How to stop sucking at managing your digital files
If everyone excelled at easily finding, sharing and using content when they need it most, then the digital asset management industry wouldn’t be expanding its global revenue to an almost five-billion dollar mark in the next three to five years. It’s an expensive problem to solve that many companies and individuals are making their life’s work. Yet are we actually any closer to making sure finding, sharing and using files is easy for everyone?
Here’s what we know: most people suck at managing their digital files
It’s tough finding resources on the web for getting better at managing files that don’t require you to pay in some manner. There are many companies claiming that they have the answer to information governance and effective management of digital files, but often these claims are missing one really big factor: YOU have to put in the work.
Wait, EVERYONE sucks at digital file management?
Well, not everyone. But here are the usual suspects:
What I see and hear time and time again from companies is that their information governance maturity—and specifically their DAM maturity—is partially-developed and rudimentary. Companies that have formally adopted standards, governance, and well-routed assets from conception to publication are the outliers—they exist but they are certainly not the majority.
What happens in most companies is that a DAM project has been adopted and implemented at a strategic level, but it has not trickled down into the everyday work behavior of most individuals in the company. That is the true litmus test for whether or not an organization excels at DAM.
Teams within Companies
The practice of continuously improving processes to make work more efficient and easier is inevitably a big hurdle for every team, in every company. No one company has a strategy that is 100% perfect, as well as future proof. We always strive to work better, faster, and smarter—not harder. Digital asset management is the same. You should always be striving to improve the efficiency of your team and company.
Obviously some teams may be better at managing their digital files than others. An example would be teams that have HAD to become really good at routing, approving and managing large volumes of files, i.e. creative operations and services teams. So recognizing which teams need the most support in adopting DAM as an everyday work practice is an important first step.
You may be really good at managing your own digital files or you may be very bad. Think of it like household work. Some of us are clean freaks. Some of us not so much. Inevitably this applies to our approach to work too, specifically our approach to organizing digital files. Understanding what drives your own behavior is critical for knowing how you can influence and help others make the most out of DAM.
You don’t need a DAM librarian (but you might want one!)
Not every company or individual is able to hire a subject matter expert, librarian or academic to manage their digital file collections—and that’s okay! It’s recommended, but not always realistic when you consider things like a limited budget and/or personnel, as well as the time it takes to get someone up to speed on your content and processes.
Some companies presume that you can just take librarian practices and apply them to DAM—which is applicable to a point, but you need more than one simple blog post for your team to truly get to grips with digital file management and information governance.
When it comes to explaining DAM to the everyday layperson, many DAM-SMEs (subject matter experts) and web resources fall into the trap of presuming too much of the reader. Jargon is high, readability is low. This can be intimidating for the uninformed, which is discouraging—and may partly explain why it can be difficult to get people to utilise DAM in their everyday workflows.
That’s why advocacy for DAM in a way that is engaging and understandble is so important. A lot of the knowledge is locked up, gated behind form sign ups, confusing jargon, and inconvenient implementations. We know DAM can seem complex and confusing, which is why there are entire companies devoted to the practice! But what if you could learn to DAM without the bureaucracy? What if you can do it yourself, without us?
3 ways to do digital asset management yourself
Yes, a lot of people are not great at managing their digital files for many reasons. What can we do about it? Here are three tips to stop sucking at managing your digital files:
- Get educated: use the DIY DAM hub to educate yourself. We’ll lay out standards, best practices, exercises and materials for you to become a DAM expert yourself. We want to help you do the DAM, no matter what your job role
- Take ownership: no one is going to solve all of your DAM problems for you. You need to be proactive in recognizing the problem, and work on finding the solution. DAM may not be a core competency requirement of your specific role, but it is a collective responsibility if you want your team to get organized and work smarter. Own the initiative by recognizing that you are part of the solution
- Just do it: people typically fall into two camps—planners and doers. You can research all you want, but sometimes the best practice is just to get stuck in. Embrace the power of doing and lifehack your digital asset management endeavor by starting now!
The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.[lifehack]
Ready to stop sucking at managing your digital files and do DAM yourself? Then do your DAM homework today!