Audio about Digital Asset Management

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Mikako Ito on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Mikako Ito on Digital Asset Management


Henrik de Gyor:  [0:00] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Mikako Ito.

Mikako, how are you?

Mikako Ito:  [0:09] Good, how are you?

Henrik:  [0:10] Great. Mikako, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Mikako:  [0:14] I think I’m a little bit unique in this profession. A lot of people who manage the digital assets, may be dedicated their time 100 percent to managing their assets or creating the assets. I’m a Art Director at simplehuman.

[0:32] Then when I was appointed by CEO to investigate the DAM system, I actually didn’t know anything about the DAM system. As a designer, I wasn’t sure how this system is going to be helpful to our company.

[0:50] But now that we implemented the system, I can see that the DAM system is really useful to, not only the company like us, but design and then produce the product by design agency, or any other design related company. Actually, our company is pretty small, so the graphic design department is small.

[1:15] Then what we were doing was, we are putting everything into our company server. But as company starts to grow, we realize that, if we don’t organize these digital assets eventually it’s going to get really messy.

[1:31] One day, our CEO was the one who recognized the company was growing and so was our assets. He put me in charge of finding the solution. I did research, and then I found is there asset management system out there. Then, eventually I pick one of them, and then I implemented it.

Henrik:  [1:55] How does a designer and manufacture of kitchen, bath and beauty tools use Digital Asset Management?

Mikako:  [2:02] All the designers use the asset management system to work on their projects. Once we have the asset which is whether it’s photography that we shot, or rendering that we created, it goes to the retouchers.

[2:20] Then clean up the images and stuff, and then eventually goes up to the asset management system. Once it get in there, designer can pull any of the assets whenever we need it for whatever we need it. Marketing and the sales team also use the assets, the ones which are available to them.

[2:42] Before [DAM System], the graphic team would get constant requests from the sales and the marketing, and we were the department within the organization to send them a file. Since all the assets was in the server, and then only designer, and if you worked on that project, knows where images were, and then what the final assets are.

[3:08] Then every time sales or marketing team needed those assets, we get requests. We have to spend the time to search the image, reformat the image and then send it back to them. We are actually spending a lot of time on organizing the assets, and distributing assets.

[3:29] But once we implemented the DAM system, marketing and then sales can find the image, and then download it in any of the format that they want for themselves. Then the designer doesn’t have to spend the time to do that job for them. That was really helpful.

[3:51] The designers and then other departments of our company, use the system to find assets or archive the assets. When we are thinking of implementing the DAM system, we were wondering if we can use the system to organize, and then archive, and then transferring the files to the factory for the design files. The actual product design files.

[4:21] But design file consists of different parts, so that we found that organizing all the different parts become the one product. It’s not just a file that it creates so that they way that the DAM system organize the files, it was challenging to organize the files that make sense to using for the…to keeping, and then archiving the CAD file.

[4:52] We don’t use the DAM system for the product design file, the CAD file, but we use it for everything else.

Henrik:  [5:00] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Mikako:  [5:04] The biggest challenge was how to structure the system, so how many catalogs we should have, and then who should have the access to which catalogs. Because of the amount of the assets we have, and then some of them are not really meant to use outside of the company usage, so that we have to create a structure that really works to the different departments.

[5:37] Then certain departments need certain assets only. So that way, accidentally the important assets [don’t] go outside of the company. By the time we implemented the system, we had already a lot of these digital assets without knowing it. To organize those, and then putting into the system the first time, was really challenging.

[6:06] The success part of it overlaps with the answer that I gave to the second question. It helped the whole company to flow, and the design department the time that we used to spend to prepare, and then create all those assets to the different departments that got really reduced.

[6:30] For example, the sales person also creates the file… it’s called planogram. It’s basically what the product will look like on the shelf. Before we were getting similar request so that every time we get these requests we have to resize all the products into the correct scale and then put next to each other on a four foot shelf.

[6:59] Then all our products how that look like on this four foot shelf, so that kind of thing was taking a lot of time for the design department. But now we created this catalog that has every SKU that are available to the sales in the correct scale.

[7:18] All they have to do is to pull all those images, and then just put it into the shelf. That thing really helped the time part of it. Another success is that we always have the most updated assets available to everybody.

[7:39] Before, different designers working in their projects, for example, one designer created this icon, and then during the process of finish that project, the designer Mike, fixed the icon. But the icon didn’t go up to the DAM system and then just lived in this person’s hard drive.

[8:04] Then other designers trying to use the icon, they might not have the most updated icon and..they might use it in a wrong way, or but now that we have system, so one designer fix something and then updated assets go uploaded to DAM system, so that always the most updated assets available to the other designers to use it.

[8:28] That really helped designers to actually could have used the wrong asset or wrong icons and stuff for the project. The number one benefit that we did get from this system was that we were be able to spend the more time to actually designing it than try to organize the assets for other people or other departments.

[8:55] Asset is always available to us, and then I was saying all the available asset is always updated the most current one. That reduced the mistake part of it too.

Henrik:  [9:10] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to DAM professionals?

Mikako:  [9:14] The organization is really powerful. If your digital files aren’t organized, you’re wasting so much time looking for that right file, or your team through all the assets are wasting time searching, and sending the files out, like our graphic department was used to doing.

[9:37] With DAM it helps you save the time and your company is saving money, because you’re able to be more productive. For us, it was really good time saving, and then…time is money so the more the time is saved and then everybody works efficient.

[10:03] I think that was really helpful. If someone who’s thinking about implementing DAM system or not, I think in the long run if everything is organized, and I think eventually that will make much more efficient the whole system.

[10:22] Also ,I do use the system everyday, but at the same time, I’m a designer as well. Then I feel like I’m still not…I don’t consider myself DAM professional. I feel like if you 100 percent, you do is to organize, and then manage the system, then I feel like that person might have better advice but…

Henrik:  [10:48] Thank you, Mikako.

Mikako:  [10:51] Thank you, and I’m sorry. I don’t know if I helped a lot but I just wanted to say that having the DAM system really helped our company. Hopefully, this would help someone who listens I guess.

Henrik:  [11:08] For more and this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to For this and 160 other podcasts 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 Julia Thompson on Digital Asset Management

Hear Another DAM Podcast interview with Julia Thompson on Digital Asset Management


Henrik de Gyor:  [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I am Henrik de Gyor. Today, I’m speaking with Julia Thompson.

[0:07] Julia, how are you?

Julia Thompson:  [0:09] Great, thank you. How are you?

Henrik:  [0:10] Great. Julia, how were you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Julia:  [0:14] I’m the Digital Asset Manager at UNICEF, New York headquarters. Part of that role, I’m the administrator of our Global Digital Asset Management System. This includes things like configuring the ACLs, developing and maintaining metadata, working with the DAM vendor on issues, any changes we’d like to make, and features that would be useful to us.

[0:34] My role also includes the development of DAM workflows and advising on best practices, and user support and training.

Henrik:  [0:42] How does an organization focused on long‑term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries use Digital Asset Management?

Julia:  [0:52] The DAM system that I manage contains just finished materials at this stage, rather than works‑in‑progress, although I see that being something that we may be using the DAM system for in the future. At the moment, it includes photos, videos, branding materials, publications and social media assets and things such as infographics.

[1:12] And also other related peripheral materials, mostly communication materials that are ultimately destined for an external audience. So we work in more than 190 countries and territories and we have content creators and offices all over the world. For us having a global DAM system helps us to break down content silos across the organization.

[1:33] It provides us a way to make rich media created all around the organization, available to UNICEF staff everywhere. The staff use the DAM system to locate materials for repurposing and reuse when they are creating new communication assets. So we offer B‑Rolls for creating new videos, photos that they use in new publications.

[1:52] We also use the DAM system to distribute editable versions of assets for localization. So that means that an office can create versions of assets in their local languages. We use the DAM system as a tool for sharing downloadable assets with news media and with our many partners and stakeholders.

[2:09] It also provides a source for high quality assets for publication on websites and social media, and other internal platforms and it’s integrated with, for the publication of photos by the DAM system API. I’d say that one of the most important roles of Digital Asset Management for us is in helping to protect the rights of the children in our photos and videos, helping us to ensure that assets are used appropriately.

[2:32] So we have some assets, images of children at risk, such as children associated with armed groups, which requires special approval and particular care in their use. The DAM system helps us to handle usage approvals.

[2:45] We are able to use the system to embed the usage terms and conditions and some asset types like images, to make users aware of the usage terms and conditions upon accessing assets in the DAM system.

[2:56] We use the DAM system to pull together packages of assets that relate to a particular focus area or a campaign, which makes it quicker and easier for staff to find the communication materials that they need and the DAM system also provides a definitive source for our branding materials, so that we can keep the UNICEF brands clear.

Henrik:  [3:13] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Julia:  [3:17] So in some ways our successes and challenges are fairly closely linked. Because the DAM system has become quite central in supporting our communication goals, our users are starting to see the benefits of the DAM system in their work, which is a good thing. It’s exactly what we are aiming for.

[3:34] One of the consequences that we found of having a system that people like and see the value in, is that we’re finding ourself needing to assess and culminate new needs that are arising, we’ve seen the emergence of new use cases, new demands on the system, which have created new challenges to address, new workflows to develop, additional metadata to add, changes in the way that we handle permissions.

[3:57] So these new needs have been a challenge to address. Some taking extra resourcing, requiring changes in the way that we are working with the system. But it’s also nice to see the value of Digital Asset Management in such a large organization. Another challenge that we’ve faced is balancing our shorter and longer term needs.

[4:15] We need our Digital Asset Management to support an often high paced flow of assets within the organization and to outside partners and news media. But we also need to ensure that we have full and accurate metadata needed for the long‑term accessibility of those assets.

[4:30] In an emergency situation such as after the recent Nepal earthquake, the DAM system was used to make photos and videos available to the organization and to the news media, which needed to happen quickly. So in a situation like that there’s not always time to spend fully cataloging an asset before publication and distribution.

[4:50] However, we do need full metadata to ensure that someone can find those assets in a few years and that they have enough contextual information to know what their looking at. So I definitely wouldn’t claim to have all the answers to that dilemma yet. That’s really something we are still working through. But I think in the future, it’s going to have to involve a staged approach to Asset Management.

[5:09] We have a workflow and a system that’s live and user‑friendly enough to meet their short‑term needs, combined with oversight by information professionals, maybe filling in the metadata and making sure that everything looks right at a slightly later stage.

[5:24] And also, I think accepting that good‑enough is sometimes the best you can do. There is really no question that Digital Asset Management in a large organization like that, operating in different time zones is a challenge.

Henrik:  [5:36] I bet. What advise would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Julia:  [5:42] One of the things I would recommend is the future proofing as much as possible, being aware of the importance of flexibility and scalability when procuring and configuring a DAM system because you will inevitably be making changes, particularly when working in a large organization.

[6:00] We found it really important to have a system that allows us to be really flexible, making changes to metadata, accommodating new asset types, new asset genres and supporting new asset cases.

[6:12] Related to that, I’d say that it’s important to keep talking to your users well beyond the initial planning and implementation stage, so that your system and workflows can evolve along with the new user needs that will emerge. We’ve definitely had a lot of changes with the way that we are using Digital Asset Management within the new organization, even over a fairly short period of time.

[6:33] For people aspiring to become DAM professionals, I would say that it’s getting hands‑on experience and so getting some exposure to Digital Asset Management in a real organization is super important.

[6:44] I would think that although getting a good handle on Digital Asset Management theory and best practices is key, it’s also really important to be able to navigate the unique culture of an organization to be able to successfully identify business requirements and end‑user needs.

[7:00] At least from my point of view that seems to be where the biggest challenges lie, but also the biggest opportunities for success in Digital Asset Management.

Henrik:  [7:08] Great. Well, thanks Julia.

Julia:  [7:10] Thank you.

Henrik:  [7:11] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to For this podcast and 160 other podcast episodes, go to If you have any comments or questions please feel free to email me at Thanks again.

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Anne Lenehan on Digital Asset Management

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

Full Transcript:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Henrik:  [5:50] Well, thanks Anne.

Anne:  [5:51] Sure.

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

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

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Abby Covert on Digital Asset Management and Information Architecture

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Abby Covert on Digital Asset Management and Information Architecture

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor:  [0:02] This is Another DAM Podcast of Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Abby Covert. Abby, how are you?

Abby Covert:  [0:09] Great. Thanks so much for having me.

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

Abby:  [0:14] Well, I am a professional Information Architect. My involvement with Digital Asset Management, is really in helping organizations to understand the impact of language, and structure on their effectiveness towards whatever their goals might be, and that can be across many mediums, which I think is similar to the challenges that Digital Asset Managers face as well.

[0:35] They’re looking at the scaffolding that then initiates a lot of processes within an organization. So, my job is pretty similar in that regard I would say.

Henrik:  [0:44] As an Information Architect, you recently authored a book titled How to Make Sense of Any Mess. Tell us more about what we can learn from this book since many DAM professionals need to do the same.

Abby:  [0:55] My main premise in writing a book with such a broad title How to Make Sense of Any Mess, and I thought very hard on the word “Any”, was that I really felt as a practicing information architect after 10 years, that a lot of the messes that I was helping my clients to make sense of were actually really based in information and people, more than they were specific to the technologies, or the mediums that we were actually executing in.

[1:21] I would say that anybody who has been working in technology for more than 10 years, has seen some sort of current of change that all of a sudden we have mobile, all of a sudden we have social, how does that change what we do?

[1:33] What I actually found was that it doesn’t change a lot when you look at that information and people part, that it really comes down to a basic understanding of leading and facilitating people, through a process of identifying what is not making sense to their consumers or to their coworkers.

[1:51] Then working through the delicate steps that one needs to take to really adjust the mental models of themselves, and maybe the people that they’re working with, in order to reach whatever intent people are trying to get to. I guess after spending a lot of time making sense of other people’s messes, I wanted to know if I could write a book that would help people make sense of their own.

[2:14] I think so far, based on the feedback, yeah, I think that you really can. You can self‑serve this stuff which is great.

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

Abby:  [2:25] I definitely think that scalability is one of the biggest issues that organizations face in general. Whether that be scaling up to meet the needs of digital, or scaling up to meet the needs of a growing business, those two things have become synonymous. I don’t run into a lot of companies that are scaling up their business that doesn’t mean they need to scale up the digital side of their business.

[2:49] Also, the cross‑channel nature of things. The decision to invest or not invest in certain channels, and the impact of doing so. Taking the time to start a new social channel that just got announced, instead of taking the time away from doing something else. So I think in terms of Digital Asset Management, I think that it’s difficult to stay on the edge of that while also maintaining what you have and not letting the things that you have get unkempt.

[3:21] I would definitely say scalability, and keeping up with the wave of change would be the biggest challenges. Successes, I would say, anyone that can pay close attention to context of use, and not use metadata as a way of checking the box on like, “Yes, we’ve collected metadata,” but really thinking about how that metadata is going to apply to a use case, that might be realistic to that organization, and how they’re going to use that content at a swift pace.

[3:52] Then, also the cadence they’re going to need it at. I think that anybody who is doing that level of deep research organizationally, around the way that they’re organizing their internal assets, is probably seeing a lot more success than those who are in their cubicles alone, just applying data schema that make sense in their head. Because it’s easy to do that from the common sense place, but it turns out that common sense is pretty unreliable in a lot of cases.

Henrik:  [4:20] Good points. What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals, and people who are aspiring to be DAM professionals?

Abby:  [4:25] I am going to go and continue my thread of “Get out from your cubicle, or your office, or even from your desk and go work with other people.” I think that the idea of doing the work versus concepting your way through how the work will be done, is a dangerous place to be by yourself, especially in a field that is so dependent on making sense of the things for other people to use for their jobs.

[4:55] I feel like if you can take that soft skill part and use that, and give equal attention to that, then also your tools, I would say that that would be my number one piece of advice.

Henrik:  [5:07] Have a conversation with as many people as necessary who will be using this?

Abby:  [5:12] Yeah. Also, don’t scare them away with your language and your tools. That’s for you to figure out later. But get out a marker and some post‑it notes and a white board, or whatever you got to do to make them feel comfortable and get through the anxiety of… Digital Asset Management is like a big mouthy term, and I’m sure that there’s some marketers that are hearing it for the first time in some cases when people are working with them on it.

[5:37] Making sure that that’s not getting in the way, and just remembering that technology is a monster in many people’s minds. So, we’re all going through this transition organizationally. Most organizations are going through a transition. I would say that those that haven’t been born into digital, even those are going through lots of transitions with the increased cross‑channel nature of our businesses and our design mediums.

[5:59] But I feel like if you can educate people in a way that they understand that you’re making decisions that are going to help them along the way, and that you’re collaborating on those, and that you’re just the filter, you’re just the person that’s going to go to the tool at the end of the day, and enter it into the way that you guys agreed it’s going to be. But you’re not a dictator of the way that digital assets should be managed.

Henrik:  [6:22] Well, thanks Abby. For this, and other Digital Asset Management topics, log onto For this podcast and a 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview, go to If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to to email me at And Abby where can we find out more information from you?

Abby:  [6:45] At, or you find me on Twitter @Abby _the_IA.

Henrik:  [6:49] Thanks again.



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