Five Common DAM Implementation Mistakes

Usually I talk about WCM on its own, but I wanted to further explore the topic of digital asset management (DAM) projects. And here is why: DAM remains one of the technologies that is most frequently integrated with WCM. Where there's text/data/info on the web, there are most likely images and videos associated with that information.  

DAM is prone to common implementation mistakes that can make your project seem like a complete and utter waste of money. But knowledge is power. Therefore, I'll outline some of the most common DAM project mistakes that that you can avoid them or, at least, expect them and be able to handle them gracefully. 

Ignoring metadata: "I cannot find my assets." If you hear this phrase too regularly at your company, you need to pay attention. Unless, of course, it's a persistent user error, you might want to look into how the DAM system was implemented, especially from the metadata management and search perspectives.  

Many DAM systems come with a built-in search engine, but you still need to tune them and teach them about your assets and your vocabularies. In other cases, you might see integrations of DAM with an existing stand-alone search engine-but the same rules apply. No search can function well without proper metadata. 

Greater findability is the absolute minimum payoff that you should get from your DAM implementation. To avoid going back to the drawing board, make sure you pay careful attention to your metadata management and findability. 

Paying too much to the agency: I am not saying that you shouldn't employ an agency. There's a place and a time for agency work-especially in larger organizations. But what I am saying is that your reliance on the agency should decrease as you implement and use your DAM system. If you previously relied on a system that was hosted by your agency for storage, retrieval, approval, and review of assets, then you now should be able to complete all these and many other tasks within your own DAM system-thus, decreasing the budget spent on agencies. 

It is very important to establish the new rules of the asset management game in order to ensure that all parties perform assigned tasks in the DAM system. This will not only save you money, but it will also provide you with a central repository for assets. This avoids having assets scattered around multiple repositories, which, in turn, can lead to the loss of those assets. In a more optimistic scenario, you might pay the agency for the same asset multiple times-for instance, every time you need to find and use it.

Choosing the wrong implementation partner: In a scenario where your organization doesn't have a well-staffed IT department, you will rely on a partner to help you implement the system. There are various system integrators (SIs) who can help you do that. Even if you do have a large IT department, it could be that your technical staffers lack the knowledge and experience to implement the chosen DAM. So, you will rely on a partner for implementation, training, and knowledge transfer. 

When choosing SIs, you need to make sure that they have the knowledge you seek. You need to check references and prior implementations to gain insight into how well they know the system and are able to implement it. 

Users hate the system: That, actually, happens more often than you think. And most often, this is the result of business users not being engaged throughout the product selection process. Another reason could be that a DAM system that is particularly suited to your organization has not been implemented well and in a user-friendly way. If the DAM system is not helping your employees do their jobs better, they will struggle adopting the system. 

DAM project is not staffed properly: A common misconception in this area stems from the belief that software alone can solve your digital asset management issues. While software can run without much human intervention, in order for it to run properly, you need to staff your DAM projects accordingly. Understaffing can be avoided with budgeting for additional workforce prior to the software acquisition and its implementation. You may need to justify this additional expense, but if you don't, you're putting your DAM project in jeopardy.