DAM Best Practices

Over the past ten years or so, I have worked for leading vendors of enterprise Digital Asset Management (DAM) software and have successfully sold and implemented dozens of DAM systems.

As part of the process, I have received dozens of RFPS from companies large and small across the globe. Some are simply lists of requirements; others are meticulously prepared by consultants and can have as many as 500 or more spreadsheet rows.

Typical requirements are things like ease of use.. Access control, bulk upload, collaboration, annotation, security, version control, multiple file types, granularity, external distribution, etc are also typical line items in the requirements sheet.

But the quality and effectiveness of any DAM installation really boils down to one thing – efficient and detailed meta tagging! If users search for assets that are in the DAM but cannot be located through search because the metadata is weak or incomplete, the rest doesn’t matter. The system will fail!

The most critical decision that any DAM manager needs to make is how they plan to tag assets.
Any option that includes “manual” or “when time allows” or “hire an intern to do it” are prescriptions for failure. Guaranteed! Manual is too time consuming and there isn’t enough time anyway. Interns are hard working and passionate but don’t have the domain knowledge to effectively meta-tag.

Just to review: without adequate meta-tagging, digital assets cannot be found! If assets cannot be found, users will find other ways to distribute digital assets (file servers, Box, Google Drive, etc). This will cause the DAM software to become shelfware and fail. End of story.

The solution to this dilemma is auto tagging. Existing approaches including tap into existing data sources. One is parsing the Product Information Manager (PIM), a data feed from SAP or some other Master Data System which will contain contextual information about the digital asset.

Another idea is to capture the data from CaptureOne in photo shoot environments and automatically tag the photos being shot as they are uploaded to the dam.

Wouldn’t be nice to correlate the photographer with the best selling products on the website!

The most promising technology in my opinion is high volume auto tagging through AI. New capabilities from companies like M-Files and AWS (Rekognition) hold great promise.

More on this later…