Embarking on a new Digital Asset Management strategy? Here are a few tips to start you in the right direction.

5 things to think about when implementing a DAM system

Appoint a DAM Administrator

A dedicated Digital Asset Manager is the number one key to a successful implementation and your champion for ongoing user adoption. Develop a job description and assign a dedicated resource. This important role should not come as an afterthought. 

  • Ownership
    Involved in the project from the beginning, the Admin is in charge of configuration and becomes your organization's application expert.
  • Librarian
    Develops a metadata strategy, curates asset acquisition, and manages the asset lifecycle.
  • User engagement
    Works closely with all users to assess workflow needs, then fine-tunes DAM processes and configurations to meet those needs.
  • Governance
    Ensures users have access to the assets they need and is responsible for protecting sensitive content.
  • Help and support
    Provides first-level help and training for end-users and is the main point of contact for the application's support team.

Consult all stakeholders

Everyone likes to have their voice heard, even if they're not directly involved in the project. Taking an inclusive approach from the beginning helps you better address your users' needs.

  • Implementation team
    You’ll want to consult with most business units, but that doesn’t mean everyone should join the implementation team. Identify colleagues that will have valuable input on the taxonomy, workflows, and functional requirements of your DAM.
  • User stories
    Hold discovery sessions to understand digital asset workflows throughout your organization and gather business requirements from all colleagues that will use the DAM. Document this in detail.
  • Executive sponsorship
    Ensure your DAM project is supported to secure budget approval and allocate appropriate resources to the project.
  • IT services
    Some requirements may involve your IT department (i.e. URLs, email, single sign-on, API integrations, etc.). While SaaS (cloud) deployments require little IT involvement, self-hosted (on-premise) sites depend on a skilled IT team to handle the infrastructure.

Refine your taxonomy

Taxonomy is the process of naming and classifying things into groups within a larger system. In the context of DAM, a taxonomy is used to classify and organize digital files and the metadata that describes those files. Most importantly, a DAM taxonomy is what drives search.  Good classification = good search results = happy users. 

  • Search behavior
    Think about who your end-users are and how they will find what they're looking for.
  • Organizational taxonomy
    Look at the words, phrases, and acronyms that are used within your organization and come to a consensus. Find out if there is a current taxonomy (i.e. corporate website or product descriptors) that can be leveraged for the DAM.
  • Striking a balance
    Search will be ineffective if there isn’t enough metadata. If there's too much, the system becomes unmanageable and usability suffers.
  • Workflows
    Consider how you might leverage metadata to help drive your digital asset workflows.

Start collecting your assets

Preparing assets for migration is often the most time-intensive phase of a DAM implementation and the easiest to procrastinate on—start now! The old adage of garbage in, garbage out is very true when it comes to DAM, so start off as cleanly as you can. It's worth it!

  • Locate and aggregate
    Start gathering your files in one place as soon as possible. Ideally, files will be ready to import within a month of starting your DAM onboarding project.
  • Resist storing everything!
    By definition, an asset is "a useful or valuable thing", therefore your DAM should keep assets that have value to your organization. You don't need every single digital file to go into the DAM.
  • Evaluate metadata
    Review your existing folder structures, assets, and metadata. Evaluate what you have against what you need and start planning your data migration. It's OK to start from scratch too.
  • Filename conventions
    Useful filenames often don't get as much attention as they should. Instituting a proper filename convention can have many benefits for your users. 

DAM is an initiative, not just an application

Dedicating time, effort, and resources throughout the implementation pays off. With a clear vision of your organizational needs, your DAM will evolve and be embraced by users—both now and into the future.

  • Implement in phases
    Focus on a single, high-value use case for quick adoption, faster ROI, and improved efficiency. You can always add bells and whistles in Phase 2 once your users are familiar with the basics.
  • Usability is key
    Build a solid foundation for usability during the initial implementation. Make sure you—and the system—are ready for launch before the whole team signs on.
  • Be loud, be proud
    Appoint a few DAM cheerleaders to help with organizational change management and encourage user adoption.  Let everyone know what's coming and how these changes will benefit the way they work.
  • We're all in this DAM business together!
    Join the DAM community! Attend webinars and conferences to learn from those who have traveled this road before you. Have a DAM chat with other organizations in your industry. Strive to be a DAM professional!

What makes DAM different?

As you journey into the world of DAM, you'll discover that Digital Asset Management is much more than just storing files. With DAM comes the power of:

  • search
  • version control
  • managed access
  • usage history
  • system integration
  • workflows and automation
  • transcoding and repurposing

You'll also come to realize that digital assets in a DAM system are much more than just files on a server. Your original digital files become valuable assets with:

  • metadata
  • permissions
  • thumbnails and previews
  • versioning
  • renditions
  • relationships

While it may seem like a lot to think about now, the experienced NetX Onboarding team will guide you through a successful implementation. DAM is a journey, not a destination.

Get Inspired!

Learn how other organizations successfully implemented NetX to solve their digital asset management challenges: NetX Digital Asset Management Case Studies.

Ready to get started? See an Introduction to NetX Onboarding.