Another DAM Podcast

Audio about Digital Asset Management

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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