We’ve all been there. The Holidays are upon us and we’re looking for the perfect gift for a relative, significant other, or friend. Eventually, we find something we think they’ll like, buy it, wrap it, and are excited about giving it to them. Once they’ve opened it and thanked us for the gift, one of two things happens. Ideally, they use what we bought them all the time. Sometimes, however, the gift ends up sitting in a closet and is ultimately given to Goodwill.
A similar dynamic can occur within an organization. Managers work hard to find ways to improve the lives of their employees and the overall efficiency of their department. For example, if they think a new software program will be beneficial, they’ll expend time and money to identify the right one and implement it, expecting a huge return on their investment. Just like a holiday gift, however, the program sometimes isn’t used by the people it was purchased for, much to the disappointment of their manager.
Making the Most of the Gift of DAM
We often see this process play out with newly-created digital asset management (DAM) systems. For several reasons, they either aren’t used at all or are used by only a few employees in the wrong ways, never justifying the cost of the new system. Like giving your friend a new sweater for Christmas, creating or redesigning a program for managing digital assets involves many factors that could lead to it being tossed in a drawer and never used. Below, we outline a few of the core factors that lead to low adoption of a new DAM system.
1. It Doesn’t Fit
The number one reason that the sweaters, shirts, hats, and shoes that you get or give as gifts end up in thrift stores is that they don’t fit right. In a business environment, what does this mean? Simply put, it means that the new DAM system doesn’t fully meet the needs of your end-users. This usually occurs because well-meaning managers fail to include them in the system selection process so they can learn what would help them. For example, there can be very specific requirements from a security, creative, or IT perspective that must be considered. The bottom line is that if your new process or technology for managing digital assets doesn’t make a significant difference, your end-users won’t adopt it.
2. Loyalty to Old Styles
Many of us have been given clothing by older relatives for birthdays or Christmas that, while it fits, isn’t our style so we won’t wear it. Likewise, employees who’ve worked at the same brand for many years typically develop their own personal methods for managing the digital assets they use and/or create. These styles, while suited to the individual, are often inefficient and place undue burden on others in the organization. When new, comprehensive systems for managing assets are rolled out that allow the entire team to work together, these employees may be resistant to change. It can be difficult to make them see the benefits of a new system when, from their perspective, the way they do things now works fine.
3. Lack of Understanding
Sometimes, a failure to adopt a new system comes from a lack of understanding about how or when to use it. Imagine giving your 85-year-old grandpa who has never had a smartphone the newest iPhone. It’s likely he won’t use it. If he does, he won’t use it to its full potential. If the end-users of your organization aren’t sure how to use the new system properly, they likely won’t use it at all, and that may be for the best. If they do try to use it, they could end up making a mess you’ll have to spend time and money cleaning up.
Increasing Adoption of Your DAM System
It’s helpful to have an understanding of why end-users may hesitate to adopt a new system for managing the digital assets so vital to their jobs. It’s more beneficial, however, to understand how to turn that hesitation into excitement and buy-in for the new system. Below, we outline a few ways to ensure that the gift you spend so much time and money building for your employees is one they actually use.
1. Do Your Research
When buying an engagement ring, one of the most important considerations is your significant other’s ring size. To get this right, you must ask questions, have friends do research and collect information, and communicate that information to the jeweler. The same goes for building a DAM system that fits the needs of your end-users and the way they use digital assets. Interview stakeholders and ask them to collect information on how their teams use assets and what their current workflows, challenges, and limitations are. Finally, be specific and transparent as you and your team build new processes and purchase new technology to overcome those issues.
2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
As already mentioned, it’s likely your employees have developed their own personal ways of managing the digital assets they need. It “works” for them, but may not be the best way to keep those assets secure and accessible to the entire team at the same time. It can also put stress on other parts of the business they may not be aware of. In order to increase their understanding, share your findings as to the needs and challenges facing the entire business. Make it clear how their personal DAM systems add to the issues you’re attempting to solve. Bring end-users from different departments together to explain how working with each other can make their jobs easier. Start early and communicate often about all the advantages a new system can bring.
3. Make It Easy to Use
Once your employees understand the benefits of a new DAM program, they need to know how to use it properly. Be sure to document the standards, processes, and workflows that will make your system hum. Get input from stakeholders, end-users, and perhaps even DAM consultants to ensure your standards are effective and long-lasting. Once you’ve built the system, train your employees, onboard them, and share the documents they need to get the job done.
Nobody likes to find out that the gift they selected wasn’t used the way they wanted it to be. The same is true for managers implementing a new DAM program to help their brand and its employees. To ensure this doesn’t happen, take the necessary steps to ensure your DAM system fits your organization right. If you need help avoiding mistakes or getting back on track, contact Stacks! We’ve worked with brands in many different industries and work environments to help them build buy-in and move from lost to launch.