A 12-step information for implementing a digital asset administration system


Launching an enterprise-wide digital asset administration (DAM) program isn’t any simple factor. W.L. Gore and Associates, finest recognized for its Gore-Tex cloth and merchandise, discovered itself having to do exactly that. At The MarTech Convention, Rachel Edwards, the corporate’s Enterprise DAM librarian, walked us via how they did it. She additionally defined why the minimal viable product (MVP) technique they selected was key to its profitable launch. (There’s a video of her discuss on the finish of this text.)

The issue. Gore wanted a DAM as a result of its belongings had been in every single place. Shared drives, exterior onerous drives, SharePoint websites, folders on particular person PCs. There was no centralized repository of belongings, no standardized course of for locating belongings and no content material governance. Every division, and even in some circumstances, smaller subdivisions inside these main divisions, had their very own approach of doing issues. There was no consistency. This was particularly painful for customers who labored throughout a number of divisions.

What’s MVP? “It’s the model of a product that has simply sufficient options to draw and be usable by early adopters,” mentioned Edwards. “These early adopters can then validate the product and supply suggestions and concepts for future enhancements and growth. Utilizing the MVP method to launch your DAM has many advantages, particularly if your organization has by no means had a DAM earlier than.”

1: Discover out the necessities

Edwards says don’t ask stakeholders what they need, ask what they want. The actual fact is they could not have any concept about what they need. “They might not have any context for framing the query if they simply discovered what a DAM is and have solely a excessive stage understanding of the way it would possibly profit them in the long run,” she mentioned.

When that’s the case, they typically are likely to err on the aspect of wanting every part they suppose a DAM  system can presumably do, simply in case, no matter what they really want the DAM to do in an effort to meet enterprise necessities. “This will rapidly lead you down the damaging path of over-customization,” she mentioned. “Over-customization cannot solely negatively have an effect on your website efficiency, however it could possibly considerably hinder your skill to improve and improve your DAM additional down the highway.” 

2: Separate the wants from the desires

Start with filtering the necessities right down to the wants versus the desires. The MVP is actually the smallest unit of supply that gives worth to somebody. And who’s that somebody? “Focus your vitality in creating your DAM on pleasing the innovators and the early adopters of know-how who can be your noisy minority and your pool of finish customers,” she mentioned. “Please your noisy minority and allow them to progressively pull within the others with their enthusiasm for the success of the DAM. They’ll be your greatest cheerleaders and one in every of your greatest PR belongings.” 

The minimal for a DAM. At its core, a primary DAM is a repository to retailer belongings which have metadata hooked up to them. That metadata permits you to discover the belongings via a search mechanism as soon as they’re within the DAM, so you will get them again out whenever you want them to be used. “If in case you have these three primary features – add, search and obtain – you’ve your starter DAM,” Edwards mentioned. “You even have the choice of putting in the straight out of the field model of no matter DAM system you’ve bought. See what the system can do proper out of the gate with out worrying about customizations.”

It took about six months to choose the appropriate DAM vendor and platform. A lot of that point was spent analyzing the general enterprise wants the DAM should meet. As a result of this was an enterprise-level effort, the answer needed to be sturdy sufficient to accommodate the necessities of the corporate’s 4 various divisions: Material, Attire, Medical and Efficiency Options.

Learn subsequent: 20 inquiries to ask digital asset administration platform distributors in the course of the demo

3: Outline the stakeholders’ position

Subsequent, the group decided who the stakeholders had been in every division. It was important that they understood their roles on the challenge and the time dedication concerned. “We would have liked to make it possible for they may and would stay absolutely engaged at some stage in the work,” Edwards mentioned. “The participation of your stakeholders can considerably assist or harm the progress and timeline of your challenge. So set clear expectations proper from the beginning. And don’t be afraid to take away or change stakeholders who will not be assembly your expectations.”

The main target of the kickoff assembly with the stakeholders was assessing the precise wants of every division. “We knew that our person base was not subtle when it got here to utilizing DAM techniques, so we saved the dialog comparatively excessive stage,” she mentioned. “We additionally used this as a chance to clarify the MVP course of and set expectations. We had been very clear that the product they’d obtain on day one was not the ultimate product.” 

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MVP wasn’t the one new factor being tried on this challenge. This was additionally the corporate’s first time utilizing the agile methodology of breaking duties up into a number of quick phases and delivering work in frequent smaller increments. “The DAM challenge is now regularly counseled as Gore’s first agile success,” Edwards mentioned. “It finally inspired different challenge groups on the firm to undertake the agile fashion of working.”

Key to success: Clear communication proper from the kickoff assembly was a significant factor in that success. Edwards mentioned it obtained the stakeholders considering when it comes to smaller deliverables.  explaining that we’d be delivering up to date performance sooner however in smaller packages. 

  • TIP: Making a communication plan is significant. Outline the way you’ll be informing stakeholders of each progress and blockers.

4: Decide which wants are enterprise-wide

Upon getting the necessities, cut up them into two teams, these particular to 1 division and people which apply to all divisions. 

The Gore group determined to do a phased rollout beginning with the Medical division. There have been two causes for this. One was as a result of Medical had the perfect grasp of the place their belongings had been positioned and had already begun utilizing some naming conventions for them. The opposite was that  that they had very particular authorized and regulatory compliance necessities round their content material that needed to be accounted for proper from the beginning. “We realized that if we accounted for the strictest rights administration case proper from the start,” mentioned Edwards. “We could possibly be assured transferring ahead that if it labored for Medical it will work for everybody else.” This decided the baseline asset administration instrument that the opposite divisions may use and construct on later. 

5: Prioritize time, cash or output

Edward’s group set a 13 week timeframe for constructing this primary model of the DAM. They budgeted $25,000 per week for every week’s work. “Bearing in mind time, cash and output, we knew that we couldn’t maximize all three,” Edwards mentioned. So, having set the time and the funds, they then pared the output right down to what they completely wanted.

  • TIP: Get recommendation from early adopters. “Out of our 10,000 staff, we had a loud minority of 13 engaged early adopters within the Medical division, and we leaned on them for outlining necessities versus good to haves for the MVP.” 

6: Meet with stakeholders in the course of the construct

All through these 13 weeks, the group met usually with the stakeholders in an effort to regularly regulate, recalibrate, and agree on altering priorities. That meant

  • Every day stand-up conferences with the core challenge group and implementation companion.
  • Weekly standing conferences with stakeholders. 
  • Demos displaying progress and updates had been held about each two weeks.

As a result of necessities, plans and outcomes had been reevaluated regularly, this allowed the group to answer adjustments and blockers rapidly. 

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7: Begin coaching as quickly as you launch

As soon as they formally launched the MVP DAM, the group started end-user coaching. “In every of these classes, we not solely defined what precisely a DAM is for individuals who perhaps hadn’t been uncovered to 1 earlier than, however we additionally stress the truth that this was the MVP model,” mentioned Edwards.

8: Do every part you may to get person suggestions

It was important for customers to grasp that the DAM was a piece in progress. Its performance would proceed to develop and develop extra time. The group additionally emphasised customers would assist decide this via their suggestions. The group made it clear who customers may attain out to with questions and ideas and supplied a number of strategies for them to take action. They made it clear they wished any and all suggestions, massive or small, good or dangerous.

9: Let it simmer

“As soon as your MVP DAM is dwell, have customers dwell with it for some time and never only for a couple of weeks,” mentioned Edwards. “It takes months for customers to essentially dig in and so that you can collect utilization statistics which can be supplying you with an correct sufficient image of how the DAM is being was once helpful. Have your customers see the way it suits into their work and the way it fills their wants after which they will begin enthusiastic about the way it may do these issues higher.”

Inquiries to ask customers. As they’re utilizing the DAM, test in together with your customers usually. Your preliminary questions:

  • What’s working? 
  • What’s not working? 
  • What options would you like to have that aren’t presently obtainable? 

10: Discover out what customers aren’t doing

A superb DAM system will offer you knowledge about what your customers are doing with it. That may also inform you what they’re not doing that they could possibly be. Ask them about that.

  • TIP: “When your customers are being actively inspired to offer suggestions after they know that their suggestions is being listened to, and that they’re a invaluable piece within the enchancment planning course of, it actually helps to drive person engagement and completely happy, engaged customers might help deliver in additional completely happy, engaged customers.” 

11: Discover out the place else they’re getting belongings

Your DAM is your central repository for your entire firm’s belongings. For it to achieve success, it must be the only supply of reality for your entire content material. In case your customers aren’t getting their belongings from the DAM, discover out the place they’re getting them from. How can these different techniques combine together with your DAM? Can the DAM change these techniques? If there was a system they had been utilizing as a pseudo-DAM earlier than, flip it off. If turning it off isn’t potential, be certain that all of the belongings that are actually within the DAM have been faraway from it. 

“There are possible extra locations on the market the place customers are acquiring belongings than you notice,” mentioned Edwards. “Hold asking the questions. The solutions they provide you right now about how the DAM is or isn’t working for them will not be the reply they provide you subsequent week, subsequent month, and even subsequent yr. At Gore I keep in common contact with our stakeholders and we have now month-to-month conferences with our tremendous customers.”

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12: Have enterprise items do surveys

Within the yr following the MVP DAM’s launch, divisions despatched quarterly surveys to their customers, asking them what they appreciated and didn’t like in regards to the DAM, after they used it and after they didn’t, however ought to have. That suggestions was used to each improve the DAM’s performance and to help the divisions with streamlining and bettering their content material and metadata. “We have now an analytics dashboard that allows us to measure asset utilization and effectiveness so we will regularly enhance the asset manufacturing course of,” mentioned Edwards. “We will see what’s working and do away with what isn’t.”

Data your system’s dashboard ought to present:

  • How are every enterprise items’ customers looking out?
  • Are they simply utilizing the free textual content search field, solely the search filters supplied for them, or a mix of each to seek out their belongings? “In the event that they’re not using the search filters, we will talk about how we would be capable of enhance them.”
  • Downloads by asset kind and a listing of probably the most regularly downloaded belongings in every unit. 
  • Search phrases that had been entered by customers that returned 0 outcomes. This helps decide if metadata wants adjusting, or if there are new belongings could possibly be created to satisfy customers’ wants. 


A DAM isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it system. New customers will deliver new questions and new wants. Your work isn’t executed. Hold your eyes in your metrics and stay actively engaged together with your customers to make it possible for your DAM stays profitable as that single supply of reality for your entire firms belongings right now, tomorrow and past. 

“The DAM program is ongoing and sustained,” mentioned Edwards. “There’s at all times one thing you are able to do to enhance the way in which folks work. What content material they want and the way they get hold of that content material is at all times evolving.”

About The Writer

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has lined enterprise, finance, advertising and marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been metropolis editor of the Boston Herald, information producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Enterprise Overview, Boston Journal, Sierra, and plenty of different publications. He has additionally been knowledgeable humorist, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on every part from My Neighbor Totoro to the historical past of cube and boardgames, and is writer of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston along with his spouse, Jennifer, and both too many or too few canine.


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