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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 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 Brooke Holt on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Brooke Holt 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 Brooke Holt. Brooke, how are you?

Brooke Holt:  [0:08] Good.

Henrik:  [0:09] Brooke, how are you involved in Digital Asset Management?

DAM is a large part of my daily work. I’m a one woman DAM team.

Brooke:  [0:11] DAM is a large part of my daily work. I’m a one woman DAM team. Our system, which we call SEAL, houses photos, videos, logos, marketing collateral, and all the typical files you would expect to see.

[0:24] I’m the only team member with DAM responsibility and we have employees all over the country, so I spend a lot of time training them, serving them, maintaining the health of the system.

[0:35] I created the taxonomy metadata fields, standards, workflow, user communication, and overall aesthetics of the system. I also have a number of non‑DAM responsibilities, but they are not as fun.

Henrik:  [0:46] Can I ask what SEAL stands for?

Brooke:  [0:47] It stands for SeaWorld Entertainment Asset Library.

Henrik:  [0:50] Brooke, how does a chain of marine mammal parks, oceanariums, and animal theme parks use Digital Asset Management?

Brooke:  [0:58] We use our system in three major ways. One is an archive. Our company is fifty years old. We have a lot of physical and digital assets. So there’s an archive area of our DAM, where we can store files that have historical value but don’t need to be accessed regularly.

[1:13] As a sharing portal. We have teams and partners all over the world. It’s vital to have a central depository in which new logos or key visuals can be stored by anyone with the appropriate permission level.

[1:25] Some of our events are held simultaneously at three different parks, so putting them in SEAL allows us to have one place. It cuts down on sending large emails or worrying about who may or may not have the most recent version of a file.

[1:38] We have two children’s education television shows that air on TV. Each week there’s a new batch of promotional assets for those and I can easily put them in SEAL and get them out to all the various people that need them. They can continue accessing them.

[1:52] The third way is as a development tool. This is kind of new for us. We use it for storage and sharing hub for projects that are under development. So in this scenario a very limited number of users have access to the files as they develop maybe a new show or attraction.

[2:09] It’s unlike the rest of the system which is really final files. It allows us to be able to share things with partners and vendors in a more secure area than just using Dropbox or any file sharing system.

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

Brooke:  [2:27] For me, the biggest challenges are overcoming bad user and past user experiences. I overhauled a DAM system that previously didn’t have standards, an accurate taxonomy, or modern features. Any user that had previously encountered difficulty with the system was hesitant to give it a second try.

[2:45] Another challenge I have is what to keep and what to delete. Everything does not belong in there. It’s tough to balance what should be ingested. Do we want all B‑roll, do we want all of our RAW files, do we not, and how long do we keep these active before we move them into archive? Those types of things.

[3:01] Lingo is a challenge for me. We have teams that fall within the zoological field, entertainment, sales, legal, and a number of other ones. They all use different terminology for things. A good example is that someone in the veterinary field might come looking for a manatee calf, but everyone else that uses the system is going to call it a baby manatee.

[3:26] Making sure that I’m accommodating all those options. We have a lot of internal abbreviations for our Halloween event, Howl‑O‑Scream. Are people going to search for Howl‑O‑Scream or they going to search for HOS and not find anything?

[3:39] Then some of the big successes that I’ve seen are empowering people to do their job. When a user is able to get what they need without asking anybody else for help, that’s a huge success for both of us.

[3:51] Also security, so without DAM, you know we have very little security. People can have assets wherever they want and we have no way to monitor what’s happening. We have a EULA in place for non‑users who receive files from the system to just agree to our terms and conditions.

[4:08] We can track anyone who has shared a file, downloaded a file. I can immediately replace things that are outdated. I can get very granular with the controls over somebody who can see something, versus someone else may be able to download that or of those types of things, so improving security.

[4:23] Also culture change over my last year and a half there, I’ve created a DAM culture that has gone from basically, “Like ugh, I hate this thing”, “I can never find anything”, “This is the worse”, to more like, “This is so much easier to use, oh my gosh, it made a PNG for me”.

[4:40] “So and so should be using this” or “The rest of my team should be using it.” This is still a work in progress. I certainly don’t hear these things every day. Culture change is a big success for me.

Henrik:  [4:54] I don’t think any DAM Manager hears wild reviews every single day.

Brooke:  [4:58] Yeah.

Henrik:  [4:58] No worries.

Brooke:  [4:59] I’ll take one every six months.

Henrik:  [5:00] That’s fair. What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people who inspire to become DAM professionals?

Brooke:  [5:07] I would say DAM is awesome. I’ve been working in this field for about ten years and a variety of industries. I do not have a library degree or an IT degree. I have a degree in Spanish and a Masters in Linguistics.

[5:19] The beauty of that is that you can have any type of education background, basically. The field is a good combination of many things. My passion is photography, helping people, teaching, art, grammar, I love arguing about commas, organizing language, and then technology.

[5:37] Still working with people and also working with technology. I fell into this field I think a lot of people at this point have just kind of fallen into it, but it’s growing a lot. One of the things that I would like to see professionally would be more standardization, DAM job titles, and departments.

[5:57] It’s really hard to find positions because they might be called content manager, creative services, a librarian, a systems engineer. It can fall under a variety of departments, so maybe it’s IT, a business department, or marketing. The reality is that any major company is getting more and more digital assets, so there’s great job security in this field.

[6:20] I would recommend anybody looking for a DAM job, to just apply. There are not a lot of people that have tons of DAM experience. There are so many facets that if you have experience helping people, organizing files, using a CMS system, or manipulating digital files, that might be good enough.

[6:39] A lot of people just fall into this DAM jobs. I say it’s important to enjoy working with a variety of people, being able to listen to people, having attention to detail, and be passionate about technology and creativity.

Henrik:  [6:55] Thanks Brooke.

Brooke:  [6:56] You’re welcome.

Henrik:  [6:58] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to If you have any comments or questions please feel free email me at

[7:09] For this and 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview, go to

[7:17] 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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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 If you have any comments or questions, please refer to email me at For this and a 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview, go to Thanks again.


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