People First, Technology Second
Technology is a seductive thing: the beautiful bells and whistles of a DAM can promise a revolutionary way people do business and the compelling advantages it brings to organisation…Reality is, however, another story.
In reality DAM is just a tool, a cloud system, an online repository; without active use by users who understand and champion the system, the magical DAM can too easily become another piece of junk among other abandoned software that fails to deliver the promising, but unrealistic goals. In other words, if the people don’t use it, DAM becomes a wasted “book pile”.
Every organisation adopting DAM hopes for a big ROI with their DAM system, but there is often great frustration with the people part of the equation. CMSWire posted an interesting poll about “What is your biggest DAM challenge?” Usability and user adoption of the system, fall out as No. 1 and 2.
Implementing and deploying a corporate DAM solution for its users is a complex art. In reality, it requires a focus on the users and their psychology, rather than on the financial and technical requirements of the DAM system. This blog aims to shed some light on a smooth and engaging user adoption of a DAM solution – core DAM services that ICP delivers to our clients.
Every organisation has different business workflows – which we call “habit loops”. When organisations look to adopt new technology for a rich media management solution, DAM is the change agent that breaks the “old habit loop” for both business and users.
DAM changes the way we understand what an asset is (e.g. digital and physical) and how its value may be transcended throughout all layers of the organisation. As soon as we begin implementing and operating a DAM, we often start by dealing with the people and process – two key fundamental elements in turning a DAM system into a real DAM solution.
So what could these changes with a DAM solution look like?
Get Users on Board
Users are the key to a successful DAM, however, they don’t love change and are bound by their habits, unaware that their unconscious desire for old, familiar patterns may be hurting their chances of better results and thus, better adoption of the DAM.
Here are some best practices for getting users on board.
On-going Training. Even though DAM systems are intuitive, a comprehensive, quality training program that ensures users understand the functional rules and feature sets and facilitates them to do their day-to-day job in a DAM-enabled world – which results in higher user adoption. A well designed and delivered training program should:
- Incorporate different levels of system knowledge and target different user groups. For example, we organise and deliver general training covering DAM basics (when bringing new users on board), advanced training (when introducing system updates and enhanced features) and engagement training (when working with key users and their groups for a specific marketing campaign).
- Focus on the custom workflow and business scenario (in cases where the system is customised to a specific use case scenario, e.g. eCommerce).
Identify power (key) users and empower them. Some users have the ability to adjust “old” habits relatively easy and are able to incorporate the functions needed to coexist peacefully with a DAM. These users (depending on their role and involvement with the DAM) are the primary drivers of any business changes in their organisation and will become key users of the DAM to help evangelise wider adoption of the system amongst their peers.
Some best practices for getting key users involved and connected to DAM:
- Give advanced permission to access assets, validate contents, and modify metadata, etc.
Invite them for a UAT (User Acceptance Test) of enhanced functionalities and features, so that their feedback is heard.
- Arrange periodic review meetings with key users to hear their concerns and requirements. In our experience, this is key in taking the initiative, allowing issues to be identified and addressed quickly.
- Be their DAM consultant. Be “their guy” who understands their internal workflows around how the DAM is used. Guide your DAM stakeholders by recommending specific features and customised workarounds to help them cope with their business changes.
Engage users by talking to DAM people (librarians), not the system. Changing user behaviour loops requires finesse in user support – this comes from a great team of DAM librarians who speak the language of our users, stays benefits-focused, and “sell” what our user needs rather than what we know. The key message we deliver to our users is “When in doubt, ask a librarian!”
For more information about who DAM professionals are and what skills they bring to the DAM table, check out my blog: We are the DAM People.
Integrate DAM with other systems
A DAM system serves as the hub of digital assets, as well as regulates the process and communication both within (amongst internal users) and outside (with business partners and clients) of the organisation.
When a DAM integrates with other business and operation systems it offers more value to an organisation as well as user experience. For example:
- Connecting DAM to social media channels and user support platforms enables a company to personalise communication to its DAM users as well as improves the quality of customer service. This integration facilitates improved collaboration between diverse groups and geographically distributed users and serves as a great channel to promote the existence of assets available in the DAM to increase asset awareness, which will build the DAM as a known resource and in return increase user adoption.
- Integrating DAM with PIM (Product Information Management) provides a way to acquire metadata from product master data system. Users have better control over marketing supply chain by delivering accurate product information to sales channels in a much more efficient way.
- Building a bridge between DAM and API allows users to connect rich media contents in DAM with other systems they might use. By allowing programs and applications to communicate data, digital assets in DAM can be – whenever and wherever – retrieved and shared more quickly and efficiently, which will boost your user adoption statistics (e.g. user logins, number of downloads) and more importantly promote the usability of all systems.
User adoption, acceptance and understanding will not happen overnight, so make sure you have a lot of patience, a user-oriented execution plan, and a great DAM librarian team to help to achieve your DAM goals.