If you’ve ever moved, you know the stress, exhaustion, and confusion it can bring. Not only are you disrupting your daily routine, but all your things have to be boxed up, kept safe, and reorganized. Then, it can take weeks or even months to feel comfortable and settled in your new space.
This process, and the headaches that come with it, is similar to a process that many in the business world are facing: transitioning from one digital asset management (DAM) system to another. Much like moving from one house to another, this undertaking involves plenty of stress, hard work, and planning to ensure a smooth transition.
In this article, we'll use the process of moving (something many of us are familiar with) to introduce best practices when it comes to migrating digital assets from one system to another, regardless of what those systems may be.
Best Practices for “Moving In” to a New DAM System
1. Find and Buy a New Home
It may go without saying, but before you start the moving process, you have to find, purchase, and close on a new home. This can be a painstaking process of deciding on your “must-haves” list, determining your budget and neighborhood of choice, and going on endless house tours while asking the right questions.
The same is true for the DAM migration process. Before any migration can happen, it’s necessary to research and evaluate other systems and platforms. Just like you would hire a realtor to assist you in the home buying process, DAM consultants like Stacks can help you manage a DAM request-for-quote (RFP).
2. Pack Your Bags
Once you’ve closed on your new home, it’s time to start packing. In the DAM world, this means collecting, auditing, and prioritizing the digital assets you’ll be moving. Just like some people may put all their boxes in a guest room to organize them, it’s often best to bring all your assets into one central repository in order to assess what you have.
Due to the hustle and bustle of day-to-day marketing and creative operations, organizations often aren’t aware of the sheer volume of valuable content they have. Migrations are an opportunity to identify which content should be archived and removed from current operations and which is being underutilized or forgotten.
During this process, it’s best to identify what Stacks calls the “20%.” These are the highest-priority assets that your team currently uses or frequently references. This group’s name is based on the Pareto Principle which states that 80% of outcomes come from 20% of causes. In other words, odds are that 80% of the value your organization derives from its digital assets comes from 20% of its library. The assets in the 20% category should be the first to be moved into the new system and organized so there's minimal downtime when they're not accessible to your end users.
3. Label Your Boxes
As you sort through your things and pack up, it’s always a best practice to organize your boxes by how they'll be unpacked and sorted, making it easier to find the pots, pans, documents, and clothes you’ll want or need the most. Each box needs a label like “small kitchen appliances,” “winter coats/sweaters,” or “books/games.” This not only makes arranging boxes on the moving truck easier but also allows you to stay organized as things get unpacked and put away.
The same principle applies to migrations. Rather than labeling boxes to make things easier to find, however, you’ll need to develop organization standards —a metadata taxonomy that includes folder and file names as well as robust keyword and description standards—and a permissions hierarchy that ensures ease of use and security for your assets and end-users.
These standards and processes should be documented and understood by everyone involved in the project and the DAM program before the migration begins. While applying these standards is time-consuming, having all your assets in one place and identifying the most important 20% significantly speeds up the migration process.
4. Hire Movers (If Possible)
Moving is an opportunity to get rid of things you don’t need (i.e., archive irrelevant files) and create new forms of organization (i.e., apply more robust metadata and structure). It’s also a time when things tend to get broken, lost, and thrown away by accident. This is especially true on moving days when things are getting lifted, put in vehicles, and unloaded through tight doorways.
To minimize this risk, many people hire moving companies with professional staff members who understand the moving process and its best practices and are experts in packing, organizing, and unloading goods and furniture.
The movers of the migration world are DAM consulting and implementation firms like Stacks. These companies offer support in terms of bandwidth and expertise to ensure that best practices are adhered to, the risk is minimized, end-users are trained, and digital assets are easy to find and manage in the long term.
Not everyone has the luxury of hiring a moving company, just like every organization isn’t able to afford help from a consulting firm. However, consultants can provide loads of free or low-cost resources that can provide clarity as you navigate the migration process. If this is an option for you, contact Stacks today! As well as making recommendations and developing custom standards and processes for your organization, but can also own the results by executing the migration for you.
5. Decorate the New Space
Getting your furniture set up, your clothes in the right drawers, and pots and pans in your cabinets are great, but it doesn’t really make your new house feel like a home. Once you’re done unpacking, you can start setting up the house in a way that makes everyone in the family feel comfortable and settled, whether that means decorating each room individually or buying a piece of furniture that fits a new room perfectly.
In the world of DAM, the equivalent of decorating your new space is getting creative with the features and capabilities of your new system. If you use a dedicated DAM platform, odds are it has features that are new to your team that can increase efficiency and maximize the value of your digital assets.
With your attention solely focused on executing the migration, you likely weren’t able to look ahead until now at how your new DAM system, paired with new standards and workflows, can help your organization grow and excel even more when it comes to content, creativity, branding, marketing, and more.
Moving, no matter how well you manage it, is no fun. The same is true for migrating from one DAM system to another. The fruits it can yield if done right, however, can far exceed your expectations. If you need help with any stage of the migration process, contact Stacks! We’ve executed migrations and implementations for brands in numerous industries using many unique platforms.