Energize your DAM admin skills as an intrapreneur

The Special Libraries Association sign from the 2016 annual meeting

The Special Libraries Association sign from the 2016 annual meeting. Credit: twitter.com/divinemsn

Last week I attended the Special Libraries Association (SLA) annual meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and attended a great session about being an “intrapreneur”, or using the entrepreneurial mindset to be better at your work. There are some excellent takeaways for digital asset management (DAM) administrators, who can think of their users as a client base.

“The reluctant intrapreneur: Becoming the knowledge center CEO” was presented by Mary Ellen Bates of Bates Information Services. As an entrepreneur, Bates had to push herself out of her comfort zone to connect with clients and provide them with the best possible services.

Realizing that the entrepreneurial mindset could be applied to people that don’t work for themselves, she created the idea of the intrapreneur. Her recommendations can be applied to any role but are particularly applicable for DAM managers, who can easily think of system users as a client base.

Below is a list of my favorite five suggestions to becoming an intrapreneur. If you’re interested in the topic, you can read her whitepaper here.

5 ways to be an intrapreneur as a DAM admin

1. Ask questions. Ask why, ask why not, and question the status quo.

Entrepreneurs ask a lot of questions – and often start businesses because there is a need and they don’t see a good solution that already exists. As a DAM admin, ask questions about why things are the way they are and what can be improved. Questioning creates opportunities for improvement.

2. Be proactive and future-focused.

The context of this recommendation was to give yourself time to plan, think creatively, and strategize on client problems. It can be challenging when your task list is long and people stop by your desk regularly to ask for things. I understand that challenge because it happens to me. I asked Bates how to combat it.

Her method? “Make undesirable behavior not work out for them,” she suggested. That means not accepting demands immediately, and asking a few questions to determine timeline. If someone shows up with a request ASAP, tell them you are working on something now and will follow-up with them shortly. By shaping a process, you can eliminate low-level disruptors and be most efficient in your work.

3. Create frictionless relationships.

By being frictionless – easy to get along with, responsive, and communicative – entrepreneurs meet the needs of customers and build a positive reputation for their business. There are plenty of reasons they seek to create frictionless relationships, number one being that they often rely on recommendations, word-of-mouth, and good reviews to find customers. They also want to maintain the relationships they do have. Determine your friction level as a DAM admin by answering the following questions:

  • Is it easy to find you?
  • Are you easy to talk to?
  • How responsive do your clients think you are? (Have you asked them?)
  • Do you ask clients for complaints?

4. Put client needs at the heart of your work.

The first step to being client driven is to ask questions like those above. It opens communication and helps you best serve them. With that established, determine whether you are creating new solutions to pain points around digital asset management or just keeping up with requests, look at collaborative opportunities with key client groups, and do an annual 20/20 review.

Bates’ model for the 20/20 review means figuring out the lowest-value 20% of your work and the highest value 20%. Brainstorm ways to make the lowest 20% self-serve so it reduces the amount of time you spend on it and enhance the top 20% to get the highest value for your work.

5. Provide valuable work.

Seems like a no-brainer, right? Despite the fact that we all know this, it’s easy to get into a rut where you repeat something over and over again because it’s easy, not because it’s the best possible way. Be constantly looking for ways to provide higher value work. That might include:

  • Producing condensed, distilled reports.
  • Developing insights into DAM use trends.
  • Creating decision-ready deliverables.
  • Using images to tell stories and share narratives.
  • Taking initiative or exploring new ideas.
  • Reducing risk for within current processes.
  • Improving response time.

Make sure you share the results of the valuable work that you’re already doing.  Not the metrics, because metrics don’t show value well. Instead, focus on the results – how much time you are saving yourself and others and savings that come out of that.

Bates ended her presentation with a great reminder: “Own your expertise.” She cited a statistic that information professionals like DAM administrators take ⅓ the amount of time to find resources and files.
If you’re interested in how information pros can help with digital asset management, see the white paper “How an information professional can help streamline your DAM implementation.”

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