Best Practice: Maintaining a DAM System

This post is part of a series on best practices in digital asset management. They come from new and experienced DAM users and professionals in digital asset development. Need some advice or want to see a topic covered? Let us know in the comments!

Best practices DAM system


Techniques and advice for making the most of a DAM system during implementation, maintenance, user roles and more

Today’s best pra dam best practices user headshotctice comes from a full-time DAM administrator at an American university. His background includes studies at the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. He works full time on asset management and has been using their current DAM system since he took his position in 2013.

He manages a DAM used by the universities public affairs office. It is heavily used to organize and distribute photos by the university photographer. Several other content-producing departments use the system to find images for web and print publications.

The need for regular management of a DAM system

Our “DAMster” explains that ongoing care of a system is the best way to make it useful.

“I would underscore the word management. I think some people feel as if systems like this one can be wound up like a clock and left running. Our system requires human intervention to adhere to standards, especially since our content creators are spread all over campus.

It helps to reach out personally and help contributors make effective use of the DAM.

At the end of the day the DAM needs someone to take care of it and make sure its being used correctly. There are definitely systems that can be admined part-time, but for a University that is complex with a lot of moving parts, we benefit from someone managing it full-time.” (Source)

A DAM is a dynamic system. Assets are added or updated regularly so it is always changing and it needs regular attention.

Who is responsible for DAM management?

Typically, the DAM administrator handles management of the system. The role of admin can be filled by one single person, who may or may not be full-time like the “DAMster” in this article.

The role of admin can also be filled by two people who split tasks or time. For more information about administering a digital asset management system, see the post “What does a DAM administrator do?”

DAM management tasks

Below is a list of tasks needed to maintain a well-functioning DAM system. Frequency completely depends on how many users you have, how many assets you have, and how the system is used.

  • Maintain system messages. There are key times to deliver messages to users. Examples are when people login, download items, and complete related tasks in the system. Making sure the messages are current is part of ongoing maintenance.
  • Use analytic info to improve the user experience. By keeping an eye on which assets or collections are most popular, you can make them more accessible. User surveys and conversations with users can help you provide the best experience to users.
  • Review asset performance (and use it to inform future campaigns). Marketing always wants to know which images, illustrations, and rich media are performing best. Whether you are part of the marketing department or not, it’s great data to share.
  • User administration. Someone needs to be a key contact for creating, editing and deleting users from their DAM. We recommend setting a reminder to audit users at regular intervals throughout the year to keep the list current.
  • Arrange for user training. When implementing a new system, introducing updates, or bringing new employees onboard, training is vital. In addition to formal trainings, communicating changes with users is important.
  • Keep roles and permissions current. Roles and permissions govern who can see what digital assets and what they can do with them. Conduct periodic reviews of what kind of access different groups have.
  • Review metadata and categories. Users and workflows determine a DAM system’s metadata and categories. Keeping them up-to-date by conducting regular reviews with users and keeping an eye on analytics can influence changes in the structure of a system.

We hope this information can help you maintain your DAM system to make it as useful as possible for everyone. Anything you didn’t see mentioned? Let us know in the comments.

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