When you begin evaluating digital asset management vendors, you often face a varied landscape of designs, features, and configurations. While it can be difficult to navigate these options, there’s a group that can help provide clarity: those who will be using the system.
There are three categories of users that should usually be consulted when evaluating possible DAM vendors: creative, technical, and business users.
A successful adoption often depends on satisfying these users and their interests, so they should be top of mind when selecting a DAM system.
Your implementation’s fate largely lies with the power users in your creative department or those that create your content. For this crucial stakeholder group, one thing matters above all: speed.
Today’s creatives often face production demands that stretch them to the edge of their ability and this pressure is only increasing with the growing amount of content distribution channels that require tailored content.
Considering this, it’s understandable that creative users have no tolerance for unnecessary disruptions to their processes. No matter how sophisticated or feature-rich a DAM is, their feelings about it boils down to one thing: Does it interrupt their workflow?
Neglecting this concern is a mistake you don’t want to make.
While a DAM is designed to help creatives keep organized, store and share files, if it slows down or interrupts a creative user’s workflow, they’ll resort back to their own methods of storing and managing content without speed delays. At that point, the DAM isn’t being used and the implementation has failed.
To ensure that this doesn’t happen, your DAM provider has to solve a very sticky problem: physics.
A large file requires time to render when it’s downloaded from the cloud. This latency isn’t long by most standards – only a second or two – but these seconds aggregate over the course of a day and it’s time that your creative users don’t have to lose. If content development is an intrinsic element of your business model, it’s critical to ensure that the vendors you’ve shortlisted can minimize or eliminate any delays your creative team may experience due to the DAM.
Your company likely has a technical strategy related to a cloud provider like Microsoft, Google or Amazon. Aligning your DAM with your overall technical strategy will streamline implementation, integration and maintenance. Ultimately, it will make your IT team happy.
Your first question may be: How do you know if you have a technical strategy? Look at your suite of applications.
For example, if your organization uses Microsoft Office, you likely have a Microsoft strategy. Microsoft applications are typically backed up on Microsoft cloud infrastructure and provide access to the cloud storage service, Microsoft Azure. Any other separate SaaS applications or systems that you employ, including a DAM, that are also hosted on Azure should easily integrate into your Microsoft applications.
This alignment with a technical strategy also streamlines implementation from a security perspective. Since your IT team will have already audited your current cloud provider for other applications, they know the security of the cloud platform well. This familiarity can fast-track your implementation and speed-to-value.
Your business users are the marketers, salespeople and external partners that need to be able to easily find content for their PowerPoint presentations, product briefs or promotional material. While they aren’t power users, they remain one of the most important DAM stakeholders. Like creatives, business users value the ability to access any file format, size or resolution quickly, so that they can concentrate on hitting their deadlines.
However, the greatest value a DAM can provide to these users is the ability to facilitate asset discovery and ideation. These users need to be able to quickly find what they’re looking for through reliable and user-friendly search capabilities. This allows business users, who are sometimes geographically distributed, to be able to independently find the assets they need at any time.
Customer Use Case: The Stevens Institute of Technology
The Stevens Institute of Technology, a private research university in New Jersey, took great care in incorporating and considering users during their digital asset management evaluation process.
Here’s what Jay Boucher, their Graphic Designer, had to say about their experience:
“Something that was very important to us was to do interviews with users to find out how they used our old system and what they expected from the new system. We wanted to understand their workflow and what their pain points were.
This information was then used to create a list of our DAM needs, the features that were absolutely necessary and expectations for the system. From there, we could narrow down our list of potential vendors and only include those who offered the features we needed, but who was also in our price range.
By performing this exercise, our team was able to come together and make a final decision on a DAM vendor and present our findings to upper management”
For Stevens Institute of Technology, considering their users was extremely valuable to the success of their DAM implementation.
By considering these 3 user groups throughout your DAM selection process, you can start on a good foot to establishing high adoption and having a successful implementation.
Understanding the requirements of your users is one of the three major considerations when selecting a DAM. We’ve discussed the other two – Strategy and Configuration in the ebook: “Choosing the right DAM”. You can get the full copy of the ebook here.