This not for profit organisation operates across a network of local branch offices. The client had identified a need for an organisation-wide DAM solution to support the operations of their in-house photo and video libraries as well as potential use with their marketing department.
They considered hiring a consulting firm to handle the selection of suitable service providers. After reviewing their situation, it became apparent that an audit of the sources of existing assets had not been conducted and there was a risk that the solution might not address all requirements. Further, there were relatively few in-house personnel with any knowledge or understanding of Digital Asset Management. We assessed that while a suitable product platform could have been identified, they would not gain maximum value from their investment into it unless the level of knowledge and expertise about DAM was enhanced and developed in a way that it could be sustained over the longer term.
We recommended to the client that first they conduct a more extensive audit of all the potential sources of assets. We provided educational resources for them to help them do this in-house, including templates and examples of asset logging techniques to carry out the audit and guidance on how to complete them. We shadowed the client for one of these exercises and provided feedback to enhance the quality of the data that was recorded. With the auditing data obtained, we helped the client to analyse their current situation. We also advised the client to commence an organisation-wide taxonomy that could be used for cataloguing their digital assets and to enable them to identify how easily it would be possible to represent this with candidate solutions. The client discovered there was an existing initiative to develop this and it was possible for knowledge to be shared between the two projects to enhance them both.
With a clearer picture of all the assets they owned and their metadata schema, it was possible to devise more specific requirements specification for their solution. What became clear was that one product was unlikely to be sufficient to cover every requirement, however, by segmenting users into groups based on their typical usage patterns, two distinct requirements emerged: one application for general users and another for heavy users, these corresponded roughly to asset users and asset suppliers. In addition, some customisation and integration work would be needed. We delivered product selection training to the client to assist them to carry out this task themselves and provided advisory assistance to help them both learn how to do this in-house but also to develop expertise and learning materials that could be used again as their needs evolved.
Using the expertise we had helped them to acquire, the client were able to identify a shortlist of two groups of potential solutions themselves. They avoided an extensive amount of customisation (and the associated risks as well as costs) using a series of scripts to transfer data between the two applications which we were able to brief the client's IT department to develop using in-house resources.
Our work with this client was an excellent example of how we prefer to conduct engagements. Rather than simply sub-contracting a given Digital Asset Management consulting task to a service provider, we instead aim to develop the client's own internal expertise through training and knowledge transfer with the understanding that we can back them up for specific, targeted assistance where required. This enables clients to become more self-sufficient and offers better value for them. Digital Asset Management is a long-term undertaking and a credible consulting partner will recognise the need to assist their clients to develop in-house capabilities whenever the opportunity presents itself.
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