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Another DAM Podcast interview with Lauren Philson on Digital Asset Management


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

Lauren, how are you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Henrik:  [4:37] Thanks, Lauren.

Lauren:  [4:38] Great!

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

Thanks again.

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

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Emily Kolvitz on Digital Asset Management



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

Emily Klovitz:  [0:12] I’m doing great. How are you?

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

Emily:  [0:18] I’m involved in Digital Asset Management as both student and practitioner. I’m finishing my MLIS at the University of Oklahoma, and also working full time in the field. I currently am a digital asset manager for JCPenney at the home office. I’ve also worked on digital projects outside of a formal DAM environment, in archives and also a museum.

[0:48] Recently, I have become very involved in the DAM education and DAM community. Part of that is a desire to contribute to the field. Another part of that is just me segueing into the next phase of my life.

Henrik:  [1:05] Emily, how does the national retail chain use Digital Asset Management?

Emily:  [1:10] My company uses Digital Asset Management for a variety of reasons ‑‑ works in progress, distribution, and also brand management. In my specific area, we use Digital Asset Management for works in progress, and also on final, finished photography for marketing assets. The DAM is fairly new, only a couple of years old, and it’s really only been hard‑launched since last November [2013].

[1:39] There’s a lot of building going on right now. Basically, it’s such a large organization, there’re actually multiple DAM environments. We are positioning ours as the enterprise DAM, but we still have a long road ahead of us. In terms of other DAM systems, there are that some that makes sense, in terms of what kind of content is kept and described, and also the perks of that specific system.

[2:07] Then, the different challenges of the type of content we’re talking about. As time has passed, the various DAM managers have crossed paths, and it’s been very rewarding to speak to these people, and find out what we have in common, and where we can help each other out.

[2:25] There have also been systems that didn’t really provide value for the organization and were duplications of content. I worked very hard to get rid of those systems. They’ve been shut down, and that’s because we have been lucky to have very strong senior leadership and buy‑in behind our DAM.

[2:43] What’s really interesting about my organization, or any large organization trying to wrangle their content, is just the sheer number of assets you’re actually talking about. Also, the number of DAM systems actually used by the organization, because many times it’s often multiple DAM systems.

Henrik:  [3:02] What are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset Management?

Emily:  [3:05] The biggest challenge to Digital Asset Management is change management. Everything else is a problem that can be solved logically. People are more tricky than that.

[3:16] The second biggest challenge is probably that DAM does not happen in a vacuum. There are more than likely other digital initiatives in your organization, and sometimes being able to see a bigger picture, even bigger than Digital Asset Management, can help an organization implement control over information chaos. This means information governance should be part of the Digital Asset Management strategy, or perhaps the DAM strategy is a facet of an overall digital strategy or information management strategy.

[3:53] It’s been very difficult for me to stay in my DAM bubble, so to speak, in the corporate world. As an information specialist, it is so glaringly obvious all the areas that could benefit from information governance. Yet there’s only one of you, and a DAM manager has many hats to wear. That’s what I feel are the biggest challenges to Digital Asset Management.

[4:20] Successes? I guess getting buy‑in feels really good. Growing your user adoption, that’s very rewarding. Any time you have even a slight increase in user adoption, that’s a big success, and you should take the time to celebrate it. Speaking of that, with your successes in Digital Asset Management, it’s OK to brag a little. It’s part of the advocating for your DAM, so usage reports and celebrating that kind of thing is good for DAM managers to do.

Henrik:  [4:57] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Emily:  [5:03] Read everything you can get your hands on and don’t get married to a system. There are many sources for education pertaining to Digital Asset Management. Many of them are community‑, vendor‑ or organization‑based, not necessarily subjected to the rigor of scholarly publication and peer review, which we talked about previously.

[5:26] It’s important to be skeptical, I think. Verify the facts for yourself. Inspect methodologies, and don’t get sucked into buying something because of someone putting the weight of authority behind it. I also think that you should trust your gut, because you can usually tell when information is info‑fluff, versus substantial information that adds to your understanding.

[5:54] The part about the DAM system, we’re usually the ones enacting the change and we’re not the ones who have to deal with it, because we’re starting the change. But you have to be cognizant of this may not be the best solution long term, and you can’t marry a system. It’s not about the technology. Digital Asset Management is so much more than that. You need to constantly be benchmarking your DAM, inspecting your practices, and getting better and better so you can grow as a digital asset manager.

Henrik:  [6:29] Great. Well thanks, Emily.

Emily:  [6:31] Thanks for having me.

Henrik:  [6:32] For more on Digital Asset Management topics, log on to Another DAM podcast is available on AudioBoom and iTunes. 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 David Lipsey on Digital Asset Management


Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • You are the Conference Chair to Henry Stewart DAM Conferences. How have you seen Digital Asset Management change in the past several years?
  • What advice would you like to give to 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 David Lipsey. David,
how are you?
David Lipsey: [0:11] Good, Henrik. Thanks for asking and thanks for the opportunity
to join you.
Henrik: [0:14] David, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
David: [0:19] I had the chance to be involved in Digital Asset Management
before the phrase even existed. I was able to become a part of one of the foundational
software companies, Artesia Technologies, which grew out of work that
I was doing with many other people at its precursor company at Thomson, the
publisher. [0:47] We were looking at what now seems like the quaint and carriage
trade idea of repurposing editorial assets to go from textbooks or the technical
reference materials from Thomson into CDs which could be distributed largely
for reference publishing.
Of course, out of this…Let’s call it something…Out of this spaghetti grew the
DNA of the concept of create once and use many. We weren’t able to grab the
words “content management.” They had become used for web facing applications.
But we did come up with, in some sort of aggregation and a bit asystematic
[1:33] with the phrase “Digital Asset Management.”
[1:37] The first companies I had the chance to with, Henrik, that were involved
with this were a company that’s local to you and I, “The Washington Post,”
as well as General Motors, one of the largest corporations in the world that
has an extraordinary archive of images and thousands of hours of video that
they were looking to put to better work for GM and reduce the cost of finding
that material.
[2:01] I’ve continued through my career, back from this early wandering into what
was then an uncharted map of, “Let’s become Digital Asset Management,”
through several years with Artesia, which was acquisitioned by OpenText. In
subsequent roles as an industry principle for media and entertainment for SAP,
then with FTI Consulting, also in the media and entertainment practice.
[2:31] My concerns go across the entire spectrum of the content industries,
whether it’s for text or image, for audio, for video, or for other kinds of files
where, again, creating once and using again can bring value to organizations, to
companies, to universities, museums, etc.
Henrik: [2:54] You’re the conference chair of Henry Stewart DAM conferences,
how have you seen Digital Asset Management change in the past several years?
David: [3:03] It would be interesting to plot this and do word maps or kind of
idea clusters. They are fun to reflect on. I think as you and I have talked about,
and as you’ve been good about presenting it at Henry Stewart, there are now
actually job descriptions about, jobs which are entitled Digital Asset Manager.
[3:29] I think that, in and of itself, indicates how DAM is becoming much more
of an enterprise application. I believe there’s a large transition that we’re seeing
occurring right now, where we have… There’s some kind of almost sweet irony in
that this application, which collapses silos between content types, a PowerPoint,
a Word document, an image, a video, an audio file, has been siloed itself into
many departmental applications in the businesses or organizations where DAM
had been deployed.
[4:09] I think, Henrik, that we’re seeing a recognition that DAM is an enterprise
resource application, much the way that payroll is. Payroll could vary if there are
exempt or nonexempt employees. Payroll could certainly vary if they’re union or
nonunion employees, with the complexities of the workflows of that very specialized
compensation methodologies that have to be deployed.
[4:36] DAM itself, I think, is moving from something that happened in various
departments, which had the original budgets for this, to an enterprise application.
To tie this to your question, I think we’re seeing that in the caliber of Digital
Asset Management installations that many companies are kind enough to share
at the Henry Stewart Conferences.
[5:03] For example, we now will have, this year, the third or fourth maturing
presentation of the application that goes across Warner Brothers and its allied
organizations at Turner and CNN, which supports not only across business lines,
across asset types. But now, I don’t know how many millions of assets are managed
in that application. That’s a statement we just simply could not have made
earlier on in several years of Henry Stewart Conferences.
[5:36] I think the fact that there are emerging models for what disposition means
and HR policies for hiring. There is a recognition that DAM needs to be a centralized
application and that we now see, across lines of business, repositories
that number in the millions of assets and are just a part of everyday life indicates
some of the maturing of this field.
Henrik: [6:01] That’s true. What advice would you like to give to DAM professionals
and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
David: [6:07] I think attending the conferences that are available is a great idea.
I think the chance to understand that we’re only still, in so many ways, at the
beginning of this field. Yes, the more mature vendors have been around for a
dozen years or so, from the late ‘90s to here we are in late 2010. That the demands
on the content and the fundability of content are something that we’re
still seeing very early on. [6:43] I was in a meeting last week where I heard one
of the large repurposers of content in the sports industry talk about that they
currently service 106 separate digital handheld devices. This is October of 2010
when there’s only the iPad and only a nominal amount of Android smartphones.
[7:08] Just imagine, Henrik, a year from now the demand on content. And not
only from industries where publishing is both a noun and a verb our friends in
the book business or the movie business or TV and magazine publishing. But
imagine a year from now that the demand on content from CPG [Consumer
Package Goods] companies and from other manufacturers that have marketing
initiatives will have exquisite tablet devices that their content can be used on.
[7:39] I’m saying this as a note to encourage them to become involved in the
Digital Asset Management space and understanding that it’s a very wide open
field for someone who wants to become a DAM professional.
[7:57] I also think that someone wanting to get involved in digital liquidity within
the company that they’re applying for may encounter some resistance in more
entrenched departmental behaviors or operations. Nothing unusual. It’s just that
the VPs or department managers may have been working with certain workflows
for a long time and someone coming into the field, especially someone who is…
[8:31] There’s Schwinn Bicycle involved in iPhone and digital wheels, if you will, is
going to be, maybe, much more comfortable than the people that are working
for in terms of content sharing, content liquidity, and content repurposing.
[8:50] I guess that would be something that probably both of us would give as
a word of caution to someone entering the field, that someone’s comfort with
living in the connected world may be encountering a department that’s not as
digitally integrated and not as connected within its own organization. Some
education, some patience, and some very private eye rolling may be a good
approach to encountering that.
[9:20] Does that make sense?
Henrik: [9:21] Yes, and there’s likely many of those.
David: [9:23] Yeah, I think so. I think it’s one of the things that it’s both exciting.
It can also be very frustrating for…I don’t want to say a generation before.
Newer employees who are used to just lightning fast content sharing and have
not encountered the fact that it took, what was it, 20 years to clear the DVD of
the first season of “Saturday Night Live” because a of the complexities of the
rights situation. [9:57] I think that another one of the challenges is that it makes,
with the technology that provides for rapid worldwide ease of access to assets,
that the distance rights systems and governance systems have not nearly kept
pace with this.
[10:15] Rights clearance and rights permissioning, and, in addition, the pricing
models are far from mature about this. We’re sitting here in this conversation
on the cusp of “The New York Times” having an interesting transition coming
up with paywall with metered access to free content. Magazines, finding a new
wealth of opportunity on subscription based and display advertising based revenue
from tablets that didn’t exist a year ago.
Henrik: [10:51] Like “Wired”…
David: [10:54] Absolutely. We’re only seeing a handful of tablet based magazines
to talk about. It could be easy to come into a job and just assume everything’s
been figured out about the economics of digital content and the rights
that are “the crazy aunt in the basement,” [laughs] use that phrase or “the crazy
uncle in the basement.” [11:22] We have a long ways to go on the econometrics
of digital contentment and on the ease with which rights are, at this point, permitted
because much more maturity is occurring in the negotiation stage than
Henrik: [11:39] Thank you, David.
David: [11:40] Henrik, it’s always a delight to spend time with you and appreciate
your contributions to maturing the field. Look forward to talking to
you again.
Henrik: [11:49] For more on Digital Asset Management, log on to Thanks again.