Henrik de Gyor: [0:00] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today, I’m speaking with Margie Foster.
Margie, how are you?
Margie Foster: [0:09] I’m good. Thank you. How are you?
Henrik: [0:11] Great! Margie, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Margie: [0:16] I work as a Digital Asset Management Librarian for a global semiconductor company. My position is within the Marketing Department. I’m responsible for all the rich media that is involved with the marketing collateral. I have everything from large banners that hang at events over our booth, to video files, to print collateral, to anything that goes out on dot com.
Henrik: [0:49] Why does a global semiconductor company use Digital Asset Management?
Margie: [0:54] A semiconductor company, especially a global one, is no different from any other global company in the sense that it needs to reach as many of its customers as possible. Such is possible in a Digital Asset Management system is a key, keys in…Certainly, the marketing group being able to reach out to their customers.
Henrik: [1:19] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?
Margie: [1:24] As far as challenges go, initially, I started with Digital Asset Management back in the day when it was just beginning. What I’ve seen over the years is that Digital Asset Management system themselves are becoming more and more accepted as something that is integral to a marketing function. We need to be able to access whatever, whenever we need to buy, whomever needs to see it.
[1:51] Certainly, the systems do that. Where I’m seeing the challenge, it continues to be in the positions that work with the systems, specifically something like my own Digital Asset Management Librarian. There is a constant challenge to prove the works where we tend to be victims of our own success, and that we make it look easy. Looks like the information just falls into place, all the files are where they’re supposed to be.
[2:24] And sure enough, some cost‑conscious manager is going to start asking herself, “Do I really need a professional person to do this? Can I get my admin to do this? Or better yet, can I get the users of this system to just update things as they go along?” The answer, of course, is no because they won’t, as far as the users go.
[2:49] What they will do is the best they can, when they can. Frankly, they have full‑time positions that don’t require the management, the care and feeding of the system.
[3:02] One of the biggest challenges then becomes how to defend the position, having at least one person with the overview that may help maintain consistency. Frankly, I think the consistency should be spread across the company. Anybody that’s responsible for metadata, or tagging, or any kind of SEO, there needs to be a comprehensive, cross‑functional team there in place.
[3:36] So that the person with the Digital Asset Management system is speaking with the people that are keywording some of the graphics under the website or something. Because that position is also about training, and access, and speed, you wouldn’t think that the proving the worth of the position is that much of a challenge, but it really, really is.
[4:02] I like to think that it’s a part of a slow process of acceptance. It took a while for people to get their heads around the idea of a Digital Asset Management system. Now, more and more, that’s becoming accepted. We’re dealing with whether or not we really need someone dedicated, at least one person, dedicated to the maintenance of that system.
[4:32] As far as successes go, it’s good to…What I’ve seen, as far as successes go, is I have been able to empower users to find what they’re looking for when they need it. I have prolific users that I rarely hear from, unless they have some sort of issue that hasn’t come up before, which is great. I consider that a major success, the people I don’t hear from.
[4:59] I consider it a success whenever I get budget allocated for the upgrades when I need them. My system happens to be proprietary and third‑party, so there’s always an issue of renewing licenses, and expanding functionality, and so on, and so forth. Every time I get to do that, that’s definitely a success.
[5:20] The other factor that I would consider a success is when I get people coming to me and saying, “Hey, so and so, told me about this.” That happens because I work for a very large company, where we have thousands of employees. I depend a lot on word of mouth, in addition to whatever promotional exercises I can take to put out the word that the system is there to help you, and so on, and so forth.
[5:49] In addition to regular users who do that marketing collateral, I also hear from PowerPoint users that are making presentations, they may or may not be part of marketing. They may be part of one of the business units to do presentations to whomever. When word gets around to people I wouldn’t normally deal with and they’re coming to me and saying, “Hey, I’ve heard you got this.” That’s a success.
Henrik: [6:16] Margie, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Margie: [6:21] I would strongly recommend that anybody looking to get into Digital Asset Management, is first, they need to consider whether or not they’re going into a for‑profit environment, or a nonprofit environment. They really are two very different worlds. There’s a lot of opportunity in the nonprofit environment.
[6:43] My experience, however, is with the for‑profit, and that’s what I’d like to speak to. I would say, for those in place, always start with the users, go back to the users. They’re going to be the key to really making the system a success. It’s basic questions. You want to do an inventory of your users. You want to know what they need. You want to know, “Can the users, themselves, be categorized?”
[7:12] Of course, that helps when you’re setting up your system because you’re going to have some power users with more privileges than the occasional user, and so on, and so forth. Also, it’s going to help in terms of helping them come up with essential keywords. Words that they… how they think. How they use the system.
[7:34] I’ve learned, especially when I came over to marketing, that most of the different departments within a corporation have their own lingo for the products, essentially. Whether or not that spreads at the company, almost doesn’t matter, because If you’re considering a certain business group and you need to factor it in the system to keyword accordingly, they use different terms.
[8:02] You need to make sure that, that user group their terminology, how they’re thinking. For example, I have one user group that likes to use the internal code word for products before those are actually launched. They become something else once they’re launched, their official name. I make it my practice when I’m keywording anything related to them, to also include those internal, sort of informal references.
[8:30] It all goes back to the user. As long as someone, either within the field, or just starting in the field, or looking in the field, remembers that. I think, they’ll be fine. The other strong, strong piece of advice I recommend is there’s two groups in particular, the for‑profit environment that you want to partner with. That’s the IT group and the legal group.
[8:54] They’re essential because there’s so much information out there, especially with IT, that even if you’re coming to the position with a relatively strong background in IT, unless that’s your major function to stay abreast of the latest things, you’re going to need all the information you could get.
[9:19] These folks, the folks in IT for example, know what works best with the existing systems and they often know what’s the planned systems. They’re in the best position to be able to assist. It’s like, you want to always be on the good side of your car mechanic, right?
[9:40] This is not somebody you want messing with your car, your engine, or whatever. You always want to stay on the good side of IT. It also helps to stay on the good side of legal, because you want to be very conscientious about rights and permissions, especially if you’re dealing with any kind of stacked imagery, or any sort of restricted material.
[10:05] You want to make sure that you’re doing exactly what legal is telling you to do. Another factor that I have found to be very helpful that I would strongly recommend is to whether or not your manager asks for it, have your dollar value reports ready and current at a moment’s notice, because you’ll never know when you’re going to need to turn around and say, “Oh, yeah. Well, this month, I saved for our group X amount, and by the way this is how I factored that.”
[10:38] A lot of times, there’s folks that just hear those dollar values. It’s important to remember that. It’s impassioned as you may be about the need for Digital Asset Management that all has to be backed up in the for‑profit environment with why it as a cost-saving, or what is the value, how is this going to pay off in the immediate term, and also going forward in the long term.