Step-by-step onboarding guide to Digital Asset Management

By now we know what Digital Asset Management (DAM) is and its benefits. You are determined to move on to DAM era to increase your and the teams’ productivity and devote your time on more valuable works than repetitive tasks and unnecessary up and forth communications.

Once you have identified which DAM will be your choice, or narrowed down your shortlist, here’re a few fundamental steps that you and your team need to take prior to and during the journey to DAM transformation. Steps and points are composed based on frequent questions that I got during onboarding as well as discussions with customers and prospects. These steps seem basic and slow you down, but counterintuitively they will enable you to proceed faster and go further in the long run. As well as these points can be used to evaluate DAM candidates if they are the right fit for your needs.

1. What are the content management policies and processes within your organization?

Ultimately the DAM should be designed to reflect your organizations’ processes. Then it is time to gather key members and draw how content is managed currently. Where are all the files dispersed? Who manages them and who consumes them? Are there approval processes for final art works or brand assets? How do we need to manage the rights and permissions of digital assets? What needs to be archived and what needs to be remaining in local server still due to regulations as such? Big chance is that your files are scattered across a few servers, network and local drives and multiple file sharing software. Investigate processes that are overarching entire organization as well as between teams since this should be a central place for all your files soon. Take this as a good opportunity to gather their locations and document current processes and challenge the status quo to improve them eventually.

2. Organizational consensus on new way of working

The whole idea to move to DAM is to bring structures and better processes if necessary, to gain control over all your digital assets hence to be organized. This will ensure that the teams devote their precious time on more meaningful works that they are initially supposed to do. Brainstorm which processes, structures, file naming and taxonomies are optimal and which ones not to bring improvement on them. Study what your chosen DAM offers can do to help improve the current processes. Modern DAMs are equipped with abundant functionalities that you can utilize. Most importantly make sure that you reach the organizational consensus on the new way of working so that you can move to the actual implementation stage.

3. Organize content once and all

One of the most important purposes of the DAM is to be a single truth of source. Despite it may seem cliché, it still remains as a core value. You need to make a baseline and starting point by cleaning up your files once and all. Once it’s done, only maintenance will be required. Remove duplicated files across multiple locations, organize them in the folder structure that fits best for your teams and align file names to taxonomies that are agreed in the previous step. Many DAM solutions are capable of extracting your folder structures; hence this step can be done either offline or after uploading files.

4. Ingest the selected files to a DAM and start to categorize them

Now you’re ready to ingest your files to cloud DAM, where they will be residing from now on as a single source. Leave those that need to remain offline – such as achieves and sensitive legal files. Some DAM solutions also offer bulk import support free of charge which will reduce your time and effort tremendously, ensure you make use of it. Once assets are uploaded to the DAM, you’d better categorize by using metadata to enable all your digital assets to be searched, found and reuse them across its life cycle. Most commonly used metadata includes tags, (sub)category, right management, approval status to name a few, however list can be exhausted hence returns powerful search results.

5. Set the rules and permissions to each team and user

Touching the point again, the DAM should be able to reflect your organization and team how they work. Ideally, choose a DAM that has granular rules and permission management features – team or group as well as an individual user level. From access to a certain folder and detailed permission to each action to metadata filtering options, you can truly manage your content appropriately and in return, your team members will focus more on what needs to be done too.

6. Share, distribute or re-use your content

The real benefit of the DAM, in the end, is that it generates repurposes to your content. Share them internally and externally, distribute a large volume of content to the wide audiences by sharing them to a portal or your Content Management Software and reuse them in different formats for multi-channels. Your content will be re-used over time purposefully without being duplicated or reproduced, adding an extra value on assets as they mean by definition.

7. Train the users

Don’t overlook the importance of training each user within and across teams. DAMs can be surprisingly versatile and technology only advances, adding more complex capabilities. Make sure you arrange the training before the kick-off to the DAM so that users do not miss out functionalities that will help them greatly. A lot of DAMs are offering not only consultations but also product walk-through in the form of a webinar.

Following the simple yet thought-through steps will make you step back and think what you really require before jumping into the DAM world. Talk to us about what you would like to achieve, hence what your requirements are and see how we can help you on the journey to the DAM!

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