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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 anotherDAMblog.com. Another DAM podcast is available at anotherDAMpodcast.com 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 anotherDAMblog@Gmail.com.

[8:00] Thanks again.


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Another DAM Podcast interview with Lauren Philson on Digital Asset Management

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

Full Transcript:

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

Lauren, how are you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Henrik:  [4:37] Thanks, Lauren.

Lauren:  [4:38] Great!

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

Thanks again.

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


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Another DAM Podcast interview with Rubyliza Gaba on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Rubyliza Gaba on Digital Asset Management

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor:  [0:02] This is Another DAM Podcast about digital asset management. I am Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Rubyliza Gaba. Rubyliza, how are you?

Rubyliza Gaba:  [0:11] I’m good, how are you doing?

Henrik:  [0:13] Great. Rubyliza, how are you involved with digital asset management?

Rubyliza:  [0:17] I am the Digital Asset Archivist at Fossil. Aside from ingesting images and checking out metadata integrity, I also do training and troubleshoot any issues our local and global users encounter.

Henrik:  [0:31] How does an American designer and manufacturer of clothing and accessories use digital asset management?

Rubyliza:  [0:37] Our DAM is used as a centralized archival repository. It houses all of Fossil’s final product images across multiple brands and product categories. Internally, it’s used by multiple departments, both locally and internationally via our regional offices.

[0:57] Actually, Fossil’s DAM is fairly young, only being launched in early 2014. So Pre‑DAM it was a bit of a challenge to locate images after they were worked on and finalized. Images were housed in multiple locations, including internal file shares and external FTP servers. We also have an archive system where images were actually burnt onto physical CDs and DVDs for archival purposes. Of course, this process was plagued with issues such as media being mislabeled, or maybe being checked out and never returned.

[1:32] Now that the DAM is in place, our users simply search for the images that they need, and they download them in the format that they require.

Henrik:  [1:42] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with DAM?

Rubyliza:  [1:45] I think the biggest challenge I’ve seen with the DAM system was change management. I can figure out system issues, but trying to introduce a new piece of technology to people, and convincing them that this system will actually help them was a bit tough.

[2:01] I completely understand that change is difficult sometimes. People are set in their own ways. They want to continue doing something that they’ve been doing for a while, because they know it works for them.

[2:13] When we were in the beginning stages of our implementation, we knew that user experience is the key to a successful DAM system. We wanted to make sure that our DAM would be easy for anyone to use, and in turn maybe ease any nervousness that they had for using a new system.

[2:32] What we did, my team and I, we set up meetings with our future users to discuss what they needed to be housed in the DAM, what functionality was required around that content, what pieces of metadata needed to be captured and how and when to capture it, and also the folder structure of the system.

[2:52] The final result is an interface that’s very sleek, and a search function that’s super simple to use. We found that with the proper training, users became more comfortable using our DAM.

[3:06] To us, user adoption is hugely important. We didn’t want to be to set in our own ways. We work with so many brands that are all individually unique. If something doesn’t work for a team, we’re always happy to discuss what needs to be done to provide the experience they expect from us.

[3:28] As for successes, I would have to say it’s knowing that people use our system. We’ve been getting pretty positive responses to it. Also, another success is seeing our user count grow. When we originally rolled out our DAM, it was only to a small group of users in our local offices. Now, our user number is in the thousands and span a global community.

[3:55] It’s really a great feeling to see something you’ve worked on so hard on it, just positively impact other people’s daily work processes. It’s been an amazing experience to be involved from day one, to be a part of the process and to watch our system grow into what it is today. It’s increased productivity across the board, and I really look forward to the future of our DAM.

Henrik:  [4:19] Excellent. Rubyliza, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Rubyliza:  [4:25] My advice is to network. That was the biggest advice given to me when I was in school. Networking is key, whether you are already a DAM professional or aspiring to be one. It’s always great to talk to others in our field. You can go to conferences, join organizations, and just meet each other face to face. We have a fantastic and supportive community out there, through my experiences.

[4:50] As for aspiring DAM professionals in school, I would get involved in volunteer work or internships. To me, you can have all the education in the world, but it’s that hands‑on training that helps. Also, it’s a good step towards building a network too. Also, work on that LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn, I think, is an amazing tool that not too many people are using, surprisingly.

“Always remember to be flexible.”

[5:15] Finally, remember when you do get the job, don’t get discouraged if you find yourself doing things that maybe aren’t always related to digital asset management. Always remember to be flexible.

Henrik:  [5:28] Great advice. Thanks, Rubyliza.

Rubyliza:  [5:30] Thank you. It was a pleasure to be a part of your podcast.

Henrik:  [5:33] For more on this and other digital asset management topics, log on to AnotherDAMblog.com. If you have any comments, questions about digital asset management, feel free to email me at anotherdamblog@gmail.com. For 150 other digital asset management podcast episodes, go to AnotherDAMpodcast.com.

Thanks again.


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Another DAM podcast interview with Rob Schuman on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM podcast interview with Rob Schuman 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 Rob Schuman.
Rob, how are you?

Rob Schuman: [0:10] Great.

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

Rob: [0:14] Well, I got involved about 12 years ago, which was early for Digital Asset Management. Right now, I’m a general consultant. I help people organize, choose vendors, and help them implement the big change management that comes along with any DAM system. Also, advise people on technical issues of how to set up a DAM system that works well for everyone.

[0:39] Back when I was at Sesame Workshop, which was then called Children’s Television Workshop, the Sesame Street producers asked me if there was any way they could view their library without having to go up to the library and pull cassettes and cue up cassettes and all of that. The executive producers had a problem that they were reusing the same clips over and over and over again because those were the ones that people knew in their heads, while clips that were just as good were sitting in the library idle because no one wanted to take the time to go and find them.

[1:13] We said we’d do what we could, and about a year later, we developed one of the first DAM systems for video and television. It was very early in the DAM marketplace, and we believed it was the first or one of the first video Digital Asset Management systems. It was completely homegrown. We had any number of metadata fields and attached them to both proxy video and broadcast-quality video.

[1:41] We also were one of the first to include DAM as part of their workflow. It made producing the show so much easier, got them to do segments, have the segments approved by the producer, then get them right down into the edit room to complete them. I worked for Merck, the drug manufacturing company, and right now, I’m at the New York City Ballet. I call myself “content agnostic” because ultimately every company has their content professionals.

[2:11] They don’t need me to produce content for them. They need me to organize that content and make sure everybody has access to it and make sure that their workflows are automated. They don’t really need another person on content. Really, assets are assets, whether they’re talking about drugs, dance, or Sesame Street. I laugh that I worked for Sesame Street and Dow Jones, and the work is basically the same.

Henrik: [2:45] Organizing information?

Rob: [2:46] Yup, and making sure they can find it.

Henrik: [2:49] Yeah, very key. How does an organization focused on ballet use Digital Asset Management?

Rob: [2:56] Unlike music where there’s a score, dance is really a visual medium. Back in the mid 1980s, somebody had the idea of taking a VHS camcorder and sticking it up on the front of the balcony and taping the ballets. That stayed on VHS for a very long time, updated a little bit when camcorders became digital. They have a library of about 2, 500 or more performances.

[3:26] They have some rehearsals. It’s all on VHS tape. They got a grant from a government group called “Saving America’s Treasures” to try to rescue these. The New York City Ballet has this school so that the students could study choreographers like Balanchine or Jerome Robbins. What they’ve done is built their own Digital Asset Management in just stations.

[3:53] Right now, the theater has been redone with high-definition control room and high-definition cameras. All of the ballets or most of them are recorded as files, which we then add a whole lot of metadata to and put into their asset management system for anyone to find. You can look by choreographer by, of course, the date, and the musical piece.

[4:20] You can look at, “Let’s see all the variations of ‘The Nutcracker'” or “Let’s compare this choreographer’s version to that choreographer’s version.” They’re just starting to get to the launch of this. They want to put a computer and monitor in every dance studio that they’ve got. They have, I think, nine of them, including the ones from the school, so that they can work with the students and show them exactly how it’s done. Video is the only way to capture a live performance, and that’s what they do.

Henrik: [4:50] That’s great. Rob, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Rob: [4:57] The biggest challenge is the one that almost everybody faces. People think it’s choosing a DAM system or the technology you use or the metadata schema that you use, but really, it’s making sure that your customers are happy that there’s an acceptance of workflow changes. I’ve worked at places with both.

[5:18] At Sesame Street, we never really launched the DAM system, because by the time it came for the date to launch it, everybody had it. People saw it in beta and said, “I need this. I don’t care that it’s not ready. I don’t care, I’ll report bugs, but I want to use this.” That was a big success.

[5:37] At a big company like Merck, management came down and said, “We’re going to use this Digital Asset Management system,” and there was so much resistance. People were just tossing assets in there. There was a lot of metadata management that had to go followed up and a lot of wasted time, effort and energy that if you start with getting the folks enthusiastic, and if you get as close to their current workflows as possible and come in with the attitude that this is not something that management is demanding.

[6:12] This is something that will make your work easier and make you more productive. One example of that, again going back to Sesame Street, one day a woman came into my office in tears because she realized that the DAM system would be down over the weekend for some maintenance. She needed to get something done by Monday or her boss was going to be very angry with her, and she was just so afraid of that.

[6:39] I told her I would talk to her boss and smooth things out, but we still needed to maintain the system. But later, it occurred to me that that’s exactly how a successful DAM should be working. You should be upset if you can’t use it or if the system goes down, because it’s so critical to your work.

[6:58] Some more successfully than others tried to get across that being enthusiastic about the DAM and getting people on your side early in the game is the most important thing. The usual challenge, which is getting people on board and making sure that everything works, technology is changing so rapidly. One of the biggest challenges in DAM right now is the user interfaces.

[7:28] A lot of the systems that I’ve seen are really great on the back end, but forget that there are people on the front end who really need to be coaxed along, just throwing up a series of fields for them to fill in this form. It doesn’t help unless there’s a counteraction of, well, instead of having to write this on paper, or I can find stuff later if I put metadata on it now. Of course, there’s always the ‘metadata policeman’ who has to go in and look at everything going into the system.

Henrik: [8:01] We’re all familiar with those [laughs] , since we do those tasks regularly or we have in the past.

Rob: [8:08] One thing I did at Merck was I put a sign on my cubicle there that said, I thought “DAM” was too violent a word, even though we all like using it. I said this was “Marketing Operations Management,” and I thought “MOM”. Let’s call it the “MOM” system.

Henrik: [8:28] Rob, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Rob: [8:33] Basically, the only real advice I can give is to go for it. It’s a young and growing area of computer and personal information and marketing information. I’d say study what you can. Ask questions. Learn about metadata. Learn from others. Go to the DAM meet-up to meet people and find out what they’re doing. Then, if you can, get the exposure to a DAM system.

[9:04] You don’t really need to go back to school for a full library degree to understand basic metadata. There’s a need for entry-level people to actually be the ‘metadata policemen’ and enter things into the DAM system. Generally, the person who is in charge of it doesn’t really have the time, particularly for the large systems, to go over what’s going in, to be the ‘metadata police’, so to speak, and make sure that the DAM system is loaded with all of the proper information.

[9:35] I used to advise television people, “Just go and get the exposure to it and show that you’re interested. Volunteer to do some stuff. Sure enough, when they need somebody, they’re going to turn to you, or somebody else is going to need somebody, they’re going to turn to you and get you started at a career.”

Henrik: [9:54] Well, thanks Rob.

Rob: [9:55] Rob: You’re welcome.

Henrik: [9:56] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to anotherdamblog.com. Another DAM Podcast.com is available on AudioBoom and iTunes.

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at AnotherDAMblog@Gmail.com. Thanks again.


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Another DAM podcast interview with Emily Kolvitz on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM podcast interview with Emily Kolvitz on Digital Asset Management

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 Emily Klovitz. Emily, how are you?

Emily Klovitz:  [0:12] I’m doing great. How are you?

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

Emily:  [0:18] I’m involved in Digital Asset Management as both student and practitioner. I’m finishing my MLIS at the University of Oklahoma, and also working full time in the field. I currently am a digital asset manager for JCPenney at the home office. I’ve also worked on digital projects outside of a formal DAM environment, in archives and also a museum.

[0:48] Recently, I have become very involved in the DAM education and DAM community. Part of that is a desire to contribute to the field. Another part of that is just me segueing into the next phase of my life.

Henrik:  [1:05] Emily, how does the national retail chain use Digital Asset Management?

Emily:  [1:10] My company uses Digital Asset Management for a variety of reasons ‑‑ works in progress, distribution, and also brand management. In my specific area, we use Digital Asset Management for works in progress, and also on final, finished photography for marketing assets. The DAM is fairly new, only a couple of years old, and it’s really only been hard‑launched since last November [2013].

[1:39] There’s a lot of building going on right now. Basically, it’s such a large organization, there’re actually multiple DAM environments. We are positioning ours as the enterprise DAM, but we still have a long road ahead of us. In terms of other DAM systems, there are that some that makes sense, in terms of what kind of content is kept and described, and also the perks of that specific system.

[2:07] Then, the different challenges of the type of content we’re talking about. As time has passed, the various DAM managers have crossed paths, and it’s been very rewarding to speak to these people, and find out what we have in common, and where we can help each other out.

[2:25] There have also been systems that didn’t really provide value for the organization and were duplications of content. I worked very hard to get rid of those systems. They’ve been shut down, and that’s because we have been lucky to have very strong senior leadership and buy‑in behind our DAM.

[2:43] What’s really interesting about my organization, or any large organization trying to wrangle their content, is just the sheer number of assets you’re actually talking about. Also, the number of DAM systems actually used by the organization, because many times it’s often multiple DAM systems.

Henrik:  [3:02] What are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset Management?

Emily:  [3:05] The biggest challenge to Digital Asset Management is change management. Everything else is a problem that can be solved logically. People are more tricky than that.

[3:16] The second biggest challenge is probably that DAM does not happen in a vacuum. There are more than likely other digital initiatives in your organization, and sometimes being able to see a bigger picture, even bigger than Digital Asset Management, can help an organization implement control over information chaos. This means information governance should be part of the Digital Asset Management strategy, or perhaps the DAM strategy is a facet of an overall digital strategy or information management strategy.

[3:53] It’s been very difficult for me to stay in my DAM bubble, so to speak, in the corporate world. As an information specialist, it is so glaringly obvious all the areas that could benefit from information governance. Yet there’s only one of you, and a DAM manager has many hats to wear. That’s what I feel are the biggest challenges to Digital Asset Management.

[4:20] Successes? I guess getting buy‑in feels really good. Growing your user adoption, that’s very rewarding. Any time you have even a slight increase in user adoption, that’s a big success, and you should take the time to celebrate it. Speaking of that, with your successes in Digital Asset Management, it’s OK to brag a little. It’s part of the advocating for your DAM, so usage reports and celebrating that kind of thing is good for DAM managers to do.

Henrik:  [4:57] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Emily:  [5:03] Read everything you can get your hands on and don’t get married to a system. There are many sources for education pertaining to Digital Asset Management. Many of them are community‑, vendor‑ or organization‑based, not necessarily subjected to the rigor of scholarly publication and peer review, which we talked about previously.

[5:26] It’s important to be skeptical, I think. Verify the facts for yourself. Inspect methodologies, and don’t get sucked into buying something because of someone putting the weight of authority behind it. I also think that you should trust your gut, because you can usually tell when information is info‑fluff, versus substantial information that adds to your understanding.

[5:54] The part about the DAM system, we’re usually the ones enacting the change and we’re not the ones who have to deal with it, because we’re starting the change. But you have to be cognizant of this may not be the best solution long term, and you can’t marry a system. It’s not about the technology. Digital Asset Management is so much more than that. You need to constantly be benchmarking your DAM, inspecting your practices, and getting better and better so you can grow as a digital asset manager.

Henrik:  [6:29] Great. Well thanks, Emily.

Emily:  [6:31] Thanks for having me.

Henrik:  [6:32] For more on Digital Asset Management topics, log on to anotherdamblog.com. Another DAM podcast is available on AudioBoo and iTunes. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at anotherdamblog@gmail.com. Thanks again.


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Another DAM podcast interview with Jessica Berlin on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM podcast interview with Jessica Berlin 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.

[0:06] Today, I’m speaking with Jessica Berlin. Jessica, how are you?

Jessica Berlin:  [0:10] I’m good. How are you?

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

Jessica:  [0:14] I am the National Director of Digital Asset Management for the American Cancer Society. I started with them about six years ago in their Creative Services Department. As the need for a new tool came up, there was a workgroup formed, and I became quite involved with that workgroup.

[0:32] Through that work, the development of a DAM department came to light. Fast‑forward through the application process, I became the Director of Digital Asset Management.

Henrik:  [0:43] Congratulations.

Jessica:  [0:44] Thank you.

Henrik:  [0:45] How does a national non‑profit organization use Digital Asset Management?

Jessica:  [0:49] In some ways, we use it the same way as anybody uses a DAM, but we also do a lot of things differently. We use our DAM more as a marketplace, if you will, for our assets. We want to make sure that all of our staff, our volunteers, and our external partners have access to everything they would need to use to promote the lifesaving work that the American Cancer Society does.

[1:11] For our media partners, they need to be able to access our public service announcements. For our volunteers, they need to be able to access fundraising materials and advocacy materials, as they spread the word around that. Our staff needs to be able to have materials that have the most up‑to‑date and correct messaging guidelines, cancer information, as they go out into the communities to spread that word.

[1:37] Our DAM is a way to make sure that everyone is using the most current materials. We don’t have to worry about what channel do we find this on? Is this current information? Is it outdated? Are these statistics correct? This way, we can insure that everybody’s accessing the right materials.

Henrik:  [1:52] And, I assume, in a more consistent fashion?

Jessica:  [1:55] Absolutely.

Henrik:  [1:56] What are the biggest successes and challenges with Digital Asset Management?

Jessica:  [2:00] Our biggest challenge has been making sure what we deliver matches what we’ve promised. We’ve done an excellent job communicating how our new DAM ‑‑ which will launch, hopefully, very soon ‑‑ will be heads and shoulders above the previous tool, how it will make everybody’s lives easier, how they’re no longer going to have to try to figure out where to find things and how to search for things.

[2:23] They’re very excited about it. We’ve got that tremendous buy‑in. We’ve got to make sure that what we give them matches that. We’ve run into some problems along the way. Part of that included delaying the launch of our tool, so that we could make sure that we fulfill on that promise we made to them. By far, the biggest challenge is making sure those add up.

Henrik:  [2:43] Just so I’m clear, is it a technology change, or was there something much different from DAM X to DAM Y?

Jessica:  [2:48] Completely different, apples and oranges.

Henrik:  [2:51] Ok. Beyond the technology, what changed?

Jessica:  [2:53] Internally, there have been a lot of different things that have come up within the American Cancer Society. We’ve merged a lot of programs, and we’ve merged a lot of departments and changed the structure. In that, you have redundancy of assets. You have outdated materials that have been used here, but not here. It’s almost an overhaul of the entire asset collection that we have on top of it.

Henrik:  [3:17] So, it wasn’t just the technology. It was also the information, the assets to your point?

Jessica:  [3:19] Yes. We’ve done an excellent job communicating what’s coming, getting the users ready to adopt that product, and really getting them excited about it. Unfortunately, on the other side of that, having to delay it has been a challenge for us. We have people that are so excited about, emailing us constantly, saying, “Well, what’s the ETA on that? When can we get into that? We know it’s going to be fantastic.”

[3:40] We’re really excited about how well it’s already being perceived and it hasn’t even launched yet.

Henrik:  [3:44] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Jessica:  [3:48] I would say, my piece of advice for people trying to get into the DAM world, if you will, would be to understand what their responsibilities are. On top of the traditional pieces, you’re going to be a cat herder. Looking to a new DAM, developing a DAM, or running a DAM is not a decision of a sole person. You have to…

Henrik:  [4:09] It could be…

[4:10] [laughter]

Jessica:  [4:11] It should not be. You have to make sure you have a group of cross‑functional responsibilities involved in that. Sometimes, that can be very challenging to get those people together in a room and to make DAM a priority, when it’s not a priority in their day‑to‑day tasks.

[4:24] You also have to be a salesman, which nobody likes to be.

Henrik:  [4:28] True.

Jessica:  [laughs] [4:29] You have to really get user adoption amongst your organization. That means throwing out those various road shows, going around being a cheerleader for your product, and getting people excited about. People focus on the implementation and getting the metadata correct and the taxonomy correct and the assets reviewed. They forget about the customer service side of it.

Henrik:  [4:51] After production starts and still keeps on going after it.

Jessica:  [4:55] Exactly, the trainings, the communications, and such. Those are things that I would let people know that they’ve got to make sure they enjoy that part of it, as well.

Henrik:  [5:04] You’re basically bringing the rhetorical plate of milk…

Jessica:  [5:08] Yes, pizza, milk, chocolate, whatever it may be.

Henrik:  [laughs] [5:12] To bring all those cats together for that common goal. Excellent. Thanks, Jessica.

Jessica:  [5:18] Thank you.

Henrik:  [5:19] For more on Digital Asset Management, logon to anotherdamblog.com.

Another DAM podcast is available on iTunes and AudioBoo.

[5:26] If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at anotherdamblog@gmail.com.

Thanks again.

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