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Henry Stewart DAM New York 2019 – Feedback And Insights From Those Who Attended

by Ralph Windsor on May 31, 2019

As most of our readers are aware, earlier this month, the Henry Stewart DAM New York 2019 conference was held on 2nd-3rd May.  By any measure, this is the most popular and well-attended industry gathering and attendees include a cross-section from the buy and sell sides of the market.  I took the opportunity while I was in New York to make contact with a number of other visitors to get their feedback about what they thought of HS DAM NY and also to pose some wider topical questions about Digital Asset Management.

The following people graciously agreed to give up some of their valuable time to provide the source materials for this piece and I would like to thank them for their input.

There were some great insights from everyone who participated.  A few themes I found particularly interesting as they concur with either my own views or they are points I have heard mentioned many times by others who are actively involved in DAM, these are discussed below.

Oksana Dersovitz’s response to the first question and the necessity to engage executive sponsors and get feedback from a wider range of end users resonated with me.

This year I focused on attending sessions on Change Management and User Adoption. My biggest takeway was to re-engage an executive sponsor of the DAM program to communicate changes and encourage adoption. Oftentimes, implementation and process decisions are driven by a small number of power users and developers. Who communicates major changes makes a huge difference in broader user engagement and software adoption.” [Read More]

Adoption remains the hardest problem to solve in DAM, yet it continues to not be given the amount of attention it really deserves.  Much of the reason for this is that the sell-side of DAM (vendors, consultants etc) are typically too focused on getting solutions implemented.  A cynic might argue that this is because they have usually been paid by the time implementation is signed-off, however, I know there are a number of less short-sighted vendors (and some consultants) who also see the value of improving adoption – for themselves as well as their clients.

Kevin Gepford’s response to the question ‘What DAM-related subjects are currently the most interesting for you and was that reflected at Henry Stewart New York?’ also aligned with my own experience:

I’m most interested in the activity surrounding DAM — upstream it’s about the process and technology for how assets get created and approved, and downstream it is about how they get distributed, such as formatting and publishing in social media.” [Read More]

Most of the DAM consulting work I do now is in-relation to Digital Asset Supply Chains, while this is not the same as Creative Operations, there is a degree of crossover.  There was a roundtable discussion at the conference about digital supply chains and it covered some very interesting topics.  I would have definitely like to have heard more about this area as (as ever in DAM) I get the sense that the buy-side is way ahead of the sell-side in terms of their thinking – and getting increasingly frustrated at having to endlessly explain the basics of what this means and the implications it entails.

There is too much material worthy of discussion in the feedback and I could easily write several articles about it, but one last item I feel needs a special mention are James Gabele’s and Lisa Grimm’s observations, first from James:

The DAM community will become more aware of how DAM is applied outside of the marketing and creative departments. Several consultants and vendors are aware of the AEC space and how those business leverage DAM differently. Likewise, several companies leverage DAMs to track maintenance for infrastructure power lines, pipes, heavy machinery, railroad tracks, pipelines, dams, etc. I am looking forward to seeing a panel of engineers present their DAM case studies on a Henry Stewart DAM Panel.” [Read More]

In addition to the following from Lisa (bold hilighting added by myself):

I think if those senior leaders saw more connections between DAM and their existing work, the value would be a lot clearer to them – we need more storytelling from those who have been there in the right forums. There’s a huge opportunity to get DAM into other industries and verticals that has barely been explored, and seeing more of those case studies and presentations would help drive adoption.” [Read More]

While the marketing use-case is going to remain the cornerstone that subsidies the majority of the costs of ongoing development in the DAM sector, I absolutely agree that not enough attention has been paid to the ways in which DAM could be applied to other business functions.  Usually when this subject comes up, something like preservation, museums, culture/heritage (and maybe sport or law enforcement) get mentioned but the opportunity is considerably bigger than that (and still from commercial end users rather than government or not-for-profit).  Essentially, near enough the entire DAM market has missed a trick here and is currently leaving a significant amount of money on the table.  The funds accrued from having a wider range of use-cases would enable investment into a lot more innovation and (as Lisa points out) would help to improve adoption and senior management buy-in to DAM initiatives.

There is certainly some food for thought in all this and I encourage everyone with an interest in DAM to take some time to peruse and carefully consider what has been said,

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