Spring has sprung: Many of us see this period of the year as the perfect moment to declutter their houses, but as a Digital Asset Management user you should know that your DAM needs a bit of cleaning from time to time as well. In this article, you will learn how you can tidy up and restructure your DAM and why it is important in order for your solution to be efficient. So, channel your inner Marie Kondo and let’s get ready for a deep DAM spring cleaning.
Research has shown that the traditional spring cleaning has been around for centuries and is rooted in Jewish, Iranian and Chinese culture. While back then, spring cleaning was strongly codified and ritualised, in today’s societies, we are a bit more free about the “how”, and we care first and foremost about the“why” behind this tradition: Decluttering is proven to have beneficial impacts on your ability to focus, organize yourself and also your moods. Or like the saying goes: Clean mind=clean space. We all know the positive effects on our professional performances when we are working on a clean desk without distraction. The same applies even more for the tools you use on a daily basis. The good news is that when you are utilizing a Digital Asset Management solution, you already saved yourself a lot of headaches by not wasting your time searching for images, photos, files, audios etc. on multiple drives, platforms, or boxes. A DAM solution enables you to use, and more importantly, to reuse your marketing assets rapidly and is a huge money and time saver in the long run.
By constantly adding visuals to your DAM, content can add up quickly. And even if not everyone deals with thousands of images per day as some of our customers do, a regular cleaning is mandatory! Here are our tips on how to tackle the situation:
Like in “real life”, making batches works quite fine in this case: Divide your assets into those which you are using on a regular basis and those which you are not. Define a timeframe that works for your company, let’s say six months or 1 year and if an asset has not been used for this amount of time, it has to go to the archive area.
This is a “safe space”: Your assets are still there, but they are not clogging your other categories. Also archive assets that are not used or invisible to most users, contain unknown rights, have poor quality or include ex-employees. Are you already using the archive area? Well, then, it is time to face the truth with step 2: assets that have been archived and are not being used anymore should be deleted. Remember: clean space will drive to a clean mind and obviously a simpler research, which turns out to be a real energy saver. By keeping your assets “clean”, you’ll also dramatically improve your resource management: Less is more in this matter: Don’t waste your time and headspace on content, which is not really crucial for your business goals. In this sense, a DAM can become a strong ally for a more frugal and mindful way of working.
This goes also for optimized workflows and collaboration between your different departments and with external partners. By making sure that only the right assets are available, misunderstandings, duplicates and time-consuming research are avoided. You can also use the full potential of each asset by reusing content, photos, audios and files that are still relevant for the company, because you won’t reproduce or recreate assets which you already have in one central place. Here the key is to only have content that is already approved, visible to users and contains the right metadata. Which brings us to our next point: Taxonomy and metadata cleaning.
As an experienced DAM user, you know that your DAM taxonomy organizes your marketing content with your own enterprise vocabulary. By using a good taxonomy and set of tags, you make your assets are findable and recognizable. Firstly, let’s dive into your taxonomy structure: Does your classification still make sense? Or should you consider some changes by adding, deleting or renaming categories? For example, do the product categories you use on your website or PIM match with those you are using in your DAM? If not, align them! Or do your employees not know where to put content containing red shoes, because your current structure differentiates between 50 different color shades? Simplify your structure!
Now, we can look at your other metadata, which we know can be a quite intimidating topic, but it is also a key area to focus on, when you are doing your own DAM Spring cleaning. Let’s start small by firstly removing all duplicated metadata. Secondly, we should take a look at empty metadata fields: Are they not important? Did you simply forget about them?
When this is done, we can move to the next level and take a look at your analytics: Are the terms being used represented by your metadata structure? If not, this is something you want to fix. When it comes to metadata, we also highly recommend working with lists: You can set up lists for different categories. This is a great way to have all metadata ready for specific product lines, models etc. Of course, these lists’ needs should be optimized: Delete metadata that are not serving you anymore. Think about also simplifying, matching and renaming lists that you already have set in place.
Better be safe than sorry: Your company is evolving on a constant basis, people are coming and leaving, so reviewing your users, their user rights and also their accounts, in case your DAM is not directly connected to the Enterprise Auth Server, is crucial. An overview of your whole security structure gives you a good starting point to answer the following questions:
Once you know for sure who needs to have what kind of access, you can review your limitations in order to protect sensitive content. Limitations also apply to people who are not involved in complex workflows and who just need pieces of the total content. On the other hand, you want to ensure smooth cooperation by giving the right amount of access for people who need it.
When doing your DAM Spring cleaning, it is totally fine to ask for some professional help. There are useful tools we can set in place when implementing a marketing DAM solution like for example automations: After a predefined time frame, assets can be archived automatically. Furthermore, users can be informed about expired licenses; a notification will be sent out to all those who already downloaded the concerned content. Wedia’s developers can also set up the already mentioned “single sign-on” for you, which will help you to mirror your company's structure and to create user groups and rights based on this. Surely, all these changes can be added to existing solutions. Don’t hesitate and ask the Wedia experts for help. We want your DAM to serve your company's needs perfectly.