Post DAMNY Wrap-Up

I’ve been back to work for a few days, having just returned from New York City after my time at the Henry Stewart Digital Asset Management Conference.  I am grateful for the opportunity to attend, since I was the only graduate student in the midst of a throng of industry leaders from the world of technology, marketing and media. I am an MLIS graduate student from San Jose State University School of Library Information Science, and digital asset management is one of the areas that my studies have focused this semester.  My professor, John Horodyski, presented at the conference and it was through his participation that I was able to attend.

The conference was organized into two tracks, one geared for people ‘new to DAM’ and the other for those who are experienced DAM professionals.  A third sideline ’technology track’ offered break-time sessions that were more specifically geared toward software specific presentations and case studies.  As a student, I charted my course for the newcomer track for most of the two-day meeting.

The several hundred attendees at the conference included DAM vendor reps, consultants, marketing and creative team professionals, library, IT and archive professionals, publishers, and major television and movie production people.  I also met some people who have businesses and are just searching for solutions to their digital media problems, researching whether a DAM system would get them on the right track. I’d say a true mix of interests were represented, which made for a good range of presentations from a variety of perspectives.  Some came to share best practices, while others attended to seek out answers to problems in workflow or system integration, while others discussed DAM futures and trend forecasting.  The mix of single speaker presentations with panel discussions offered opportunities for

As a student, and (hopefully) future digital asset manager, what I really appreciated was the chance to hear what the day to day issues are that people try and solve with their DAM systems, and the benefits and challenges that present themselves when working with these systems.  I heard that making a case for the return on investment for using a DAM system continues to be a challenge, since the world of DAM is relatively specialized and new.  It is not taken for granted that companies need a DAM system for the best management of their digital media.

Conference chairman David Lipsey opened the event with the mantra “everything, everybody all the time digital,” emphasizing the explosion of digital media in every business sector, and the need for DAM professionals to lead the way in the architecture and management of these assets. Keynote speaker Peri Shamsai, Executive Director, Media & Entertainment Advisory, Ernst & Young, referred to ‘the mediafication of business’ born out of the proliferation of online services, advertising and social media, which connects companies with their customers, but leaves a huge body of digital objects to manage by the enterprise.  Without an integrated and organized way to access, preserve and manage these properties efficiently and effectively, resources will be wasted.  DAM is what takes care of that problem, and requires an enterprise commitment to investment.  If companies choose to ignore the need to manage their digital assets, they will be losing out.  Why?  Because competitors who master this will not only run their businesses more efficiently, they will actually be able to create new value directly from the efficiencies in the DAM system itself, and bring in new revenues.  The case for ROI should include both the efficiency models and the potential revenue gains.

The conference provided insights from consultants and case studies from users about how they navigate the world of DAM.  Theresa Regli of The Real Story Group, was a headline speaker and moderator, leading sessions on trends in DAM and offering advice for how to select the right DAM vendor for your company.  Stories from the field about how companies handled the selection and implementation of their procurement, and the choices made and the challenges encountered was the topic of several panel discussions.  The presenters came from broadcast media, advertising, and publishing, and included both non-profits and commercial outfits.  A clear answer to the question ‘what problems are you trying to solve with the DAM system?’ and are essential to define when looking for the right vendor and designing the right system.

Workflow needs to be integral to the DAM system design.  The conference provided industry insider testimonials about how assets enter the system, metadata is entered, managed, ordered, delivered, modified, and multiple versions stored.  With the proliferation of platforms for delivering content, the workflow puzzle can become a tangled roadmap.  An individual asset may be needed in many versions and formats for delivery on mobile devices, web, tablets.  Carin Forman of HBO referred to unique identifiers and naming protocols as the ‘secret sauce’ to keeping the multiple versions of individual assets straight in the system.    And metadata directly connected to each asset is key element for the end user, and the customer.  Lisa Choi of Scripps Network noted that no one will find your content without the right tags and metadata.  Metadata is king for making your assets accessible for reuse.  And assets that are more accessible have the potential to hold more value to the enterprise.

Everyone agreed that rich, well designed metadata is the heart and soul of the DAM system.  Without the right metadata inside, assets are buried and not searchable, and well-crafted taxonomies are needed for sound system architectures.   Investment beyond the initial implementation is needed for maximizing DAM success; it helps to have an in house DAM expert, with several ‘metadata stewards’ across the workflow to ensure the system is sustainable and responsive to business changes.  Good and consistent metadata entry needs to take place at asset creation, but this can be a challenge since those people are not the ones to reap the immediate benefits of the metadata’s power.  It is the end users who reap the most benefits from good metadata.

Overall, several common themes emerged across the sessions.  The need for a DAM system to serve the enterprise, rather than just individual departments, seems to be important for large organizations and workflow optimization.  Connections between the silos of assets, in a federated system, allowing for global search functions were recommended by many panelists.   The proliferation of platforms and products that the DAM needs to serve, from print to broadcast to web to mobile platforms, DAM is key to controlling and delivering content.  And metadata is what makes the asset accessible.

The value of the conference comes from the multiple perspectives and practical experience and advice presented both formally and informally.  Over two days there were many opportunities to hear from experts, meet vendors and DAM professionals and educators, and build industry relationships for consultation and collaboration.  For me personally, as a graduate student in the field of information science, I see a potential for professional opportunities in many industries and organizations, as the field of DAM evolves and grows.

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Everything, Everybody, All the time Digital @HENRYSTEWARTDAM

A great morning session as the Henry Stewart DAM conference opened here at the Hilton in NYC. Opening words by David Lipsey kicked off with buzzwords for directions and trends in the industry including the move to DAM enterprise architecture, CRM for better and more direct customer engagement and the corporate studio movement.

Keynote from Peri Shamsai, Media and Entertainment Advisory for Ernst and Young talked about the ‘mediafication’ of business and how DAM is front and center. Integrated systems for management of rights, royalties, B2B communications and media access for these partners. How can businesses leverage these assets and create new revenue streams and grow their business?  DAM is central to make that happen.  Her advice:  build a business case and forecast new business growth, and base this on analytics. middle management will need the KPI’s to support these technologies and budget for them.

Highlights presented from The Real Story Group’s Theresa Regli:  The future of brand marketing is the immersive experience.  BrandSpace.  CultureSpace.  Where is DAM headed?  Multichannel distribution, CRM, collaboration, personalization (internal and external), INTEGRATION not just managing the assets–no more silos, but connections and integration.  She stressed that technology solves only 20% of your problems.  Humans are important for problem solving.  She always tells her clients that they need to hire a DAM director or administrator….to do this right, it takes in house expertise and resources.   More advice for DAM professionals:  advocate and educate about DAM and ‘enculturate’ so people in the company know that DAM is key to the organization’s success.

Gerard Brossard of Autonomy talked about the big “I” in I.T.  and how INFORMATION will be the focus from now on, the emphasis is ahead of new technology.  How will understanding and meaning come from big data, can it be automated, and what discoveries lie ahead beyond keywords and metadata for information seeking in digital environments.


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Hello New York City! I am excited to be here to attend the Henry Stewart Digital Asset Management Conference which takes place May 10-11 in midtown Manhattan. I have been learning about DAM in my graduate course at San Jose State’s MLIS program all semester, and my professor John Horodyski will be presenting at the conference. I hope to meet lots of people in the world of DAM, here what’s happening with how businesses are implementing DAM systems, how they make choices about the metadata they assign to their assets, hear about lots of other case studies. And I really look forward to meeting lots of interesting people there. Now with that three hour time change I’m experiencing, I sure hope they will have an endless supply of hot strong coffee available. I plan to post updates about the conference throughout the day here, and on Twitter and Linked In, so tune in!

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Planting Trees

Here I am, just about to plant a seed.  The sun is warm, the ground is prepped, and I am about to drop that tiny spark of life down into little hollow in the soil.  My first blog post.  I will do my best to water it regularly to help germinate new ideas for post and grow these ideas to something strong and fruitful.

This blog will be about information seeking.  It will be about information architecture.  It will be about taxonomies.  and metadata.  and user experience.  and data visualization.  and Web 2.0. and information literacy.  and about whatever else strikes my fancy in the realm of  information science.

I selected a detail from a Piet Mondrian painting for my header image.  Piet Mondrian is well known for his abstract paintings that revealed his impressions of order underlying the visible world.  The painting here is not so abstract as to render it unrecognizable as a tree, with a strong, stout trunk and branches reaching out to either side.  But it does reveal that the trunk is a support system for those branches.  The tree trunk and branches pattern is a common one in information structures too.  A good information structure will have a firm foundation and clear connection to the root.  As we explore the furthest branches, we can follow our way back to the trunk and back down to the ground again.

Come along with me as i plant my tree.  I sure hope it grows strong!

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