Audio about Digital Asset Management


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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 AnotherDAMblog.com. For this podcast and a 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview, go to AnotherDAMpodcast.com. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to to email me at anotherdamblog@Gmail.com. And Abby where can we find out more information from you?

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

Henrik:  [6:49] Thanks again.

 


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Another DAM Podcast interview with Barbara Alexander on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM podcast interview with Barbara Alexander on Digital Asset Management

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor:  [0:02] This is Another DAM podcast about Digital Asset Management. Hi, I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Barbara Alexander. Barbara, how are you?

Barbara Alexander:  [0:09] Good, thank you, and you?

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

Barbara:  [0:15] The function that I handle essentially handles all digital assets for our company across all markets. We manage all product images, videos, presentations. All the assets then come in, and we tag them with metadata. The types of metadata that we embed assist our different markets and our different functional teams in sourcing the images that they need.

[0:44] For our marketing teams, they use the DAM to find and launch assets to all the different markets. When we’re rolling out a new program, we’ll supply all the print assets for ad production. All the assets for POS and displays, social media assets, and videos and other related assets roll out in their countries

Barbara:  [1:07] One of our big initiatives was to really focus on the consumer this year. We paid a lot of attention to our relationships with our retailer accounts. One of the things we do with our assets is we organize them in collections. Each collection has a single link that we can send to our retailer, or it can be embedded in a spreadsheet. They can click on it and have access to the assets without needing to log on to the DAM. This has been a big success for us.

Henrik:  [1:42] How does a global beauty manufacturer use Digital Asset Management?

Barbara:  [1:48] Primarily we use it to make sure that only approved assets are used in the marketplace, and to be sure that usage rights are complied with. We’re able to expire the assets on our platform. Our platform will send out notification to anyone who’s downloaded the asset that’s expiring to alert them to the fact beforehand. So that they can pull the asset and supply an alternative asset.

[2:17] It’s a great governing platform. It gives a worldview to the global marketing teams. It allows them to see how the markets are using the assets. If they’re really using the whole palette that’s been provided to them, or if they’re taking a few select assets. It allows the marketing team to assess their budgets and where they should spend their money.

Henrik:  [2:42] Barbara, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen in the Digital Asset Management?

Barbara:  [2:48] We’ve had a lot of successes and some realistic struggles. The successes have been with our ability to really service our markets and our retailer accounts, which are very important. We’ve been able to really focus on consumer‑facing experiences.

[3:06] The struggles really center around the internal reorganization our company has gone through, which has been quite traumatic. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about where the DAM is located within the organization. It really matters in terms of its overall success and survival.

[3:25] The closer you are to the core of the corporate level, I think the more successful the DAM function can be within the organization. The further you are from that, the more vulnerable you are to new people coming in, or a new emphasis. That’s been very difficult. The DAM function right now is getting re‑assessed. It’s becoming more global marketing focused, we’ll have to see what happens with it. [laughs]

Henrik:  [3:51] A lot of people struggle with being more center to the core rather than being on the fringes and being possibly at irrelevance, unfortunately, because it’s not even known to the rest of the organization.

Barbara:  [4:03] That’s exactly right. We’ve had such a reorganization and shift in people, and as a result, DAM is not understood, or really factored in as a very core, relevant function of our company.

Barbara:  [4:19] We’re struggling with that right now.

Henrik:  [4:21] I understand, and I think a lot of organizations struggle with that. I’ve heard that from many organizations. That they don’t know where to put DAM. Is it IT? Is it marketing? Is it some creative function? Or is it tied to distribution or something? It’s a struggle for many organizations.

Barbara:  [4:37] Exactly.

Henrik:  [4:39] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

“We have to think of ourselves as more than just a DAM professional. It’s more a media professional. I think that the more certification and knowledge that you can gain will only assist you.”

Barbara:  [4:44] We have to think of ourselves as more than just a DAM professional. It’s more a media professional. I think that the more certification and knowledge that you can gain will only assist you. I know the DAM Foundation has a program. I would recommend that. I also think it’s very important to attend industry functions whenever you can.

[5:10] There’s so much information to be gained by your colleagues in the industry that you really can’t source online or from a book. That face‑to‑face contact and understanding is really important. Definitely the DAM New York Meetup, the Henry Stewart DAM New York Conference, and Metadata Madness [laughs] .

Henrik:  [5:33] Which we’re attending right now.

Barbara:  [5:34] Exactly.

Henrik:  [5:36] Thank you, Barbara.

Barbara:  [5:36] Thank you, Henrik.

Henrik:  [5:38] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, log on to anotherdamblog.com. If you have any comments or questions, please refer to email me at anotherdamblog@Gmail.com. For this and a 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview, go to anotherDAMpodcast.com. Thanks again.


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Another DAM Podcast interview with Lauren Philson on Digital Asset Management

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

Full Transcript:

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

Lauren, how are you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Henrik:  [4:37] Thanks, Lauren.

Lauren:  [4:38] Great!

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

Thanks again.

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


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Another DAM Podcast interview with Carla Derck on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Carla Derck on Digital Asset Management

Full Transcript:

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

[0:09] Carla, how are you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Henrik:  [6:28] Thanks Carla.

Carla:  [6:30] Sure. Thank you.

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

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

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

[6:56] Thanks again.


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Another DAM Podcast interview with Rubyliza Gaba on Digital Asset Management

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

Full Transcript:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Always remember to be flexible.”

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

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

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

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

Thanks again.


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Another DAM podcast interview with Rob Schuman on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM podcast interview with Rob Schuman on Digital Asset Management

Full Transcript:
Henrik de Gyor: [0:01] This is Another DAM podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor.
Today, I’m speaking with Rob Schuman.
Rob, how are you?

Rob Schuman: [0:10] Great.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Henrik: [2:45] Organizing information?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rob: [9:55] Rob: You’re welcome.

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

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

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