blog graphic - Supporting a Distributed Workforce With DAM
Digital Asset Management

Supporting a Distributed Workforce With DAM

January 19, 2023 10 minute read
As remote work cements itself as the new norm, learn about ways you can optimize a digital asset management solution to support your virtual workforce.
blog graphic - Supporting a Distributed Workforce With DAM

Teams have been working remotely for a while now. While many are venturing back into the office, it likely doesn’t look the same as it did three years ago. While COVID-19 prompted the swift switch, it appears that many are embracing working from home as the new normal. 

It’s likely teams have settled into a rhythm by now, but there are still opportunities to optimize your remote workflow, especially when it comes to digital asset management (DAM). With dispersed teams, it’s more important than ever before to have quick access to on-brand content that can be easily and safely used by teams across the company. That’s why many organizations are investing more in DAM and other marketing technologies (martech)

While a DAM platform has always been an essential marketing tool, with more staff working remotely, the technology has become more important for more businesses. Let’s explore why so many marketing teams and beyond are embracing the benefits of DAM and how to get the most out of your investment. 

Why is DAM even more important now?

On any given day, there are many reasons why DAM is absolutely essential. A DAM system:

  • Organizes your content chaos
  • Acts as your central source of truth
  • Offers on-the-fly file conversions
  • Promotes brand consistency
  • Informs data-driven decisions

But as teams continue to work across locations and time zones, it’s become clear just how important these features really are to marketing teams and others. This access and insight allows teams to: 

  • Respond quickly to changing demands
  • Scale as the business grows
  • Optimize brand management maturity

Let’s dig into ways that teams are making the benefits a reality for their in-office and remote teams. 

Respond quickly to changing demands 

Things are always changing and quickly too. And you’re probably seeing more of almost everything: more users, more assets, and more projects. But you’re unlikely to have more staff to manage these increases, so how do you deal with the shortage? 

Leveraging the flexibility of Acquia DAM (Widen) to respond quickly to change will help you support your existing teams, new users, and external partners. 

Here are actions you can take to build a self-sufficient user base. 

Create portals

Portals are the go-to place for teams and partners to get what they need. You may have teammates who used to get assets from a server, intranet, or an assistant with access to the DAM system. So as dispersed work grows, it’s more important that teams — and maybe even partners and customers — have self-serve access to the content they need. 

Consider using a portal for your:

  • Top downloaded assets (This data can be found in Insights.)
  • Branding and template files 
  • Most commonly used sales collateral
  • Corporate communications and PR materials
  • Product launch plans
  • Next best virtual event
  • Communication updates

Portals are a great way to share assets internally and externally, because they can be securely accessed by non-DAM users. They can also be embedded into a website, allowing you to quickly update content on that site through the portal editing features, instead of through your content management system (CMS)

Learn more about Portals functionality and best practices and see examples from our customers.

Add more teams

As more teams require access to your DAM system, you’ll need to determine the best way to onboard them and incorporate the content they need access to. To provide them with access, add new users to your DAM site in the Admin application under User administration. Additional fees may apply, depending on the terms of your contract, but you don’t need to work with Acquia to exceed the number of users you originally licensed. You can add them at any time. 

Things to consider if you add a large number of users:

  • If new users don’t fit in an existing role, create a new role for them so they only have access to what they need.
  • Leverage Insights data to see how many users you have to determine if additions will exceed your licensed number.
  • Consider using a registration code to automate access for new users, so they don’t need to be manually approved.

Use single sign-on

If your organization has single sign-on (SSO) implemented, internal users will need to be logged into your network to use the DAM system. While you can use manual sign on with work or personal email addresses, using SSO to automate this process will create additional security and alleviate manual work for the DAM admin when employees are no longer with the company. Note, if IT controls all user creation in your system, you’ll need to provide them with a list of users to be added and the appropriate role for each one.

Manage work-in-progress 

Work-in-progress (WIP) files are often stored on a server, personal desktop, or local area. Only final versions of files are uploaded into the DAM platform. You can also create a workflow for adding WIP assets to your DAM site. 

Some things to consider for your WIP workflow: 

  • If assets need to be hidden, create a new asset group and possibly a new role.
  • A WIP upload profile can be used to automate the asset group and metadata for these files. You may want to have them tagged as work in progress or with a project name.
  • Set up training sessions or record this new workflow for impacted users.
  • Adding WIP files to your DAM site can minimize the need for a VPN, keeping files secure but reducing IT support needs.

Learn more about using Acquia DAM to support your creative workflow

Deliver training

As with any tool, it’s a good idea to offer new users training and refresher courses for existing users. Regular training options may also inspire your teammates to use the DAM platform to solve new challenges in their workflows.

While beneficial in the long run, the initial training set-up can be time-consuming. Consider these tips to get training content out to your users quickly:

  • Record the session and link to it and other related materials from your dashboard.
  • Create a portal with pertinent training assets and share it with existing and new users.
  • Engage in the DAM community to learn tips from DAM pros and other DAM customers. 
  • Leverage DAM User Groups and other on-demand training options.

Update your dashboard

Dashboard messages are the first thing your users see when they log in to the DAM site. Consider updating the graphics or messaging here to support changes in your organization, such as notifications for:

  • Office and team updates
  • Links to DAM support sites or internal training assets
  • Shortcuts to popular searches

Scale as the business grows 

Once you’ve implemented the tactics above, create a plan to maintain and optimize them, such as a governance document and an admin schedule. 

The governance doc

The governance document guides, directs, and controls how your DAM system​ is managed and used. Let’s be honest: The governance doc is not the most glamorous part of administering a DAM system. But it matters because it: 

  1. Outlines the purpose of your system and who’s involved.
  2. Provides structure for security and permission protocols. 
  3. Details how assets are cataloged and tagged so that DAM metadata becomes a defined language at your organization. 
  4. Sets rules for ingesting, downloading, and sharing assets. 
  5. Plans for rights management and asset end-of-life. 
  6. Defines what other systems and processes need to be integrated with the DAM system.

Treat your governance document like a living document. If you already have one, great. If not, we highly encourage creating one. Plan to revisit your governance document every 6–12 months, and if you don’t have one, this template can help you get started.

An admin schedule

An admin’s job is never done, truly! And chances are being a DAM admin is not a full-time job at your company. So you’ll need to put guardrails in place to stay on top of things. 

An admin schedule provides a list of routine tasks to do weekly, monthly, and quarterly. These are the checkpoints that keep your DAM system optimized and running at maximum efficiency. Your regular maintenance should include: 

  • User management
  • Content and metadata reviews/cleanup
  • Quality control
  • Reporting

Here’s a sample schedule to help break out your admin tasks:

Pro tip: Block regular time on your calendar to complete these tasks. The days can easily get away from you, and regular maintenance is much easier to manage than a full site cleanup

Deepen your brand management maturity

We’ve discussed numerous ways to support your in-office and remote teams with a DAM system, but how can you take it even further? There are several ways to optimize the use of your DAM solution to deepen your brand management maturity. Here are a few ideas to get you started. 

Connect with Adobe Creative Cloud

Help your creative teams make the most of their time by linking assets from the cloud using an Adobe Creative Cloud integration. With an integration, teams don’t have to toggle between multiple systems or rely on a slow VPN to access content from a hard drive or internal server. 

Digitize brand guidelines and supply templated assets

Keep brand consistency in check by providing easy access to logos, fonts, colors, graphics, icons, and templates. This can be done using portals, through updates to your dashboard for easy access to collections, or by maintaining a brand guidelines webpage that leverages on-brand assets from the DAM system.

Automate metadata entry

Use batch editing, file name scripting, AI-based auto-tagging, and default metadata during file ingestion to make new assets searchable so you don’t have to work day and night to keep up with tagging.

Employ version control

With more users accessing your system, you’ll need to rely on rigorous version control, deduping, and conflict handling to maintain clean data in and clean data out. Ensure that anyone uploading your assets follows your governance rules for asset ingestion, including your versioning protocol

Know your rights

Clearly labeling and identifying your rights management rules within your metadata and permissioning structure will avoid a lot of headaches — and possibly legal action — down the line. Incorporating an end-user license agreement (EULA) as you onboard more users will ensure that your assets are used responsibly and in accordance with your policies. 

You’ll also want to track intended use data to glean insights on how teams and external collaborators use your assets, ensuring you always know how and where your assets are being used. 

Set up custom conversion formats

Create custom conversion formats for new downloads and embed links to accommodate different use cases. Some user groups might plan to put assets on social media, while others will load them into slide decks. Understanding your top asset use cases will provide a good starting point for customizing your conversion formats.

Integrate DAM across your martech stack

You’ll get more value out of your content and keep admin-overhead down if you integrate your DAM system with your platforms for customer relationship management (CRM), social media management, sales enablement, marketing automation, and your content management system (CMS). Understanding and mapping your marketing technology (martech) stack will help you identify integration opportunities to streamline your content workflow. 

Go get ‘em

Supporting your teams with DAM is an exciting opportunity, and we’re here to help. We're always adding new webinars full of tips and tricks, and our DAM community and support center covers a wide range of topics for quick answers on how to make changes to your system. And, if more guidance is needed, help is only a phone call, chat, or email away. 

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