DAM Metadata: Easier than you think
Like so many things: eating healthy, exercising, flossing – we know we should do these things, but be honest – when was the last time you flossed once a week, let alone every day. Metadata (data that describe other data) is kinda like that. We all know it is important. We all know we should make sure it is complete and detailed for every digital asset (content, photo, video, etc.). We are all, well most of us are, guilty of not filling in any more detail than we need to in order to save the file, and rarely (read: never) do we voluntarily go back and update said minimal metadata.
We argue that we don’t have time. That it is too onerous. Or that the structure doesn’t make sense.
Don’t feel bad, you are not alone.
You may even be thinking “we have gotten this far without really paying attention to metadata, how important can it be?”. In a word: VERY! No having an adequate, let alone proper, approach to metadata (schema, strategy, governance) that has been tailored to meet the needs and goals of your organization, can end up being a very expensive oversight. Not having a metadata schema in place can (most likely will) result in:
- Fines and/or litigation; for the improper or illegal use of digital assets (i.e.: using unlicensed images, publishing digital assets in regions outside the licensed areas, etc.).
- Duplication of licensing fees; caused by different parts of the business buying access to the same image/video/etc.
- Redundancy in technology; people buying new solutions or their own system because they can’t find what they need in the current DAM.
- Loss of productivity; team members spending more time looking for assets because they are not properly stored, tagged, etc.
- Brand and customer experience degradation; caused by the use of outdated brand assets, and/or different assets used in different channels.
Any one of these reasons should be good enough to get you moving into putting a Metadata Action Plan in place. So to help you get moving, here are some simple tips that will help get your metadata on the right track.
1. Get stakeholders and SMEs involved.
- Talk to leadership, then align DAM goals with organizational goals.
- Speak to representative samples of those who use digital assets.
- Connect with DAM SMEs outside your organization.
- Engage IT.
- Identify a DAM champion.
2. Understand you asset landscape (it’s bigger than you think).
- Define what a “digital asset”is for your company.
- Identify where assets currently live – sanctioned and unsanctioned.
- Look outside the organization.
- Understand how assets are used.
3. Assign ownership
- Who will own the DAM system?
- Who will be involved in managing assets?
- How will assets be managed: centralized or decentralized or hybrid approach?
- What are the rules of engagement?
- How will the DAM be rolled out?
4. Plan for the future, but not too much
- Have a roadmap.
- Be flexible enough to let the business users drive some of the evolution.
- Look to users for innovative ideas on how to improve digital assets’ usefulness.
5. Don’t start from scratch (unless you have to)
- Look to other systems as a starting point. (See Image 1 below)
- Talk with others who have set up systems of record.
- Check for existing supportive documentation
- Research what others outside your organization have done.
- Find useful guides to help.
It takes time and consideration to develop a well-organized and logical DAM metadata schema and strategy. But taking the time to establish a baseline for collecting and administering the data you need to get the most out of your organization’s digital assets will pay off in the long run.
For more ideas and information on maximizing the ROI of your digital assets and Digital Asset Management system, check out DCG’s Guide to Metadata Success, and watch my recent webinar with Adobe on the 5 Essential Rules every DAM needs for Content Velocity.