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Another DAM Podcast interview with Mikako Ito on Digital Asset Management


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

Mikako, how are you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Henrik:  [10:48] Thank you, Mikako.

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

Henrik:  [11:08] For more and this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to For this and 160 other podcasts episodes, go to If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at Thanks again.

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Barbara Alexander on Digital Asset Management



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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Another DAM Podcast interview with Bjorn Pave on Digital Asset Management


Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • How does an organization focused on cosmetics use Digital Asset Management?
  • What are the biggest challenges and successes the organization has with DAM?
  • 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 Bjorn Pave. Bjorn,
how are you?
Bjorn Pave: [0:11] I’m good. How are you, Henrik?
Henrik: [0:12] Good. Bjorn, how are you involved with Digital Asset
Bjorn: [0:16] For us and for me, it began as a solution to a business problem.
We were looking how to distribute our assets globally. From there, it’s turned
into more of an interest for me, specifically, and some building of proficiency
in that area. It’s common for IT to be involved in Digital Asset Management and at Benefit,
our IT department plays a pretty close partnering role with the
business, so for us it was just to drive this project but also to fit this project in
with our business. [0:48] As for the basics, we are allied with our third phase of
this project. I’ve been less of a project manager these days. It’s become more
operational. I’ve become more of a strategic kind of partner with this project in
helping to progress and develop it and bring it to the next level.
Henrik: [1:05] How does an organization focused on cosmetics use Digital Asset
Bjorn: [1:10] Pretty much every company needs to be using some kind of DAM.
I mean, especially the ones that operate globally. Digital assets are everywhere.
Really, I don’t see much difference from a car company needing to distribute
assets than us, a cosmetics firm. [1:25] It’s about efficiency, when it comes down
to it. That said, we need to get our marketing materials out quickly to our marketing
teams around the world. We’re constantly under deadlines to do that.
We’re launching products and going to market quickly with products.
[1:42] To allow us to stay agile and efficient, we need some kind of thorough
system like that not as many companies would. Also, it goes without saying
that allowing those markets to find an easy way to search for those assets. Not
only the new ones to be able to find efficient the old material that they need to
find quickly.
[2:03] I’ll give you a quick example one of the big issues that we ran into for that
was just how to get these assets to the markets when they couldn’t find them
locally. They would send an email to San Francisco or go to our headquarters
and we would get the email from Taiwan, let’s say, the next day.
[2:22] We would reply to that email. Then, the next day after that, they would
have a blank or some method of gathering that asset. We’ve lost valuable time
there. Efficiency is just really important for us, in that sense, as well as most
Henrik: [2:38] What are the biggest challenges and successes the organization
has had with DAM?
Bjorn: [2:43] Which challenges that we’ve encountered? I’ll give you three main
ones that we came across. A big one was corporate buy in. I’ve seen their company
concerns. We’re owned by a larger firm that had a number of concerns.
Once we got it in place, it was managing expectations. Everybody wanted it.
People are clamoring to get to it. I’ll go back into those real briefly. [3:11] For the
corporate buy in, it was a challenge to get them to agree on spending money
outside of a budget cycle. We had a solution and we had problem to fix, but it
was nothing that we had planned far ahead. It came up that our current solution
wasn’t working, and we had a mandate from our CEO to go fix it.
[3:31] Getting the corporate buy in and getting that done and that leads into the
senior company concerns. We had to convince them that this was the right solution.
We were also faced with some other solutions that some of the other firms
in our group were using. That became quite a big sell project for our group.
[3:50] Managing the scope of it was key. We had a small pilot group that we
could roll out to. Now it’s turned into a much larger group. Now a lot of departments
are seeing an use for it. Managing those expectations is a challenge.
[4:06] As for our successes, I’m really pleased with the steering committee
packet we put together and the materials that they have at their disposal
through this project. Leveraging our vendor expertise was key. We partnered
with a great vendor. Cantor had professional services local to us, so it became
very easy for us to draw on those resources. They were a very close partner.
Their professional services team really helped us get to the next level with this.
[4:31] Finally for our successes, it was about celebrating the successes. We had
occasions to do so. The project came up during a global general managers’
meeting. All our global general managers were in San Francisco and complaining
about the lack of efficiency they were getting from our current solution,
which at the time was SharePoint. They wanted some other way of gathering
assets. That was the time that our CEO came to us.
[4:59] A year later we used that occasion to display what the solution was and
what we came up with. It was a great occasion to do so. Since then, we’ve had
other opportunities to tout our successes in that.
Henrik: [5:12] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and
people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Bjorn: [5:16] For me this goes back to a bit of what I talked about at
Createasphere this year and what I hoped to get across there was no road
map for how to get into this. What were some key areas that really helped bring
me up to speed and bring us up to speed? Well, there was the LinkedIn group
that’s out there. There is that Digital Asset Managers group on LinkedIn, which
I found was a great location for talent and resources. [5:40] Other ways would
be engaging in DAM communities, podcasts and blogs like yours, Henrik, and
conferences. Those are great ways to find expertise. Why not learn from the
best? Why not take the people who are best in the field and draw on their intelligence?
That’s what we did there.
[5:57] Like I was saying before, leveraging the vendor was really helpful. If you’re
in a position where you can get vendor referrals who you can go out and speak
to, DAM managers at other firms that are similar to yours maybe not exactly,
but similar that’s really a big help. That was a help for us.
[6:13] As for becoming a professional, learn the software. Learn what’s out there
as far as the software offerings. Taking some time and digging deep into those
offerings is helpful. Learning taxonomy and metadata. They all have the core
commonalities, each of the software packages. To learn those essentials is really
important to being a DAM manager.
Henrik: [6:38] Thanks, Bjorn. For more on this on other Digital Asset
Management topics, log on to Another DAM Podcast
is available on Audioboom, iTunes and the Tech Podcast Network. 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 Alex Wolff on Digital Asset Management


Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • How does a global beauty company use Digital Asset Management?
  • How has Digital Asset Management been able to save you time and money?
  • What advice would you like to share with DAM Professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?


Henrik de Gyor: [0:02] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Alex Wolff. Alex,
how are you?
Alex Wolff: [0:10] I’m doing excellent. How about yourself?
Henrik: [0:12] Great. Alex, how are you involved with Digital Asset
Alex: [0:17] I’m the Manager of Sales Technology for Coty Beauty. That’s actually
in the sales side, not on the technology side. I was tasked with finding a
solution for delivering images from our New York office to our field sales, which
are spread throughout the US, and also to customers, and occasionally to third
party vendors. [0:43] I had to go through the whole process of selecting a DAM
vendor and implementing that solution here, finding the right parties internally
to eventually own it, and in terms of moving the images from place to place
and distributing to the field. It was an exercise in replacing the manual effort of
burning disks, shipping them everyplace, and tracking those requests. It was a
lot of work being done here, a lot of manual stuff.
Henrik: [1:21] Sounds like it. How does a global beauty company use Digital
Asset Management?
Alex: [1:25] We use it a couple of different ways. There are various tools. The
very basis, everything starts with the idea for a graphic or an image. From the
time that image is developed and then eventually either shot, if it’s photography,
or created in Photoshop, or illustrated, the whole request and concept
needs to be tracked from person to person and approved as it goes from creative
to marketing to sales back to creative. [2:01] The Digital Asset Management
system helps keep the notifications moving. The next person in line in the workflow
has to be notified because the prior person approved it. That’s the basics.
Then it’s got to track where the images are stored in the file system so that
when a request comes in, it could be shipped out.
[2:24] The next piece is a library function, storing all of the images internally.
Then we needed a tool that was going to help us identify the images that were
ready, what we call our final, retouched images which is a small portion of the
thousands of images that we create. We make them available to the sales team
so they can provide them to customers for advertising or doing presentations at
sales meetings.
Henrik: [2:53] Excellent. Alex, how has Digital Asset Management been able to
save you time and money?
Alex: [2:59] My role is to find efficiencies for the sales team. Sales team had a
two to three, sometimes four, week wait for images, even if they were already
shot because we didn’t have a way of finding them and delivering them quickly.
I had to find a solution, and from there I back off except for procedurally and
user type administration. [3:22] It’s amazing, we’re using a company called
Widen as Software as a Service. Our people, now, go in, find all the images
that they’re looking for, provided they’ve been shot, and get them back in their
hands in 10 to 15 minutes no matter where they are in the world.
[3:40] One consultant estimated that it cut out about a half a million dollars in
waste in terms of efficiency because of how much time we spent tracking. A lot
of people forget that most of the time surrounding all this, it doesn’t take long
to burn a disk. It doesn’t take long to ship a disk. But you could take two or
three hours’ worth of phone calls tracking over the life cycle of a request.
[4:03] First, it’s cut out the time to market which is it used to take us two to three,
maybe even four, weeks to get images out to our sales team from New York.
That cost would be 60 people overnight shipment. You’d have $15 for an overnight
shipment times 60 people. So each set of requests might save us $900.
[4:29] Additionally, there the time that’s spent burning disks, the time wrapping
them and shipping them. The efficiencies that we’ve received by going to an
outside vendor really paid off.
Henrik: [4:41] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and
people aspiring to be DAM professionals?
Alex: [4:47] I would start off with having a good foundation in library sciences.
They need to be somewhat technical, be familiar with Windows or the Mac
Operating Systems and the file systems. [5:04] The key to success is being able
to not store an image, it’s to be able to find an image. Categorization and
hierarchies are all things that people that are involved in DAM need to be able
to do very well to recognize what’s going to be effective or more to the point,
what’s not going to be effective.
[5:25] That will allow the end user who is not a librarian, to be able to quickly get
the assets in a timely fashion and delivered very quickly to the final destination.
Henrik: [5:42] Great. Thanks Alex.
Alex: [5:45] You’re so welcome.
Henrik: [5:47] For more on Digital Asset Management log on to Another DAM Podcast is now available on Audioboo,
Blubrry, iTunes, and the Tech Podcast Network. Thanks again.