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Another DAM Podcast interview with Jennifer Veiga and Theresa Honig on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Jennifer Veiga and Theresa Honig on Digital Asset Management


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 Veiga and Theresa Honig. Thanks for joining me. How are you?

Jennifer Veiga:  [0:10] Good, how are you today Henrik?

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

Jennifer:  [0:15] We are involved in various ways and various capacities. We work for a media company, and we implement the standards in which the agencies and photographers and all of our contractors provide assets to us.

[0:35] We probably use Digital Asset [Management] in a very different way than most companies do, in terms of we also use it to a degree as a news feed. We have pretty much written the standards for how the photographers and agencies insert their material into our system, in terms of captioning, keywording, metadata so forth and so on. It’s what we require, what our standards are.

Henrik:  [1:06] How does an organization focused on celebrity media as well as health and fitness media use Digital Asset Management?

Theresa Honig:  [1:13] I think part of our way is getting on our news feed, getting information from the photographers and mainly these agencies. We have to catalogue our information as far as past projects that we’ve done, and also pictures that were used by getting different pictures into our database. We also have to get them out to our designers.

Jennifer:  [1:32] We have an enterprise digital asset management system as well as workflow, so there’s other software tied into it. It’s kind of a complex system in regards to that because there’s so many users.

Theresa:  [1:45] Also, programs have to be linked together to our database…

Jennifer: [1:50] …to support the DAM.

Jennifer:  [1:51] We use it differently in terms of from the celebrity and the health portion of it. Everybody has their own library and we give access to certain people. For example, some of the builders can’t go into some of the other titles’ libraries due to copyright and embargoes and permissions and certain things like that.

[2:19] In terms of the celebrity portion of it, the greatest challenge with that is being that we are such a huge company, and we work at iconic print brands, there’s a lot of photographers and agencies and so forth that want to contribute. It makes it difficult in the sense that the more you store, the more it’s going to cost you.

[2:43] When you implement the system, you only buy a certain amount of storage. It’s not just endless. That presents a problem. Sometimes, we have to be selective on who we allow to contribute. They have to go through a process, in terms of being allowed. I guess you could say like a membership to get username and password into our FTP. Some agencies stream. In that respect, it’s different.

[3:10] Obviously, it’s just different businesses. The entertainment, the celebrity brands, don’t get people working out, and the fitness titles do. In the same realm, we’ve implemented a library that’s for internal use, and it’s a free library we’d like to dole out.

[3:30] It’s basically stock images, product shots, generic things that everybody can use, though we try to repurpose that. In that way, every title doesn’t have to go out and do the same photo shoot for generic shots.

Theresa:  [3:45] We also have to have a bigger library for the celebrity end of it because there’s a lot more material coming in and out. The celebrities are out every day, whereas, the health and fitness end of it is a lot more photoshoots and freelance art and stock art.

Jennifer:  [3:59] A lot more tailored.

Henrik:  [4:00] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Jennifer:  [4:05] Well, I think the biggest challenge really is having an active commitment from the top to support our efforts. A lot of times at the top, they don’t really get all the techie stuff about it. They just think they’re going to buy a system, and that’s it. They pay one time, and it’s all over. That’s not obviously the case.

[4:27] I’ve tried not to sugarcoat the reality that you have to maintain it, update it, and care for it. That essentially is going to cost money and time. At the end of the year, a lot of times, for us, we’ve reached our limit quickly because so many people, every single day, are putting materials into our DAM.

[4:48] For example, when there’s award shows, in a matter of eight hours, you’ll get 75,000 images. It’s a lot for the system to handle, and it’s a lot for everybody to go through. For us to handle too, because at some point, there’s no need for 10,000 pictures of Jennifer Lopez smiling in the same dress.

[5:09] That’s what you run into. It’s hard to get to what you need because you have to dig through all of the award shows stuff. It gets, kind of hairy and complicated and annoying at times. Basically, on those days, we’re all working overtime because we have to go in, basically clean and edit.

[5:29] A lot of times, like photographers and agencies, and stuff like that…It seems cheap and easy to just shoot a bunch of pictures, but you don’t need all of those pictures. I think a lot of times, people just need to learn how to edit. That’s really important for any system because you get backlogged.

Theresa:  [5:48] It gets too big, and then you have to…

Jennifer: [5:50] It slows the system down. It slows everything down.

Theresa: [5:54] You have to get it empty enough that it will take more on. You need to do the maintenance. At that point, empty some things out. Also, make sure it’s properly backed up is another issue we see. A lot of times things aren’t properly backed up and then we have to change servers, then we lose a mountain of information. We have to get it all back in again. It makes a whole, huge effort that was unnecessary.

Jennifer: [6:19] Another challenge that we have is making sure that everybody’s software, programs, technology is compatible. For example, ‑‑ what was it? ‑‑ today we had a problem where somebody’s Photoshop didn’t match up, wasn’t being properly ingested into our system. It wasn’t reading it.

[6:37] We get glitches like that and things like that come up. It’s frustrating because a lot of times it’s not the end user, so we not only cater to the end users here, but we have to support outside efforts as well. That sometimes gets to be difficult and stressful. I’m not sitting at whoever’s desk in California, so I don’t know what’s on their computer.

[7:03] And successes… I’d say our most successful implementation was SCC Media Grid, which is a digital asset management system that is basically created for the publishing industry. For our purposes, it is by far superior, I think, than most in term of  You can see everything immediately.

[7:25] You can do time searches. You can do looped-in searches. You can do Boolean searches. It is multi‑faceted, and it is extremely quick. It’s really easy to maintain. When people drop things in, it has pretty much ranks in most meta data.

[7:40] Once we’ve given them our style guides and standard guides, if they properly adhere to them, then it creates a nice workflow. It makes our job a lot easier.

Theresa: [7:53] It can handle a lot of information. There aren’t as many system crashes.

Henrik:  [7:57] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Jennifer: [8:03] First and foremost, make sure you have commitment from the top. Make sure that they know that every person that you visit, that’s a license fee. Everybody can’t share the same username and password. You can’t do that. That’s stealing people’s technology, and that isn’t right.

[8:20] Develop a strategy and customize it to your business needs. Talk to as many people as you can because it’s so imperative. Employees in different departments, everybody has data in their head. Data is essentially knowledge, so everybody is knowledgeable in some degree or another.

[8:42] We try to have an open door policy in terms of, we encourage people to come and speak to us with all kinds of questions, comments, concerns, ways to improve anything. It’s a work in progress. It’s not perfect now, but that obviously is our goal.

Theresa: [9:00] To really help, you have to know the ins and outs to the company you’re helping and know what the employees need and what they need to do their job and get it done efficiently. Also, like we said before, plan for the future. Make sure there is enough room in that database so that you have a plan after that. That you have a bigger system you can move onto.

Jennifer: [9:19] Obviously, you’ll need controlled vocabularies and your keywords. And I think sometimes with digital asset management people think the more metadata and the more keywords and the more this is better. I personally don’t necessarily agree with that.

[9:32] I think that there’s something to be said for simplicity. I think it needs to be straightforward… real people speak. Some people get a little too smart with their keywords. If it’s a picture of an island, just write “island”. You don’t have to have some crazy… I mean obviously you should [say] what island and where it is, and stuff like that is important, but sometimes people just get too literal about it.

[9:57] That’s happened here where they’ll write, “This is West Indies,” but it doesn’t say “island” and a lot of people are sometimes looking for an island. Develop a strategy and talk to as many people as you can because that’s where you will get ideas and solutions. And basically, that’s what we are usually trying to do. Find a solution to something.

Theresa: [10:20] Yeah. Talk to other professionals is great because everyone is running into a different situation. You might have a situation that somebody conquered last year.

Jennifer: [10:30] Glitches and things like that. Sometimes one person is able to pull up something on the other person like, “Well, I just typed that in, and it’s not coming up on mine.” For the most part, that is usually a user error. I have seen instances where things haven’t shown up, and I still don’t have the answers to those.

Theresa: [10:48] Stay on top of your software. Make sure you don’t forget to schedule your updates and things like that. There’s a lot of times where we have to work really closely with IT. I mean, IT is probably who we work closest with because they support our efforts as well.

Henrik:  [11:03] Thank you.

Jennifer:  [11:03] Sure.

Henrik:  [11:04] For more on this and other digital asset management topics, go to For this podcast and 160 other podcast episodes including transcripts of every interview, go to If you have any comments or questions, email me at Thanks again.

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Kenneth Wilson on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Kenneth Wilson on Digital Asset Management


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

Kenneth Wilson:  [0:10] I’m good today. How are you?

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

Kenneth:  [0:15] I orchestrate the operation of Kohler companies’ digital supply chain, the center of which is the company’s DAM system, and I’ve also recently taken ownership of the communications resource library. That’s how I’m involved in Digital Asset Management.

Henrik:  [0:33] How does an American manufacturing company use Digital Asset Management?

Kenneth:  [0:36] Kohler is a multinational manufacturing company. We have a very diversified group of businesses that are part of the Kohler company, that make up the company. Most people know very well in the plumbing, kitchen, and bath businesses.

[0:52] We also have a hospitality group that has The American Club, which is a five‑diamond hotel, that is in Kohler Wisconsin, along with many golf courses that make up Destination Kohler, along with golf courses in Kohler… Whistling Straits, Blackwolf Run… along with a golf course in Scotland, the Old Course hotel. That makes up the hospitality group.

[1:17] We also have an interior section headquartered out of Chicago, where we have furniture businesses… Baker, McGuire. A custom tile manufacturing company called Ann Sacks in Portland, along with… can’t forget our global power group, who has a number of companies they operate throughout the world.

[1:38] All those companies make up the Kohler businesses and we handle a lot of the communications for all of those different businesses. Right now, we use our DAM system to store a lot of the final marketing images, and the graphic layouts for most of our North American businesses.

[1:56] The global businesses also use the system to some extent. A lot of the products are US SKUs that are also sold in other places but some of our global businesses have SKUs that are specific to them. We’re actually trying to work to encourage them to supply our system with those unique‑to‑their‑location assets.

[2:21] The DAM system that I manage will house the packaging images, the web images that are used for the catalog, as well as the layouts for printed literature, catalogs, the sell sheets that go to our showrooms and also archives digital imagery that serves to document the history and happenings of the company. This documentary and archived footage is mainly captured digitally now.

[2:51] We’ve begun efforts to digitize years’ worth of the history that was not digital, both still and video, and that will all make its way into the system as well. At the digital supply chain, if we look at it as a whole, the front end of it we’ve got a lot of different content creators. We have our own photo studio.

[3:14] We’ve got photographers, who create content, and at the front end of that supply chain, you’re not trying to shape the standards for file formats and making sure things are consistent there. While we have our own staff photographers for the different businesses, globally, we’ll use a variety of photographers, so trying to make sure everything comes in in a consistent form.

[3:37] On the back end, assets from our DAM system are syndicated to a content delivery network (CDN), so that they can be published to our websites and to the web catalogs, and also manage that practice.

Henrik:  [3:52] Kenneth, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with DAM?

Kenneth:  [3:58] Personally, one of the biggest current pain points that I have comes around tracking renditions of assets that are headed for both digital and print destinations. It’s tricky to figure out what should be a version when changes are made, or what should really turn into a derivative asset. That’s probably one of the biggest pain points that I currently have.

[4:24] It’s really about educating the art directors on what it means when they version something versus what it means when they create a brand new asset. With all those businesses, we’ve got a lot of printed stuff that we still do, but there’s also a really big focus on digital, of course, using the web. A lot of our businesses are starting to do website redesigns, so that’ll continue to frustrate me this next year.

[4:53] That’s one of our biggest challenges right now. It’s trying to make sure that we don’t have a lot of duplicate content that varies so slightly that people couldn’t really do a search and be confident in the results they find within the DAM, and not really have to sort through, oh, this one’s slightly brighter, this one’s slightly darker.

[5:18] One of the biggest successes that I’ve seen in DAM lately is starting to overcome the notion of simply being a storage repository for the organizations that adopt it, more than a search tool to find things that already exist.

[5:34] One way we’re trying to get over that is the reuse of things we’ve already shot. An image that was shot for our hospitality businesses could be reused in marketing materials for the power businesses.

[5:50] So, that return on investment there. One of the bigger successes is DAM’s ability to shape workflows. One of my major initiatives this year is to implement a review on an approval workflow that we call creative review. In a digital form, it’s something that our creative groups already do, and it’s largely on paper. Trying to move that into a digital space is the big win.

[6:22] One of the major benefits we can get out of it is being able to inform content creators, our photographers, how successful they are shooting to a shot list, by having those discussions by art directors around the images and content they’re creating.

[6:41] Having some sort of record and being able to say, “It’s done, this set of images, you can do this slightly differently and these images will be able to serve a wider range of uses.”

[6:55] That’s one benefit of that workflow type of creative review and approvals implementations.

Henrik:  [7:02] These are very common issues that many organizations have. Getting collaborative tools to your point, and also getting the tools to not only deduplicate, and control renderings, and version control, but also to know what the single source of truth is for brand consistency.

Kenneth:  [7:18] Absolutely. That single source of truth is another pain point. I attend conferences, and a lot of the organizations that are attending may be in search of just starting the DAM process, as far as finding which software to use and how to set it up, how to govern it, and that’s always a battle with whoever holds the purse strings.

[7:41] I think one of the things I may have to be an advocate for within Kohler may be a greater emphasis on a PIM system, product information management tool, and how it integrates with a DAM system, because we use our DAM to drive that syndication of assets out to our web catalog. All those images have to marry to information about whatever’s pictured.

[8:05] Those catalog images, the data from that should come from a PIM. Right now we’re taking that information and inserting it into our system, manually, per asset. We have an opportunity there to automate that more by establishing a single source of truth for that product information.

[8:32] When product information changes, if something gets discontinued, all that information will flow automatically into the DAM system, and so that metadata is more dynamic, living, breathing kind of metadata.

Henrik:  [8:47] That’s a very popular and hot topic in DAM, is to get to product information management to your point, tying with DAM so you don’t have to reproduce the data from one system to another, and have the master record of your information, your catalog items, and all the SKUs, product codes, et cetera, in your PIM, and sync up with the DAM.

[9:06] Your master record is your PIM and the repository of all the imagery that may or may not be active, to your point, is in your DAM.

[9:14] There are several vendors who are very interested in making that easier for companies. You’re not the only organization out there that has this issue, which is great to hear.

[9:24] Kenneth, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Kenneth:  [9:29] That’s a good question. I can share a little bit of how I got there. Maybe that helps those aspiring to becoming DAM professionals and even inspires those who are. There’s a lot of talk about convergence. One of the topics at a recent DAM conference was, “Are we all becoming each other?” In a way, the convergence helps us push past some of the boundaries we run into.

[10:00] The breadth of knowledge has definitely been a factor in the success that I’ve had with DAM here at Kohler. Before being in this role, I was pursuing a career doing photography professionally.

[10:13] I’ve got an understanding of what the photographers, who are delivering creative content to be stored in this repository, a frame of reference to what they’re thinking or doing. In addition before that, I studied at the University of Michigan.

[10:29] I studied industrial product design, and I was in a school of art and design, and was able to take all the photography requirements as well in my time there.

[10:41] The industrial design thinking, the problem solving, the creative problem solving, those have really been helpful in coming into Kohler, a place that already had an established DAM system, and being able to see what was already happening, and trying to come up with new, more efficient ways to do some of the things they were doing.

[11:06] Our studio’s been digital for probably the last 10 to 12, maybe 15 years. There was a lot of existent content when I got here, but we’re creating more and more images each year than before.

[11:20] The design thinking has really helped to push the boundaries and to come up with creative, new ways of looking at solving the workflow problems, or how content comes into the supply chain, how it moves around and really completes a circle for the asset life cycle, I like to call it, where it may go out to a vendor, but it’s got to come back and it lives in the system. How does that asset end up becoming an archive that we reference back, historically.

[11:49] This year, I’ll be collaborating a lot more with our corporate archivist, as she digitizes a lot of the historical content that she has in her archives. Our history is increasingly becoming captured digitally. We’ll still have physical artifacts in archives in the future.

[12:09] A lot of the speeches that may have been written 60 years ago, that we have a paper‑printed copy, they won’t have a digital equivalent. Trying to preserve some of these things so that they are useful, working assets now, but turn into archives later, that design background has really helped me there. Even before that, I started off pursuing an engineering degree.

[12:37] Coding, computer science, writing code, is also a really good set of skills to have when implementing a system, working with IT to resolve and troubleshoot issues. I think that convergence is something that will really help shape and push the boundaries of the industry. That’s what I would share.

Henrik:  [13:01] Great. Thanks, Kenneth.

Kenneth:  [13:03] Thank you.

Henrik:  [13:04] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to Another DAM Podcast has over 150 podcast episodes for you to listen to, including this one. Visit If you have any comments or questions, feel free to email me at Thanks again.

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Matthew Patulski on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM podcast interview with Matthew Patulski on Digital Asset Management

Full Transcript:

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

Matthew Patulski:  [0:08] I’m good, Henrik. How are you?

Henrik:  [0:09] Great. Matthew, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Matthew:  [0:13] Henrik, for the past seven years, I was the Digital Asset Management Solution Manager for Capgemini’s Global Marketing Communications Team. Capgemini is a Global Systems Integrator with 140,000 people in 40 countries. As a member of their global marketing team, there are about 700 of us. The need for DAM solution came about after doing two years of business to business video.

[0:38] We had to have something more consistent and robust to deliver, either brand assets to produce content or to deliver finished content, either through our Internet and we realized that moving video around the organization had become a pain point.

[0:53] Developed a brief in a budget and worked with our stakeholders to identify some potential solutions including Digital Asset Management. Once that was approved, we started building this platform out, which is what I’ve been doing for the last seven years.

Henrik:  [1:08] How do you see APIs and Digital Asset Management working together?

Matthew:  [1:12] APIs or Application Programming Interface is a means to connect different applications to each other to accomplish work that’s outside of a particular application’s core functionality. Its impact on DAM is that, it all of a sudden allows Digital Asset Management application to become part of a constellation of applications, and with that develop workflow.

[1:39] We’ve developed workflow in two different ways. DAM application resource space is an open source LAMP application, and by LAMP, I mean that it’s running on a Linux server with Apache, MySQL database and PHP was our tool choice at Capgemini.

[1:55] One of the things that we did for that application is that we developed an API specifically so that we can integrate our tens of thousands of videos and brochures and photographs with our corporate Internet. We commissioned an API that would allow us to integrate our CMS that was driving our Internet, with our DAM application. Behind the scenes though, the CMS is talking to the DAM through the API, in essence an XML feed.

[2:25] Instigating a series of searches to find the file location, to find the dimensions, to find the poster frame and it’s dropping it into that CMS. We have eliminated the pain point of downloading that file and uploading that back into the CMS.

[2:41] When we adapted DAM into the Capgemini’s Marketing Communications team, we also leveraged Capgemini’s relationship with Amazon web services and hosted all this in the Amazon cloud. This solution is optimized for delivery anywhere in the Capgemini organization in 40 countries. We eliminated the upload‑download‑upload, of constantly having to move a file into the CMS, or that file changes you have to put a new file.

[3:05] We eliminated that because the DAM always have the original file, but then we leveraged the cloud itself, and the massive bandwidth of the cloud to deliver that video anywhere the Internet or was being viewed, that could be in India, that could be in New York City, that could be in Paris. It didn’t matter.

[3:24] Everybody got the same high quality presentation. The other one is when you use your DAM application to leverage another application’s API. In this instance, we were leveraging YouTube. We built an integration that would allow our resource base instance to talk to YouTube, via YouTube’s API.

[3:42] A secure connection between two platforms allowed us to push HD quality video from our application with the correct title, the descriptions, the keywords, everything that went into that record straight into YouTube. Two minutes later it’s live, it’s online, we’ve got a link and then we’re dropping into emails or putting out the social media. We’re pushing out as part of a marketing plan.

[4:04] If we didn’t have that API connection between YouTube’s API and our DAM, again we’d be downloading something from the DAM, uploading it in the YouTube, an hour later our video will be published. Capgemini in 2014 published over 400 videos to YouTube. That’s a video a day. We’ve all of a sudden, saved somebody an hour a day. 400 hours of just watching a file go up into YouTube.

[4:30] That’s the value of the API. You’re saving time. You’re driving consistency. You are leveraging applications outside of the core competency of the DAM.

Henrik:  [4:42] Matthew, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with DAM?

Matthew:  [4:46] Henrik, that’s an interesting question because in my experience with DAM, some of the biggest challenges have also resulted in some of our biggest successes. The challenges have never been technical. They’ve never been a piece of software or server or a file format, or a metadata issue. It’s never something technical.

[5:11] Those are everyday challenges, you should expect that. The biggest challenge I’ve probably have had is being around culture. The concept of DAM and integrating that into the Marketing Communications culture of a distributed organization was a much bigger challenge than I expected, because adapting DAM requires your teammates and the organization to change how it goes about doing work.

[5:36] In Capgemini, we distributed teams, people scattered all over the planet. Bringing in a Digital Asset Management solution on one hand, centralizes all that activity in that it puts all of your brand assets, all of your templates, all of your legal material, to go to market, to create internally and externally. That first action is to put all that in one place. Everybody can find those logos, and find those InDesign templates and those intros and outros to video.

[6:06] All of a sudden, a light bulb goes off in your team. There’s cultural change happens and they realized, “Wait a minute. I can do my work more efficiently because this is the right logo. I don’t have to go find it,” and that kind of “Aha” moment with the light bulb doesn’t happen until people actually see it.

[6:23] You can spend weeks or months talking to people about how Digital Asset Management is going to change their life, as a professional, but until you’ve showed them that moment of, “My logos are in one place,” that’s when it starts making sense.

[6:38] What I realized in evangelizing and rolling out this platform was I needed to find those kinds of moments. I needed to find those persons who are interested in talking about the tool in evangelizing the application and talking about it, not just with me but with people I’ve never met, their teammates, their managers.

[6:59] Literally, have them show their co‑workers what I had just shown them. It’s an abstraction until somebody can use it. Its extra work until somebody finds a reason for it. As we gathered those up and then started building processes around those and sharing the success stories, in particular with video and presentations, from there its moved into photography and collateral and graphics.

[7:27] All of a sudden, as soon as people could find a use case that made sense to them, in what they were doing they became power users, because they were empowered. What has happened over the last five years or so, with Capgemini’s DAM is that we’ve seen this exponential growth in user sessions and exponential growth in consumption.

[7:49] In 2009, we had no video impressions on the corporate Internet. In 2014, we had 325,000 video impressions, page views of video content delivered from our DAM. Those challenges begat those successes, somebody found a reason to use the application to deliver a video and they shared it with a colleague.

Henrik:  [8:11] Matthew, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals, and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Matthew:  [8:18] My one piece of advice to DAM professionals and to those persons aspiring to be DAM professionals, get to know your client first. Set aside your application choice, set aside your server environment, all of that. Get to know the client and what they’re trying to accomplish. Be a good listener. It’s very important.

[8:38] Because they’re going to tell you the direction you need to go as a Solution Architect or as an Administrator. Tell you what kind of governance you need, the pace which you might roll out features or scale that you need to start at, that initial conversation. That goes back to what I was saying earlier about culture, whether you’re just starting out or whether you’ve been doing this for 15 years, it all comes back to culture and listening.

Henrik:  [9:04] Great. Well thanks, Matthew.

Matthew:  [9:06] You’re welcome.

Henrik:  [9:06] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, log on to For this and 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview go to If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at Thanks again.

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Kate Jordan Gofus on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Kate Jordan Gofus on Digital Asset Management

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor:  [0:00] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Kate Jordan Gofus. Kate, how are you?

Kate Jordan Gofus:  [0:09] I’m well, how are you?

Henrik:  [0:10] Great. Kate, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management (DAM)?

Kate:  [0:14] I’m the digital librarian for a healthcare software company. My company focuses on and we primarily use videos to help educate patients and empower them in their healthcare journeys. I manage the video library for this company. We’re a pretty small shop, so I’m involved in all phases of the Digital Asset Management process. That includes rights management and vendor relations. I am a client resource. I work with implementation, our product and development teams. I work with our support teams, troubleshooting. We also use a homegrown Digital Asset Management system so I do work with our development team quite a bit.

Henrik:  [0:53] Kate, how does a company focus on interactive software to help hospitals get patients more involved in their own healthcare use Digital Asset Management?

Kate:  [1:01] Because our software solution primarily uses videos to educate and empower patients, we have a large number of videos to manage. This includes version control, distribution, everything about the Digital Asset Management. We have well over a hundred client sites, facilities, hospitals who are using our software platform, and thus, our videos. We use the Digital Asset Management system to centrally manage files, and also metadata, for thousands of videos that are going to the software platforms in these hospitals. The videos are about various topics, ranging from oncology to relaxation content, like nature videos. We use the Digital Asset Management system to manage key wording metadata so we can know what we have available, and also as a means of distributing that in a streamlined and efficient way. Healthcare changes really quickly. We need to be able to update our content in a quick and efficient way and we need to be able to update that content at the hospitals, not just in one place. We use the Digital Asset Management system to do that. The needs of our hospitals vary widely, so we needed a way to be able to distribute what a hospital wants or what a hospital needs specific to that hospital. The Digital Asset Management system allows us to maintain consistency across almost 200 hospitals and also control what is there, what isn’t there. It also has allowed us to support growth. When I started with the company a couple years ago, we had one‑third the number of client hospitals that we do now, and if we were still FTP‑ing video files to all of our hospital sites and then manually configuring the videos…

Henrik:  [2:53] That sounds more painful that way.

Kate:  [laughing] [2:55] My life would be really terrible. Right now we use the Digital Asset Management system to distribute files to all of those sites, and we also distribute the metadata, and the way in which the files and metadata are transferred, eases the configuration process at the individual hospital very much. We are constantly moving more towards automation and improving processes to make this less and less painful. That’s what we use it for, intellectual and physical control of our video files.

Henrik:  [3:26] Kate, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with DAM?

Kate:  [3:30] I think that one of the biggest challenges I’ve seen is finding the right tools or system to manage your assets. Every organization is different and is going to have different needs and different ideas of what DAM is and what it can do for them. I have seen purchased DAMs, I have now seen a homegrown DAM, there is always the argument between hosting your own content and having your content hosted externally. I think that it’s really difficult and important to make sure that you’re using the right solution for your needs. I think that one of the challenges is that sometimes people jump into Digital Asset Management without doing a background research first.

[4:11] Another challenge that I’ve seen is people expecting technology to fix everything and to do so immediately. A lot of Digital Asset Management is improving processes and documentation and writing and enforcing rules. That means dealing with people. Sometimes, I will be asked, “But I thought the Digital Asset Management system was supposed to fix this!” The answer is often, “Well, it did fix it. It made it possible, it didn’t make it necessarily instantaneous.” I think that, that is another challenge and that’s a perception thing. We are very lucky that we definitely have buy‑in on our Digital Asset Management system at my organization. We existed for a long time doing the same kind of work without a Digital Asset Management system, so I think there is an appreciation for ours.

[5:00] I also think that a challenge I’ve seen is that organizations are always evolving. Digital Asset Management systems, especially homegrown Digital Asset Management systems, are always evolving. You have customization, you have enhancements, improvements, things like that. It’s a delicate line to walk between improving your DAM and trying to force your DAM to do things that it wasn’t meant to do and shouldn’t do. It’s hard to draw the line sometimes and say, “Well, the DAM could maybe do that, but it’s not the best tool to use for that, and it’s not going to make our DAM better.”

[5:37] Some of the successes we’ve had, using the Digital Asset Management system and using it correctly, has increased our turnaround time on new video content by over a factor of four. It used to take significantly longer when we would get new content from either our partner vendors or from our clients. It used to take a really long time for us to get that loaded on all sites. That’s a big problem in health care because you always want the most up‑to‑date information, patients deserve the most up‑to‑date information. We’ve significantly cut down our turnaround time for loading video content. We’ve also improved consistency and control. I know for a fact that all of my sites have the most up‑to‑date videos that we have. I don’t have to go to every client site, every hospital, to figure that out. I can access all of that information through our Digital Asset Management system because our Digital Asset Management system is linked very closely with the software platforms that are installed at all of our hospitals. It has made it easier to manage the content, its also made it easier to answer questions. Internal and external stake holders have lots of questions about videos and sometimes they want to know if there’s other content available. It makes it easier when I can quickly look at what content they do have so I can tell them what they might want to add.

[7:04] We have almost 200 hospitals. They sometimes want to create their own videos or they have found some relaxation video that they think is really great and they want loaded on their software platform. They submit that to us and we will load it and configure it on their software platform for them. It has to be ingested through the Digital Asset Management system and encoded properly and we need metadata and all of that stuff, but we encourage our hospitals to add any content to their facility that they think will make their patient population happy or improve outcomes for their patient populations. Sometimes, I get questions from one of our hospitals asking if I know about any music programs that their patients may be interested in. I can look in our Digital Asset Management system and say, “Yes, actually. This other facility in a completely different part of the country has found this great vendor that they love and we already have the videos encoded and if you got the licensing rights on your own, through the Digital Asset Management system, I can transfer those to you and you don’t have to get the videos encoded on your own, you don’t have to buy DVDs from anybody, all you need is to give them a call and maybe a PO number.” That makes our clients really happy and it makes patients really happy and that makes me really happy.

Henrik:  [8:23] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Kate:  [8:27] I think that something really important to remember is that a Digital Asset Management system, in my experience, never operates on its own. It’s never the only system that an organization is using. It is often seen as a support system, really. I think that it’s really important to continue to focus on interoperability and making it so that your system plays nicely with others and is not cogging up the works for your organization. I think that’s something that we need to continue to focus on as a DAM community.

[9:03] I also think its really important to focus on sustainability and scalability. We have a homegrown Digital Asset Management system, so I have a lot of input into how our DAM system evolved. That’s good, and that’s also dangerous. We need to make sure that any changes that we make are in the interest of sustainability and scalability so it doesn’t bite us in the bum later. I would say to people who are looking to get into the DAM profession, that you should be tenacious. Just try to fix the problems that you face in your organization as well as you can and recognize that it’s going to take a while and you’re probably going to have to try the same thing over and over a few times. Maybe differently, maybe the same way so that it works. Don’t be discouraged by big wigs who have fancy letters after their name. There are lots of different backgrounds in this field, and you don’t have to have gone to school for Information and Library Science to be good at this job, though I did. I think that, at the end, we’re really trying to fix problems and fixing them along the way. I think that if you are flexible and creative, you’re going to have more success fixing the problems. That’s what I would say.

Henrik:  [10:14] Well, thanks Kate.

Kate:  [10:15] Oh, you’re so welcome.

Henrik:  [10:15] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to For this podcast, and 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of all the interviews, go to If you have any comments or questions, feel free to email me at Thanks again.

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Mary Litviak and Matthew Wilhm on Digital Asset Management

Here is Another DAM Podcast interview with Mary Litviak and Matthew Wilhm on Digital Asset Management

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor:  [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management, I’m Henrik de Gyor, today I’m speaking with Mary Litviak and Mathew Wilhm. How are you guys?

Mary Litviak:  [0:11] Doing fabulous, how are you?

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

Mary:  [0:16] I am the administrator of all the [Digital Asset Management] users and I’m the one that does all the cataloging. I’ll do intake, clean up, I help manage the online photo library that comes from our Digital Asset Management software.

[0:31] I help with all image requests and art files in the company. I’m also very involved in the customization projects that go on. That’s why we have an IT staff that does all of our technical parts.

Mathew Wilhm:  [0:44] I’m the Director of Creative Services. I’m a user, but I’ve been involved in, not so much the execution but the purchase of the Digital Asset Management software for the company. We purchased the software that we use, Cumulus, probably 15 years ago.

Henrik:  [1:05] How does a nonprofit organization funded entirely by Wisconsin’s dairy farm families use Digital Asset Management?

Mary:  [1:11] The best answer to that is the value that they’re getting out of it relative to probably what it could be. The market sells products in Wisconsin nationwide, and to give us the biggest bang for our buck, we need to be able to intake not just high resolution energies but the art files that drive our promotions, manage the digital photos that are taken, because all of these things are reportable. They are also resources that we use to recreate new things.

[1:41] As an art staff, its part of the ongoing marketing efforts with materials that have life spans, short ones. We’re able to retrieve things quickly and create new things from what we have in our library, to the value of the Wisconsin dairy producers. These assets also serve a lot of editors these days who are writing about cheese, reporting about cheese.

[2:07] A lot of the industry leans on our expertise for images and information, so it’s a really rich catalogue that does a lot with a very little. I think that’s the best way to describe it.

Matthew:  [2:20] It what would help too, is to get an idea of how we serve the market place. Because the way we look at it is, we serve the dairy farmer families with communications about the marketing programs that Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board offers.

[2:38] We also consider the retail industry. That would be grocery chains with point of sale so they can better market Wisconsin cheese with our point of sale programs. We also work with the cheese manufacturers and dairy processors, if you will, by creating programs that market Wisconsin dairy products and Wisconsin cheese.

[3:02] The reason we focus primarily on Wisconsin cheese is because roughly 90 percent of the milk produced in this state goes into cheese making. Wisconsin dairy goes to way, way back to European heritage, because Wisconsin topography is much like Europe.

[3:20] That’s why so many European farmers settled in the state of Wisconsin because it reminds them of home. It was a natural progress for them to bring their dairy heritage to this state.

[3:33] One of the other areas we work with is food service. We work with restaurant chains, casual themed restaurants. We also work with chefs to provide them with digital assets. We probably have the most extensive dairy library that’s usable for any of these markets in the world, I would think.

[3:54] All of our assets are free to them as long as they promote Wisconsin dairy products, and that would be another reason why the dairy industry of the state benefits from our Digital Assets Management.

[4:07] Like Mary said, our customers can get these assets online. We knew from the beginning that we would eventually market these, or at least make them available to the people that want to promote Wisconsin dairy products. As Mary said, including the food editors of newspapers and magazines nationwide.

[4:32] One of the other areas that we are getting into, like most people, more and more is the social media aspect of it because we’re working with bloggers to promote Wisconsin dairy products. We also have two advertising agencies that serve the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and they do marketing programs for us in a number of those areas.

[4:56] We get many of the files from the ad agencies, but what we do in return is make them aware because we have such a high resolution, great photo library of food photography, cheese photography, dairy product photography, that it’s available free of charge as long as people promote Wisconsin dairy.

Mary:  [5:15] We provide a lot of incentives to offering means of media, online, and through this library, so there’s very valuable asset to the Wisconsin dairy producers.

Matthew:  [5:26] It started years ago. I’ve been with the company for 20 years, you’d probably know, it was all film to provide to these people many years ago.

Henrik:  [5:35] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with this Digital Asset Management?

Mary:  [5:39] Challenges, of course, the learning curve, bringing in the new technology, there are people that have to learn it. There is the discipline of keeping a tie with the IT department, making sure the equipment is running, make sure that you have the expertise to run back‑ups and be able to handle the hardware aspect of it.

[5:58] You have user training, in our case I’m the only one that takes care of the software and it’s the big huge beast, the big huge creature that needs a lot of feeding and taking care of like a big baby. I have to make sure that it’s taken care of and running efficiently because we’ve been through situations where if something falls through the cracks and it breaks, the phone starts ringing off the hook.

[6:25] The last number I’ve seen was over 6,000 registered users of our online photo library. That’s a testament to how very popular we are for many people that use our pictures for many different things. When that goes down, the phone rings off the hook, you’ve got to be able to deal with that.

[6:43] Working with a software company, being able to carry on a longtime relationship with the company that is also in a market that is changing with the tides and going forward dealing with things like social media. Like Matt said, being able to take on the challenges.

[6:59] When companies change or the company itself may change, restructure, reformat, you have to keep up with that. It’s just a matter of keeping up with that and taking good care of it. I think we found that not doing it, or we slip through the cracks could just be not a good situation. I think me and Matt really talked on lots of benefits.

Matthew:  [7:21] From a user perspective and being involved from the inception of choosing a digital asset management software, I think one of the biggest challenges was picking the right software that fit our needs. Because we are a nonprofit organization funded by the dairy farmers of Wisconsin, we have to make sure that all of our purchases of software are cost conscious.

[7:47] It was probably a three year learning process before we finally chose Cumulus and landed on her. We had looked at Cumulus, at Cumulus’s inception version one, and that was going to be my preference of choice for the software. I’m a Macintosh user, I do much of the design work, Mary does design work and we have another graphic designer on staff as well.

[8:11] We had a number of consultants that said they could come into Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and build us a library. Because we worked with color separators, 15, 20 years ago and it was moving into a digital marketplace, the color separators that we worked with archived all of our digital images.

[8:31] They said they could build us a digital system but they just focused on photography. We needed a software that would focus on Word documents, Excel documents, graphic design documents, Quark documents, InDesign documents, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, all of our digital images that had been scanned prior to that, because we are on a Macintosh platform and we have roughly 50 employees, the remaining employees are on PCs.

[9:04] We needed to focus on a cross‑platform system that would house all of that data. Cumulus was probably the best choice for us at that time, because it really was a cross‑platform, off the shelf software package that was relatively inexpensive that we could work with that company and they were willing and ready to work with us to help us build our system.

[9:30] Choosing the software in general was a challenge and trying to deal with all the people that said, “Oh, we can do that, we can do that.” They could do that but it was always beneficial to them and not to us. Canto knew that if they were a partner with us that we would both benefit. I think after a 15 year business relationship, we are still heavily involved with each other and using the software, it’s evolved and it has been great for us.

Mary:  [10:00] I’ll just check on our success in dealing with this too. To take off from where Matt left off here, when they came in here and they were training us on how to use the product, the Canto Cumulus product came with a web piece right out of the box.

[10:16] The nice thing about that is that the guy that was training us was part of the original Canto product. He was very, very smart and our web master wasted no time trying to get him to see if we could get that, the web version customized so we can put our photo library online.

[10:35] I think that was a huge success for us, because when I first started here in Creative Services in ’02, there was a time when I was doing nothing but image requests from the moment I got in to the moment I left. I was frustrated because I didn’t have time to do the other stuff I was doing.

[10:52] Canto stepped in, they offered us services of someone that could build us a customized interface, which we did, and when we put that light, it almost single handedly took all that work off my desk and handed it over to the website, which I thought was fabulous because now I can focus in on doing the other important Digital Asset Management, taking care of it, loading it, cleaning it, so on. It’s just been a huge success.

[11:20] That one thing right there and going forward as we continue to grow, like I mentioned before, the software just keeps going. It keeps ticking. It’s been a huge success for our company having it here.

Henrik:  [11:32] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Matthew:  [11:37] I work by the philosophy of “Garbage in, Garbage out.” When we started working with Cumulus, we knew that we had to make sure that our file naming conventions were specific to the areas that we serve. By that I mean, the retail area and the sub‑sets of the retail area, the food service area, the sub‑sets of the food service area, the trade show area, the sub‑sets of the trade show area, because we worked with librarians to get this moving forward, that the file naming conventions were key to making this product work.

[12:15] I wanted to make sure that if anybody were to step in in my job position, or Mary’s job position, or the other graphic designers’ position, this database would be user friendly, easy to search by the key word, and people would be able to find images and data readily.

Mary:  [12:36] That’s a very key thing. I’m actually going to be talking in September at the Chicago Henry Stewart Conference. I’m going to be talking about this very thing, because I went to my first conference in ’06 in New York City. Since then, through Henry Stewart, I’ve met lots of people that do the kind of thing that I do.

[12:55] To an astronomical extent where you are talking about worldwide conglomerate like 3M, who has tens of thousands of users across the globe in different cultures and languages. Then, you got small companies, may be 1 to 10 people, and every single one of them want Digital Asset Management.

[13:14] Unless you think about the really important aspects upfront of what you have to have in place, Matt talked about remaining conventions and the taxonomy systems, having that figured out in the beginning is probably the best idea possible.

[13:29] Knowing what you want to catalog and knowing what you want to feed into the system. Having the administrative staff to be able to fill it, maintain that, having the IT staff that will co‑cooperatively work with the group with the Digital Asset Management, to make sure that it’s physically running.

[13:48] Having buy‑in from the executives in the company, that they are willing to make an investment that it is indeed the return on investments, for whatever the purpose is. Having the know‑how of people, how tune the product, I mean, just choosing the product.

[14:04] Matt was talking about choosing, knowing how to go out there and search and find out what’s the best option. Today, there are dozens of companies out there doing this right now, and I’m sure they are all good and they are all doing wonderful things.

[14:19] I’ve seen lots of samples. Finding the right one is key, finding the one that’s going to serve the company as a whole, or whatever that business is, is key.

[14:30] If you don’t have the expertise inside the company to put together a team, to agree with, shop hard and really look at these things, there are consultants out there that can do it for a company, and they do a fine job. There are avenues out there, but I think that I’ve met a lot of people who think they know what they are buying, and then somebody goes out and buys it, and hands it off to somebody, usually one person and told to do this.

[14:59] It’s amazing how many people I’ve met that that’s happened to and these poor people are floundering. They have no idea on how to go about forming it and developing it. It’s a lot more that it looks like, and I think taking these measures up‑front can be very important.

[15:15] That’s what I’m prepared to tell the industry people in September, and if only they have done what we’ve been through here, having your ducks in a row up‑front is the best solution to any potential problem that could happen if you don’t. That’s the best way I can answer your question now.

Henrik:  [15:32] Thanks. Great advice. For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to For this and 150 other podcast episodes, go to If you have any comments or questions please feel free to email me at Thanks again.

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Anne Lenehan on Digital Asset Management

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

Full Transcript:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Henrik:  [5:50] Well, thanks Anne.

Anne:  [5:51] Sure.

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

For this and 150 other podcasts episodes including transcripts of every interview go to If you have any comments or questions please feel free to email me at Thanks again.


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