Listen to Paul Garrison talk about Digital Asset Management
Henrik de Gyor: This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Paul Garrison. Paul, how are you?
Paul Garrison: I’m good, thank you. How are you?
Henrik de Gyor: Good. Paul, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Paul Garrison: I’m currently a Digital Asset Management Supervisor for McCann World Group here in Detroit. Previously, I worked as an Account Manager for the Getty Images DAM product called Media Manager and I had several accounts throughout the Midwest. And then on a personal note, I’m also working towards my Master’s in Information and Library Science at Wayne State here in Detroit with an emphasis on digital content management. So my involvement goes a little bit deeper than my 9 to 5 job.
Henrik de Gyor: Paul, how does a marketing and advertising company use Digital Asset Management?
Paul Garrison: Well, we’re an agency and obviously in advertising, an agency creates campaigns and those campaigns create assets. We have an internal DAM system here for our in-process creative assets and this DAM holds our photoshoots and purchased stock images, things like that for our creative department to access and use.
Henrik de Gyor: Paul, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?
Paul Garrison: Yeah, there are several challenges I’d like to talk about. The biggest of which that I’ve seen is migrating an existing system to a new platform. I’ve been involved in this a few times and the big underlying question is who is making the choice of which system to purchase and how are they deciding that. There are so many systems available now and how do you discover which is best for your installation? That’s frustrating to go down this path and then later discover that the specific features you highlighted or needed in your RFP are weak or not offered at all. So do you backtrack at that point or are you financially committed and have to go with what you have?
Paul Garrison: Another challenge is having serious competent people working on the system. Quality metadata is so mandatory and the saying ‘garbage in, garbage out’ is so true in DAM. Metadata differentiates the assets. So if you just tag 100 assets with all the same information, how can you find the one asset that you need? So often just the minimum information is provided and this does a disservice to users of the community. Another challenge is system adoption by end-users. Often, development is focused on what the developers can do or think is best and this does not always coordinate with what the end-user community understands or can navigate. It really benefits the whole system to engage the end-user before or during development to make sure that what you are building is compatible to their thinking. And so surveys, interviews, and focus groups will to better understand the user’s mindset and to build towards that as much as possible. The user also has to understand that the DAM is not Google. So there is training that is necessary to properly and successfully use the system without frustration.
Paul Garrison: And the last challenge that I’d like to mention is governance. There needs to be someone monitoring this site, especially an enterprise site to make sure that the information is clean in quality. Someone to uphold best practices and train when necessary to make sure the sites succeeds. That person must have the backing of a corporate champion as governance flows from the top down and without backing it is very difficult to enforce the necessary rules for the site.
Paul Garrison: Successes… I would like to say that I’m very interested in reporting and analysis and we monitor our KPIs to see if any trends are happening month to month on the site, either good or bad and we’ve noticed a surge in certain product images and since then we’ve gone farther to increase their availability, especially in domestic and global dealer markets to maximize their usage. That particular classification of images now our second most popular on a site that has over a half a million downloads a year, so paying attention to what works or doesn’t has been very helpful and for those looking to develop a DAM, involve with an professional from the start. This is not work for an administrative assistant to do in their free time. Someone knowledgeable about library science, assets and taxonomy who can work with the departments of the organization to understand their pain points and gather their feedback to build into the system. You need someone to spearhead the project and work with IT to make sure all the technological aspects are covered. Picking a system is difficult and working your way through all the RFPs, demos and sales pitches. It takes understanding and knowledge. You have to do your homework to begin on having successful footing.
Henrik de Gyor: Paul, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Paul Garrison: Sure. As a wrapped up in the daily work as we all get, it’s always key to consider the end-user of the system. Is Your taxonomy consistent with their jargon? Can they find the great assets that you just uploaded for their sales push? Do they understand the layout of the interface and how to use the facets to search and filter? Talk to them when you can and listen to their comments, successes and failures. I like to make job aids [brief task-specific PDFs] for issues that come to my attention. If one person is having difficulty, I’m sure there are many other silent ones who are as well. I tried to distribute them [PDF job aids] when possible or at least have them easily available to send out with an email. This gives the issue a visual and walks the user through it step by step for potential DAM professionals.
Paul Garrison: I personally have a lot of patience. Patience for users who contact me and for the system that typically will hiccup just when you don’t want it to. I have attention to detail, obsessively so, and that makes me want to do it right the first time and not to cut corners. I’ve learned a lot going back to library school, even with 15 years of DAM experience, many existing resources have been brought to my attention. Things like the Library of Congress subject lists, the MARC standards and these resources that standardize values across many mediums. If you plan to eventually work and integrate with other systems, these resources are important to know and to utilize. And lastly, I know myself and what makes me tick and I enjoy this work. It will bore some people and drive other people crazy, but I enjoy this work and seeing the results by analyzing reports from the system and I track it year over year for performance.
Henrik de Gyor: Great. Well, thanks, Paul.
Paul Garrison: Yeah, you’re welcome.
If you are interested in attending the Insight Exchange Network’s DAM Practitioners Summit on January 30-31, 2020 in New York City, you can find more details here. Use the discount code M131ADC for a 15% discount on registration (applicable to the early bird pricing rates too).
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