The Keys to DAM Success
The success of any DAM implementation is directly driven by user adoption of the system. User adoption is determined by ease of use and overall functionality. If your users do not like your system, they will not use it… and if they do not use it, your digital asset management system will not be successful.
When going through the process of selecting a DAM vendor, attention must be paid to how flexible the product is. Ask yourself, to meet my needs…
- what functionality is supported ‘out of the box’ (OOTB)?
- what has to be configured?
- what has to be customized?
The more requirements that can be met through OOTB features or configurations, the more maintainable your solution will be and your overall cost of ownership will be lower.
Out Of The Box (OOTB)
OOTB features refer to functionality that works within the product immediately after installation and requires no effort to implement or maintain. For example, without any configuration, the product may allow you to do the following:
- send messages
- make asset collections
- execute file format conversions
- perform searches
The more OOTB features that meet your functionality needs, the greater your overall ROI.
Many DAM products come with wonderful feature sets that need to be tailored to work effectively. Some things that may need to be configured to meet the needs of your environment include:
- metadata model
- saved searches
- permissions models
Although these features are embedded functionality within the product, it does take time and effort to configure them. Fortunately, the DAM configuration process is usually a one-time investment. Features that fall into this category are generally upgrade-proof and easy to maintain while providing the flexibility needed to adapt to your requirements.
Customization of your DAM system refers to any writing or modification of code. There are many different ranges of customization with increasing levels of difficulty to achieve and maintain. Customizations are common and expected in today’s modern DAM systems; however, efforts should be made to minimize the amount of customization utilized. The greater the amount of customization, the more difficult it is to maintain and upgrade the system making for a more costly solution.
Simple customizations typically include basic site-skinning to brand the DAM interface. The effort is limited to replacement of the vendor logos with a customer’s logo as well as changing the background color of the site. Any functionality changes to the interface move beyond a simple customization.
Strive for Customization Independence
Customizations that enable unique business logic expand the usability of the system for a given environment; however, they increase the long-term cost of ownership at the same time. When considering customizations, strive for customization independence. That is, the solution should be able to stand on its own and not be dependent on internal, unpublished structures that could change in future upgrades. Such dependencies require more maintenance and potential re-writes or even complete overhauls if the internal structure of the product changes in the future. This increases your long-term cost of ownership of your DAM.
Reduce Cost of Ownership with Supported Interface Mechanisms
Whenever possible, customizations should utilize published and supported interface mechanisms within the application. API interfaces such as the Telescope Integration Broker and product triggers such as Telescope Functional Rules are great examples. These supported interface points tend to be backwards compatible meaning that they will continue to function with future versions of the product. This reduces the likelihood that your customization will have to be modified as part of an upgrade thus reducing your overall cost of ownership.
Ease of Use, User Adoption and ROI
Keep in mind that “customization” is not an evil word. No software product today is going to meet the needs of an organization 100%. You can choose to either modify your business practices to align with the functionality of the digital asset management software or you can choose to enhance the solution to better align with your needs. The correct approach to take depends on the situation. You will need to weigh the cost of ownership against ease of use, user adoption and ROI.
Remember: if you build it and they don’t come, your DAM will not be a success.