Sandra Sundback discusses 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 Sondra Sunday back. Sandra, how are you?
Sandra Sundback: Hi, I’m good. How are you?
Henrik de Gyor: Great. Sandra, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Sandra Sundback: Okay, so I work as the product owner of our DAM, which basically means that I’m the subject matter expert and I’m responsible for the implementation of our enterprise-wide DAM and actually for the whole product and the concept. I work really closely with all of our stakeholders. It’s basically the vendor, our end users, which we have quite a lot of and then the IT department and all the developers from our integration partner. Also, I wrote my Master’s thesis on DAM which was a case study on Kesko and its current status on asset management. And then I did an analysis on how the implementation of a DAM could help us achieve our strategic objectives. So I actually also studied the field for quite some time during that time.
Henrik de Gyor: How does a leading Finnish listed trading sector company use Digital Asset Management?
Sandra Sundback: Well, we actually just started our implementation project in mid-April, so we haven’t really been able to start using the system quite yet, but the aim is to build kind of a central hub which would work for all of our content creators and it would enable them to have a much faster time to market for much more streamlined production processes. And this we aim to achieve too, streamlining the production processes with the tools that DAM provides us and also by using all possible automation possibilities. And just to kind of downsize the manual work for everyone by combining these tools. And our DAM utilizes a lot of existing enterprise data as its metadata. So for instance, we collect a product data and recipe data from our other systems APIs and we plan to highly concentrate on making the metadata as business-centric as we possibly can so that it will both serve the end users of the DAM. And then also our publishing and marketing automation processes. And we just completed the first migration project last week and actually, and we’d have now kicked off a kind of a soft launch, so we’re refining the metadata with our DAM champions and they will do a lot of manual refining and fine-tuning of the metadata, but we will also run several refinement runs from the data sources from the APIs which we have available, but we still have four upcoming migration is to go through. So the work is far from done just yet.
Henrik de Gyor: Sandra, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?
Sandra Sundback: Well, in our case we went through a very rigorous discovery and decision-making process, which at times felt really hard and frustrating almost. We also actually had some difficulties in finding the right vendor for us. So a vendor who would be able to provide us with the suitable toolkit for us and how we wanted to implement our DAM. So we actually ended up having two RFP rounds, but fortunately, we were able to use some expert help outside of K group on the other time around or the second time around. Also, we decided to do a proof of concept with the two finalists vendors and finally we found our match. If I were to think about our biggest success, it’s probably how we prepared for the first migration and the cleanup of that legacy system was pretty well prepared and all the stakeholders were very engaged in getting the cleanup done.
So we ended up cleaning up the system, I guess within a month roughly. We migrated 200,000 assets and we were also able to classify different priorities for the assets which we were migrating. So it made me very happy actually to see kind of everyone dig in and start working on that. We also did have a pretty extensive mapping of the metadata from the first migration or the legacy system. And that’s going to help us a lot when we tried to manage kind of the metadata refining phase now in the new DAM after the migration is done. But the beginning was really tough. But after we got the vendor and we started implementing, things have actually been moving really fast and I’m really, really happy to see that.
Henrik de Gyor: And what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Sandra Sundback: I created a top three. Probably I would have more, but my first one is never, never, ever, never give up.
There’s going to be times when people don’t really understand what DAM is all about and they’re going to question the whole endeavor and probably everyone won’t even see the benefit in investing huge amounts of money for a resource to do the DAM implementation right, but I would say that by analyzing the current state, calculating what benefits you could gain and continuously communicating with the decision makers that’s a key issue and it’s going to help. And we actually went through almost two years of internal marketing and justifying the need and mapping of the vendors and trying to find the perfect vendor and before we could start implementing. So, I really at times felt that I wanted to give up, but I’m really happy I didn’t. So that would be my first advice, never give up. It’s, it’s gonna happen.
The second one is that do your due diligence, which basically what I mean by that is that you really need to know who the users will be in the organization. So also again, a mapping and discovery phase is very important and also understanding the different processes which they’re currently using and who their partners are, for instance, in content production or where they’re buying their assets from and creating them. It actually helped me a lot that I have a marketing background. I understood the processes and the pain points pretty well actually from when we interviewed the stakeholders. And also, of course, it’s important to know what the current systems are which the organization is using, where assets might leave at the moment and how many assets and how to migrate. Then how to build metadata model and the taxonomy in the DAM, which will then serve all the users in the new DAM. So that those are actually the hardest pre-work that needs to be done. But it pays off in when, when you start implementing.
And then as my third one, I actually chose to use all the DAM resources and the whole network which is available out there. The best thing that I invested in was buying a couple, a super great books actually on how to do the DAM implementation right and where the focus should be. It really helped me in a kind of forming my vision and also I reached out to the communities on LinkedIn for instance, and I, I have done my best to network with peers in seminars. And the funny thing about the DAM community is actually that people are really helpful and they are ready to discuss difficulties or give their best practices and ideas with you. So it’s really worth a try at least to connect with people.
Henrik de Gyor: Well Thanks, Sandra.
Sandra Sundback: You’re very welcome. Thank you.
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