By Ines Gregorio


Earlier this year I was asked to attend a meeting with a hot prospect – a global brand. This company had just bought a DAM platform and asked for ICP’s help to implement the platform, more specifically with the migration of the assets as well as the maintenance. The purpose of this meeting was to go through all of our suggestions and explain the solution to the person in charge, (a C-level in IT) in order for a decision to be made.

Keep in mind that I was (and still am) quite new to DAM. By simply attending the meeting to get a better understanding about my new job and was surprised with the amount of steps that companies have to think about when buying a new DAM platform, as well as the lack of knowledge of decision makers. I think the way it’s done, is the Nike way – Just Do It! And 9 months later, you still struggle with results and user adoption.

Digital Asset Management

Who’s in the market?

There are a host of Digital Asset Management platforms on the market. Some of the major players are OpenText (Open Text Media Management), North Plains Systems, Oracle (Oracle Universal Content Management), Adobe Systems (Adobe Experience Manager), Hewlett-Packard (Autonomy), ADAM Software, EMC (Documentum) and Widen Enterprises.

Choosing a platform should not be difficult. Depending on your requirements, bespoke proposals should be sent to you with the numbers attached. You just have to see what’s most relevant, who offers more features and which numbers are more accurate with the available budget. And of course, a really nice sales person to persuade you to buy, giving you the best deal (cheeky)!

The difficult part comes with the implementation. Hands on!

Chances are, there are different systems in place already. So gathering all the assets and importing them into the new platform is a tough task. You begin migrating them, but keep in mind that migrating involves considering some tasks:

  1. Pre-Implementation
    1. Workflow: We need to consider any touch points with the creative process. Who will import new assets to the DAM on an ongoing basis? Will those assets be only approved, final versions, or will the DAM hold multiple versions? Approvals (legal, creative, etc) invariably take place outside of the DAM, but an understanding of the wider context helps us to define the DAM process.
    2. Partners: Defining processes for agencies and affiliates/distributors
  1. Data Migration Tasks
    1. File Naming Convention: A standard approach to naming that boosts search by giving files consistent and meaningful names.
    2. Keywords: Used to assist with identifying content. We usually recommend using at least 6 relevant keywords.
    3. Metadata: Used to describe content and context of data files (AKA assets). High quality metadata will aid the initial search. This is just ‘data about data’. Such as, when you write the date and location on the back of a (printed) photo.
    4. Taxonomy: This is the representation of the items which users are actively searching. A classification system for improved searching often implemented as a collapsible folder structure.
  1. Operational Support
    1. Administrative Work: Usage rights, permissions/restrictions, keeping the database up-to-date, providing licenses to upload (agencies and local markets), archiving, overall support (providing logins and forgotten passwords) – client services.
    2. Archive Policy Requirements:
      • Archived and expired asset statuses
      • Permissions (to whom can they be accessible)
  1. Post-Implementation Review
    1. User Journey/User experience: How easy is it to use the site? How to make the search more user friendly? This includes behaviour flow, site page timings, page depth, landing page, page path, etc.
    2. Training plus user feedback gathering.
    3. Marketing and communicating to improve user adoption: Explaining the benefits of having a DAM platform and how to use it.
    4. Case study team: Useful to run a first pilot project and share their success with the other teams.

Get your Return on Investment

So, in that meeting we went through all of the above steps. Explaining that these were the services we could provide. For our prospect, who had never thought about it previously (as well as myself), this was something new. It was a massive unexpected realisation. I believe they’re still evaluating the process…

When people insist that managing a DAM platform is easy, user adoption is typically low/there are not that many assets. I can manage my Flickr not needing my company’s services – and I share a lot of pictures with my friends. It’s not complicated, however, managing thousands of assets and users in different scales makes it time consuming. Global companies must consider DAM services in order to strengthen their DAM project and get the best returns on investment. ICP is a London based Digital Asset Management service provider and we are platform agnostic. We provide consultancy services and also provide hands on digital asset management. Contact us for a DAM HealthCheck!

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