What does the Lord of the Rings trilogy have to do with the role that Digital Asset Management (DAM) plays across the modern digital enterprise? Well, according to a recent webinar that Lisa McIntyre and I did for the Henry Stewart Group – there is more of a connection than you might think.

Why Do We Start in the Middle?

When we think about digital assets in an enterprise, we should be considering more than just the images that go on our website. Instead, perhaps we should step back and think about what it IS our enterprise produces. Most companies “create” a product of some kind. A product doesn’t have to be a physical, tangible object. Consider that a product might be defined as any “sellable” output of your company, software, hardware, services, etc. Digital assets of all types exist within an enterprise at every step of the product life cycle from idea to marketing, sales, delivery, and support. Every step of the process involves digital assets, be they foundational libraries of objects such as materials or code; design and protype images, traditional photography and marketing images, packaging design, display ads, through to eCommerce platforms and customer support content hubs.

So why have we traditionally thought of DAM as being just for marketing use cases? There is a lot that happens before marketing even occurs (producing rich data), and a lot that happens after marketing launches that we still need to know about and that our digital assets rely on or inform. Positioning DAM as solely a Marketing tool is like trying to understand the journey of a trilogy of novels, such as the Lord of the Rings, by only picking up and reading the middle book. We don’t know why we are on the journey, or what got us to this point; and we don’t know what the end goal is and the steps we need to take in order to get there. For sure, there is a great journey in the “middle” but there is so much more that could add value to the overall narrative.

Starting on an Epic Journey

If we are starting from a point in the middle of the journey, how do we uncover what path has gone before. It seems there are two options: rewind or play from the beginning.

Rewinding involves trying to reverse engineer the creation process, making assumptions about what went before, and occasionally making educated guesses, or even making things up to fill knowledge gaps.

A much better option would be to get involved and understand the story, or content flow, from the beginning. That way we can capture things as they happen, we learn in real time and understand the truth of the product journey.

Build From the Beginning

By understanding the role of digital asset management in every step of the enterprise’s product/content life cycle we can:

  • Capture the journey as it unfolds, not in hindsight
  • Ensure that the metadata attached to the content is accurate
  • Decide what matters, and what direction we want our journey to take
  • Decide what gets reused
  • Decide what gets emphasized
  • Ensure a collaborative view that reflects the overall business need rather than just a single functional viewpoint.

Building a Fellowship Through DAM

If we use DAM as the foundational tool to manage the enterprise content live cycle, we can also apply our skills as DAM specialists and librarians to help develop a collaborative environment where we can work with our colleagues to ensure that we can broaden the perspective of what connected content can do for an organization by ensuring consistent, accurate and informed experiences every step of the way. In essence we want to make Digital Asset Management about the journey, not just the destination.

If you want to learn more about these ideas, you can check out the full webinar and our discussion at https://www.henrystewartconferences.com/events/webinar/events-webinar-harness-power-dam-explosion