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Another DAM Podcast interview with Jennifer Sellar on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Jennifer Sellar

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 Jennifer Sellar. Jennifer, how are you?

Jennifer Sellar:  [0:10] I’m good, thanks.

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

Jennifer:  [0:14] I am the Senior Digital Image Archivist at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I’ve been here almost nine years. I started out working in more traditional archives. I’m working with photography and film collections. I have an MLIS. And then, a job opened up, when I moved to New York at MoMA. They were looking for someone to organize the workflow and the digital images they were taking in the imaging studio.

[0:43] When I came in, they were originally working with the Excel Spreadsheet, some basic metadata that they were adding in, while they were shooting images. My job was initially to organize the studio, and get all of their workflow, so that it was set up, so that they weren’t using [laughs] spreadsheets. We’re able to track all their images. At the same time, the museum actually started the processing of getting a DAM System, and had chosen one using a committee through various people at the museum.

[1:13] Once that was established, I was the primary person to the front-end of the DAM at the museum. I work with all of the different departments, working with their workflow, and getting their materials into the DAM. Then, I work with a committee and various people through the museum, primarily in IT, so that the DAM is running on a daily basis.

Henrik:  [1:36] Jennifer, how does a modern art museum use Digital Asset Management?

Jennifer:  [1:41] We use it as a workflow for all of our images. Actually now, not just imaging materials, but all sort of multimedia materials in the museum. We started out, as I’ve said, in the imaging studio, because the imaging studio’s responsible for taking all the images of the artwork. Those are used for publications, retail or anything at the museum. We would use it for the website.

[2:11] Once we got that established, we started using it for all imaging. It’s been slowly growing, retail, graphics, the conservation department. All of their images are also in there and fully searchable. Everyone at the museum has some sort of access. Most users have a basic access to be able to download a JPEG from the [DAM] system.

[2:36] We actually have our rights management outsourced to two companies. One is Scala, which is in Italy, the other one is Art Resources, which is based in New York. They oversee our Rights Management, but that flows through my department and through me. They are able to use the DAM System, to be able to find what we have for their researchers. It allows them to do research, where we don’t have to do it on our end, and then they’re responsible for overseeing the rights, and getting the images out to other people.

[3:07] We also use it as a workflow to get our images to our main museum database, TMS, which is used throughout the museum world. That also allows the website to be able to get images as well. We are now recently using another new system in the museum called “The Digital Repository for Museum Collections” which we call DRMC, which is basically a system archive and preserve any original digital artwork in the museum. They actually are providing access copies of those works that are available in the DAM for users. If a curator wants to watch one of those, they’re able to watch those in our DAM System.

[3:45] We, primarily, pull a lot of our data from the TMS System automatically. We put that in place. The TMS System has rights in regards to the artwork and uses in any of those documentation.

[3:57] That’s pulled into the Asset Management System. Our resources in Scala will be able to see what the images are, if they have any issues. Again, we’re providing the image. If a person is using that, they would actually go to the artists’ estate or the artist themselves, and then get their additional permission. It’s fairly complicated.

[4:18] We’ve actually looked into some additional rights system, because you’ll hear from a lot of people with DAM Systems. One DAM doesn’t usually fit everything perfectly. Rights seems to be a big issue. We have some basic rights information, but obviously, as you get into things like video, which we just started pulling in, rights gets much more complicated than with just one artist. It becomes very complicated.

[4:45] We’re looking at different ways of putting that in through using a documentation that would be attached with the asset, versus it necessarily being searchable directly as a field in the DAM. That’s one thing when you’re working in a museum, especially in modern museums. Somewhere like The Met, someone that’s dealing with stuff that’s out of copyright, it’s a little bit easier, but we have to be very concern about how our permissions are set.

[5:08] A lot of times, people don’t realize all the rights involved, when you’re working with people. They want to go ahead and use the image [laughs] , if they have full access to it or are able to download it very easily without going through a process of someone with checks and balances. A lot of that is set through permissions.

[5:26] Primarily, there are very few people in the museum who have full access to be able to download. Those people tend to be people who are working in departments who would understand rights, so publications obviously, they understand that they can’t just take an image and automatically use it.

Henrik:  [5:42] Jennifer, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with DAM?

Jennifer:  [5:45] For us, and this is a challenge, no matter where you are, people are producing so much content at this point. I’ve been in the studio. We’ve seen the number of growth images we do. It’s massive, the amount that we do now, compared to what we did eight years ago. Again, same thing with video and audio in the museum. Every department is producing more and more materials, honestly with less people.

[6:13] It’s very difficult to get people to buy into being able to put, to give us the information or materials in a way that will actually work in the Asset Management System. Also, a lot of times, the people we work with don’t necessarily even have the ability to do it. In the studio, we have great resources. We have Photoshop. We have Bridge.

[6:34] We have all of these ways to put in metadata, and set up metadata to automatically go into materials. There are a lot of people working in the museum who can’t even open a TIF image [laughs] on their machines. A lot of times, they’ll look at a disc from an outside photographer, and they won’t be able to even to do anything with them.

[6:53] A big goal for us is to try to figure out a good space, where those people can view enough information and have workflows that they can get that material to us in a way that it works in the DAM. It’s finding that sweet spot between that, which always very difficult.

[7:10] We have the luxury of being able to implement our DAM fairly slowly. We’ve been able to go to departments and realize when they’re ready and when they’re not [laughs] , because if not, if people just throw you materials, it doesn’t work very well with the DAM, because while you can put them in there, they’re not usable if they don’t have their correct data or organization with them. I would say that’s probably the biggest challenge for us.

[7:32] It’s being able to handle all the materials that are coming in with the amount of people working. We’ve had a lot of success. Because of that issue, we’ve been really successful of being able to integrate any systems that were available already, which I talked a little bit about TMS. We are able to pull a lot of data from that database, because it’s really rich.

[7:56] There are people who are working with that full‑time, who really know the art, the artists and all that information. It makes sense. We can do that with artwork. We have an object ID that’s unique. We’re able to pull all that information about the artwork automatically in every day. Also, we’ve been able to do a workflow, where we’ve been able to automate pulling and approving the materials.

[8:19] As we go along each step, we’ve been able to automate more and more. A curator has to proof an image, and it goes automatically to the database into the website, without them having to do a lot of work. That’s been a great success. Also, just putting the materials into the DAM System has allowed us to see overlaps in different departments, because departments tend to not necessarily always speak to each other.

[8:43] There were some departments who are taking similar images of each other, so that they could actually realize that they didn’t need to rehire a photographer to shoot something, since we already had it. They’re able also to understand a little bit more at the front end that rights are important. There used to be a lot of handshake agreements [laughs].

[9:02] They realize now if they’re going to pay an outside photographer for images that it would be great, if we can get the rights for those, and get people to sign off releases. It’s helped the museum realize that kind of thing that will help in the long run for these assets to be used more than once.

Henrik:  [9:21] Jennifer, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Jennifer:  [9:25] For people who are trying to go into the industry, I would say there is more and more course work raised on DAMs, but there is so much out there, if you are already working, so I wouldn’t go a more traditional library field. There are things, like the DAM meetups in New York, which are great. It’s really amazing. You can meet people. You can learn about the industry. It’s a great place for contacts, any meetups.

[9:46] I was going to the other day, there’s a meetup for that, if you need to learn about scripting, if you need to learn about taxonomy. Those are amazing groups, and they’re great resources. Now, there’s so much more material on the Web.

[9:59] I was looking at film and video. It’s not my strong suit and background, NYU has a film archiving program. They put all their syllabus online now. You can see all the course material. A lot of times, there’s links. Sometimes, there’s lectures.

[10:18] It’s really amazing from when I went to library school 15 years ago, what is out there and free. There is so many more ways to network than there were 10 years ago even. Just use every kind of person that you can go out there.

[10:32] I would also recommend getting internships. We always have interns. I’ve gotten a couple of interns actually from the DAM meet up for people who are interested. Some people were like adult returning students, and not necessarily who would have originally started out in that background. If you’re in a city or anywhere, there’s Asset Management Systems in every field. It’s a growing industry.

[10:51] For people who already work in Asset Management, for us the largest success for us is to look through the museum and see we don’t have a large staff. That’s very common, especially in non‑profits and museums. We’ve been able to collaborate and use other departments to get a lot of things done. That’s what I look at. That’s been successful here for us.

Henrik:  [11:14] Thanks, Jennifer.

Jennifer:  [11:15] Thanks.

Henrik:  [11:16] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to anotherdamblog.com. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at AnotherDAMblog@Gmail.com. For this and 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview, go to anotherdampodcast.com. 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 Carla Derck on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Carla Derck 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 Carla Derck.

[0:09] Carla, how are you?

Carla Derck:  [0:10] I’m fine and you?

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

Carla:  [0:15] Until just recently, I didn’t realize that it was called Digital Asset Management. I’ve been involved with maintaining and cataloging our company’s photos, illustrations and artwork for probably over 15 years.

[0:32] It wasn’t until just recently, within the past may be two years, that we’ve started looking at a new solution because our current solutions, we had several of them, were no longer adequate. It wasn’t until we started looking at a new solution that I became familiar with the terms Digital Asset Management.

Henrik:  [0:52] Why does the company that develops and produces mechanical pipe joining systems use Digital Asset Management?

Carla:  [0:59] Even though we sell our products through network of distributors, we don’t sell directly to the end users or to the public. We do have a very expensive line of products, probably over 600. They’re used in a variety of markets including fire protection, HVAC, mining, oil and gas, municipal. We generate close to 200 pieces of technical and sales literature.

[1:24] We maintain an extensive website. We support a team of over 500 people. All of these make use of assets in our DAM on a daily basis. As DAM systems continue to be developed, and we’re finding that they’re more affordable to smaller companies such as mine. It’s a great tool to use, to manage and catalog and control the thousands of photos and digital assets that are generated everyday.

[1:53] It’s so much easier now to generate content than it was say 20 years ago. There is a huge increase in what we receive on a daily basis. Even as a mechanical piping solutions company, we find that the need is there for a DAM.

Henrik:  [2:11] Carla, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with DAM?

Carla:  [2:15] Some of the biggest challenges is, first of all, convincing the company to agree that a DAM is a necessity. To demonstrate the value of it to the colleagues and to our vendors and to help them change their way of thinking and work processes, to make use of it.

[2:31] I found this is a common theme among their professionals. I don’t think we’re unusual in any way in some of the challenges that we face. Other challenges in particular are change management, getting people to think of a new way of using the solution. The DAM community has a ton of resources and information to help effect that change management and I found that extremely useful.

[2:55] Biggest success is yet to be realized, we are at the stage right now where we are starting to implement our new solutions. I have high hopes of the success of it by the end of this year. I want to be able to make all these assets accessible to colleagues.

[3:13] We have colleagues and vendors across the globe in China and Europe who have a terrible time trying to find things. A lot of it is stored on local folders and individual files, here at our headquarters. So my success will be measured on how easy it is for these colleagues in other parts of the world to locate and make use of our assets.

Henrik:  [3:34] That is a great measure. Carla, congratulations on being the first person to finish DAM Foundation’s new course on the “Introduction to Digital Asset Management.”

[3:44] What can you share about your experience with this online course?

Carla:  [3:48] I’ve been looking for an opportunity to expand my knowledge about Digital Asset Management for sometime. Particularly when we started looking for a new solution for the company, through the DAM Guru Program and other resources that I found online.

[4:04] I located the new course that the DAM Foundation was offering, and so I jumped on it immediately. It was exactly what I was looking for. I especially liked the idea that it was self paced. That I could work on the financing the lessons at my own pace, without particular deadline in place. Because I am like most people, putting in a full time job and then some things like…to be able to work at my own pace and to learn on my own time, was perfect for me.

[4:36] We didn’t have a chance to communicate with other participants in the program. One thing that I had mentioned to Elizabeth, the instructor of the course was that, it would be nice, may be in the future, to look at a possibility of a discussion board, that other participants in the course could contribute to and give us a chance to bounce ideas off of each other.

[4:57] I thought that would have been a nice idea to do. Hey, I’m looking forward to some future courses if they are available. I do intend to pursue them if they are. It was an excellent resource and it really helped me to make a good decision on the vendor that we chose for DAM solution this year.

[5:13] It reinforced everything that I had learned online beforehand. It helped me to make good decisions on what we were looking for. It was absolutely perfect timing for me. I know a lot of the other participants, may not have felt the same way. For me it provided exactly what I was doing and what I needed at the time.

Henrik:  [5:33] In full disclosure, I was involved in the creation of that course. Even though Elizabeth wrote most of the course, I was one of the editors of the material.

Carla:  [5:42] Yes, Elizabeth mentioned that to me. It was great, thank you very much. I appreciated it.

Henrik:  [5:47] Thank you for your feedback. Congratulations on being the first person to complete it.

[5:51] What advise would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

“…Take advantage of the resources that are available through the DAM Foundation and the others [in the] DAM community. It seems that people in the field are excited and willing to share their knowledge and you can learn so much from them”

Carla:  [5:56] I would say take advantage of the resources that are available through the DAM Foundation and the others [in the] DAM community. It seems that people in the field are excited and willing to share their knowledge and you can learn so much from them, definitely take advantage of that.

[6:14] Just to those who are already professionals, please continue to share your experiences and your knowledge with everybody. My only other advice would be to stay on top of the technology because it seems that it is changing rapidly.

Henrik:  [6:28] Thanks Carla.

Carla:  [6:30] Sure. Thank you.

Henrik:  [6:32] For more on this and other Digital Assets Management topics, go to anotherdamblog.com

For this podcast and 150 other podcast episodes including transcripts of our interviews, go to anotherdampodcast.com.

[6:48] If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me about anything regarding Digital Asset Management at anotherdamblog@Gmail.com.

[6:56] Thanks again.


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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 Kevin Gepford on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Kevin Gepford on Digital Asset Management

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor:  [0:02] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I am Henrik de Gyor. Today I am speaking with Kevin Gepford. Kevin, how are you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[8:38] So… challenges, you asked.

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

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

Henrik:  [9:31] True.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Henrik:  [11:46] [laughs]

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

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

Kevin:  [11:50] Yeah.

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

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

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

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

Kevin:  [12:36] It’s a pleasure.

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

Another DAM Podcast is available on AudioBoom and iTunes.

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

[12:54] Thanks again.

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


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Another DAM Podcast interview with Beth Goldstein on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Beth Goldstein on Digital Asset Management

Full Transcript:

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

[0:10] Beth, how are you?

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

Henrik:  [0:12] Great.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“…be relentless, but gentle…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beth:  [4:57] Of course.

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

Another DAM Podcast 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.

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

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