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5 Factors Stalling Your Digital Asset Management Project (and How to Stay on Track)

Carlie Hill avatar

Carlie Hill

Director of Growth Marketing

6 min read

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Digital asset management initiatives have a profound impact on creative and marketing operations and positively affect multiple teams and stakeholders. But, DAM projects often have multiple phases and moving parts and, thus, potential opportunities to get derailed.

To drive your DAM initiative to the finish line, you need to be prepared to address challenges that could stall your project or halt it completely. In this post, we’ve highlighted the most common ones, so you can be prepared with counter-attacks.

Here are 5 factors that could be stalling your DAM project and how to stay on track.

  1. Budget Reallocation
  2. Competing Project Priorities
  3. Lack of Buy-In
  4. Resistance from IT
  5. Internal Change

1. Budget Reallocation

A change in budget is the number one project staller we hear from companies looking into digital asset management. It’s also the one that’s hardest to control as budgets get overspent, unexpected opportunities are presented and competing priorities are introduced during the quarter. Two-thirds of those investing in marketing technology don’t have a clearly defined budget, so when it comes time to sign-off on pricing or approve a proposal unless specifically allocated to DAM, the budget may no longer be available or may be pushed out to the next quarter or year.

Staying on Track: Find Budget for the Future

To avoid budget reallocation, work with your team to find where digital asset management will fit into the budget and try to get approvals specifically for the DAM project, separate from the overall marketing technology budget. (Smartsheet has 12 free marketing budget templates if you need help). Sometimes your accounting team will also allow annual payments for SaaS technology to be budgeted as a monthly expense across the entire year, making the spend easier to justify in proportion to the yearly budget.

You can also do an audit of your existing programs to see if there are any that can be retired, have overlapping functionality or have not been adopted, finding ways to reduce existing spend rather than having to justify technology budget increase in order to add DAM in your marketing stack.

2. Competing Project Priorities

With nearly half of marketers (43%) using between 6 and 10 different martech solutions, we occasionally hear that another project or a different marketing technology is taking priority over DAM. Competing priorities can be the nature of a marketing team, especially within larger organizations where different initiatives have to compete for a limited budget.

Staying on Track: Prove DAM ROI

When you’re competing against another piece of marketing technology, the key is to prove that a digital asset management system is a priority, and part of this is proving ROI. There are plenty of ROI calculators, like this one, that can help you show the value of DAM, including benefits, quantifiable ROI value and growth opportunities. You need to use ROI as an offensive, rather than a defensive tactic. Once the decision has been made to prioritize another project, it can be difficult to pivot.

It can also be helpful to highlight DAM as a foundational technology that speeds up other marketing initiatives, so it’s often beneficial to implement a DAM first. By auditing and organizing content or brand assets first, rebranding, website updates, marketing automation or other projects can be completed faster and at a lower cost.

3. Lack of Buy-In

When trying to get a DAM system approved, it’s important to have buy-in from multiple stakeholders, especially from ones that would benefit from its implementation. Digital asset management isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, so it's important to consider use cases from different user groups and ensure that their needs are met. Omitting functionality that is key to a specific user group can introduce obstacles into both vendor selection and approval stages, which can cause a DAM project to quickly go to ruins.

Staying on Track: Recruit Advocates

There’s strength in numbers – especially if you’re hoping to get a digital asset management project approved. A DAM initiative is set to gain more traction if you involve stakeholders from key user groups right from the get-go. It allows every party involved to share what they’re hoping to achieve with the system, creating a truer scope for the project and narrowing your vendor options. Start by identifying the groups that will likely be impacted by the DAM and get them involved in the decision-making process (here are three categories of users to consider). Ensuring that your DAM requirements match stakeholder use-cases will ensure that you get support from these groups and strengthen your DAM case, leaving less chance for bumps down the road. Here’s a helpful guide for getting key stakeholders involved.

4. Resistance from IT

IT can be resistant to a digital asset management project if they feel it will significantly increase their workload or endanger corporate security protocols. Their concerns come down to three things:

  1. How the technology integrates into their existing technology roadmap?
  2. Does this new technology introduce the level of risk that's acceptable to the organization?
  3. Will it help business users?

As the department responsible for planning, operating and supporting the company’s overall technology infrastructure and enabling business users to carry out their roles efficiently and securely, IT is looking to analyze if the DAM is safe to implement and if it will reduce overall costs from the corporate perspective.

Staying on Track: Build a Business Case

What IT needs is cold, hard proof that your DAM initiative will increase user efficiency while decreasing risks, and that often boils down to a business case. You’re looking to prove that you’ve done your research, calculated the potential risks and built a project plan that will work. In our recent interview with Microsoft’s Global Channel Marketing Lead, she suggested running a pilot/trial to prove the use-case for your own organization and give IT a realistic sandbox to test. Workzone built out a great post on making an exceptional business case, that can help you start on your own for digital asset management.

5. Internal Change

The final factor that we frequently see stalling a digital asset management project is an internal change, such as a change in leadership, organizational restructuring or even an acquisition. Each one of these factors introduces an enormous amount of change to the organization, leaving many active projects on the backburner.

Staying on Track: Start Smaller

If you work within an organization that frequently reorganizes departments or product lines (some even do this every fiscal year), or if you’re in an industry that experiences a lot of consolidation or acquisition activity, you need to be strategic about how you approach your DAM initiative. Part of this means simplifying the scope of the project to reduce the project complexity and introducing a phased approach. Integrations and add-ons can often make implementations more complicated, lengthen the project cycle and threaten overall budget allocation.

We often recommend a “Crawl, Walk, Run” approach to digital asset management, where organizations roll out the “core DAM” before adding on any extras. It not only ensures that the implementation runs smoothly, it also gets the DAM rolled out before internal change can stall the project.

While this isn’t a definitive list, we hope it prepares you for potential stalls that come your way and helps you confidently lead the charge for your digital asset management project.

Heading into a digital asset management demo? Don’t forget to ask these important questions to ask on a DAM demo.


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