Another DAM Podcast

Audio about Digital Asset Management

Another DAM Podcast interview with Rubyliza Gaba on Digital Asset Management

Rubyliza Gaba discusses 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 Rubyliza Gaba. Rubyliza, how are you?

Rubyliza Gaba:  [0:11] I’m good, how are you doing?

Henrik:  [0:13] Great. Rubyliza, how are you involved with digital asset management?

Rubyliza:  [0:17] I am the Digital Asset Archivist at Fossil. Aside from ingesting images and checking out metadata integrity, I also do training and troubleshoot any issues our local and global users encounter.

Henrik:  [0:31] How does an American designer and manufacturer of clothing and accessories use digital asset management?

Rubyliza:  [0:37] Our DAM is used as a centralized archival repository. It houses all of Fossil’s final product images across multiple brands and product categories. Internally, it’s used by multiple departments, both locally and internationally via our regional offices.

[0:57] Actually, Fossil’s DAM is fairly young, only being launched in early 2014. So Pre‑DAM it was a bit of a challenge to locate images after they were worked on and finalized. Images were housed in multiple locations, including internal file shares and external FTP servers. We also have an archive system where images were actually burnt onto physical CDs and DVDs for archival purposes. Of course, this process was plagued with issues such as media being mislabeled, or maybe being checked out and never returned.

[1:32] Now that the DAM is in place, our users simply search for the images that they need, and they download them in the format that they require.

Henrik:  [1:42] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with DAM?

Rubyliza:  [1:45] I think the biggest challenge I’ve seen with the DAM system was change management. I can figure out system issues, but trying to introduce a new piece of technology to people, and convincing them that this system will actually help them was a bit tough.

[2:01] I completely understand that change is difficult sometimes. People are set in their own ways. They want to continue doing something that they’ve been doing for a while, because they know it works for them.

[2:13] When we were in the beginning stages of our implementation, we knew that user experience is the key to a successful DAM system. We wanted to make sure that our DAM would be easy for anyone to use, and in turn maybe ease any nervousness that they had for using a new system.

[2:32] What we did, my team and I, we set up meetings with our future users to discuss what they needed to be housed in the DAM, what functionality was required around that content, what pieces of metadata needed to be captured and how and when to capture it, and also the folder structure of the system.

[2:52] The final result is an interface that’s very sleek, and a search function that’s super simple to use. We found that with the proper training, users became more comfortable using our DAM.

[3:06] To us, user adoption is hugely important. We didn’t want to be to set in our own ways. We work with so many brands that are all individually unique. If something doesn’t work for a team, we’re always happy to discuss what needs to be done to provide the experience they expect from us.

[3:28] As for successes, I would have to say it’s knowing that people use our system. We’ve been getting pretty positive responses to it. Also, another success is seeing our user count grow. When we originally rolled out our DAM, it was only to a small group of users in our local offices. Now, our user number is in the thousands and span a global community.

[3:55] It’s really a great feeling to see something you’ve worked on so hard on it, just positively impact other people’s daily work processes. It’s been an amazing experience to be involved from day one, to be a part of the process and to watch our system grow into what it is today. It’s increased productivity across the board, and I really look forward to the future of our DAM.

Henrik:  [4:19] Excellent. Rubyliza, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Rubyliza:  [4:25] My advice is to network. That was the biggest advice given to me when I was in school. Networking is key, whether you are already a DAM professional or aspiring to be one. It’s always great to talk to others in our field. You can go to conferences, join organizations, and just meet each other face to face. We have a fantastic and supportive community out there, through my experiences.

[4:50] As for aspiring DAM professionals in school, I would get involved in volunteer work or internships. To me, you can have all the education in the world, but it’s that hands‑on training that helps. Also, it’s a good step towards building a network too. Also, work on that LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn, I think, is an amazing tool that not too many people are using, surprisingly.

“Always remember to be flexible.”

[5:15] Finally, remember when you do get the job, don’t get discouraged if you find yourself doing things that maybe aren’t always related to digital asset management. Always remember to be flexible.

Henrik:  [5:28] Great advice. Thanks, Rubyliza.

Rubyliza:  [5:30] Thank you. It was a pleasure to be a part of your podcast.

Henrik:  [5:33] For more on this and other digital asset management topics, log on to If you have any comments or questions about digital asset management, feel free to email me at For 150 other digital asset management podcast episodes, go to

Thanks again.

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Rob Le Quesne on Digital Asset Management

Rob Le Quesne discusses Digital Asset Management

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • Can you tell us about the Seamless End-to-End Experience you designed using Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to connect the physical and digital world together?
  • What advice would you like to share with DAM Professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?


Henrik de Gyor: This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Rob Le Quesne. Rob,
how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Rob Le Quesne: [0:10] I have been working in digital media over the last 15
years. From 2000 to 2010, I had my own company in Milan, Italy called The Big
Space with my business partner, Dick Lockhart. We specialized in designing digital
installations and smart fixtures for predominately retail clients. That involved
working with Levi Strauss in Mexico City, Polo Ralph Lauren in New York, and a
number of other key European fashion retail brands. [0:47] That happened, I’d
say, quite organically. We didn’t have a plan to really be focusing on this area
when we started the company, but we ended up gravitating more and more
toward solutions that involved the use of radio frequency identification, RFID
[1:05] One of the key projects that we produced was for Polo Ralph Lauren in
Manhattan, New York. This was thanks to an introduction that we had to InfoSys,
the IT and consulting firm based out of India, who we met at the National Retail
Fair in New York in January 2007.
[1:31] They already had a working relationship with Polo Ralph Lauren, providing
them with a lot of their backend logistics. They were in initial conversations with
Polo Ralph Lauren to create a new digital archive system, in order to provide
Polo’s internal designers with a means of accessing the whole back catalogue of
Polo Ralph Lauren fashion designs to use as inspiration when designing a new
season collection.
Henrik: [2:02] Can you tell us about the seamless end-to-end experience you
designed using Digital Asset Management, or DAM, and Radio Frequency
Identification, or RFID, to connect the physical and digital world together?
Rob: [2:14] We were brought in to design the user experience for this new
digital archive. I guess from our point of view, the particularly interesting opportunity
we had with this project was to not only consider the user experience
that Polo’s designers would be having on a screen to access this digital archive
system, but they were also interested in creating a corresponding physical
archive of all their back catalogue of products that could then link to the digital
archive. [2:53] In other words, designers at Polo Ralph Lauren, the idea was that
they would be able to view the whole digital archive from their computer at their
desk, and then book products that they could then walk over to the other side
of the world in Manhattan and actually pick up the product they’ve seen on their
screen, and check it out from the physical archive space at Polo.
[3:17] It was a really great example of the online experience and the offline, the
physical experience, coming together. Thanks to the radio frequency identification
technology that we were going to be using to physically tag their whole
back catalogue of products. Then connect that tagging system into the virtual,
the Digital Asset Management System that the designers would be accessing
from their desks.
Rob: [3:44] How were we going to do this? There were some key players involved.
There was The Big Space, which was my company, that was really responsible
for the user experience, the front end design. Both of the Digital
Asset Management system, but also designing the physical experience of how
designers, once they were in the physical archive space, how they would then
actually check out a physical product, and check it in. Just like at a library, when
you check out a book, and then return it.
[4:19] We also came up with some other ideas of how they could best utilize
this RFID technology in the physical archive space to find out more information
about each product in the archive space. We came up with a smart surface
and a smart hanger, so you could just hang up a product in the space.
Then on a plasma screen you would access information from the Digital Asset
Management System based on that particular product.
[4:49] Coming up with these seamless experiences to marry all the metadata that
had been tagged to every product, and being able to access all that data when
you actually had the physical product in your hands, that was what it was about.
That was what The Big Space, my company, was responsible for.
[5:09] Alongside us we had Infosys, the IT consulting company, who were responsible
for delivering the whole backend, the database system that the
front end would be connecting to. They had picked a particular Digital Asset
Management software called Artesia, that they were using as the UI for holding
all the content that was being accessed from the backend system. There was
a lot of conversation whether we would build the front end user experience in
either AJAX, in dynamic HTML, or in a Flex based environment.
[5:58] In the end, we opted for Flex. We felt it would give us more freedom in
creating a more dynamic user experience. Being able to play more with faster
transitions and a richer user experience. We decided, with InfoSys and Polo
Ralph Lauren, to design the front end experience in Flex that would then bolt
onto the Artesia Digital Asset Management software. The whole backend
system and the integration of our Flex based front end with Artesia was then
handled by InfoSys, offshore in India.
Rob: [6:40] In the meantime, in Manhattan, New York, we found local suppliers
to build the smart fixtures. What I mean by that are these custom pieces of furniture
that would house the RFID technology that was provided by a company
owned by Motorola, called Symbol Technologies. The smart fixtures housed,
essentially, RFID, Radio Frequency Identification, readers and antennas. Which
would then enable the people in the physical space to just lay down a piece of
clothing on a smart surface.
[7:24] Each piece of clothing had an RFID tag sewn into each product that enabled
the clothing to be washed, with no detrimental effect to the RFID tags.
These tags enable these products to just be thrown onto the smart surface.
Automatically, it’s read by the antenna that’s housed within the smart piece of
furniture. Obviously, massive benefits over the traditional bar code. Because no
longer are people actually having to line up the bar code with an optical scanner
[8:06] Instead, we’re using radio waves to communicate the unique product
number of each product to a database. Thanks to the antenna that’s housed
within the piece of MDF furniture. So you could then throw onto this surface 20
or more products, all in a heap, and they would all be individually read. Thanks
to the RFID tags sewn into each garment. At the beginning of this project, from
my point of view as a designer, the most important thing was to actually understand
how the design process at Polo Ralph Lauren currently worked. How a
Polo Ralph Lauren designer proceeded to work in the real world.
Rob: [8:57] How we could optimize and improve their experience through
technology and through this Digital Asset Management System. It was interesting
getting inside Polo and understanding the reality of the design process
there. Because they were relying on a very non-technological process at that
point. The design process they currently had was that they would initially look
for inspiration. How they would do that would be looking at their back catalog
of products, looking in magazines, going to old thrift stores, looking for vintage
[9:33] Initially, they would just be looking for a theme to tie their inspiration together.
Let’s say it was Wimbledon tennis in the 1930s. They would then create
a physical wall, a physical collage of inspiration imagery, involving old photos,
magazine articles, old garments. They’d create this physical wall of inspiration,
which would then be used to brief the product designers to go away and come
up with designs that reflected this particular inspirational theme. What we
wanted to do, using technology, was to replicate that physical wall of inspiration
and to help the designers in their quest for both inspiration, and being able to
look at the whole back catalog of products. To do that, we created a virtual wall
of inspiration.
Rob: [10:36] Through the interface that we designed for the Artesia Digital
Asset Management System, we enabled designers to pick particular items that
interested them. They could do this through a number of entry points into
the database. One would be by categories. You had, for instance, a different
season, summer, winter or through male, female. But also through inspirational
themes. Then you could create your own virtual pin board, a cross between
a pin board and a mood board, of content you found in the Digital Asset
Management System.
[11:23] Our idea was to play with the space and the spatial confines of the interface.
The idea was that, in the same way that previously they would have that
initial, key inspirational theme like Wimbledon in the 1930s. Our idea was that
you’d be able to have your key inspirational image in the center of the screen.
Then you could position your different images that you’d found in the database
around that central image.
[12:01] The further from the image you dragged the images, the smaller they’d
become. So the idea was to create this visual mood board on the screen that
you could then take with you to the physical space, and start finding the real
garments that corresponded to that mood board. That mood board really represented
your wish list of garments, which you can then book. You could send
a message to the archive manager in the physical archive, walk over the road to
the physical archive, and collect those garments.
[12:39] Check them out of the physical space. To do that, we created a check-in,
checkout table which, essentially, was a custom piece of furniture that housed
an RFID antenna and reader and screen, embedded within the surface of the
table. You would lay down on the table your pile of garments that you wanted
to check out. They would then automatically be displayed as a list view on
the table. Then you’d have your own ID card that you would swipe on the
side of the table, where there would be a reader for your ID card, identifying
who you are.
Rob: [13:26] Confirm that you want to check out those garments, and then off
you go. As I said before, there was an additional smart fixture in the physical
space that enabled you to just find out more, if you just browsed in the physical
space. Being able to put any garment on this smart hanger that had a plasma
screen next to it, to find out more about the details of that garment. When it
was designed. What the inspiration for that garment was and so on.
[13:54] That, in a nutshell, was the work that we did for Polo Ralph Lauren. Just
looking at it in hindsight, the key success factor for the project was having an
archive manager at Polo Ralph Lauren who really owned the project. It was her
baby. It was thanks to her that we managed to create that end-to-end solution.
It’s very interesting, RFID. It’s been around now for a fair amount of time.
People have been talking about it within the customer facing retail space for the
last 10 years.
[14:36] What we’re seeing now, obviously, is the telephone companies really
starting to embrace RFID as a means to communicate between your phone and
the real world. We’re seeing this a lot now, in terms of digital wallets, and the
ability to use your phone as a way to pay for stuff in shops, using NFC technology
in the phone. My personal interest now is just looking at ways of exploring
new solutions using NFC and RFID technology, for people within both retail
space and day-to-day lifestyle services.
Henrik: [15:22] That’s so fascinating. There will be a link to the article in the
podcast notes, on Lastly, what advice would you
like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM
Rob: [15:32] What it really taught me was the need to be able to always check
your solution, compared to people’s familiar working methods in the real
world. [15:44] Finding ways to always ensure that the solutions you’re providing,
through Digital Asset Management, is actually complementing and improving
the methods that people already are familiar with in the real world. To ensure
that they don’t only use it once, but continue using it, so it’s sticky.
[16:05] Instead of just, “Wow, that’s great.” But then they only use it once, and
don’t use it anymore. It’s about maintaining people’s loyalty to these services.
Henrik: [16:14] I couldn’t say that better if I tried. Thank you so much, Rob.
For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, log onto

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 Julie Maher on Digital Asset Management

Julie Maher discusses Digital Asset Management

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • Why does a jewelry company use a DAM?
  • What advice would you like to give to 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 Julie Maher. Julie,
how are you?
Julie Maher: [0:09] Doing great, how are you doing?
Henrik: [0:13] Good. Julie, how are you involved with Digital Asset
Julie: [0:15] I’ve been involved with Digital Asset Management for over 10 years.
I first started at Ralph Lauren. A little bit of background, I’ve always been very
interested in photography and the preservation of those types of assets. Digital
Asset Management happened to be something that I naturally fell into. It was
the natural next step for me. [0:39] At Ralph Lauren, they have an extremely
extensive collection of photographic assets, video assets and they were at the
point where everyone in the art department was keeping the same types of
images on different servers. It was really clogging up their space. It got to a
point where we really just needed to clean everything out and put it into one
system that the entire company could access.
Henrik: [1:10] Makes sense.
Julie: [1:14] Yeah, we started building this DAM system. It was highly customizable.
A company like Ralph Lauren is not going to have anything straightforward.
They’re very lifestyle driven, so you can’t just search for photographs by a
photographer. It has to be by thoroughbred, Nantucket, things like that as well
as searching as by location, photographer, model, season, year, that type of
thing. [1:42] It was extra special, because that’s really their whole thing. And also,
at Ralph Lauren, as in fashion in general, is very cyclical. A collection from the
80s will return and be very popular, and you need to pull those assets again as
inspiration for a new collection.
[2:00] It’s a huge, huge database. They had about 750,000 assets when I left in
2006. They were adding approximately 60,000 assets a year. It’s massive. I was
in the corporate archives department. My boss and I, Pat Christman, who had
been with the company since the very beginning, she was more like the company
historian, we worked with this team for this.
[2:30] We had a very rigorous schedule. We’d meet weekly. We really built up a
beautiful, beautiful system. I love it. To this day people always comment about
it. Anybody who has interacted with that system knows that it’s very fine tuned
and it works really well.
[2:49] Yeah, that was my entre into the Digital Asset Management world. From
there, I’ve worked with the NFL. I worked with them last year for their youth division.
They needed to organize their assets. It seems to be a problem in these
art departments where people download these high res assets and keep them
on their individual servers or desktops. It starts clogging up the system again.
[3:23] Companies are starting to realize that they need one place for these
assets to stay so they’re easily accessible but, again, not everywhere all over the
company. You know things start to happen. Was this the final approved one? Is
it cropped correctly? You don’t have that information in a simple file sitting on
your desktop. Do you know what I mean? It hasn’t gone through all the stages
of approval.
Henrik: [3:48] So, there’s centralization basically?
Julie: [3:51] Yeah, definitely. I basically work with luxury brands. My other job
that I do is I produce fashion videos. Now I’m starting to work with those clients
who have all these video assets and photographic assets, and they have no idea
what to do with them. [4:11] It just amazes me, maybe because I’ve been doing
this for 10 years it’s not shocking, but it just really surprises me that people don’t
have things more in order. They’re starting to catch on and realize that this is a
very vital part of their business, which is good. This area with the fashion sector,
luxury brands, it’s really totally booming right now.
Henrik: [4:42] Julie, why would a jewelry company, for example, use a DAM?
Julie: [4:47] Currently I am consulting at the second largest jewelry company
in the country, not the world actually. A jewelry company is like any other company
that has assets. In this particular case there is a jewelry designer for this
company that is pushing this project. [5:12] She herself realizes how valuable it
is to have her assets organized and located in one place. They’re preserved.
They’re getting digitized at very high resolution. They’re going to be preserved.
Everything is going to go to cold storage. Her actual physical assets are going
to be protected.
[5:32] I really saw the jewelry company as any company like a Ralph Lauren or
a NFL. It’s not even about the industry. It’s about preserving your assets and
making sure everything is taken care of. I could do this in any industry.
[5:50] I tell people all the time, “Yes, I work in a luxury brand sector, but I could
be doing this for anyone who has that need.” It’s a major, major need. This is
a great project that I’m working on now, because the company is 100 percent
behind it.
[6:09] We have a very nice budget, which you also often don’t get with these
projects because it’s so new on the scene, it seems. Again, as with Ralph Lauren,
the team I’m managing, we have a very rigorous schedule.
[6:29] We meet every Wednesday, and on Thursdays we action everything that
we talked about on Wednesday so it gives the team that is actually building out
the system five days to get it going. It’s a very, very strict schedule. Everybody is
totally committed to it.
[6:46] I think that’s what makes it work and makes a DAM system really effective,
if you’ve got a team that’s just as passionate as you are, knows the end goal,
knows what it’s going to look like and can see what it’s going to look like.
[7:00] Again, it’s highly customizable. We can just bring this right into the PR
department and use it for exactly what we need. What’s very exciting about this
project is that there are other modules that have already been developed within
the company, but they did it backwards.
[7:19] They uploaded photos first, and then they attached some data and everything
else. We’re doing it like the old school way. We are building it up nice and
slowly, very clean. Then we’re going to add assets. This is now going to serve as
the model for the rest of the company going forward.
[7:35] They have a very, very nice, clean system. It’s going to work perfectly. It’s
going to totally be across the company. It’s going to be one large system with
all these different modules, and it’s very, very nice.
Henrik: [7:52] Julie, what advice would you like to give to DAM professionals or
people aspiring to become a DAM professional?
Julie: [8:00] I thought about this a little bit. I said I worked in fashion for a long
time, luxury brands. I feel that the DAM community is very inviting. I don’t feel
like it’s a very competitive group. People are always sharing ideas and going to
each other. [8:18] I think that’s really key in this industry, not to be afraid to contact
your colleagues and talk about things. Chances are they’ve already been
through it, and they can give you some pointers. I go to these Meetups, and I
meet these fantastic people.
[8:36] You keep in touch, and you come across some situation, like I met someone
last week and I’m going to contact them about these video assets I’m working
on for this current collection. I just think you should be really open and not
be very competitive about that type of thing.
[8:53] I know a lot of industries are competitive, but I feel like this is a knowledge
sharing group, and it’s just natural to want to talk about, discuss, and
share information. Do you know what I mean? It’s one of those industries that
work that way.
[9:06] For the aspiring professional, I just feel like you should go to these meetups.
Go to these networking events. I hear so many people say they don’t want
to go. They’re shy or whatever. But it’s like this is one group of people who are
so passionate about what they do that somebody is going to talk to you.
[9:30] That fear of social anxiety that people experience when going to these
events, people shouldn’t even worry about that. I find that younger people I run
into don’t want to do these things. I’m like, “It’s the best thing going. Are you
kidding me? I meet people every time I go. I meet wonderful people.” You just
expand your network.
Henrik: [9:51] Thanks, Julie.
Julie: [9:53] You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure.
Henrik: [9:54] For more on Digital Asset Management, log onto Thanks again.

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