Is the DAM Space Keeping Up?

While most people think of DAM as a technology, it really is more then a piece of software. There are many components involved. At Createasphere’s DAM LA Industry gathering last week, it was confirmed that technology is changing at an exponential rate making it critical for organizations to keep up. Respectively, it is also just as urgent that DAM practice keeps up with the times.

The industry’s top challenges were addressed at last month’s conference. However, there were other pressing issues that were not addressed. Among these include : the human aspect to Digital Asset Management; a true end-user experience; the definition of “big data,” and the future of cloud computing.

DAM can be overwhelming to most organizations. This can lead to them either ignoring the problem, or dismissing the task to a few lucky individuals or a department to “figure it out.” While the delegated few race against the clock to “figure it out,” they are not granted the luxury of time to philosophize on how to deploy a DAM correctly.

Time is money in the business world; so technology should be deployed expediently so finance can write it off. OR better yet, deploy the technology so the group sees the ROI immediately. A DAM is complex. Ironically, sometimes the most neglected aspect in these systems can be the human component. Who is going to do all of the DAM work? Not only metadata entry, or the content ingest, but the strategy of the change management; the knowledge that should be going into a “system,” the right people to hire to work this technology– the human aspect. This is often neglected but should be a part of the “ownership” of the project. The ownership should also be on the big wigs in the organization to champion the efforts to make it a cooperative organizational effort.

Remember the days when there were no computers in the workplace. Work got done, but there was a more efficient method using the new technology. Upper management made it mandatory that everyone use a computer, use email and new tools (software) to help them work faster. Yet, there were human aspects to consider for this to paradigm shift to work. Management needed to be involved with this change, to ensure the technology change was executed not only from a technological standpoint, but also from a human standpoint. This includes: change management, hiring the right people to support the technology, training and allowing for knowledge shared as the people of the organization adapted and eventually embraced using this new technology.

Let’s learn from the past and apply those same rules to implementing a DAM today. This may take time but should not be treated lightly. Which ties into the next big topic, the end-user experience.

When using the term “end-user” we need to address who these end-users are to ensure their experiences are positive. This is not just about “power users” versus the “casual user.” What are the end-users doing, really? What do they want to accomplish? When it comes to technology, all end-users are accustomed to finding what they need with minimal effort and easily collaborate with their colleagues in their virtual workspace with common “tools” that are second nature to them. Unfortunately, those tools include email and Google. Now, imagine adding a DAM System to that mix. I would suspect 90 percent of end-users are complacent with the existing DAM tools they have in place and it may not be appealing to change to a new solution, so they resist. This mentality is not conducive to driving DAM technology or practice forward.

Another topic from the conference still is buzzing is harnessing tons of data. Interestingly, panelists of the big data session used the term loosely in their discussion. They cited interesting observations as to how data relates to DAM. The session had some of the brightest thought leaders in our industry and interestingly, they all felt there was still progress needed to effectively manage data.

For big data, the word, “big” can also be referred to as, “not big enough” to describe the massive amounts of data in organizations. Most have yet to tap into the valuable information they have access to. The amount of data collected by organizations, regardless of size or industry is overwhelming. Most either ignore the information because they don’t want to deal with it, or they simply don’t know WHAT to do with it. In either case, the problem of big data is only getting more relevant and urgent and solutions are still evolving.

The technology and concept of computing in the clouds spurred questions, deep discussions and myths that still need to be addressed. Workflow, dealing with massive amount of content, collaboration and security were among a few challenges mentioned. Similar to the debate of Beta versus VHS, only time will tell what solutions come on top. While the debate continues, I strongly suspect that the cloud is resolving most of these concerns and is where most of us will be working in the future like it or not.

Let me know if you attended the event and heard other conversations, or if you were not able to join us but have some input that you would like to share. I will do my best to get the community’s best minds to give their input! mary@createasphere.com

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