Here are the questions asked:
- How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
- How does an organization focused on furniture use Digital Asset Management?
- Tell me about your title.
- What advice would you like to provide vendors when trying to approach and sell to a potential client?
- What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Henrik de Gyor: [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Darth, Lord of the
DAM. I mean, David Fuda.
David [0:12] , how are you?
David Fuda: [0:13] Very good this morning, how are you?
Henrik: [0:15] Good. David, how are you involved with Digital Asset
David: [0:19] I’m Digital Asset Manager for Ethan Allen Global. Ethan Allen is a
home furnishings company. We’re based in Connecticut. It’s a worldwide operation.
Out of our headquarters area is where the Digital Asset Management
system is based.
Henrik: [0:34] David, how does an organization focused on furniture use Digital
David: [0:40] Many ways. Its key function right now is in the Style and
Advertising Departments. Digital photography was introduced in Ethan Allen
about three, four years ago. At the time, we realized, suddenly the volume of
images that was being photographed went up 10fold over what it was in film.
We had to get a handle on the amount of images that were being done. [1:07]
Digital Asset Management is what we needed to wrangle in what turned in from
a year’s shooting of 10,000 images to 100, 000 images.
Henrik: [1:14] Wow.
David: [1:15] Yes. At the time I was Senior Staff Photographer. I had been so
with Ethan Allen for 11 years. When they started talking about Digital Asset
Management, it peaked my interest as some type of field that would be something
new, and exciting and different, and definitely growing. So, I took on the
position as Digital Asset Manager. [1:36] I found one of the most useful ways,
once the DAM was up and running, was its ability to allow users and groups
that before had no access to print or web ready artwork, for instance, our PR
Department, Training Department, Merchandising Department.
[1:55] Before, if they had the need for a print or web ready image, they would
have to open a job ticket with Production, and go through a process of asking
them. Say, for instance, there was a particular sofa that a print magazine required
a shot of in the living room. It could start to involve two, three people to
look for a particular image.
[2:17] Nowadays, the PR individual can jump right into the DAM, do a search,
and find a multitude of room images featuring a particular sofa that was required
to be seen. They can draw their own print or web rendition right from
the DAM, and not involve the production department. It’s very quick, very easy.
They simply love it.
Henrik: [2:37] That’s a great example of self-service.
David: [2:39] Yes, it is. It’s a wonderful thing.
Henrik: [2:42] Tell me about your title.
David: [2:45] I came up with the title Darth, Lord of the DAM, because at the
time when the DAM was introduced, it was a totally new concept, at least to
Ethan Allen and all the departments. No one was really certain what a DAM
was. To make people look up from their desk and their daily task, when I would
walk into someone’s office and introduce myself, as opposed to Digital Asset
Manager, Darth Lord of the DAM, seemed to really make them look away from
their computer desktop and, “What? Excuse me, who are you?” [laughs] [3:18] It
was a nickname I chose to make people notice there was something new on the
block, and it happened to be the DAM.
Henrik: [3:27] What advice would you like to give to vendors when trying to
approach and sell to potential clients?
David: [3:33] I would like to say, as far as the vendors go, when approaching
a client, I noticed a couple of things that seemed to be a constant as we were
looking at different DAM systems offered by different vendors. They came in
with a preset presentation, a PowerPoint or whatever the case may be, of what
they envisioned a typical user might be for their product. [4:00] I’ve come to
learn that users for the DAM are as varied as the clients are. They would make
a presentation with, “OK , Ethan Allen’s in photography, they make a magazine.
Let’s show them something like a fashion magazine.” It was completely unrelated
to how we would use the DAM.
[4:18] I think it would be best if the vendor took some elements that a potential
client may be using as assets in their DAM, then mocked up some type
of, “This is what your DAM could look like,” as opposed to presenting something
[4:36] Of course on the other hand, looking back, hindsight, Ethan Allen could
have presented each vendor with a collection of images, mockups, and magazines,
saying “These are the type of assets we would be putting in a DAM. Show
us how we can make them relate.” So, a little advice for both.
[4:57] I had one particular vendor who had that had a very fine looking product,
we were very impressed with the user interface. It seemed like something that
was really designed more towards images, rather than documents, and really
wanted to succeed.
[5:12] But they failed, not once, but twice in the presentation. They insisted on
having a presentation given to us via remote desktop. Both times the remote
desktop connection failed. It’s kind of hard to sell a product to people holding
the checkbook on something that won’t function. We had to pass on them.
[5:33] From the buyer end, if I could offer a little advice. Not only in presenting
particular types of assets to them to make a mockup for you, I’d also like to
suggest to any particular buyer to go ahead and look at the vendors’ service
department. Once the DAM is installed, the techs at the their customer service
are going to be your best friends for many months to come.
[6:02] We were fortunate, the product we chose, the tech support is outstanding.
I would suggest, possibly, if you’re in the market for a DAM, look at a
vendor, ask to talk to probably one or two if you could, of their users. Talk directly
to their IT department, if possible.
Henrik: [6:24] You mean the customer facing technical people?
David: [6:28] Yes, definitely.
Henrik: [6:29] From the vendor? As well as the customer service under
David: [6:38] Yes, because if you’re not familiar with a DAM at all and once you
install it, it’s a big piece of software. It’s going to be something intimidating to
some people, some of your users. Other users are going to dive right in and
love it. [6:52] Also a piece of advice to buyers, once you purchase the DAM,
it’s not going to be set and you can walk away from it. Your DAM will always
be morphing, changing as new groups are added. As the needs of your users
expand, there’s going to be meta fields constantly be added. Others that are
now irrelevant, you might as well pull.
[7:16] The DAM’s never, “Build it and there it is and walk away.” It’s going to
be changing with your business needs. As far as that goes, our particular DAM
software, speaking of morphing, it’s only been installed three, four years. We’re
going to be facing an issue, coming up, with its compatibility with web browsers.
Most of our users are using a web based client.
[7:48] Regrettably, the version of our DAM software is already a version or two
old, being only four years old. It’s no longer updated and supported. Well, it is
supported, but it’s no longer updated to match and function with new, current
browsers coming out.
Henrik: [8:11] Hmm. There’s a lot of them.
David: [8:12] Yep, it’s all of them. Any new machines we install, or OS upgrades
that are done to users’ computers, all have to be backstepped with the browsers
to make sure they function with the DAM.
Henrik: [8:25] Hopefully they can support that by supporting back versions and
updating, as you suggested.
David: [8:32] Yeah, it would be nice. I suspect there are many customers of
there that are out there with a back version like we have.
Henrik: [8:40] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and
people aspiring to become DAM professionals.
David: [8:45] As far as aspiring to be DAM professional, I can relate Ethan
Allen’s experience with it. When our exploratory committee was first looking
into software and the idea of building a DAM, they thought it was more important
to have an individual that knew the company, knew the departments
that would be involved in the DAM, being Photo Studio, Style Department,
Production Departments are the three key departments, and someone who
Another D 174 AM Podcast Transcribed
knew the product and the business model of the company. [9:18] So, as opposed
to looking for someone with the tech experience, they looked inside. I
seemed to fit the bill, they offered the position to me. I had been with the company
10, 11 years at the time. I went for it because of my knowledge of the individuals
that would be introduced to this new software, the DAM, how it would
be deployed, and its needs would be to meet our requirements as a company.
[9:47] I think it was a good choice on their part to choose from within, someone
who knew their business model, as opposed to someone who was formally
trained in the DAM aspect and introducing them to the company.
[9:59] It may be a good piece of advice to the company to look for their DAM
administrator, or the Lord of the DAM from within, as opposed from without,
because that individual may be with your company already.
[10:09] In addition, I’d like to offer a piece of advice that didn’t handicap us,
but it was an error on our part when we first started investigating a DAM. The
exploratory committee looked at the DAM as a piece of software that would
be used by the members of the departments, again the Style Department,
[10:34] They didn’t realize just how intertwined the software of the DAM would
be with the servers. The IT department wasn’t consulted until the project was
well underway. It was simply because of our unfamiliarity with the DAM, and not
realizing that it was such a database and application driven piece of software,
completely based on the servers.
[11:05] So, for anyone looking for a DAM, bring your IT boys right to the
Henrik: [11:09] Thanks David.
David: [11:10] OK .
Henrik: [11:12] For more on Digital Asset Management log onto
AnotherDAMblog.com. [11:16] Another DAM Podcast is available on Audioboom,
Blubrry, iTunes, and Tech Podcast Network. Thanks again.
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