Growing up, many likely dressed in hand-me-down clothes and inexpensive shoes. Why? Well, because we were literally “growing up” and quickly getting too large for the clothes and shoes that were bought for us. Outgrowing a pair of shoes as a kid was exciting since it meant we were getting bigger and older and able to buy a newer pair like all the other kids were wearing. However, our excitement was balanced by the realization that we’d quickly outgrow our new pair too.
Just like kids becoming too large to fit into their clothes and shoes, organizations can outgrow their internal systems and platforms as they mature, grow, and become more complex. This is especially true when it comes to the systems used in digital asset management (DAM). New channels for leveraging content are rolled out every day and consumers constantly want new ways to engage with the brands they love. Outgrowing a DAM system, while indicative of organizational growth and maturity, comes with its own set of headaches, however. In this article, we outline a few signs you may be close to outgrowing your DAM system so you can proactively begin your search for new solutions before it no longer suits your needs.
5 Signs You May Be Outgrowing Your DAM System
Below is a list of signs that you and your users should begin investigating other DAM systems (likely more robust DAM platforms). Since this task is often overwhelming and confusing, we hope these tips and notes about things to look for are useful. For more help, read more on our blog or contact us directly for support on these initiatives.
- Your organization has grown significantly since you first implemented the DAM system, whether it be through achieving revenue goals, hiring new employees, spinning off new departments, or developing a presence in new segments of the market.
- Your organization’s pain points and bottlenecks around digital assets aren’t solved by process, workflow, and standards adjustments such as adjusting metadata tags, taxonomy, documenting standards, or implementing approval processes, permissions structures, or copyright/usage rights tracking workflows.
- Features your end-users want and/or need aren’t available on your current system. For example, some of your assets have complex usage rights, but your system isn’t capable of managing this type of information.
- Users have developed multiple storage systems outside the DAM system to provide access to assets due to a lack of knowledge, access, or organization in the library. This often means users aren’t using the DAM system at all, and instead share assets via Dropbox, email, or Google Drive.
- Your DAM system’s user interface doesn't support the various types of users that need access to assets. Whether it’s the inability to quickly preview assets and sort them for the social media team or a lack of storage for the video assets used on your website, the assets your organization uses every day should be quickly available to the people that need them.
5 Steps to Take Before Switching DAM Systems
1. Learn more about your current system
The key to this process is to understand the way your current system is intended to be used. To start, list the core features of your current system as it pertains to managing digital assets, including features hidden behind a paywall. At the same time, list the system’s primary limitations (i.e., the features it lacks completely). It may be helpful to contact a customer success manager at your DAM vendor and discuss these limitations to see if they’ll be addressed soon and whether other customers are struggling with similar issues. If the strengths of your system don’t align with what your team wants to do with your digital assets, it’s a strong indicator that it may be time to make a change.
2. Identify what your users need from the DAM system
In step one, you could do all the work individually or with a small team. From here on out, you’ll be dependent on information and context from your system’s end-users, the people using it (or not) every day. To begin, we recommend sending a survey to every employee who uses the DAM system regularly to discover what works, what doesn’t, how they currently use the system, and what they want and/or need from it in the future. You may also want to interview your high-level stakeholders. This data will allow you to compare your organization’s current and future DAM needs with the list you already compiled of the strengths and weaknesses of your current system.
3. Consider whether changes to current DAM standards would help
Every DAM system needs well-organized and documented processes, standards, and workflows to perform to its fullest potential. Knowing the capabilities available to you, identify how revamping your DAM standards would improve your users' experience. Are your metadata and taxonomy understandable and organized? Do users know how to search for assets? What information do users need to be attached to assets to help them with search, context, or asset management?
4. Review workflows to identify possible or necessary process improvements
Along with improvements to DAM standards and their visibility to end-users, you’ll need to take a look at the ways that employees use assets from start to finish. First and foremost, are the processes you’ve laid out for your team being followed? Even if your standards are well-defined, they won't make a difference if people aren’t following them. Your team may need training on how to use and apply standards. Take a high-level look at where things are slowing down and how small changes could create efficiencies.
5. Make a list of changes to test before deciding whether to switch
As a final deliverable in this process lay out all the possible adjustments your team could make to try and solve the pain points identified by your high-level stakeholders and other end-users via your surveys and interviews. This could be purchasing new features, tuning standards, providing training, adjusting processes, reorganizing the assets in the library, or tagging them with metadata. Along with these tasks, outline what limitations the DAM system presents to permanently solving these pain points so that you can instantly know what your team will be looking for should you choose to switch systems.
Doing this proactive work is time-consuming and difficult. Doing the reactive work of finding a platform after things go haywire is even more headache-inducing. Stacks helps brands of all shapes and sizes do both. Contact us today if you suspect your DAM system is getting too small. Our team of DAM experts is happy to help!