SEARCH

Maintaining your DAM

by Ben Zamora-Weiss

 

You’ve purchased and configured your new DAM, as well as gotten your first push of media ingested and tagged; congratulations! This is no small feat, regardless of the size of your organization. So much thought, conversation, and comparing options goes into getting to this point, so take a quick moment to enjoy it...but know the work isn’t done.

In fact, being the product owner of a DAM is not much different than having a pet: you’ve got ongoing health checks, training and habit-building, exercise, and occasional clean-up still ahead of you for the life of the system. Let’s look at what to prepare for and why.


Regular check-ups are incredibly important for user adoption and system optimization. Once your users are really starting to put the DAM through its paces, they’re likely to find small frustrations, quirks, or opportunities for refinement in a way that your initial testing didn’t. However, users may not feel motivated to share their opinions unless they’re approached, so schedule regular feedback sessions or send surveys to your users. Besides asking “What’s working and what isn’t?” you should also seek input on how features are being used, such as if there are saved searches, notifications, filters, or automations that might help streamline workflows. These feedback sessions might be frequent early on, but there’s no reason to stop them entirely as time goes by.  It’s not just the end users who need to be consulted regularly. Your IT team might need to be kept abreast of downtime, bandwidth, firewall, or storage issues. The DAM software vendor might have updates available that will require additional training or adjustments to your workflow. The occasional check-in with other business leaders regarding the DAM’s key performance indicators can help prioritize future and current projects.

Being the product owner of a DAM is not much different than having a pet: you’ve got ongoing health checks, training and habit-building, exercise, and occasional clean-up still ahead of you for the life of the system.

Good training and habit building is another key to keeping a DAM running smoothly. The more comfortable your users are with the system, the more likely they are to use it to its full potential, thus making the most of the investment. Having up-to-date reference and training materials that are both easy to find and easy to understand will assist your users in feeling self-sufficient. Having consistency in how your media gets into the system, is tagged, and if or when it’s time to archive it to some offline storage helps create a stable user experience across the board. If your system can keep track of who added or tagged content, this can help an administrator or manager audit where additional training might be necessary. Also, keeping your metadata team consistent in how they use controlled vocabularies and free text fields will make it easier for users to find relevant and high-quality results when they search.


Proper metadata management is a necessary--and often neglected--part of keeping your DAM efficient. Regular reviews of your vocabularies’ pick lists to catch typos or duplications is important, as is considering whether new terms need to be added or existing terms updated. Sometimes this is an easy task, but at other times you might need to collaborate with other business teams, especially if your company has taxonomy or ontology teams working to keep key vocabularies up to date or brand appropriate across the enterprise. Beyond existing values, perhaps your media workflow or search needs have evolved and there are new fields to consider or obsolete ones to hide. The same question can be brought to bear on your workflows; do your existing automations work just fine, or can optimizations be made? Perhaps system upgrades now provide features that assist in adding data to your records automatically.


We know that after your implementation is done, it can be daunting to be excited about diving into the ongoing management of your DAM...but the longer you wait, the harder it’ll be to keep the system healthy and efficient. If you need a hand, the librarians at Aldis are not just experts at thinking through these steps with you, but are also excited at the prospect of assisting with the hands-on management of the “less fun” tasks such as pick list clean-up!