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Protecting Your Most Valuable Assets: Lessons learned from digital asset management implementation and evolution

Steve Livingstone, Senior Vice President, Digital DCM

Steve Livingstone, Senior Vice President, Digital DCM

Content has been king for a few years now, and a recent statistic suggest sit will remain so for a few more: Market research firm Technavio estimatesthatbetween2020and2025,the content marketing industry is expected to grow by USD 417.85 billion dollar, at a CAGR of 16percent.

Much of this growth comes down to the pandemic: it has driven consumers online in droves— shopping, marketing, recruiting, connecting. Statist a finds, for instance, that average social media usage jumped from 56 minutes a day in 2019 to 65 minutes in 2020, and it continues to hold there. Consider, too, how many more companies are now using social media and meeting apps as part of their everyday communication.

Digital Assets: The New Content Currency

The brand-building power of content marketing—its ability to garner followers and foster trust while consuming fewer budgets than traditional marketing—makes it an increasingly popular communications tactic.

And that, in turn, makes the assets which support it, from photos and video stop itches and presentations, more valuable.

Trouble is, managing those assets is becoming more complex. That urgently needed headshot is not in the correct file. There are 9 versions of that proposal, and it’s not certain which one went out. That artwork has the client’s old logo. And what of all those unused or out-of-date assets, hanging around on the server, eating up space and driving up costs?

These are the kinds of challenges that are making it more important to effectively manage and protect this content currency—and they’re what prompted DCM to adopt digital asset management 15 years ago.

DCM’s Path to Digital Asset Management

As a national provider of marketing and business workflow solutions, DCM has more than 40 years of experience managing digital assets for some of the biggest brands in North America. To support those clients and simplify their workflows, we initially built an ad-hoc solution that allowed assets to be stored and accessed centrally. This was a considerable leap forward in our digital journey—but the system had its drawbacks.

One of the biggest was the fact that while it was much easier and faster to access our assets, we couldn’t be certain that the latest versions had been filed centrally.

Versioning is crucial in marketing and communications, and this pain point alone was enough to drive us to develop a more comprehensive, functionally-rich digital asset management system— one that would better support our ever-expanding array of larger, more interactive, graphic-rich files, and do so in ways that would align with the reality of multiple iterations and file formats, and the need to constantly share and publish assets while ensuring version control.

We also designed our DAM to integrate tightly in to our tech stack. Like many other companies, we’ve recognized that while technology is avital business and communications enabler, it adds its own layers of complexity. We wanted our DAM to simplify—not complicate—our infrastructure. We made that happen through additional integrations that ensured it was interoperable with upwards of 70 of the most common business and marketing applications.

Another crucial step in our DAM expedition: establishing all the necessary workflows and permissions around access, based on our specific business model and the needs of our users. We knew that relying solely on people to determine the correct assets posed a risk of error, and could cost our company. We needed to automate the processes related to this management, particularly as we added more assets to the system.

“The brand-building power of content marketing—its ability to garner followers and foster trust while consuming fewer budgets than traditional marketing—makes it an increasingly popular communications tactic”

What we’ve learned: While DAM is simple, it’s not out of the box

The end-user simplicity of DAM is one of its greatest advantages: Built-in automation, collaboration and governance (everything on the  DAM is rights-approved)make routine file and asset management dramatically faster.

But that doesn’t me an adopting a DAM is straightforward. This is probably the first lesson we learned: A well-designed digital asset management solution needs robust support—not only during implementation, but long after go-live and hand-off. The planning, building, testing, integrating, training... It all requires extensive time, resources, and dedicated expertise.

Following are some of the other important lessons we’ve learned during our DAM-building experience:

You can’t solve everything at once. To determine what you need to solve, start by identifying the primary use case—the biggest pain point and highest risk in the business. That pain point should be your north star, with other priorities laddering up to it.

Find opportunities to automate. Automation drives downstream efficiency in so many ways. It speed sup processes. It allows for better use of resources. And it cuts down the number of human touch points, greatly lowering the risk of error.

Integration is essential. The whole point of DAM is to effectively connect users, teams, departments, contractors, agencies. To adopt it and not fully integrate it is to lose out on many of its benefits and capabilities.

Change management and uptake are as important as the tech itself. The entire organization must be on-board. The end-goal must be enterprise-wide rollout and automation, with adoption actively promoted and practiced, from senior leadership down to front-line users.

It’s a constant work in progress. Technology will evolve. The business will change and grow. Your DAM system must accommodate this fluidity, and allow for ongoing improvement based on best practices that will continue to get better.

 

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