DAM Governance – Sustainable and Practical Implementation Strategies


My co-contributor and DAM News Editor Ralph Windsor has recently posted an in-depth piece on the topic of governance within Digital Asset Management.  ‘DAM Governance Practices for the Long Haul‘ opens with a selection of real-world scenarios where governance issues can be encountered.

Effective DAM governance is about having a rational and scientific approach to managing an organization’s digital asset operations.”  [Read More]

Common examples of governance issues provided include:

  • The use of third-party assets with vague or inadequate access control or rights management, resulting in concerns over license misuse or copyright infringement.
  • Cumbersome or lengthy upload and ingestion workflows – initially put in place to enforce a quality threshold, facilitate approval processes or improve adoption – that result in key assets not being ingested.
  • A marketing department whose predefined asset collections are being lost among the ‘noise’ of other users’ assets after allowing them to create their own collections.

Ralph identifies that it’s generally the behaviour of the users and not the DAM system itself that’s the source of the problem in such situations, and that careful analysis of both context and circumstance is essential before any course of action is taken.  The article continues by outlining a number of general principles to consider when tackling DAM governance issues, including:

  • Using restrictions and controls sparingly to allow for maximum accessibility whilst at the same time avoiding licensing and copyright breaches
  • Managing conflicting requirements between two or more stakeholders; a DAM divided against itself cannot stand
  • Risk versus productivity is a common sticking point, making risk assessment an integral part of the governance process
  • Ambiguity in policy will invariably lead to uncertainty and confusion among users. As such, all policy should be supported by concise guidance on implementation
  • Governance policy should evolve along with the needs of the business
  • DAM managers should collect data and feedback to support any changes to policy
  • Anecdotal feedback from users is important and can assist in validating/disproving the analytical data that the stats appear to suggest

Ralph continues by breaking down these principles into practical and actionable techniques, conveniently separated into two broad groups: pre-implementation and post-implementation.  Techniques to put in place before a DAM is released to end users include:

  • Risk logs and mitigation strategies
  • Thoroughly documented governance policies
  • Procedure guides
  • Buying a governance-friendly DAM

Post-implementation activities include:

  • Regular governance meetings
  • Keeping an incident log
  • Performance monitoring and reporting
  • Policy and procedural review and revision
  • User stories and focus groups

The article concludes with the assertion that DAM governance is a continuous process that requires a number of key disciplines working in parallel to keep the system, its users and stakeholders operating efficiently and at full potential.

The process of DAM governance never ends. The data collected, policies, procedures and refinement thereof all add considerable value to the DAM itself.  The objective of most DAM initiatives is to develop a collection of digital assets that is greater than the sum of its parts. In establishing a culture of good DAM governance practice, you are developing the value of the DAM into an asset in its own right.”  [Read More]

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