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Digital Asset Management
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Digital Asset Management

Your Playbook for a Successful DAM System Implementation

December 21, 2022 5 minute read
A strong digital asset management implementation lays the foundation for your future DAM success. Get started right with these proven best practices.
Sports playbook with arrow between X's and O's

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Digital Asset Management

Go to a Major League Baseball game and you’ll be hard-pressed to make it out of there without a bag of peanuts (allergies permitting) and the familiar jingle of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” playing through your head. Talk to any digital asset management (DAM) vendor and you may not get snacks and a catchy tune, but you will hear at least one member of the vendor team proclaim in a singsong voice that “no two DAM implementations are alike.” And it’s true. 

Your organization’s structure, bandwidth, workflows, assets, and technologies will factor into your unique implementation experience and strategy. That said, there is one major characteristic all DAM system implementations share — and that is their importance in driving the long-term success of DAM within an organization. So given their monumental importance, how do you ensure your DAM implementation is a success?

The starting point for a successful implementation

Whether you’re considering a DAM solution for the first time, or making the switch from a legacy system, it’s important to understand what to expect from any DAM implementation project. 

To position yourself for the best DAM system implementation possible, check out our Digital Asset Management Implementation Playbook. This resource looks at the ins and outs of a successful implementation and outlines the steps you and your DAM vendor should take to ensure everything goes smoothly before, during, and after implementation. Want to take in all of the implementation knowledge you can? Keep reading for a roundup of best practices that are sure to help you hit your DAM implementation out of the ballpark.

Let your DAM goals guide you

Not surprisingly, our first best practice has to do with goals. Organizations choose to invest in a DAM solution for a number of reasons — the most universal of which is their desire to organize content in one system so people can actually find what they’re looking for. From here, motivations fall into a few other categories, such as the need to create a more integrated marketing technology (martech) stack, drive brand consistency, or minimize risk (see page 8 of our Implementation Playbook for a full list of the most common goals we hear).

It’s your job to determine what you need your DAM system to solve or accomplish. What are your greatest content challenges and opportunities? Answering this question is one way to uncover your top DAM goals. Then, once you’ve identified these goals, you can use them as a guide to steer your decision making and strategy during implementation. 

Understand who will use your system and how

When planning for implementation, you need to identify the primary users who will engage with your DAM system. These are the folks who will spend the most time organizing, looking for, downloading, and/or sharing assets. Typically this list includes three user groups: creators (e.g., graphic designers and photographers), contributors (e.g., the marketers and coordinators uploading and organizing assets), and consumers (or the primary internal and external people who use your assets). Who will make up your key user groups? Once you have this figured out, talk to representatives from each group to get a feel for their pain points, workflows, and asset usage, so you can better plan for their needs during implementation.

Create a DAM implementation team

Thanks to cloud-based technologies, DAM system implementations are becoming less tedious and time-consuming than in the past. That said, they still require enough work to warrant a dedicated team. This team should include a vendor-provided implementation expert who will guide and coach you through the implementation process, as well as three to five people from within your own organization. 

When determining who to include on your team from within your organization, seek out individuals who will be hands-on and engaged during the day-to-day work that comes with an implementation. At a minimum, include power users, DAM champions and your current or future DAM system administrator (yes, you need a dedicated admin). But you don’t necessarily have to stop there. Perhaps IT or another department lead would be a good addition. Whatever the case, think through your needs and assemble the dream team (one part vendor, one part internal) that will set you up for long-term DAM success.

Understand the vendor's approach to implementation

As you’re probably realizing, you don’t just turn a DAM system on and start using it. There’s a lot of planning that has to happen upfront. You also need to ensure that all the different features available in your DAM system — whether that’s metadata, user roles, security groups, upload profiles, site branding, or other — are structured and configured to meet your DAM goals and the unique needs of your organization. And that’s just part of it. 

Factor in user training, launch strategy, and the ongoing maintenance and support that’s required after launch, and there’s a lot that needs to get done. Understanding how your vendor approaches each stage of implementation, what steps of the process they will own, and how they will educate and train you along the way is a big part of your success. After all, a clear vision and realistic expectations will always contribute to a better experience, no matter what project you’re undertaking.

Ready to win with DAM?

Making your DAM system a success isn't a one-person job. It takes teamwork, a strong implementation, and the right DAM solution that will meet the immediate and future needs of your organization. To discover whether Acquia DAM (Widen) is right for you, request, watch, or click through a demo today.

Want to hear all about Acquia’s unique approach to DAM implementation? We offer a range of implementation services that just might work for you. To learn more, contact us today. 


Note: This article was originally published on

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