A Digital Asset Management (DAM) system is not just software. It’s a combination of people, processes and tools. To have these elements work together effectively requires a “DAM Champion,” someone who makes sure that all stakeholders are involved and informed, and that the system gets the resources it needs.
The DAM Champion is a combination of advocate, mentor, and manager. They are responsible for making sure the system is adopted by the users and that it adapts to the users’ and organizations’ changing needs. In order to do this, the DAM Champion needs to lead from the front, lead from behind, manage up and manage down.
To be successful, the DAM Champion should:
1. Keep the system current.
Businesses are dynamic and their systems should be as well. The DAM Champion needs to ensure that the features and configuration of the system keeps up with evolving needs. Too often a system is deployed with a fixed set of requirements in mind, but as needs change, the system doesn’t. First users will find work-arounds, then they slowly (or maybe quickly) stop using the system altogether. Doing quarterly reviews (best) or annual reviews (at a minimum) is a great way to make sure that the system is meeting current needs.
2. Support the users.
There are several types of DAM users, each with their own needs. “Power users” who ingest and tag a lot of assets need training and easy access to documentation to accomplish what can sometimes be complex tasks. Read-only users might need tool tips or Read Me files in order to help with some of the more advanced aspects of the interface. And users should be encouraged to give feedback, especially in all aspects of usability, since they are the experts in that area.
3. Advocate for resources.
For a DAM to remain useful it needs a budget and people to ingest and tag assets, technical infrastructure (hardware and networks if on-premise, adequate bandwidth if it’s in the cloud.) The DAM Champion should be the primary advocate to management to ensure that the system receives the resources required to meet current and future needs as they evolve.
4. Be the “referee.”
The DAM Champion is the arbiter as questions arise about metadata, permissions, etc. Rules need to be drawn-up regarding how the metadata structure is created and how it should grow, the level of permissions available and whom they should be assigned to. The DAM Champion should help establish these rules, make sure they’re followed and be the referee when issues arise that fall into a grey area.
5. Serve as the primary point of contact with the vendor.
Communication with the vendor flows both ways. The vendor will have information about product updates, new offerings, bug fixes, and other product and service information that is important for your organization. And your organization will have support requests, questions and possibly inquiries about products and services. The DAM Champion doesn’t need to be the sole point of contact with the vendor, but he or she should monitor communication with the vendor so they can keep tabs on all the information activity with the vendor.
Having a successful DAM system is an ongoing process that requires the leadership of a DAM Champion. The system needs someone to guide it to ensure it continues to meet the need of their organization. By keeping the users, management and the vendor all in sync, the DAM Champion helps to provide an important tool that lets their organization operate more efficiently.