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Another DAM Podcast interview with Fred Robertson on Digital Asset Management

Fred Robertson discusses Digital Asset Management




Henrik de Gyor:  [0:01] This Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Fred Robertson. Fred, how are you?

Fred Robertson:  [0:10] Good, thanks.

Henrik:  [0:12] Fred, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Fred:  [0:14] I’ve been involved with Digital Asset Management for about 10 years now. My current role as Digital Asset Manager is about two years old. My main role is to manage photography assets from the beginning of the creative process all the way through to disseminating them out to a global community of creatives. This means when a photo shoot is finished, a hard drive will come to me and I’ll transfer files onto one of our server volumes. Then art directors do their part making selections and preparing files for me then to move out to a color correction house for retouching and color correction.

[0:52] Then files come back to me when they’re complete so I can properly name them, tag them properly, and post the final assets into an image library that we maintain. I’m also in charge of managing the version control and file names where all the product groups and different models of products and series versions, which can get complicated. We really have to have a good system of naming in place.

[1:15] I also interact with the global partners so that whenever they need assets, and whenever new assets are posted, they’re constantly being updated about new activity and new imagery that’s available. Finally, managing the storage space on all of our working volumes. It’s a pretty involved role.

Henrik:  [1:34] Fred, how does a well known audio technology developer and product manufacturer use Digital Asset Management?

Fred:  [1:41] We use DAM in many different ways. Primarily, from an image standpoint, still photography is the main focus of our DAM work currently. We maintain this image library and storage system for all of our product assets, advertising, photography. We also use it as a creative workflow so that our creative can produce all the layout creative work that they need to by linking to those high res assets that have gone through that process that I explained earlier.

[2:10] Our creative group is able to produce layouts and different presentations without having to duplicate assets. It’s an all‑encompassing system where we have different volumes on our server for creative files, layouts, logos, raw photography, final color corrected imagery, even outtakes. It’s a highly managed system, but it also allows for more fluid workflow.

Henrik:  [2:34] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Fred:  [2:38] I would say the challenges are many. First and foremost, just educating people about the system we have and giving users a degree of confidence in using it. A lot of folks tend to be a bit daunted by or confused by an interface. Some DAM interface is just not as user friendly as most people expect after going on the web and, say, using stock sites. I find that if you hold someone’s hand just the tiniest bit, it goes a long way to helping them become independent in their use of it.

[3:06] One of the bigger challenges is getting all to these stakeholders, internal clients, corporate interests, some legal concerns, and anyone that needs to access it how to be on the same page about how we’re coordinating management and organization of those assets. Those challenges are ongoing. We don’t really manage digital assets. The digital group seems to manage their own. The video group seems to manage those on their own as well. I’m helping in both of those areas, but it’s not under one umbrella, which makes it tricky. It gives us something, a goal to shoot for as well, which is to get everything in one place.

[3:44] Successes are just that we have a tool in place. It’s surprisingly still unique to see large companies using a DAM tool in ways other than just small internal groups using it. We’re trying to use it on a global marketing scale is ambitious, and it’s great that we can continue to improve upon it from there.

[4:04] It helps us coordinate product launches. Just having a Digital Asset Manager in house is a new role here. I think it’s made a big, big difference in productivity in the group.

Henrik:  [4:15] Fred, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Fred:  [4:20] I think, first and foremost, just having a clear and focused approach is most important, something that emphasizes the value in having a process in place that everyone needs to adhere to, but that you can as a Digital Asset Manager, you can help facilitate that process and really step in at every point along the way so that you can interact with many different groups of people who might not often interact with the group that I work in. I really enjoy being a greater part of the whole process so I can really answer questions at any point along the way.

[4:54] I think if you aspire to become a DAM professional…My background’s photography and I came at it from that perspective, as a person who was just immersed in having a visual education. The way I look at imagery is organizationally different than most folks that come at if from a library science perspective, which I often wish I had, but I also feel like I bring something unique to the process as sort of a self‑taught DAM professional in a way.

[5:26] I just think emerging yourself in imagery and processes can only help get you to that place where really allowing yourself a chance to view lots of imagery and think about ways in which that they’re organized and interact with photographers and artists, it can give you a much more rounded perspective.

Henrik:  [5:45] Well, thanks, Fred.

Fred:  [5:46] All right.

Henrik:  [5:46] For more on this, and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to For this podcast episode, as well as 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview, go to

[6:01] 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 Tom Barnouw on Digital Asset Management


Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • How does your organization wrestle with Digital Asset Management?
  • What advice would you like to share with 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 Tom Barnouw.
Tom [0:09], how are you?
Tom Barnouw: [0:10] Good, thanks. How you doing?
Henrik: [0:11] Good. Tom, how are you involved with Digital Asset
Tom: [0:14] Well, I work for WWE, been here about six years, and I retired as a
systems engineer. I’m involved with Digital Asset Management. [0:24] We have
many live shows a year, thousands and thousands of photographs are taken
at each live event, and those assets make their way back to our company for
processing. They are used for a variety of things from websites to publications
to any type of creative services project. As these photos come in, they’re processed
by our photo department and uploaded to servers, at which time our
asset management system catalogs all those. There is metadata written to each
asset so that everything is searchable easily.
[1:03] There are many layers we have on top of our assets that can satisfy different
work flows. We’ve got certain catalogs that are web enabled. Other things
can be sent out via email, with voting and approval processes that can take
place and things. We’re web enabled data where end-users can vote and actually
have metadata written back to the assets.
[1:30] A significant process is in place for easily sharing assets around the company,
without the need to duplicate the files or copy them to other storage
medium. My involvement is in managing that workflow and trying to find efficiencies
throughout the company and ways that we can leverage the asset
management system.
Henrik: [1:51] How does your organization wrestle with DAM?
Tom: [1:54] It’s been an interesting evolution over the last six years or so.
Working with Cumulus has grown tremendously over those six years, aside from
just doing the system administration of the backend infrastructure. I think one of
the most important and impactful things that’s occurred over that time is really
studying the workflow of our users, and I would say the lifecycle management
of the data that our asset management system tracks. [2:24] We’ve evolved into
a very nice system now. We have several million assets in our system and, as an
asset ages, we need to move it, not just from the asset management side, but
from the storage side, from disk to tape, how does that process?
[2:42] The first thing we wrestled with was how do we manage the lifecycle of
this data? As an asset becomes older it’s used much, much less frequently. Do
we need to keep it on disk? If we do move it to tape, how do we easily access
that asset on tape? We struggled on solving some of those problems.
[3:01] We’ve come to a very nice place with it now where it all works very, very
nicely, including giving the end-user the ability to manage those assets, to some
degree, to a much more limited degree than I can, but still, they have access to
things, even when they’re on tape, which is nice.
[3:18] Other challenges I’d say, we continue to work with is the various workflows.
It’s one thing to have an asset management in place, cataloging assets, but
there are so many different this is going to be different in every company but,
there are so many different workflows.
[3:35] One department or one person may have very different needs for those
assets than another, understanding those various workflows, and customizing
the asset management system to blend in well with those required workflows.
In most cases, improve on those workflows. We’ve been able to leverage our
system to create significant efficiencies in workflows for different people in different
[4:04] In terms of how we wrestled with that, I think, that process hasn’t stopped,
in fact, I feel like I’m just now at the beginning. Now that we’ve got a very solid
foundation for our system in place managing lifecycle, I can turn my attention
much more to tackling various workflows and creating efficiencies within
the company.
Henrik: [4:23] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and
people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Tom: [4:28] I think it would probably have to segue way from what I just talked
about, which is there are so many different things. Obviously, each company is
going to have different needs, various storage needs, depending on how much
data you’re actually dealing with. That can significantly impact what lifecycle
management you may or may not need to have in place. [4:53] I think, again, just
what I talked about. Try to think into the future, 1, 5, 10 years from now where
do you think these assets are going to live, what access do you think people will
need to them you can start with that foundation, then, trying to understand the
various workflows that may exist within a company.
[5:16] If you can do a lot of groundwork ahead of time, before deploying something,
even if you have deployed something, start at that 30,000foot view to try
to get a good understanding from the needs of the company as a whole, and
then you can begin to zero in on different topics and processes that you can
help with.
Henrik: [5:36] Thanks, Tom.
Tom: [5:37] No problem. My pleasure.
Henrik: [5:39] For more on Digital Asset Management, log on to Another DAM Podcast is available on Audioboom,
iTunes and the Tech Podcast Network. Thanks again.


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Another DAM Consultancy can help. Contact us today.