I know what you’re thinking. A consulting group publishing a blog about whether consulting is worth it? What’s the point?
Here’s the point: Our goal is to make digital asset management (DAM) easy to understand, implement, and manage. Often, a consulting engagement yields the opposite results. The advice offered by the consultant is too technical and confuses and overwhelms the organization’s stakeholders. The engagement can also be a lengthy process that takes too much valuable staff time away from other priorities. Another problem is that many organizations which hire consultants don’t want just a roadmap for their project, but someone to guide them on their journey.
Unfortunately, many times consultants just hand their clients a plan full of technical jargon and complex recommendations and then say, “Good luck!” In this article, we’ll outline the benefits and challenges of a typical DAM consulting engagement. We’ll also help you ascertain whether or not you need a consultant and, if so, when the right time is to hire one and what steps need to be taken before the contract begins.
The Benefits and Challenges of DAM Consulting
Like consulting of any kind, consulting for digital asset management has its place and can help your organization manage its digital assets effectively and efficiently. Below, we outline the core pros and cons of a DAM consulting engagement to help you decide whether or not it would benefit your team.
Benefits of DAM Consulting
The core benefit of consulting, whatever the topic, is that it provides access to people outside an organization with expertise and experience in a particular field. Outside consultants can share information, provide solutions to given problems, diagnose issues, and provide recommendations. Their background and skills allow them to step into a messy situation and provide clarity and guidance. They can evaluate the needs and obstacles facing an organization more honestly from their 3rd party position than internal staff is able to.
The same is true when it comes to digital asset management. Given the recent rise in the importance of the field, not many organizations have in-house experts. Instead, brands often depend on marketers, digital professionals, or creatives to manage their content and assets effectively. While this may be sustainable in the short term, it's neither scalable nor efficient. The larger problem, beyond inefficiencies and roadblocks to long-term growth, is that these non-DAM professionals don’t know how to manage change in a field not their own. When they're burdened with figuring out how to make the system more efficient, they’re often left feeling burnt out or overloaded by trying to balance the job they were hired for and the job they were given.
This is where consultants are invaluable. Hiring a consultant not only shows your team that you understand their limits and want them to do what they love but also allows them to go back to being subject matter experts in a field they really know: your business.
Challenges of DAM Consulting
While consultants can offer useful expertise and guidance, they can also fail to achieve the goals set forth in their contract. There are two main reasons this happens. The first is that rather than bringing clarity and order to a previously chaotic situation, consultants inundate their clients with information and give them a huge roadmap full of terms they don’t understand. The last thing your team wants from a consulting engagement is more confusion around what to do next.
The second reason is a result of the vast experience many consultants have. Rather than becoming knowledgeable about their clients' field so they can offer the most relevant and applicable solutions, many consultants put clients into boxes and make cookie-cutter recommendations. While finding common use cases and identifying best practices is an important role for any consultant, without some customization, the solutions they offer may not bring about the desired outcomes for the client.
When is Digital Asset Management Consulting the Right Choice?
For a consulting engagement to be successful, it needs to be done at the right time with some things already in place. Below is a guide to help you know if it’s the right time to hire a consultant and, if so, what steps should be completed ahead of time.
You “Don’t Know What You Don’t Know”
As mentioned earlier, many non-DAM professionals end up saddled with the responsibility of building or managing a more scalable and efficient DAM program. While these are likely talented and smart people, they often “don’t know what they don’t know” when it comes to digital asset management. Their knowledge of the next steps to take and best practices in the industry is capped at what they’ve picked up along the way. If the team in charge of your DAM program doesn’t know what the next steps are, a consultation may be valuable and necessary for your organization.
You Have Limited Bandwidth
One reason that DAM consultations can be necessary is that your team doesn’t have the bandwidth to learn what they don’t know for themselves. Bringing in an expert with experience and knowledge saves your team the headache of having to teach themselves new skills with limited time and resources. If the ability of your team to address DAM problems and issues is low, but the priority for solving them is high, consulting may be a good fit.
You've Identified Your Stakeholders
When building a new program of any kind, it's important to seek input from many people. For example, when building a new DAM program, you’ll need to involve stakeholders representing your end-users, asset creators, department heads, and leadership team. If you enter a consulting engagement but haven’t identified whose voices need to be heard, or who is representing which groups, it will lead to confusion and provide less value. Before speaking with potential consultants, identify your stakeholders and define their roles.
You Know Your Goals
Any good consultant will have an idea of where you need to end up to be successful. They won’t always know, however, the organization-specific goals you're trying to achieve in the short, medium, and long term. As you assemble your stakeholder group, brainstorm some goals for each of these time frames that are specific to your organization and the goals you’re already working towards. This allows the consultation process to be more customized and tailored to your needs. It also focuses the attention and recommendations of the consultant on the right areas and ensures your team doesn’t get overwhelmed or confused.
If you can relate to any of these scenarios, hiring a DAM consultant may be a good path forward for you and your organization. It can also be useful if you’re looking instead for someone to help you implement or manage your DAM program. If you’re considering any of these things, contact Stacks! We’re happy to make DAM easy for you and your organization.