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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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