What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?
I have worked in the field of DAM since 2000 when I joined a small start-up in Sausalito CA called WebWare. It was the first fully web-based DAM system (as opposed to client-server). The development framework used by WebWare was NeXT, which might be a fun fact for the nostalgic among you.
In 2006 I wrote a book about DAM and moved into a consulting role focused on DAM implementations in luxury brands at places like Oakley and Tory Burch and publishing giants like Harcourt and Ingram Books. I then joined a global consulting firm and built and led the Digital Marketing team where we worked a lot with DAM in the life science space.
In 2014 I joined another DAM vendor called ADAM who was purchased by Aprimo and following that acquisition I joined Nuxeo to help that firms focus on the DAM market. Nuxeo is now owned by Hyland. But I never really enjoyed the vendor side of DAM. Since 2018 I have been happily leading the consulting team at MOJO focused on marketing operations and tech, with DAM a key area of work.
What’s the most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand about DAM?
I would say that the most important thing about DAM is to understand that DAM is not merely a technology but a business practice. I wrote an article a while back on this very topic. What I mean with that is that in the DAM Market (as in many others) vendors and analysts alike make their money from talking about technology. That focuses the conversation on vendor selection and features rather than operations and processes. In most cases the promise of DAM vendors to solve the content challenges of organizations small and large are way overblown. The DAM tools on the market today are by and large interchangeable from a functionality perspective. The focus of a DAM project should therefore not be the tool but the content processes and governance. There is so much to say about this topic but I will leave you with this link to my article.
What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?
Obviously the above is the biggest strategic mistake I see. But on the tactical level I would say the biggest mistake is to assume one admin can manage the DAM system. Metadata management of most assets requires a well-defined process. Some data may come from the photographer or author (i.e. Location, description, byline), a next level from an admin (i.e. rights, permissions) and yet others from legal (Approvals) or the line of business (i.e. product relationships, identifiers, SKUs ). Managing the content, which often represents the very essence of the brand, is a team effort not a part time job for an intern. Strong governance is needed with well-defined responsibilities for data entry and accuracy.
What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?
For me the biggest value I generated with DAM came when the content managed within the DAM was or is put into the business context of a specific task or team. The general library function is not a bad thing. But I see significantly more value when a Customer Service Rep (CSR), for example, can capture the location of the caller/texter and a product name or ID right within the CSR application they work in every day and when that system is fully integrated with the DAM. The CSR system can then pull up a 3D image of the product sold in that caller’s/texter’s region or location instantly, without the rep needing to change screens and enter data again. Equipped with accurate, up to date text and visual information reps can be much more precise in their communication with your customer. This cuts call time in half, and provides both your rep and your customer a much-improved experience.
To make this work the metadata for the product imagery needs to be up to date and the images need to be correct (and ideally provide different views, including 3D). That is what DAM is good at, if done right. For the rep, this is transparent. They never knew that a DAM system manages these images. They simply work in the CSR app.
There are many more examples like this. The idea being that the DAM system is not only a solution in itself, but the value comes from close integration of the content it manages into day-to-day work.
This interview was published in DAM News on 13th September 2021. For more DAM News interviews, see the interviews index page.Share this Article: