In a world with increasing numbers of rich media assets and a diverse set of distribution channels, more and more organizations are taking a closer look at rich media management options. Despite this increased interest, most organizations I talk to have relatively nascent digital asset management (DAM) initiatives. To better help organization create mature and successful DAM strategies, I’m currently updating our 2011 report on DAM best practices. So far, the most successful organizations we spoke with said success was based on three main components:

  • Selecting the right technology vendor. Too many organizations we speak with treat DAM like a series of widgets. Certainly, customization often cannot overcome a misaligned DAM technology so feature functionality is important. But successful organizations look beyond a list of features. Instead, they look at criteria like vendor momentum, product road maps, enterprise customer references, integration strategies, vendor stability, upgrade path, and vendor strategic vision. You’ll have a long-term relationship with whatever vendor you choose, so make sure it has the features to get you by today, and a vision that will set you up for success in the future.
  • Adhering to an agile, business-centric implementation plan. We’ve seen it time and again: organizations choose a best-of-breed tool with all the bells and whistles sourced by a vendor with thought leadership and great customer service. But the solution fails during implementation. To avoid this situation, organizations with successful DAM implementation should create an agile and strategic implementation plan that is agile (even if not Agile) and prioritizes business needs and business user self-service. Something that’s very important, but which many organizations overlook, is metadata and taxonomy strategy. Rich media is different than text-based content, so full-text search isn’t going to suffice here.
  • Prioritizing governance and change management. What good is a DAM solution if it isn’t used or isn’t used properly? Even organizations with best-of-breed tools will struggle unless they have proper adoption practices. Organizations with successful DAM implementations have built plans to facilitate user adoption including frameworks around both change management and governance. DAM governance, for example, should define processes and procedures for creating, managing, and updating content within the repository.

Our upcoming best practices report will have many more details around these three areas. In the meantime, do you have an interesting DAM success story? We’d love to hear your stories below.