacturing, also, has a significant play within the signal transmission.
Automotive manufacturers, for example, will use robotics, machinery and all
sorts of equipment that requires an interconnectedness that relies on copper,
fiber solutions to keep them running, communicating with each other and
achieving the outputs of that factory.
[2:26] In the end, the Belden copper, fiber and networking solutions make it possible
for all of these signals to get from where they start to where they need to
be and keep the world running.
Henrik: [2:37] How does an organization focused on end-to-end signal transmission
solutions use Digital Asset Management?
Lincoln: [2:45] Building an end-to-end solution with signal transmission has
taken years of growth through a combination of both research and development
as well as some strategic acquisitions. This ongoing journey has resulted in a
very complex organization. [3:00] That complexity is showing up in sells graphs
of varying responsibilities and skillsets, engineering and product management
teams that are scattered across the globe, and marketing staff, too, that are
tasked with consolidating all of the individual components of the signal transmission
solution to a single coherent message for the customers.
[3:18] In the end, without Digital Asset Management, we find ourselves constantly
reinventing the wheel or missing opportunities to win customers by
leveraging materials that we’ve already invested. Our first phase with Digital
Asset Management has been to make significant improvement in our customer
[3:34] We’ve been consolidating our assets that can be used in the interaction
with the customer, and we’ve been striving to make them easily accessible
across the globe, opening up channels for sharing these assets across all of the
geographies and across all of these functional themes.
[3:49] Our second phase with the Digital Asset Management is going to be
turning towards more of an internal implementation, where we use it to facilitate
the distribution of corporate standards, other policies and other HR
Henrik: [4:02] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and
people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Lincoln: [4:06] I think it’s all about the taxonomy. What we’ve found here is that
you can consolidate digital assets on any server. That’s not the hard part. It’s
the retrieval and the consumption of those assets that’s the real goal. You need
those to be consumed by the right people at the right time. [4:25] What was
learned is that setting up and sustaining, sustaining being the key of successful
taxonomy, makes all the difference in the world. That taxonomy is just comprised
of intuitive categories, tagging, and the metadata that really makes your
asset library searchable by its users. Without that taxonomy, it becomes more of
a frustration than a solution.
[4:48] In order to set that up, we found that it’s not just having that technical
competence, being able to understand the system. But it really requires a
keen organizational eye and a lot of people skills. Because as you have various
people participating in and contributing to your digital asset library, you’ve got
to have a lot of one-on-one interactions with them, to insure that standard work
is followed and to insure that that organizational structure, that taxonomy, stays
intact. Because, once again, without that taxonomy, all you’ve got it a pile of
assets on a server somewhere.
[5:21] What you really need is a clean library that people can easily find what
they’re looking for at their fingertips.
Henrik: [5:28] Thanks, Lincoln.
Lincoln: [5:29] You bet.
Henrik: [5:30] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, log
on to Another DAM Podcast is available on Audioboo,
iTunes and the Tech Podcast Network. If you have any comments or questions,
please feel free to email me at Thanks again.

Leave a comment

Another DAM podcast interview with Joe Bachana

Listen to Another DAM podcast interview with Joe Bachana

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • How do open source Digital Asset Management (DAM) solutions stack up today?
  • What advice would you like to share with DAM Professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor: [0:02] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Joe Bachana. Joe,
how are you?
Joe Bachana: [0:11] Great. Hi.
Henrik: [0:12] Joe, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Joe: [0:16] Personally, I’ve been implementing Digital Asset Management since
about 1997. My first project with DAM was when I was working with a company
called Image, Inc. I was implementing a product called Phrasea, which was a
French-based solution. I had way back then experienced implementing products
like MediaBank. North Plains TeleScope I had implemented at a number
of locations around that time, as well. [0:42] I founded DPCI, which is a technology
company that implements content solutions. I founded that in ‘99. We’ve
been doing Digital Asset Management projects ever since with a wide variety of
Digital Asset Management products for a whole variety of use cases, as well.
Henrik: [0:58] How do open source Digital Asset Management or DAM solutions
stack up today?
Joe: [1:04] We have to look at them in a few different ways. The first is the
business of open source DAM. The second, you would have to look at the legal
underpinnings of those solutions. The third would be the technology. Some
people say, “Let’s take a look at the technology real quickly first,” but I think
that’s a mistake. [1:22] One of the reasons why we look at the business is that
the open source DAM projects are very different from the open source Web
content management solutions out there. The CMSs such as WordPress, Drupal,
Joomla, or Plone are principally anywhere between a very large collection of
contributors globally to those projects to maybe a little more modest contributor
[1:48] Generally, it’s anywhere between a few hundred people and thousands
and thousands of people contributing to the innovations of these open source
projects, so they’ve taken firm foothold into the rubric or fabric of not only
our country but globally, the way Web content management innovations are
[2:06] In the case of Digital Asset Management, not as much. You do have solutions
that have been created out of Europe, out of the UK, and here in the
United States that there are a couple of folks that are working on it that are
friends or colleagues, or you’ll have companies that are behind the products
with their own resources. The solutions themselves haven’t necessarily taken
root as global initiatives.
[2:35] That doesn’t mean it’s not going that way. You’re starting to see more of
what happened 10 to 12 years ago in the CMS world starting to happen in the
DAM world. The reason why it’s not going to happen as rapidly is, to me, Digital
Asset Management is a little bit like the plumbing in your and my walls. It’s nice
when it’s working, but it’s not the sexiest thing in the world.
[2:57] The thing that everybody cares about is how nice does your house look.
It’s like the CMS. The CMS is the presentation of your content as well as the
ways in which you develop your content the workflows and so forth. Obviously,
no CMS is created equal.
Joe: [3:13] With respect to DAM, companies principally use Digital Asset
Management systems for archive and retrieval of their assets. That’s a simplified
notion of what DAM should do. Both you and I both know there’s a
huge number of reasons people implement DAM, ranging from selling content
through storefronts to integrating DAMs with CMSs, CRMs, or ERPs
and so forth.
[3:38] In the case of media companies where they’re selling their content,
whether it’s through rich media like video or live streaming, these things obviously
are the core of their business. It’s not just about archival. It’s about real
work in progress and delivering that content across multiple channels.
[3:57] The pace of innovation in the open source world from a business standpoint
is certainly not as rapid yet. It’s not as sexy.
[4:06] There’s one project that we’re involved with for a media company. They’re
headquartered here in New York City. They had been veterans of a couple of
different proprietary platforms. They had spent millions on a couple of different
solutions. They made a determination that they were going to try an open
source implementation. They are doing a good amount of work to having us do
some cool customizations for them to add on top of the open source solution.
[4:34] The question always is…What we like to do in open source is, we like to
contribute back to the community, however small or big it is. Hence, we oftentimes
will go to that customer and say, “As a precursor to our signing on,
do you have any objections to us contributing these solutions out in an open
source way?”
[4:53] That gets to the business aspect of it. The other part of the business
aspect of it is operationalizing DAM. For companies that have had experience
with proprietary vendors, some of the vendors have 24/7 support. Some of
them, not so much.
The DAM vendors can be smaller companies in some cases, so they don’t necessarily
have the resources. When you have a president of a company answering
the phone at 11: [5:07] 00 at night to support you, that’s generally not a good
sign, although some of the presidents of these DAM companies are absolute
geniuses. It’s always a pleasure to talk to some of them. But it isn’t a scalable
model. Operationalizing maintenance and support, it’s something that some
of the proprietary vendors don’t do that well. But if you look at it in the CMS
world, when you think about the kind of services you can get out of an Acquia
and Drupal, which is commercial support.
[5:44] There are other alternatives on that side, as well. Those types of things
aren’t necessarily fully hammered out yet in the open source world. Because
businesses behind the open source DAM projects are sometimes not matured
yet. They may be smaller groups. So that’s going to change over time. The
second point was this notion of the legalistic implications of open source. Not all
open source is created equal or licensed equally.
[6:11] You’ve got different licensing schemes out there. A very common one is
the GNU GPL. You hear about that one a lot in the web CMS world. In DAM,
quite a number of them take advantage of the lesser GPL, LGPL, which has
some limitations. These things people have to really reflect on, when they’re
getting involved. Do they want to do an open source implementations where
there may be some restrictions.
Joe: [6:37] I also look at these products… Does the company who is creating
it, are they paying lip service to open source? But then you start to think, “Do
they have all their documentation out there online? Can you readily download
and install that product?” If you’re really open source, you’ve got to behave like
open source, which to me means freely downloadable and installing, and freely
available documentation.
[7:01] Then it’s your prerogative to decide whether you want to purchase services
from a company or whichever individual. The legalistic application of it
is quite important when people are reflecting on open source. Now we get to
the technical. This is the one everybody really concentrates on first. People ask
me, “Don’t even look at the products if you can’t first look and see what the
business and the legal implications are of the solution you’re about to go forward
[7:29] The open source DAMs are approaching, in general, the work group functionalities
of products out there, in the marketplace. If you look at solutions like
Resource Space or Enter Media, Rezuna as well. There are a couple more, I’m
not trying to plug these products, simply giving it as examples that these solutions
are starting to meet the needs of work group Digital Asset Management,
which would be considered, for me, the ability to import, either individually or
batch, a whole variety of digital asset types.
[8:08] And on ingestion, to be able to automate the creation of thumbnails and
previews and even evoke certain recipes for conversion of the assets. If you,
upload a PSD or any PS file, then you can set up recipes for conversion to JPEG s
at certain widths and depths. The ability to also capture metadata information.
Things aren’t all created equally, but the ability to capture XMP metadata, for
example, is something that is available in several of these products.
[8:38] In one case, we actually did some customizations where we have some
preprocessing of assets within Adobe Bridge for a customer. Then the assets
are going into their open source DAM. It’s a phenomenal thing, because they’re
batch modifying with some extended XMP metadata, with their own panel
within their Adobe Creative Suite products. And then that information is getting
ingested into those open source DAMs.
[9:06] These kinds of basic functionalities are available. It’s really exciting, because
they’re there. We’ve actually implemented quite a number of these kinds
of projects. They’re working. For a year or two years, they’re in business, in
use. The other thing that I find really exciting is that the whole promise of open
source, to me, is you don’t have to say, “Mother, may I?” The whole idea of
innovate and ingenuity in software, the open source software world is the ability
to just step up and say, “I want to create something of value that’s available or
that I need for the context I need it.”
Joe: [9:45] Without saying, “Hey, may I please do that?” And then somebody
saying, “Yeah sure. But pay $20,000 for an SDK and sign this agreement that
you won’t do this or that.” With open source, you can do it. A couple of the
open source products have robust web services and published APIs that, essentially,
allow you to do anything you want, ranging from connecting the DAM
to a produce tike Drupal or WordPress, or connecting it to your CRM, if that’s
what you needed, and so on. That, to me, is the most exciting aspect. In one
case, we did a project down in Atlanta for a company where they had this huge
infrastructure. They needed to just automate the production of real estate
guide books.
Joe: [10:31] So we have this integration of, in that case it was a product called
Enter Media, with believe it or not, a whole Microsoft infrastructure. Integrated
with Adobe Live Cycle, integrated with Data Plan Journal Designer. And integrated,
I’ll add, with the InDesign server. So the whole infrastructure is automating
the pagination of these real estate books, straight from sales folks just
entering the data on the individual homes that are going to be offered.
[11:02] This content is being used to create both the web listings, as well as the
print catalog books or guide books that are being done in multiple states. It’s
saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in their production processes. The DAM
is an underlying technology within the architecture. It works flawlessly and it’s
open source. They save themselves… If you think about the amount of money
they spent on the other infrastructure. [laughs]
[11:28] They spent a fraction of their budget on the actual DAM implementation.
There’s a lot you can do with open source DAM solutions as underlying architectural
decisions for larger projects. And for very modest use cases around
archival and retrieval of assets you absolutely can use those types of solutions in
your business.
Henrik: [11:54] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and
people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Joe: [11:59] That’s a great question and I appreciate it, Henrik. A lot of folks
come into this industry… I should add, I’ve been doing this type of thing for
26 years now. I’m not going to count my tech jobs while I was in college,
which principally were around content technologies. But 26 years ago, content
technologies were a whole different animal. To me, there’s a lot of folks that
enter the market and they want to be DAM professionals and they want to get
jobs doing this. [12:28] My concern has been folks coming out there and never
having laid their hands on a single product, without having done a single implementation.
There’s a lot of information that goes on and a lot of folks that are…
There’s no certification for becoming a DAM professional or a DAM analyst or
consultant. Yet people go out there and help folks with RPs and so forth, and
they’ve never done a DAM project.
[12:54] To me, if you’re right out of college, first of all, there’s some colleges
which actually have some programs, like RI T, the print management school.
They have a course in Digital Asset Management. It is modest. But they give
people a chance to understand how to configure. What are the important use
cases trying to be solved in DAM? Getting hands-on experience with DAM is
really important. Even if you never will touch the technology in your career and
you want to be a pundit or someone who’s just a thought leader, you’ve got to
able to touch them and understand what these types of products, this class
of products, do.
[13:33] What problems do they solve? That’s just me. Other people would probably
emphatically disagree. But I don’t think, going back to the plumber motif
that I said earlier or concept, you can speak with authority about plumbing
if you’ve never laid in the pipes an understand what the heck goes on there.
I certainly don’t understand what’s happening behind the walls. That’s one
thing. The second is, the best, to me, really exciting folks out there are the folks
who’ve gone to library science school.
[14:05] They really fundamentally understand what information science or information
architecture is. How do you define a taxonomy? What is an ontology?
How do you create controlled vocabularies? What’s that process? Sometimes
folks that were in data modeling are very good at that, as well. They’re very
thoughtful. A lot of times we go in as professionals and over engineer the
model, the information architecture of a platform.
[14:35] That becomes onerous for the folks who are trying to capture that metadata
and track it. There has to be a reasonableness that goes on, which again,
goes back to point number one. Which is, try to become a practitioner. But,
understanding that these are human systems, that’s the third thing. Again, we
talk about first laying your hands on these types of things, second is understand
how taxonomy is laid out. If you have money to go to library science school or, if
not, pick up some books on it.
[15:04] There’s some great resources out there for that. The third thing is understanding
the use cases or the work flows. Because the DAM systems don’t necessary
do work flow really well. But every single person or any company that’s
creating, managing, enriching and delivering assets has implicit work flows.
Some that are simple. Some that are very complex. Until you really understand
what those are, you’re going to be hampered.
Joe: [15:34] I’m talking about not just people starting out in their career, but folks
that are 10, 15, 20 years in, that are delivering Digital Asset Management implementations.
A lot of times they don’t pay attention to the ways people interact
with assets through the life cycle. Different asset or content types have different
work flows. The way you’re creating an interactive object is going to be different
from some sort of an image file or video file and so forth.
[16:02] Those have different ways of being manipulated through a whole class of
employee types or user types. So understanding those is really important. Once
you get those you’re going to be more sensitive to the way people work. The
fourth thing is, understand how to listen and understand how people currently
work, meeting them half way. Just coming in and implementing a DAM and
saying, “This is the way it works,” isn’t good enough.
[16:32] To be able to understand how an organization needs to work is important.
To hopefully deliver a DAM solution that supports that work and bolsters
and improves it, as opposed to makes people change the way they work, which
invariably, as you and I both know, doesn’t work. People rebel. You get into all
kinds of change management issues where folks just fight the DAM implementation.
I want to just end on this note, that a good way to inform your career
in DAM is that everybody high fives themselves when the DAM installation is
[17:09] But the way you test the success of a DAM solution is two to three years
out. How many people are using it? How many assets are there? Is it supporting
the business? Has duplication of assets been minimized or eliminated? Are there
issues with finding assets that were thrown in two years before, that are important?
That’s the way you test. You always have to think forward in this business.
Think about the results you’re going to be creating, two to three years in.
Henrik: [17:38] Thanks, Joe.
Joe: [17:40] Cool.
Henrik: [17:41] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics,
log onto Another DAM Podcast is available on AudioBoo,
iTunes and the Tech Podcast Network. If you have any comments or
questions, please feel free to email me at
Thanks again.


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