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Another DAM Podcast interview with Jennifer Anna on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Jennifer Anna speak about Digital Asset Management

Here are the questions asked:

How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

How does an independent conservation organization use Digital Asset Management?

What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?


Henrik de Gyor 0:00
This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Jennifer Anna. Jennifer, how are you?

Jennifer Anna 0:08
I’m great. Thank you for having me.

Henrik de Gyor 0:11
Jennifer, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Jennifer Anna 0:14
Right now, I’m serving as the Digital Asset Manager for World Wildlife Fund. And my responsibilities actually encompass several different roles ranging from, say, contract manager, librarian, photo editor to product owner, so kind of a jack of all trades, if you will. And throughout my, I guess, 10 plus year career, I would say that the majority of my roles have been as product owner in some capacity.

Henrik de Gyor 0:52
Jennifer, how does an independent conservation organization use Digital Asset Management?

Jennifer Anna 0:57
So our Digital Asset Management platform is accessible by our entire network. We are a network of approximately 100 offices spanning from Columbia to Myanmar to US to UK. And at this point in time, our library is of photography and video that tells the story of the work that WWF or World Wildlife Fund does. So the way that we work, the DAM team are very small, but I’ll say DAM team works might be a little bit different than how maybe other DAM teams work, in that, we tend to be kind of involved with the full pre-production to kind of post-production processes as well as like the DAM processes of ingestion, cataloging, and distribution.

Jennifer Anna 2:08
What our library contains is the commissions, the trips that we send photographers, or filmmakers out into the field, again, to sort of tell the story of World Wildlife Fund’s work. So we actually have commissioned shoots in the library. We also have staff photography, because a lot of our colleagues are working in program science. And so they’re actually out in the field. And part of their research work is to actually document it. So we also have staff photography, in the system as well. Another thing that we have, to a lesser extent, are what we called camera traps. And this is the way that our science folk capture the actions of animals to sort of understand better how we can help conserve their landscapes, and also kind of like, yeah, conserve their landscapes conserve wildlife. So those are sort of and then we also, of course, have licensed images from stock agencies like nature picture library, we used to license from National Geographic or National Geographic Creative, even though they’re I think they’re no longer licensing. So it’s kind of those like, I think four or five buckets of imagery that we’re kind of pulling in from a global network.

Jennifer Anna 3:39
There’s different sort of like talents and expertise across the network, the DAM team, and also certain production teams across the network, kind of assist with different processes. And that can be helping with the contract process to make sure that we’re getting the right deliverables from our photographers and filmmakers to kind of helping with the editing process when those assets have been delivered, creating B roll packages, and then of course, and then the processes of actually getting them into the hive or which we call our DAM the hive and getting them distributed. So again, it’s a little bit different in that our DAM work actually extends sort of beyond the management of the DAM into said, like contract processes working with photographers and filmmakers, doing edits, and again, like getting them to the system and then getting them distributed. And the way that our DAM is actually used, for the most part, our DAM is accessible by again, our entire network. If you have a WWF employee, you have access to our DAM so we have approximately 4000 users And so, again, our DAM may be a bit different in that it’s not just utilized by marketing and communications teams across a network. Program staff use it. Science staff use it. Our accounting teams probably use it for if they’re working on something. So it’s very far reaching like our DAM definitely serves our users sort of beyond the marketing and tech teams at WWF.

Henrik de Gyor 5:34
Jennifer, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Jennifer Anna 5:39
So let’s start with successes. I think what I’ve seen in my time in DAM is that we’ve been rethinking DAM as part of a larger marketing technology ecosystem, which I think that’s been a very positive step for the industry. I think we are thinking about DAM more holistically. And understanding they are programs requiring long term management versus standalone platforms or products, which was more the philosophy when I got started, as I said over 10 years ago, I think we understand more now. I think the industry understands more now that it’s a kind of a people first, technology second initiative, and that it can take a village to make these Digital Asset Management platforms run. And I think that’s all very positive.

Jennifer Anna 6:45
That said, DAM program still continue to be undervalued and misunderstood by companies, and therefore, I think they’re still being under resourced. I see large companies, fully resourcing their CMS, their CRM, their social media departments, and other marketing comms tech platforms with teams and budgets. But then they only employ one person to manage all the aspects of the DAM platform. And just to reiterate, these DAM programs take a village to succeed. So I would really like to see the industry help companies set these programs, and the people required to manage them up to succeed.

Henrik de Gyor 7:36
Jennifer, what advice we’d like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Jennifer Anna 7:42
I would say a few things, I would say learn about the larger marketing communications technology ecosystem, and approach DAM holistically as part of a larger system of processes and people. I would also say you need to be prepared to speak to different stakeholders in their own language about DAM. Change management is a big part of making a DAM program succeed.

Jennifer Anna 8:20
That said, I would also say it’s important to set boundaries and expectations. Many DAM jobs, depending on what they are, are actually several jobs in one and you will need to be able to educate your stakeholders about what is possible. Many times when you are coming into a new workplace, you will be the expert. No one else in the organization or company will understand DAM the way that you do. And then I would say the final thing is with that said, know that you don’t need to know everything. Technology changes so fast that we are just really running along with it.

Henrik de Gyor 9:08
Well, thanks, Jennifer.

Jennifer Anna 9:09
Thank you so much. This is really a pleasure.

Henrik de Gyor 9:12
For more on this, visit 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 Sandra Sundback on Digital Asset Management

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.

Henrik de Gyor: For more on this, visit If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me Thanks again.



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