6 reasons DAM implementations fail

Implementing a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system can be a game-changer for organisations.

Switching from traditional file storage systems like Google Drive or Microsoft SharePoint unlocks the potential to streamline processes and get a grip on your digital assets, but DAM implementations can fail to deliver the benefits that were hoped for.

This can happen for a variety of reasons, but here are six of the most common…

1. Not having a DAM implementation strategy

Investing in a Digital Asset Management system isn’t like purchasing any other software for your business. A DAM, if implemented correctly, will be at the heart of all your content operations, responsible for storing and managing brand assets, marketing and sales collateral, as well as related documents like usage licenses and contracts. 

And because a DAM will be so integral to your organisation, the roll out of the system needs careful planning, with clear objectives and milestones put in place.

Your DAM implementation strategy will include:

An asset audit

How much content do you have, where is it stored, and what type of content is it? Understanding the state of play of your current content library will make it easier to identify what you need from your DAM. It will also help you plan what metadata you’ll need.

Your audit will also make it easier to understand what you need from the DAM vendor.

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Metadata and taxonomy structure

The success of a DAM system depends on metadata and taxonomy.

After conducting a content audit, take time to understand what metadata you’ll need to describe the different types of assets you have, as well as conventions for its use. The scope of metadata can be vast so you should consider carefully what you really need.

Quality over quantity is important here. Your metadata should be clear and easy to understand.

Once this is agreed you can define the main taxonomies. The secret is to make sure use of metadata and taxonomy is repeatable and makes sense to every DAM user.

READ MORE: The 6 core metadata schemas explained

Establish user roles and permissions

Define each DAM user’s role and what they’ll have access to. What’s the workflow for approving access to certain assets or editing?

You’ll need a nominated DAM Manager, but depending on the size of your organisation, you might need a more complex user hierarchy, with different users responsible for different departments or functions.

Plan training ahead of launch

The success of your DAM implementation will depend on user adoption, and it’s important that team members get onboard with the new system early.

With this in mind, plan a detailed roll out and training plan, including both one-on-one and group sessions. The DAM vendor will play a part here too, so make sure they offer enough support time and resources to help your team through those early stages.

2. There’s not a nominated DAM ‘champion’

The introduction of a DAM—or migrating to a new one—is a major change for an organisation. To ensure buy-in and a smooth implementation process, it’s important to have a nominated DAM ‘champion’. This person doesn’t have to go on to be the DAM Manager, but they’ll likely have experience in Digital Asset Management and be able to promote the benefits of the new platform internally.

Without a nominated champion, DAM implementations can stall because there’s no clear owner of the process, and no one taking responsibility for securing buy-in or making sure it’s a success.

3. No buy-in from senior stakeholders

Any significant operational change within an organisation requires senior buy-in, and a DAM implementation is no different.

Without senior buy-in, an organisation can quickly turn against a new system and find that the financial investment is being scrutinised during board meetings.

To ensure the long term success of a DAM implementation, senior stakeholders need to:

Understand the benefits of implementing a DAM in the first place; and
Recognise that it might take time to demonstrate value and not lose confidence early.

4. Neglecting DAM user adoption

A DAM system hasn’t been successfully implemented once it goes live—it’s only successful once people are using it.

Ease of use is important, but the biggest reason behind poor adoption of new systems is a lack of training and onboarding.

As already mentioned, maximising user adoption should be a part of the implementation strategy, but senior stakeholder buy-in will also help, as they’ll be able to provide top-down communication regarding the benefits of the new DAM.

Be open to user feedback too, and be willing to implement changes to processes if something isn’t working post-launch.

5. Failing to ensure the DAM integrates with your existing tech stack

Your DAM will be a ‘single source of truth’ across the entire organisation, but this is hard to maintain if employees are also using other tools that are siloed from the DAM. A DAM will replace a lot of these tools but for those that are still necessary - Adobe and Wordpress, for example -  it’s important that the system integrates with them. Not only does this speed up processes, but it also makes it easier to ensure version control.

6. A set-and-forget mentality

Implementation of a Digital Asset Management system isn’t a fixed project with a specific end date. It’s an ongoing process of iteration and optimisation.

A DAM system that isn’t proactively maintained and reviewed frequently will soon become unwieldy and inefficient, so it’s essential that the DAM Manager puts in place processes to avoid this. 

If you’re working closely with a DAM vendor during the implementation process (and beyond) then you’ll be able to benefit from ongoing support with this point. For example, when we’re working with our customers to implement ResourceSpace, our DAM Consultants help to set and achieve Digital Asset Management goals, as well as support the introduction of new functionality as needs develop.