The other day I was reading an article from Irina Guseva, an independent technology and digital strategy consultant specializing in WCM, DAM, Digital Marketing and Customer Experience Management. Her title of the article was “The Anatomy of a Failed DAM Project”.
Inspired on the title I was interested to read it and see what her observations are. Since I aged over the years into this topic and the industry is inventing more and more terms which reflect nearly the same topic in a new dress I am now after 20 years industry knowledge also ended into digital asset management.
Pitfalls really?Planning, planning, planning … already during my school time our teacher in physics told us it is all about planning. But is this not the project manager job ? This is correct, so what if your project manager does not bring experience in this category, can she/he educate themselves to be successful? Well Irina brings it to the point – Irina wrote: “One of the most crucial intersections in your DAM journey will be executive support and C-level buy-in”. Absolute correct but is there another dynamic which keeps you pulling down?
Well I am living and working since 6 years in the Middle East, in Dubai. The issue here is that on Executive C-level we have very well educated managers which are not empowered with experience. The don’t know what is ROI or TCO in the long run, they don’t know because they are young graduates which a fresh from an international university, studied there with the empowered money from their family and back home in their country they receive the position as an CEO in a family owned company or relative owned company. What happened with the years of experience in the field, with the experience in failing and success? Sorry not in the Middle East.
Executive support is given as much as you need; financial, resources, change management from the concept but that it fails in the execution. However the stronger party with the relationship to the young star is is going to win if change is needed or also executed.
Irina writes in her article – “Understaffing the DAM project is one of the most common mistakes I’ve seen.” Well coming as I said from my worldwide experience implementing my first solution back in 2001 over 4 continents on the globe it is the question of culture if it will be well staffed. In China management requests their staff to work nearly 20 hours a day, proof the progress and success nearly on a daily base. Working in Eastern Europe the problem is delegation, here we have the opposite effect. Executive level is not well educated but maybe very well experienced working since ages in the industry and sometimes not happy with the digitization of the new age. They need to delegate and cannot judge the right balance between experience, staff, tasks, time and requirements.
So in essence there is a project culture which needs to be evaluated before you go out there in the market and research possible vendors. Try to define the communication structure, the reporting structure and what your winning argument for your management is. Identify your hero, make him to an Action Hero.
From the skeleton to the full bodyLooking on the market left and right and under the hood of most of the vendors it comes down to your priority to select the proper solution for your organization. Think about you want to cook a steak. What you BBQ it or cook it in the oven? Well the question now T-bone, fillet, what will it be?
Digital Asset Management solutions have exactly the same questions. Do you need help in; making digital assets, modifying them, version them, distribute them to which device and to which audience in which format. Once decided we can take the next hurdle to proof our preferred vendor or solution.
- My existing assets need to fit their also, how to get there
- My search for daily life is based on which META information
- My work shall be easy, what education and training is available
- My biggest concern please my users internal and external
- My control shall be enforced but not block people to use and work
- My corporate identity is required for acceptance and integration
- My time is running away, how quick can be the implementation
Technology Train is it too fast?Planning in phases is modern project management so of course we do here the same. Irina writes in her article – “During this phase, pay attention to not only the technology, but the people involved: from internal stakeholders and users, to outside agencies, to consumers of your digital assets”.
She is so right, a lot of DAM projects I have seen the organization started on one single end because the pain was the biggest there, but stopped in the middle and never thought about other departments, other assets flying around in the organization or even utilizing the communication with external partners.
Working with agencies in the marketing industry I am still thrilled and feel pleased working with other industries when I see this huge amount of waste of time and resources. Sending Artwork around on paper with FedEx, UPS and Co or as large attachments uncontrolled over email.
So do we make here a technology implementation or not? How do you feel about it, yes or know?
Well leave technology to your IT Manager, which should never lead this project, it needs to be owed by a business owner. He will select the proper technology partner for the back end but let us focus on the front end. Search for a partner who understands your business, who can share experience what other companies did. Try to identify your unique process which differentiates from others, stand out of the crowd. Whatever you do and select one thing stay essential over the last years. The world moved away from the keyboard, try to automate the best any workflows, data capture and how to interact with the DAM. Consider tablets which are very much used in the creative space where stylus, pads and touchscreen replace the keyboard.
Take it down to the finger swipe to swipe the asset over to your favorite Photoshop application to make editing on the digital asset, swipe your finger to get the digital asset delivered into a digital channel like social networks, Facebook and Co and delivery channels like email or broadcasting. What does it bring you: Acceptance, minimizing training needs and happy users. Be modern, think loud, be proud and don’t forget – keep swiping.
Did I swipe ideas for you – did you consider in your projects the culture of the team – did you maybe success in the past, I shared some more pitfalls but share your top 3 success factors.