Why do people love wholesale stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s? If you’re anything like my mom, it’s because they’re what she calls a “one-stop-shop.” In one trip, you come home with a month of groceries, clothing, office supplies, and a new phone plan. People love the convenience of doing all their shopping in one place rather than making multiple stops. It also saves time since you can knock out several errands at once.
Integrating a wide variety of products and services is key to the success of wholesale stores like Costco. The idea applies to other types of integration as well. For example, combining different workflows can save your organization both time and money, ultimately making it more profitable. In this article, we outline five simple ways to increase the efficiency of workflows used to manage digital files.
Before you can integrate your workflows, you need to create them. If you don’t already have a documented digital asset management (DAM) process, begin by working with your stakeholders and end-users to establish one for your organization. This entails setting goals and objectives, mapping where assets currently live, and creating standards for their use that are straightforward and align with your goals.
Your use standards should include your file naming protocols, folder structure, and permissions, and what metadata is applied to your assets to enable effective search. Using these standards as a foundation, your team can quickly build workflows around uploading, organizing, searching for, sharing, and retiring assets. This effort will save your team immense amounts of both time and money. According to our conversations with over 50 brands, the average team saw their search time shrink from three and a half hours to a few minutes after creating these workflows. Multiply that number by the average hourly rate of your team members and you can quickly see how much money improving your workflows could save.
Improving through Integrations
There are ways you can save even more time and money, however. Many organizations that use DAM workflows also utilize a multitude of other tools. These may be communication tools, project or product management software tools, or creative programs. Regardless, this means that effectively searching for digital assets is only one step in their creative and marketing processes. If your workflows require multiple steps, you can fully realize the savings and ROI of creating DAM workflows by integrating them with the other tools in your processes. Below are five simple ways to streamline your creative workflows to maximize your savings.
1. Out-of-the-Box Integrations
When creating your initial DAM workflows, one important consideration is where your assets will ultimately live. As your team discusses options, keep in mind that a core benefit of DAM platforms and file management systems like SharePoint and Google Drive is their various integrations with other systems. Without any development work or IT setup, many of these platforms will work seamlessly with other tools your team may use. Examples include Adobe Creative Cloud, various product information management (PIM) tools, project management tools, and marketing management software. These out-of-the-box integrations are by far the easiest way to streamline your creative processes.
If your team chooses to forgo a DAM platform, or if the platform of your choice does not have an integration you need, APIs are the next-best way to incorporate tools you need into your processes. API is the acronym for Application Programming Interface, which is a software intermediary that allows one system to request information from another. Using APIs provided by either your IT or development team or software vendors, you can connect your DAM program to other systems and tools you use. This means that assets in your library can be made searchable on your website or downloadable in your sales CRM. Using APIs requires development experience, but if your organization has the expertise, your DAM system will become the centerpiece of a powerful workflow that helps grow your brand across many departments.
If a major piece of your creative workflow is photoshoots, consider investing in transmitters for your photographers. Transmitters enable photographs and videos to be uploaded to your asset library as soon as they’re created. For reference, let’s take an example. A professional football team equips their game day photographers with transmitters as they shoot a highly-anticipated playoff game. During the game, their star player makes a stunning catch that makes the announcers and millions at home shout in amazement. Within moments of the play, the team’s social media team has posted several stunning images of the catch. By halftime, the various posts have millions of likes, shares, and comments. The catch and the images of it quickly become iconic around the league. The team has effectively capitalized on a particular moment on the field to create brand awareness off of it.
Think through how this kind of technology could apply to your workflow, as well as how to manage the edited versions of the photos once they’re delivered a few days later.
4. Artificial Intelligence
If the core goal of integrating your creative workflows into a single process is to save your team time, an easy way to achieve it is to implement automated workflows. Taking tasks off your team’s plate significantly reduces the time it takes to complete a process. For example, some time-consuming tasks involved in managing digital content and files are metadata tagging, file naming, and organization. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are relatively new ways to automate most, if not all, of these tasks. This technology has limitations, is expensive, and takes significant time to implement fully. However, once it’s up and running, this type of automation will save your team significant time and energy. It’s very worthwhile to take the time to research the AI capabilities of your DAM software if any exist. We’ve written about the application of AI to DAM at length here.
Outsourcing is another way to minimize the number of hours your team spends on time-consuming tasks. This is Due to AI’s significant limitations, especially in the realm of custom, organization-specific keywording (the most important kind). DAM consultants like Stacks offer ingestion and library management services at a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time employee to handle these responsibilities. Unlike a technology solution, these firms can also help you create and implement integrations and align your DAM standards with the overall goals and needs of your organization.
In our conversations with both big and small brands, we found that the average team of four spends the equivalent of over $100,000 a year searching for or reproducing lost assets. Expand that opportunity cost across your entire creative, marketing, or digital communications process and the number grows exponentially. By implementing a standardized, scalable DAM program, that cost plummets. Throw in some integrations and the automation of a few key tasks. All of a sudden your creative, marketing, or digital communications department becomes the most profitable in your organization. To get started creating scalable DAM solutions, contact Stacks today! We would love to help.