Get a clearer understanding of business requirements

Surveys have long been used in the library and information science fields as a tried and trusted qualitative research method to help gather evidence on topics such as information search and retrieval, accessibility, and patronage. Yet, as explained by Lynn Connaway, Senior Research Scientist at OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), qualitative research collects information in a way that provides answers to questions that's often relevant "beyond the immediate boundaries of the study" itself as well.

Avoid assumptions and let the DAM data speak for itself

As good as our intentions may be, it's pretty common to enter projects with already held assumptions that may distort the research objectives, whether we’re aware of it or not. Some typical assumptions could be personal beliefs about the problems of your organization, the presumed beliefs and behavior of the average employee, as well as the types of content and assets at your organization—which may not be entirely accurate.

By using qualitative and quantitative research methods to collect data for analysis, you can:

  • Minimize assumptions
  • Recognize shared pain points and quick wins across the organization
  • Uncover previously unknown information

When carrying out a DAM survey, you will need to send it to various individuals and departments in the company to understand ongoing pain points, use-cases, and the general 'digital asset' scope that is being considered at your workplace. From this data, you can compile a report to identify major trends and prioritize tasks accordingly.

Communicate often and clearly

So what is the most effective way to get a survey to the right people? And further, how do you get them to fill it out?

From experience, it is important to frequently remind people (but not too much!) to complete the survey; yet there are ways to do this without being just plain irritating. You don’t want to nag people to the point that they stop listening, but you do want to give them ample reminders before the survey due date. It’s easy to put off things like this in your daily work and think, “Oh, I will do it later,” only to realize that you forgot or end up not having enough time to fit it into your day. We've all been there!

It’s not often that people don’t want to provide this info—but remember that it takes time that they may not have when they initially see your reminder. Keep this in mind, and send out reminders in different mediums/formats, or at different times and days of the week. You'll then be much more likely to catch someone when they actually have a moment to spare!

Some more useful tips and tricks to optimize your survey participation would be:

  • Sending out a reminder in your company chat—bonus points if you have Slack in your tech stack. You can simply type the command to set a reminder for survey participation at a specific time during the day
  • Sending out a company-wide email for maximum reach
  • Placing a link on the company Intranet as a clear reminder, while making it easier to participate
  • Mentioning the Call-to-Action (including the link and due date)
  • Setting a reminder for the last day of the survey, and/or the day before
  • Mentioning it in everyday conversation for maximum awareness—if it’s important to you, then communicate it often and clearly
  • Making survey participation mandatory (a controversial option, but if you really need the data, and you have the power to enforce this decision, why not? With the help of executive leadership to remind participants, it's definitely an effective way to get full participation!)

Summarize your DAM data and use it for your DAM project

You may find that you uncover data that disrupts your current assumptions—and that is not a bad thing! Individual answers from the survey can often be quite revealing, but the aggregated findings across your company will help you plan a DAM project that is data-driven, while also accommodating the needs of your organization at a more general level.

A great way to visualize the results from your survey is through things like word clouds, but you can also take this unstructured data and put it through sentiment and text analysis for further distilling and aggregation.

Example digital asset management survey question

Some typical question examples to be used in a DAM survey would be:

  • What content should be in our digital asset management system? Identify a scope for your DAM. Nailing down the purpose of the system before you begin a project (or even when reviewing a current DAM system) means that you now have a filter for what belongs, and what doesn't
  • What content should NOT be in our digital asset management system and is out of scope for this system? This is similar to the question above, but more specifically asks co-workers to identify items that might be out of scope. An example could be photography from a company christmas party. Yes, these assets are great for institutional memory, but do they really belong in your DAM and serve a purpose for your DAM mission?
  • How do you share assets now? This question often shines a spotlight on non-sanctioned file-sharing practices that currently take place in your organization. Usually, there are particular ways to transfer and share files that are sanctioned, approved and mandated. Finding out that 80% of your organization uses third party software applications that are ungoverned and not approved for the business means that they are defaulting to the easiest method. This is a problem worth addressing, and obviously something your DAM system should aim to resolve
  • What asset categories are used in your work, and what is their business purpose? Recognizing the makeup of digital assets used in your company will help establish a rudimentary understanding of nomenclature that’s used for the search and findability of information. This can have a direct impact on your taxonomy, operational definitions for metadata fields and options, and the overall success or failure of the structure used to find content

Jump start your DAM project now with a survey

Get started with your digital asset management project today by using a survey to establish business requirements in an effective way. Avoid assumptions and let the data speak for itself, communicate often and clearly about when you need results and what they will be used for, and finally, summarize your data and let it be the catalyst for the structure and strategy of your digital asset management project!

Download our free template to get started on your own surveys. For more free resources that will let you do DAM yourself, check out the DAM Homework package here.

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