Simplify development of content until its validation, guarantee the traceability of versions... An efficient DAM workflow is the result of an alchemy between seamless collaboration and well-controlled processes.
The deployment of an enterprise DAM opens up many topics of discussion, some of which capture more attention than others.
This is the case of asset review and approval circuits: the famous “DAM workflows”. What are the steps in the workflow? Who should be involved? How do you find the right balance between control and collaboration? These are issues that no organisation involved in a DAM project can avoid.
"In reality, our customers often imagine things that are too complex,'' observes Sébastien Bardoz, Wedia VP Sales and Operations for North America. "For example, creative briefs that require too much detail or validation steps that are too fragmented and give collaborators extra work. As a result, it’s not uncommon us to receive requests for simplification six months after an initial implementation. This is why we aim from the outset to offer simple but efficient DAM workflows"
Wedia's teams thus advise against using validation by named persons, which leads to mechanisms for delegating rights (for leave, for example). "This leads to complexity that is not always easy to control over time. We prefer to stick to a role-based approach, which is easier to maintain. DAM workflows are rarely set in stone and changes are always possible. It is therefore in everyone's interest to keep the circuits simple to understand and to evolve. "
Yet another reason to make a case for simple, legible workflows are the interdependencies between the enterprise DAM and the rest of the information system. The DAM is not an isolated island: it can and must interact with a CMS (Content Management System), a CDN (Content Delivery Network), a CRM (Customer Relationship Management), a PIM (Product Information Management), and so forth. When an asset (an image, a video, etc.) changes status during the workflow, the DAM can generate a chain reaction in the rest of the IS.
"DAM workflows trigger a whole chain of actions, more or less technical, which users shouldn’t have to worry about. This is one of the reasons why we prefer not to give users the possibility of modifying workflows directly", points out Sébastien Bardoz. "It’s essential that each change request be carefully analyzed, and its impacts studied to assess chain reactions".
On a daily basis, an efficient DAM workflow is characterized by its ability to streamline collaboration, while guaranteeing control. "Our customers want to be able to collaborate easily around assets, but also to be able to keep track of all versions until they are validated. This traceability is key for companies that operate in regulated markets", emphasizes Sébastien Bardoz.
This is of course the case for financial institutions (banks, insurance companies) but not only. From the retail industry to the pharmaceutical industry and cosmetics brands, many sectors are now subject to regulations that translate into traceability constraints.
"For certain organizations subject to strict regulations, we even ensure that the team in charge of legal validation has its own workflow around an asset", explains Sébastien Bardoz. "A workflow that remains private, for this team only”. In any case, companies expect to be able to use this historization of exchanges and versions to produce so-called “enforceable” files – which therefore serve as proof – in the event of a regulatory audit or when anomalies are detected.
Beyond the controls, collaboration through the workflow needs to ensure prompt and precise iteration. To this end, annotating assets merely with comments is not always enough, especially for visual and audiovisual content. It’s often more productive to draw directly on a picture to mark the changes to be made. A DAM like Wedia’s also helps users compare two versions of images by playing with a slider or an overlay mechanism.
These functions are not a luxury, especially for companies - those in the retail sector for example - that manage large volumes of visuals. In these cases, every effort must be made to guarantee a speedy workflow. What’s more, an increasing number of customers are asking for a minimum time between shooting a product and uploading it on a website. This is a way of monitoring the efficiency of the DAM workflow.
"To support such speed, we can automate tasks, for example check that content complies with technical requirements such as file size, visual resolution, etc. Our DAM can also detect similar files to avoid duplicates and save users the work of cleaning up what’s already done!".
A handy key point: notify users when their contribution is expected. You can do it all here: notification within the DAM, via a third-party collaborative solution and also by email, with the visual to be validated and an accept/reject button. A simple call-to-action (CTA) to ensure a smooth workflow that fits into the interstices of everyday life.