Digital Asset Management

Top Questions DAM Admins Ask (and our DAM Experts’ Answers)

July 9, 2024 8 minute read
Chances are your digital asset management (DAM) challenge is not so unique. Get answers and advice on the most common DAM questions we've encountered.

Deciding to purchase a digital asset management (DAM) system and implementing it is just the beginning of your DAM journey. Along the way, business happens: company reorgs, expansions, shifting priorities, etc. This can all have an impact on how the DAM is used (or not used). 

The Acquia Professional Services team has walked alongside our customers on their journeys with DAM and have jumped in to help them with challenges along the way. Here are the most common questions we’ve encountered and some advice we can offer for organizations going through similar situations.

“I’m new here. Help! What’s going on?”

Oftentimes, someone hired as a new DAM admin at a company already has experience with digital asset management and already knows all the ins and outs of DAM concepts and product functionality. What they might not know, however, is how this particular DAM system they’ve inherited is set up and how to administer it moving forward. DAM configurations are often extremely customizable, so the new DAM they have just been handed may have a completely different configuration structure than what they are used to. 

This is why it’s important for a new DAM admin to connect with all of the major stakeholders and super users within their organization to learn more about the internal goals and vision for the DAM system and how the current configurations support the business and use cases of different teams. They should ask the internal team if there are any resources or documentation from the initial DAM implementation and if there is a governance document maintained by the former admin. If there has been a lot of internal shift, the admin may not necessarily get this in-depth information on why certain decisions were made. In this case, if you don’t have a why, that’s okay! All you can do is think forward. Re-engage with your stakeholders to ask them their goals and if the current configurations still support their workflows. They might have had changes too, so it would be a great time to start from scratch and reevaluate anyway.

For DAM admins who are still learning the key concepts and functionalities of Acquia DAM, we offer resources on Acquia Academy or in the Acquia DAM Community, where you can access support articles or connect with other customers through user groups. We also offer admin empowerment sessions that can help a new admin to get up-to-speed with their new position, as well as DAM site audits, which can provide a comprehensive understanding of all configurations and usage of the current DAM solution and set a new admin up for maximum success.

“Our DAM site is the Wild Wild West. How do we regain control?”

A DAM system can be set up in the most intentional, structured way possible, but without proper oversight and maintenance, or adherence to workflows, things can get out of control quickly. It may be time to reevaluate your configurations to include additional user permissions to allow (or rather, not allow) certain users to do certain things.

Consider what is going on in your DAM system. Are your assets building up because you lack a clear asset lifecycle or archiving policy? Do you have policies in place, but they’re not being followed? Either way, it’s important to get your DAM governance back on track. One way is through a DAM governance series of workshops and one-on-one sessions to help you establish rules that will support your desired workflows and asset lifecycles, and uncover new areas where having established rules of engagement can help you keep control of your DAM system.

“How do I expand my DAM site to support new user groups?”

This question often arises when an organization needs to expand its DAM site to encompass new brands or regions, or distribute assets to more markets.

The first thing to do is to take a step back and look at the larger strategy of how to serve all of your new and current audiences. Do new markets, regions, or partners need to have a user seat in your DAM site, or will their needs be met by a curated portal experience?

Once you determine your distribution strategy, you’ll understand whether or not you need to adjust your DAM security structure for internal users. Will there now be user groups who need different access to content? It might be okay if your users can access all content, but maybe it would be beneficial to add some more organization to the dashboard so they can more quickly navigate to what they care about most. 

Regardless of your decisions about distribution and access, adding new types of assets will almost always invite updates to metadata. Can you simply add to your existing metadata types, fields, and category structure? Do you need to add new values to previously established fields (e.g., brand name)? Or are the important details about your new assets vastly different from what you already have set up in the DAM? If that’s the case, it’s worth exploring if new metadata types and/or metadata dependencies could assist your upload workflows. 

DAM site optimization projects are a great way for customers who face these conundrums to collaborate with Acquia experts to strategize on the best ways to make adjustments based on their new use cases. We also offer assistance in building new configurations and making sure that existing assets and users are updated accordingly – all with minimal disruption to users and workflows. 

“We’re in an M&A situation. How do we combine DAM systems?”

If a company reorg, merger, acquisition, or other business event has led to a need to merge DAM systems, your approach is going to be different than if you were simply growing and adding on to an existing structure. You’re now faced with taking two established DAM sites and figuring out how to make the different structures fit together like puzzle pieces to support all assets, users, and workflows. 

This is the perfect time to take a step back and start fresh with your configuration approach so that you can be sure to consider all requirements as a whole. What has historically worked for one DAM system may not be possible once you have merged with another. Figuring out what can be shared versus what needs to be different is a good starting place. For example, do users need to now see new or different assets than they have in the past? Are you merging your brands or products internally and therefore have a different organization or hierarchy that needs to be considered in your metadata structure?

Paying attention to the areas where there is already duplication and overlap can be a great starting point to determining a security and search structure that works for both old and new stakeholders.

This is also a good time to revisit your admin schedule and governance document – or create them, if you don’t have them established yet. 

Acquia can help in DAM merger scenarios, with a site optimization project paired with an asset migration and metadata import. This is an efficient way to bring all assets and users into one shared DAM environment that is set up to intentionally support all audiences moving forward. 

“Do I need to be thinking about integrations?” 

Are you spending time and resources maintaining the same information in more than one system? Are you uploading the same assets manually to multiple systems? If the answer to either of those questions is “yes,” then this is an opportune time to consider expanding the role of DAM across your martech stack to save you time, money, and resources and let your DAM system truly serve as the single source of truth for your organization. 

Maybe you know exactly what systems you’d like to integrate with your DAM platform but would like to take a strategic approach to prioritize and plan for those initiatives. Maybe you’re still googling the words “API” and “integration” and aren’t really sure where to begin. In either case, a DAM ecosystem design engagement is a great starting point for a DAM admin who wants to learn more about how they should be thinking about integrations and what value they will add to the organization. You’ll work with an Acquia expert to establish an action plan so that you can be prepared for working with technical teams in the future to make your integration building experience as smooth as possible. 

Where to go from here

If you’re going through any of the above challenges, know that you’re not alone. In addition to following the tips we’ve given or getting help from the DAM community, you can tap the Acquia team for anything from auditing your DAM site and migrating assets to conducting strategy workshops or undertaking a full DAM site optimization. Get in touch with our team for help with your specific DAM challenges.

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