Just Your Ordinary DAM

I moderated a panel at the Createsphere DAM Conference in New York on Monday.  The panelists were a superb team of individuals who have been working in the DAM/MAM space for decades. Their combined knowledge highlighted issues for DAM as a horizontal solution application across all industries, yet called out some of the unique challenges faced by broadcasters and advertising agencies.  Some key takeaways:

When selecting a DAM:

  • Before ever pursuing a vendor, Identify the workflow and how it touches different users within your company or outside your company. Knowing how users will utilize the system, what roles and responsibilities they will have and how they will be accessing the system will influence specifications and requirements.
  • Only move forward with organizational buy-in and commitment at all levels. Even if your executives are gung ho for a new DAM, if the users don't understand and support how it will be used, even the most elegant implementation will be a failure.
  •  Vet your vendors extensively. Once you are investigating vendors, look beyond their feature/functionality. Review their SDKs, APIs, support T&Cs, implementation model and more. A vendor isn't sufficient, they must be engaged as your business partner.
  •  Gain an understanding of the standards that are relevant to you needs and/or industry. For example, FIMS (Framework for Interoperability of Media Services ) has become a standard simplifying vendor selection as well as implementation and integration of technologies and systems at all points along the media workflow, including DAM solutions. 
  •  Think global – when establishing your metadata model and taxonomy as well as when buying assets. Terminology and language are not consistent worldwide. Nor are rights.

Once you are ready for implementation:

  •  Communicate, communicate, communicate! The implementation should be pragmatic, delivering functionality in stages. It is not realistic to deploy a large, complex solution, that touches multiple points in the organization and integrates with many existing systems, all at once. Communicate about what will happen when, the benefits associated with each phase of the implementation and how users will be impacted. If storage systems are being centralized, make sure users understand how to store, search and retrieve assets.
  •  Training. it is not enough to only provide vendor training. Use cases should be developed that align with users existing environment and projects. Of course vendor input is useful, and necessary. However, users will more readily adopt new processes if they can easily associate the functionality to current workloads.
  •  Be prepared. Has there every been a implementation or integration that did not have issues? While in the planning phase, consider the dependencies that may influence successful deployment. Even if a problem occurs, at least solutions and alternatives will have been considered.

Selecting and implementing a DAM system, regardless of vertical industry, is complex! Learning from the experience of others is beneficial. Our experts, Wesley Simpson, Irina Guseva, Cyndi Parrish, Tony Gill and Rob Schuman shared best practices, keen insights and solid recommendations – delivered with a high degree of professionalism and a modest degree of humor!


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