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Doctor DAM: diagnosing the problem with your current DAM program. Do you really need a new DAM system?

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Kristina Huddart

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Can it be fixed or do I need a new one? This is the kind of question I find myself asking when I see the car mechanic. But it’s worth asking the same questions about your business’s technology.

In our current situation, many businesses may be hesitant to start new digital transformation programmes due to budget limitations, caring for the level of change employees can handle during an already uncertain time, or simply not having the right team in place to select and implement a great solution. 

If you have an existing, failing DAM system, you may be getting pressure to consider buying a new system from your marketing teams who say, “this isn’t working for us, we need something different!” Before you embark on a lengthy and expensive DAM procurement and migration process, why not look at ways to get more value out of your existing system? But how do you know whether you can still get more value out of your current DAM or if you need a new one?

A good starting point is to talk to your users. Run some surveys and find out where the problems are with your current system.

Doctor DAM will consider the symptoms and base the diagnosis on a combination of technology, people and process. Remember, it’s often not the technology that causes a digital program to fail! Maybe Doctor DAM can diagnose some of your symptoms to find the right answers for you.

Before you write that business case for a new system, here are a few common problems that can likely be solved without buying a new system. You’ve probably heard your users complaining of these symptoms before:

“I can’t find what I need”

Doctor DAM says:
take a look at the search functionality of the system and consider improving your metadata management to help make your content more findable. Your data might need a full overhaul if it’s never been properly managed.

“I can’t access the content I need to see”

Doctor DAM says:
this is likely related to the system governance, permission settings and the implementation of groups and related visibility

“I can’t upload content”

Doctor DAM says:
ensure that your governance structure clearly defines who is allowed to upload to the system and give these users the correct permissions

“Our DAM is full of outdated content”

Doctor DAM says:
you need a dedicated DAM Librarian who is responsible for asset management and can actively manage, archive, and delete content

“Our DAM is full of rubbish”

Doctor DAM says:
again, you need a DAM Librarian to monitor uploads so avoid rubbish and clear system governance policies that define what is allowed into the system and what should be stored elsewhere

“I don’t know what rights I have to use the content”

Doctor DAM says:
if you have basic rights information, you can use your DAM metadata structure for rights management. This will ensure that each asset has metadata that clearly explains how it can or cannot be reused

“I’m concerned that we’re violating GDPR regulations or rights laws.”

Doctor DAM says:
align your company’s GDPR permissions, copyright, trademark, and other IP policies with your DAM so that each piece of content is fully rights managed

“I didn’t know we had a DAM! How do I login?”

Doctor DAM says:
hire a dedicated DAM product owner or manager whose responsibility includes change management, communications, training, and user adoption

“How do I find the latest, approved version of the content I need”

Doctor DAM says:
most basic DAM systems will automatically display the latest version of an asset or will allow you to manage versioning. Additionally, some DAM systems have archive management and workflow management add-ons. Before you buy a new system, speak to your vendor to see if you’re missing out on this great functionality!

“I can’t find the social media assets for the campaign I’m working on”

Doctor DAM says:
all basic DAM systems will have these capabilities including search, metadata management, taxonomy, controlled vocabularies, curated collections, and the ability to share content. If you don’t seem to have this in your system, maybe it’s time to go back and look at the configuration.

“I use emails to collaborate with my colleagues on creative content”

Doctor DAM says:
Ahhh, please stop using emails for collaboration! This is likely related to an outdated process which can be imporved by using the tools in your DAM such as built-in collaboration tools, sharing, and some basic workflow functionality. Make sure that your DAM managers working closely with each department to change and improve their processes.

And of course, not every symptom can be solved purely by improving processes, implementing a solid governance structure, building the team and growing user adoption. Here are some requirements that might make you consider selecting a new DAM system:

  • “The UI/UX of the system is horrendous and looks like it limped out of the 90s!”
  • “Our company needs to connect the DAM to our PIM, but the API is a mess”
  • “We need more granular management of assets, permissions, and metadata”
  • “For the same cost, I want more functionality beyond a basic DAM system – I want workflow, scheduling, content marketing, analytics, etc.”
  • “We need better, more responsive support and customer service from the vendor for this to be successful. We need a partner who is developing and evolving at the same rate as the business is.”
  • “Our current DAM system has not been updated in >1 year. I want to work with an innovative SaaS vendor who is constantly improving their system, evolving, and keeping up with the pace of other technologies.”
  • “Our IT team just told us that we need to move everything from on-premise to the cloud” (this might not require a totally new system, but perhaps it’s a good opportunity to re-evaluate the DAM marketplace)
  • “I need the DAM to seamlessly plugin-to our creative production software, such as Adobe, to improve efficiency”
  • “The system analytics are not robust enough to help me prove ROI on the system or run reports for my key stakeholders”

If you’re all too familiar with any of these issues and you need some help, feel free to contact me to talk it through!

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