Laurel A Calsoni

Friday, September 18, 2015

The DAM Truth

4 Digital Asset Management Trends You Need To Know

DAM_Blog_1_Cover_PhotoWhere is the Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Media Asset Management (MAM) industry heading? It’s a big question with even bigger implications. After all, there are hundreds of vendors on the market working to take their systems to the next level, and missing out on the latest revelation could mean losing ground to their competitors.

I recently interviewed a few leading DAM/MAM vendors to glean trends and future innovations.

Overarching Trends in 2015:

  1. Reimagined user interface (UI)
  2. Consumer video for web and social channels
  3. Interoperability between systems
  4. Business intelligence and analytics

We’ll tackle the first two of these trends today and look at the final two in a later post.

Reimagined UI

Vendors are working hard to improve the usability of their DAM systems by reimagining the UI. New users are moving from those who like and need to see the complete metadata model to users who want to navigate using a Google-like search. There is a need to support both types of users. There is also a need to consider the mobile user who may use mobile devices as the primary interface for using the DAM.

The UI goals for these users in 2015 and beyond are:

  • Make it quicker and easier to find assets
  • Make the control and tracking of assets more intuitive
  • Improve user experience (UX) and increase the return on investment (ROI)
  • Promote brand and highlight assets by improving:
    • System messages
    • Spotlight searches
    • Spotlight collections
    • Upload drop sections
    • Activity feeds

How will the vendors go about doing this? My interviews illustrated that vendors expect to design and engineer systems with users in mind so that they’re function-focused rather than option-focused.

Bynder is one example of a company that is on the cutting edge of UI. It’s incorporating a Brand Store Module that streamlines the process of distributing assets around the world in different languages by automatically translating captions. Users will be able to order posters and banners across the world search in their native language — it’s all automated. Also in the works for Bynder is fingerprinting of all assets with the ability to search by color palette, find similar and find duplicates.

Picturepark is another leader in terms of reimagined UI. It introduced Adaptive Metadata to enable users to design custom metadata schemas that reflect the specific needs of your organization. David Diamond, Director of Global Marketing, explained that, “Users don’t think in terms of metadata standards; they think in terms of what makes sense…Adaptive Metadata makes [a schema that changes as the asset evolves] possible.” He continued, “Adaptive Metadata updates the asset’s metadata schema based on classes that have been assigned to the asset…Picturepark will cease to address the concept of DAM as a whole, and it will better address the specifics that make up the management of digital content. It’s a tall order, to be sure. But the DAM industry is going to wither away unless DAM vendors start getting real about innovation and forecasting what happens next.”

Consumer Video for Web and Social Channels

Digital Asset Management vendors are recognizing that the industry around video and social channels is changing. They need to provide responsive design for mobile and touch-enabled devices, while also anticipating greater usability and adoption for organizations through platforms built for integrating fast growing, high-volume marketing environments.

The consumer video goals for 2015 and beyond are:

  • Make video more accessible
  • Include features for novice producers
  • Provide an avenue for faster time-to-market
  • Provide a path for videos to be shared through multiple channels

Vendors will achieve this by pushing DAM beyond the traditional approaches in response to demands in marketing, commerce, video, and omnichannel.

MerlinOne, for example, is developing a new browser interface that allows users to edit videos including mark-up, clipping, add topics and metadata tied to the timeline. The new browser will allow users to perform frame grabs and export a video or video clip. The videos are run through a speech to text engine to automatically create metadata along the timeline, which makes spoken word searchable.

Another notable trailblazer on the topic, Mohan Taylor, Chief Product Officer at North Plains Systems, shared with me that North Plains is adding new tools for novice users to ingest multiple video formats and new collaborations tools for novice users to edit video in a much broader way. The idea is for users to take the best videos they can create and use it to represent their brand through social channels. Taylor explained that users don’t need to be aware of the mechanism behind the video editing, all they need is a rock solid tool for ingesting videos that work for large HD video files.

Of course, this is just a small taste of what to expect from Digital Asset Management in the weeks ahead. Keep an eye out for Part Two of this article, which takes a look at progress being made in interoperability and analytics, by subscribing to our blog!
This article is a summary of the original published by Jeff Lawrence on


By Jeff Lawrence
From Celerity Blog

posted by Laurel Calsoni at 8:54 pm  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

DAM Positions Are Going Unfilled

From CMS Wire
By Elizabeth Keathley June 15, 2015

“Why spend millions to buy, launch and populate a DAM system without the staff to make sure it works?”


As part of my work at Atlanta Metadata Authority, I help place new employees or train existing ones at companies deploying DAM (Digital Asset Management) systems or retooling their DAM strategies. And recently a small but curious pattern in the hiring (or not hiring) of digital asset managers has appeared.

Three digital asset manager positions at Fortune 500 companies have stayed vacant for more than six months in the last fiscal year. These were positions that desperately needed staffing, but no hires were made after repeated rounds of interviews. The field of DAM staffing and consulting is a rather small one, so I was able to talk with colleagues in different parts of the US about these positions. We all had been contacted about the same jobs. We all offered staffing, consulting and in at least one case, help re-writing the job description for free, yet the positions remain unfilled.

It’s not that these positions lacked for qualified applicants. I, and my colleagues, are regularly approached by knowledgeable information workers with backgrounds in library science, IT, design and photography looking to move into DAM. People want to work with DAM systems. It’s not that those working directly with DAM systems aren’t desperate to hire. A host of posts on many forums acknowledges that a DAM system without dedicated, full-time staffing will most likely fail. Why spend millions to buy, launch and populate a DAM system without the staff to make sure it works?

Continued  Click Here

posted by Laurel Calsoni at 7:33 pm  

Friday, April 24, 2015

Are you building a new DAM?

Top 10 Mistakes When Implementing a DAM Solution from DataBasics
posted by Laurel Calsoni at 10:55 am  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

DAM Glossary

DAM Glossary is a resource containing definitions relating to Digital Asset Management and related fields. It covers a range of different subjects including metadata, hardware, interoperability, asset manipulation.

The glossary can be searched in several different ways:
Alphabetical index using the first letter of each term
Search with predictive text
Filter by subject area


posted by Laurel Calsoni at 6:22 pm  

Monday, February 4, 2013

5 Ways Marketing Pros Can Manage Their Digital Assets

From iMediaConnection
Posted By Matthew Gonnering
February 4, 2013


Your brand has a story, and it’s nearly impossible to tell that story without some form of digital media. As your brand, your product and service offerings, and your organization grow, so too will your library of digital assets. Images, audio, video, documents and more are all vital tools to marketers.That means that managing those assets effectively is as important a skill as any other. Here are five ways you can step up your digital asset management game and keep the focus on telling your story, no matter how big you are or what kinds of systems you’re using to store and distribute media.

Centralize your media library

Except in rare situations, there’s just too little benefit and too much risk involved to justify having your digital assets spread out across more than one location. Doing so invites redundancy and confusion, especially if there aren’t strict protocols in place that help people figure out what media is housed where. At the very best, disparate storage adds to the time it takes any one person to retrieve the assets they need for a given task.

What “centralization” requires varies from organization to organization. It usually makes the most sense to put all your stuff in some cloud storage location. Whether that’s a digital asset management solution or some consumer option like Google Drive or DropBox, centralization beats letting your assets live on multiple people’s hard drives or various in-house servers any day of the week.

Get a handle on your repurposing processes

Any given asset might end up destined for a wide variety of media. Whether it’s print, web or video, you’ll need to deliver your digital assets according to certain size, color and other specifications to ensure you’re represented correctly and consistently.

Certain systems will enable you to save one master asset and convert it into various formats as needed. Any digital asset management software worth referring to that way will perform these sorts of conversions, for instance. If you don’t have that kind of system in place, you should at least make sure that anybody in a position to use or distribute your media has a thorough understanding of the file conversion options and why they matter in different channels.

Collaborate around your library

These days, it’s hard to imagine any kind of business communication that doesn’t involve digital assets. Doesn’t it make sense, then, that you should keep much of the creative process close to the place those assets live? Having collaboration tools built into or integrated with your system of managing assets will help ensure that your users don’t have to struggle with new learning curves and that you don’t end up with conflicting versions of your assets floating around out there.

Know the numbers

Like Web traffic, ad conversions and view counts, there are numbers you should be following to better understand your digital assets and the effectiveness of your DAM system.

Having a way of tracking those numbers, therefore, is pretty important. If you know how frequently a product image is downloaded by users or staff, for instance, you might make different decisions when it comes time to shoot an updated set or photograph a new line (or when it comes time to request imagery from your suppliers).

Get people excited

You need to make sure you get your teams to buy into the use of your software, systems and protocols. Otherwise, your efforts will have been for naught.

Depending on what kind of system you’re promoting, the size of your organization and who the users are supposed to be, the methods you use to get stakeholders on board will vary. Sometimes it’s as simple as a clear, concise email. Other times, it’s a full-blown media campaign. Whatever it takes, though, is worth it. It’ll all pay off when you see your marketing operation running like a well oiled machine.

posted by Laurel Calsoni at 8:33 pm  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Five Ways to Better Manage Digital Assets

From EContent
By Eric Fulmer
Jan 29, 2013

Despite over two decades of awareness that digital assets present a unique and critical challenge for organizations of every size and shape, effective Digital Asset Management (DAM) remains more fantasy than reality. Some organizations have invested significant resources with mediocre results, while many others limp along with folders on a server and the never-ending problem of too many versions in too many places.

Rather than throwing in the towel, here are five tips that bring a new perspective to battling the “asset proliferation” monster.

Take a project-centric approach

Digital assets have little intrinsic value except in the context of how they serve as components of a marketing campaign, product launch, catalog, or other project. But traditional DAM takes an “asset-centric approach,” placing the asset at the center of the user experience.

Approaching asset management in a project-centric context keeps the focus on the bigger picture. How do all the components (including digital assets) meet the overall project goal? How can my organization make sure the key elements of each project are easily located, reducing wasted time chasing content? Is there a process to speed up approval to meet deadlines without eleventh hour Hail Mary passes of creative flurry? I think we can agree that those late nights are only fun once.

Project management software tuned to the creative workflow and integrating work-in-progress DAM is the right toolset for the in-house creative team. Creatives need management, but often resent processes with perceived bureaucratic burden. By making the project management component as transparent as possible and focusing on the creative tools that drive it, the team can become more efficient without feeling smothered. The project is the central metaphor of the creative process, and it remains missing in action from most creative production and asset management tools.

Make metadata work by making time to manage it

Metadata is the key to successful asset management, yet it’s the bane of asset managers and the whole creative team. There is an inverse relationship between an individual’s personal knowledge of the metadata associated with an asset and their need to document that metadata. Consequently, metadata management is one of the least developed disciplines in the organization.

Often the largest repository of relevant metadata lies in the brains of the creative team, who may have the least use for it and are legitimately overburdened with more urgent work. Making metadata management a priority means dedicating time for the process within the creative team, which will not be possible with a staff already struggling to meet deadlines due to thin organizational structures and a lack of project management tools.

This initiative is critically dependent on the first tip. Get organized enough to actually have time available for strategic imperatives – like metadata management – that are most susceptible to landing on the back-burner.

Differentiate strategic assets from tactical assets

Not all assets are created equal in terms of long-term value to the organization. A “one size fits all” approach to managing digital assets using an Enterprise DAM is like dumping every piece of printed paper in the company vault with the assumption it will be needed someday. Sorting through hundreds of images of the same can of soup trying to decipher what’s different about each one is not for the faint of heart.

Implementing a simple review and approval process within the marketing team can quickly weed out the large percentage of assets than can continue to live in a “work in progress” DAM, only accessible by the creative team, and push the handful of approved assets to the Enterprise DAM for wider availability. Again, we see the critical importance of a true workflow process within the creative team that will serve as a filter to avoid “asset glut.”

Keep creatives focused on creativity

Turning your most creative resources into file managers and “process cops,” tasked with policing how the rest of the organization uses assets, is not only poor resource allocation, it also reduces the quality of creative output by interrupting creative focus. Keep the creative team focused on what they do best by minimizing their administrative burden. Here are two methods: hire a dedicated ‘trafficker’ for review and approval of projects originating outside of the creative team, or invest in an automated approval workflow that reduces the demand on the creative team by eliminating meetings, endless email exchanges and “version mania.”

Data-driven insight via usage tracking

There is a fine line between brand consistency and snooze-inducing redundancy. A favorite image asset, for example, can easily become overused by the organization, resulting in reduced impact and a stale market perception. It’s critical to keep track of how often an asset is utilized and in what context. No one wants to see the same picture of Snuggies in the Sunday newspaper ad every week.

Many DAMs provide historical data on the number of times each digital asset in the repository was downloaded and by whom. But that information is only a clue to the mystery of where the asset actually ended up (if anywhere). The ultimate fate of the asset remains unknown unless manually tracked by some other process.

This speaks again to the value of a project-centric system. If a user can instantly see that a particular asset is linked to six separate projects, including the last four quarterly catalogs, it’s likely time to freshen the look of this particular element.

Asset proliferation has consistently outstripped the pace of adopting new management tools. But many DAM offerings remain pricey and anchored in legacy architecture. The arrival of new development environments enabling rapid deployment of web-centric, platform independent applications brings a new opportunity to address asset management as an integrated element of creative business processes, not as a static vault set apart from them. Here’s a simple litmus test: If your organization’s digital asset management system doesn’t work on an iPad, it’s time to consider what modern digital asset workflow tools can offer.


posted by Laurel Calsoni at 2:22 pm  

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Importance Of Digital Asset Management For Business

from Digital Asset Management – Covering Your Assets UK

Simply put, Digital Asset Management (DAM) products provide a way to organise your company’s valuable files – your ‘digital assets’ – in a way that makes them quick-to-find and easy to access.
Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) live or die by their data. In an information economy, just about every business owner understands that they can gain a huge advantage over their competitors by handling their business data more effectively than the next guy. Companies are only as good as the data they hold, how quickly and flexibly they can access it to make use of it.

Digital Asset Management is familiar to all of us in some form. We all process digital assets (files), whether as documents sent to us via email, photos from digital cameras, or files from USB keys. In each example, we follow a system of folder structures, labels, hierarchies, etc. These systems allow us to find and manipulate these assets in a predictable way.
But if your files are of significant value to your organisation, number in the thousands, or need to be accessible by co-workers and clients all over the world, you need the power and flexibility of a DAM system. Think of your operating systems as the warehouse where you keep all the crucial data on which your business depends. DAM is your inventory control system, security guard, facility manager and global courier service, all rolled into one.

posted by Laurel Calsoni at 12:02 am  

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