The #1 mistake that companies make with Digital Asset Management is thinking too small.

Many companies short-sightedly try to save money with low-end DAM software that only acts as a searchable repository. But even technically simple repositories require non-simple impacts to an organization’s human capital: Retraining, change management and adjustment to business processes across teams and geographies. 

The same companies that underinvest in cheap software often fail to budget entirely for these human elements—resulting in unused shelfware or unanticipated impacts as multiple teams spin their wheels to negotiate ad hoc processes.

Your DAM project is going to shake things up regardless.  Here are 5 critical mistakes to avoid to ensure that shake up is not wasted:

  1. Adapting DAM to Business as Usual.  Winston Churchill said “never let a good crisis go to waste” and DAM adoption should be that positive crisis. Sophisticated DAM systems empower better asset reuse, automated formatting and transcoding, efficient asynchronous collaboration, business process workflow operationalization and optimization, and better ways to act upon key analytic insights. Yet many companies start their requirement gathering by trying to replicate their existing process. Don’t spend money and time just to end up back at your starting point!
  2. Focusing on the Technical Challenges. Roughly 2 in 3 RFPs and job postings for DAM are led by IT.  That’s understandable; DAMs are technical systems. But focusing on supported RAID levels misses the point. A perfectly sized, backed-up, and secure system is necessary, but if your marketing teams aren’t bought in and excited by how DAM will make their lives better, they’ll adopt DAM with all the enthusiasm of your corporate password expiration policy.
  3. Focusing on the Creative Process. When marketing organizations do recognize their responsibility to DAM, they allocate project leadership from the creative production team. That is an invaluable perspective and should be addressed, but it is not enough. DAM should drive the reuse of assets across customer touchpoints. If your TV, web, direct mail, email, mobile, social, print, advertising, packaging and POS teams use assets to communicate with customers, then stakeholders from those teams should weigh in and buy in to the DAM implementation.
  4. Creating Departmental Solutions. DAM is the most commonly departmentalized piece of enterprise software on the market. This is a natural reflection of marketing silos. Department heads jealously guard their budget and headcount. If Dick reuses Jane’s assets, he can’t justify his creative headcount or agency budget. This is not to say that every DAM implementation must achieve sweeping transformation across an organization in one big bang. Staggered rollouts are often preferable. But even a gradual rollout should begin with the end in mind: a DAM that helps to unify the brand message across customer touchpoints.
  5. “Finishing” the Project. There is a sense of accomplishment in successfully completing a project. But if you neglect the care and feeding of your DAM post-launch, your initial success was probably an illusion. Workflows will require tweaking. Taxonomies require maintenance. Assets will need to be archived intelligently. New customer touchpoints—like Google Glass—will need to be addressed.  You can’t prepare for everything the future will hold, but you can establish a governance framework and resource allocation that allows for diligent proactive adjustment so your DAM investment isn’t just flash in the pan and continues to drive success for many years to come.

Avoiding these pitfalls is easier said than done. If you'd like to avoid these 5 mistakes (and mistakes 6 through 100) with a partner who has been there before, why not reach out to us to start a conversation?

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