The processes involved in planning for and building a healthy digital asset management (DAM) program are extremely taxing for any team, no matter their expertise. One of the most challenging tasks is selecting and implementing a new DAM platform.
Once you’ve decided on a new DAM platform, the last thing you need is a lengthy, arduous implementation and onboarding process. You want to realize the return on your investment of time, money, and energy by, rolling out the new system and its workflows and features to your user groups as quickly as possible.
In this article, we provide a roadmap to ensure that throughout the entire planning process you're setting yourself and your team up for success when it’s time to implement your new DAM program.
5 Steps to Make It Easy to Implement a New DAM Platform
1. Build an Understanding of DAM on Every Level
Many DAM platform vendors understand how quickly organizations, their digital assets, and their goals change and grow. The digital landscape adds new layers every day, so DAM platforms have prioritized flexibility and scalability in many of their features.
This means you can begin your planning process by building an understanding across every layer of your organization—from the freelance graphic designer to the CMO—of how DAM affects them and the ways the new platform will help them in their role. Involving these stakeholders in the short-, mid-, and long-term and capturing every possible variable that could impact how you implement your DAM system sets you up for future success.
2. Regularly Communicate Progress to All Stakeholders
One factor that can significantly slow down implementation projects is a lack of buy-in. When end-users and other stakeholders who need to be present for training, onboarding meetings, or workshops don’t understand why these are necessary and aren’t committed to attending them, it can throw a wrench in timelines.
To avoid this, involve your stakeholders at every level in the planning process, procurement of a new platform, and development of your DAM program and its systems. Even if that only means updating them on the project’s progress in regular meetings or sending out surveys looking for feedback, it ensures they know the project is an organizational priority and may even make them excited about participating in it.
3. Prepare Standards & Processes Independent of Your Platform
This step does have a brief caveat to it. Some DAM-related standards and processes are dependent on what kind of DAM platform you choose. For example, some platforms are folderless, so you won’t need to spend time developing a folder structure if you choose one of them as the hub of your digital asset management program.
To avoid wasting time, start by developing your core standards and processes and establishing the criteria for their use. You don’t need to get too in the weeds, but creating your organizational taxonomy (in other words, determining and documenting how you speak internally and what kinds of words your team uses to search for assets), identifying your primary end-user groups, and your system administrators, and establishing your key asset approval criteria will save a lot of time when you implement your new platform.
If you need help with this step specifically, consider working with a digital asset management (DAM) consultant like Stacks. They can help you identify what processes and standards will save you the most time, what can wait until later, and what you can spend more time on today.
4. Map Your Asset Life Cycle and Core DAM Use Cases
Mapping the typical life cycle of your digital assets, as well as the core use cases surrounding them, may take time to accomplish but will save time and money in the long run.
Begin mapping the life cycle of your digital assets by determining where they're coming from. How are they managed and moved around in your current DAM system? Where are they being used and by whom? Having this information is helpful, not only during the implementation and platform configuration phase but also when evaluating DAM platform vendors. It allows you to know what features will be most helpful to your team when managing assets and what's just fluff.
5. Collect Priority Assets in One Place
The final, and perhaps most important step, is collecting your most important assets into one place before implementation begins.
There are several benefits to this. The most important is that it allows you to have an understanding of what types of assets you’d like to live in the DAM system. It also gives you a quick look at the kind of metadata you currently have on your assets which helps in the development of detailed DAM standards. In addition, when assets are in one place, you can easily add to or edit their metadata to ensure they're ready to be added to the DAM program.
Lastly, collecting all your assets in one place saves tons of time in the asset migration process, allowing you to have a minimum viable product (MVP) of your DAM program up and running within several weeks of making a buying decision.
If you need help selecting or implementing a new DAM platform, contact Stacks! Our team of digital asset management experts is happy to help.