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Another DAM Podcast interview with Mary Litviak and Matthew Wilhm on Digital Asset Management

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 [2015] 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 naming 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 [2015], 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 anotherdamblog.com. For this and 150 other podcast episodes, go to anotherdampodcast.com. If you have any comments or questions please feel free to email me at anotherdamblog@Gmail.com. Thanks again.


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Another DAM Podcast interview with Anne Lenehan on Digital Asset Management

 

Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor:  [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I am Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Anne Lenehan. Anne how are you?

Anne Lenehan:  [0:09] I’m very well, thank you Henrik.

Henrik:  [0:11] Anne, how are you involved with digital asset management?

Anne:  [0:14] At Elsevier, I’m currently the product owner for our digital asset management system, and I was also involved in creating the business case for the DAM we introduced into Elsevier, and ensure that not only through the business case but also through the implementation phase at Elsevier.

Henrik:  [0:31] Anne, how does the provider of science and health information use digital asset management?

Anne:  [0:35] It’s a great question, when you think about science or health information you don’t necessarily think about all of the types of rich media and video, and audio materials that are part of not only just the diagnosis part of medical information but also in the learning and also in the patient information. The way that we use digital assets at Elsevier is they’re part of every product that we produce, every book, every journal and every online product that we have has images, videos, audio files, Google maps files or map files.

[1:08] We have special 3D and interactive images, we have interactive questions and case studies, all of which have a lot of rich media as part and parcel of those content pieces. Those are all digital assets that we want to store and manage, and potentially recompile and re‑use in future products. It’s really at the core of our content information. It is as big of a part of our content flow as the text content has always been.

Henrik:  [1:39] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with DAM?

Anne:  [1:42] I think one of the most difficult thing with digital assets and how we manage them through a DAM, is really understanding the work flows that are involved in creating the assets, and how they can fit together in an end‑to‑end workflow for production pieces. I think that’s probably the biggest challenge.

[2:00] The way that we view creating, say images or videos, are viewed as very much separate work streams, where in fact, they are very frequently work stream that all flow together or workflows that flow together and are connected in a way. Actually having a DAM enables us to view those work streams and workflows in a much more continuous manner and help us to improve our processes for creating rich media assets that are then part of the DAM.

[2:30] I think this has been one of the biggest challenges that we’ve seen within my company but that’s also a common thing within other companies is that certain parts of the workflows are not always identified as having the potential to be part of working with the digital asset management system. It’s actually very good way to manage assets coming into the company from our author base.

[2:51] It’s a great way to manage distributing those assets for improvements or for transformation to our vendors. Digital asset management system is a very helpful way for us to review those assets, to view them in [Inaudible 3:03] and the way that they are going to be used in our content product. Also to distribute those assets down the road to our product platforms and also as part of our compiled objects, be they books or journals, online content, e‑books, whatever the output is.

[3:19] That’s a great success and it’s actually seeing how the DAM can be in content, but the biggest challenge is really helping people understand how those workflows fit together.

Henrik:  [3:30] Anne, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Anne:  [3:35] I think one of the most important things to understand is actually how the assets are used in a company, and what the importance of those assets are. This was a big change for us at Elsevier, we had always viewed rich media assets with somewhat secondary..or a secondary part of our content pieces.

[3:52] It was only really when we started to think about video assets and image assets, and all other kinds of rich media assets as being core and central to our content pieces that we started to really look at DAM as being a way to manage those content pieces.

[4:07] The one important thing for an aspiring DAM professional is to really understand the business that they are looking at, and what the content pieces are that go into it, and how those content pieces, be they, digital assets. How are they working together? What is the overall picture, and the overall view or the overall importance of digital assets to that company?

[4:27] As those assets become more important and as the record or the management or the potentially the re‑use becomes more important. That would be something very important to understand and to translate to, particularly to senior management, in supporting and funding origination of a DAM system.

[4:45] The other thing that I would really recommend for aspiring DAM professional is to understand a lot about metadata and taxonomy and how they work together to support the assets that you are creating, storing and managing in a digital asset management system. I can’t overemphasize this enough, but this was really a core part of our mature view of digital assets within Elsevier is that we had established a really good taxonomy.

[5:11] That we are using as part of a process we call Smart Content across our product assets and platforms. We were using the taxonomy to tag our content and manage it to improve the search and discovery of the assets and content that we had on our platforms. One of the outgrowths of the Smart Content program was really to understand that rich media assets were being searched and were being used.

[5:37] That actually translated to…how do we use the taxonomy? What a taxonomy is? How it could be used in your particular industry and the importance of how that can be used to enable search and discovery and lead in the efforts of the DAM.

Henrik:  [5:50] Well, thanks Anne.

Anne:  [5:51] Sure.

Henrik:  [5:53] For more on this and other digital asset management topics go to AnotherDAMblog.com.

For this and 150 other podcasts episodes including transcripts of every interview go to AnotherDAMpodcast.com. If you have any comments or questions please feel free to email me at anotherdamblog@Gmail.com. Thanks again.