Digital Assets: The Raw Materials Of Digital Transformation

Earlier this month, CMSWire ran an item by Dom Nicastro which was a write up of a presentation given by Meghan Walsh.  The presentation has some very insightful points, for example:

Walsh said she had to determine if managing Hilton’s digital assets was the same act as managing its content. It wasn’t, she said. The company had different needs from the two pieces of technology.  The raw assets of a DAM – sourced photography, uncut video, working files, font files that needed to install on computers – require different layers of knowledge, metadata and management and a different set of skills and technology.” [Read More]

The piece can be summarised as follows:

  • Understand what you want to do before choosing technology.
  • Digital assets are raw materials which get transformed into content.
  • Digital assets are an enterprise concern, not just a marketing one.
  • Partner with experts to realise DAM initiatives.

I read many articles by people who claim to know about DAM, but too much of it seems to be paint-by-numbers stuff where the authors have evidently bought a second-hand opinion from someone else and pitched in a few fashionable buzzwords into the mix without understanding a lot about the activity they are discussing.  This is assuredly not the case here.  I am confident Meghan has a complete grasp of DAM and its implications for enterprises undergoing wider digital transformation programmes.

The key point to understand is that DAM is a process of adding value.  The raw materials are the digital assets, the value is the product of the different processes which will transform them.  This is what all businesses operations do at a fundamental level, as such, it is important to keep that in mind since this will determine the ROI obtained from DAM for your enterprise.  Note that this is no different, even if your ‘business’ happens to be a public sector or not-for-profit organisation: investment capital from some source was provided and whoever made that commitment expects to see some positive benefit from it (whether that be financial or otherwise).

Viewed from this perspective, it is clear that while some business functions might be more involved than others, none should be the sole arbiters of any design decisions about digital asset supply chains and how they will be operated.

Above all, I believe that the point of the presentation that Meghan wants to get across is that you should think first and foremost about what you want to do as a business with reference to your digital assets.  This is why you don’t start by going out and deciding what kind of software product to buy and asking consultants questions with impossible answers like ‘what is the best DAM system’.

For anyone else who is currently contemplating enterprise DAM initiatives, I highly recommend going through this article several times and spending some time thinking through how the points described apply to your own situation.  I believe you might be able to obtain a substantial amount of the insight that a consultant might charge you to help you uncover, except you will have done this yourself at the cost-price of your own time.  If you do decide to request external assistance later, you will have far superior briefing materials for anyone you subsequently decide to appoint (which should also yield a significant improvement in the ROI obtained from their services).

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One comment

  • alissa gonzalez

    This article, as well as the presentation by Meghan Walsh that it refers to, not only solidifies the importance of understanding DAM systems before beginning but also brings to light that not that this is a step that many ignore! The four points that summarized Walsh’s article should not only be understood but should be researched fully before beginning any DAM initiative. This article also highlights that all digital assets are Raw materials and need to be handled accordingly for them to be transformed into useful and valuable digital content.

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