Change will come whether we want it or not, so it is best to be aware of the business landscape in which we work so that we can prepare for the future as much as possible. That is why I look ahead, keep an eye out for what needs to be changed, secure support for this change, and make the change while keeping the end user in mind.
Many other important tasks – run the business type of tasks – can make this a bit tricky (I am looking at your invalid metadata!). Regardless, time must be devoted to preparing for the future. In my current role I spend almost half my time mapping work processes to pinpoint areas that need to be improved. Based on this requirements gathering, I sketch out an idea of a future state that I share with stakeholders for their feedback. Several iterations later, I arrive at a final design which is used to build a functional prototype. This version is presented, tested and refined into a beta version that can, in turn, be tested by general users (known as user acceptance testing or UAT). This development process highlights an important part of planning: data gathering. The phrase “taking stock and setting course” is my guiding mantra. Unless you are a genius designer, like Apple’s Jony Ive, you have no business making design decisions without user input.
The DAM roadmap must also adhere to information gleaned from meetings, surveys, help desk tickets, comments at meetings, and water cooler conversations. The epics, stories, tasks – whatever you decide to call them – should be drafted, sized, and judged to support a specific business goals. Goal setting does not take place in a vacuum. It must be based on information.
Whereas information gathering and planning has helped me to define my DAM goals, managing resources is necessary to accomplish them. People are foundational to any digital strategy. Users are the key to any successful content management campaign. System adoption is a measure of that campaign’s success. Working closely with IT staff, the DAM vendor, and contractors enables the system to run smoothly and adhere to your roadmap. Planning does not stop once the goals are set. Key Performance Indicators (KPI) measure the success or failure of a DAM program. DAM KPIs may include: improved search, less duplicate files, and more digital asset sharing and reuse. Managing data from system logs, user surveys, and interviews can be analyzed to determine how well a system is performing.
Once plans have been laid out and resources aligned, marketing the DAM should assume a central role. Informing people on what to expect is enormously helpful. Communicating the plan, how it will affect staff, and how well you have been able to achieve your goals builds an honest relationship with users. Demoing new features and functions that have been have developed in response to feedback confirms your ability to listen and respond to user needs. Touting the benefits a system and the value it brings to constituents generates support for the DAM program.
Managing digital content involves much more than shuffling digital files from place to place. We also play the role of project and resource manager, marketer, and advocate. What other professional skills and abilities do you rely on in your DAM job?