We’ve all heard the expression “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In other words, why should we change something which is working? People love routines even if they could be improved and may resist changing them. Projects like implementing a digital asset management (DAM) system within an organization have many benefits. However, they also affect and potentially disrupt the workflows of a variety of staff members. who may not see the need for them.
When planning your DAM project, it is vital to identify the departments, teams, or specific people that the success or failure of your project affects. Otherwise, there may be staff members who challenge the necessity for the project. If they don’t consider their workflows to be broken, they won't see any need to change them.
Even if no one resists implementing a DAM system, you don’t want to create a system that won’t effectively serve all the teams involved or requires far more change and work from one group than any other. You need everyone’s buy-in and feedback for the project to be successful. So, how do you know who the right people are to get into the room?
Who are Stakeholders?
Before you begin identifying your stakeholders, it’s important to define who, or what they are. Stakeholders represent anyone with a vested interest in your project. In other words, the staff members will be impacted by the implementation of a DAM system.
For example, if you set up a lemonade stand using your parent’s money and hired your little sister to work it for you, who would your stakeholders be? First, and most importantly, are your customers. If your lemonade isn’t good, it directly affects them as well as the success of your business. Second, assuming you agree to share any profits with your sister, she has a lot riding on its success. So do your parents since they are your primary investors. Because the quality of your lemonade impacts other people besides you, you have to consider them when making decisions about your business
Why Stakeholders Matter
Although a lemonade stand is a relatively simple business, similar dynamics play out in bigger businesses at a much larger scale and with much greater stakes. The decisions you make when running a project affect several departments and can cause unexpected negative consequences. If you don't anticipate these repercussions, your project will encounter opposition and may even be canceled. It is, therefore, vital to include all stakeholders from the beginning of any project in order to ensure its success.
Once you’ve identified everyone your project may impact, share your goals with them and let them know how the project can help them. Be sure to ask for feedback and listen to their concerns. While you may not be able to address all their issues, their involvement will secure their buy-in and support for the project, and ultimately allow an easier transition into the new system for everyone involved.
Identifying DAM Stakeholders
Depending on the project, stakeholders can come from many different places in an organization. For a digital asset management project, however, there are several common areas they usually reside in. Identifying and bringing these stakeholders into the decision-making process as early as possible is key to the success of the project and the system after it’s built. We’ve outlined the five common stakeholder groups for a DAM initiative below. While every organization is unique, these are great places to look for stakeholders.
Just like your parents funding your lemonade stand, the leadership team of your division or organization are the primary investors in your DAM system. They decide your project’s budget and care about achieving high-level goals like increasing revenue, decreasing waste, and making the team more efficient. Make sure you clearly communicate the benefits of DAM to them, as well as the ROI of the project. How do the goals of the project align with the overall goals of the organization?
Creators are the group of DAM end-users whose workflows are affected most by the introduction of a DAM system. At the end of the day, the DAM program should be built around and for them. This group is different in every organization. In some, creators are photographers uploading assets from photoshoots. In others, they are creative teams generating marketing or packaging materials. No matter what the group looks like, it is critical to define who will generate the content going into the DAM, how it will get there, and how the right information will be applied to ensure it can easily be used.
People who use creative content are the other primary group of DAM end-users. Their role is to use assets to grow the organization. They are often members of the marketing, sales, or design teams. These users care about the processes of searching for, finding, downloading, and sharing assets from the DAM. Work alongside them to ensure that new workflows make sense for them and help them do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
4. External Partners & Other Departments
The reason we’ve categorized these two groups together is that they do not apply to every organization. Some businesses, such as advertising agencies, need to be able to quickly and securely share assets with their partners to get feedback and approval. DAM platforms and systems make this process seamless and secure. If this is true for your organization, make sure external partners are aware of your new workflow and have an opportunity to ask questions and give feedback.
In other organizations, the adoption and implementation of a DAM system may take place in only one division. If other departments show interest in implementing their own DAM system, involve them in the process of planning and building yours to give them an idea of how it could work for their team too.
5. Consumers & Clients
No matter what your organization does, the purpose is the same: provide value to consumers and clients. Digital and creative assets help achieve that goal. The easier it is to create, access, and use those assets, the more value your organization provides. While you can’t bring clients in to offer feedback on your internal workflows, you must keep your primary objective in mind. Using the lemonade stand as an example, if you spent so much time discussing what your sign should look like with your sister and parents that you didn’t make any lemonade, your business would fail.
Identifying your stakeholders can be difficult but makes the difference between a highly-effective DAM system that helps everyone involved, and a headache that makes end-users' lives more difficult. Once you’ve identified your stakeholders, getting them into one room to discuss the project terrifies many project managers. Managing competing interests and opinions can seem nearly impossible. If this is the case, contact Stacks today! We have vast experience helping organizations and stakeholders get on the same page and build effective DAM programs together.