DAM Champ: Matthew Patulski

Our first DAM champ Matthew Patulski comes from a creative background with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He started working in asset management during art school when he worked photographing and organizing slide libraries of student projects. Later as a freelancer, he gravitated toward graphic design, pre-press, and studio management. His work in digital asset management (DAM) grew out a technical pain-point in the creative process for Capgemini’s Business to Business (B2B) video program.

For more information about Patulski and his work, visit him on Linkedin.

Matthew Patulski digital asset management champHow did you get into digital asset management or DAM?

My digital asset management experience began at Capgemini in 2008 as the DAM Solution Manager for Capgemini’s Global Marketing and Communications team. This was a distributed team of 700 persons in 40 countries serving 140K consultants, subject matter experts, sales professionals, and executive leadership.

As the DAM Solution Manager, what were some of your responsibilities?

When I started at Capgemini, there was no digital asset management solution or processes in place to preserve content for the organization’s marketing community. Our need for DAM became apparent in 2008 as we were developing a B2B video program.

“Uploading and downloading multiples of 100 megabyte templates, completed deliverables, and brand guidelines quickly became a pain point as we took our workflow to scale with internal and external creative resources.”

We went through a discovery process to build a business case that identified the delivery challenges that could be addressed by a DAM solution. Once we had an approved plan, budget and timeline, I managed the DAM application and server teams to set up, configure, test, and integrate within Capgemini infrastructure.

In 2009, we then launched a beta with our video community, followed by an intense effort to integrate DAM into marketing team processes. As a matter of course, we conducted online surveys, training sessions, 1:1 meetings, and support requests to teach metadata, version control, and API/CMS integrations.

By the end of 2014, The Capgemini marketing and communications DAM had organized +75,000 original and derivative assets, managed by 700 active marketers, with user sessions growing at +25% rate over 5 years. By leveraging application integrations via APIs, we annually delivered +325K intranet video impressions to the Capgemini intranet, over 400 new titles to YouTube, and supported +50 events with a web-based kiosk solution.

How did you meet the DAM needs of such a diverse user group?

Meet people where they are and listen. After a few conversations with team leaders and end users, you will find commonalities that thread through the discussions at an organizational level. These details will get you about 90% there in terms of uptake of your DAM and help you work towards the critical mass of adoption.

As special cases reveal themselves, look for commonalities between the exceptions. Resetting expectations, redesigning workflow, and refining feature sets are all ways to transform special cases into enhancements for mainstream users.

Why is digital asset management important?

Practically speaking, DAM is a library of your media assets indexed to your organizational specifications. When effectively implemented, DAM can simplify a marketing or archiving team’s workflows by reducing redundant and outdated content. Clearly organized and accessible assets can help drive your content strategy. In the process, it establishes accountability of ownership/authorship and increases ROI through repurposing existing assets.

What is the best thing about DAM?

Digital asset management preserves and reveals culture. Its the means to bring order to your institution’s collective memory, enabling you to share your story with your clients, partners, and members.

What was your biggest challenge as a DAM champ?

Setting expectations within our user community unfamiliar with DAM, but used to organizing content at some level through other repositories across the organization.

For example, if your DAM is highly curated with only public-facing materials,  be prepared to explain why only completed items should be in the DAM and in progress work be housed elsewhere.  Also establishing ownership of the DAM workflow. It is important at the onset of a DAM implementation to add DAM participation to the job description of all stakeholders.

What advice do you have for people who start a DAM project?

Your DAM is only as good as the collective understanding of its stakeholders, their content, and your organization’s workflows. To start off on the right foot, take a 3 step approach:

  1. Identify the key aspects of your user culture that generates and consumes the content you wish to organize. This will help define your user community into groups and refine the permissions structure when you start implementation.
  2. Inventory your content within a matrix of technical specifications, content types, and brand parameters. With this, you can start to build a taxonomy unique to your organization that can still be universal with regards to production standards and file types.
  3. Survey your technical team to understand what your digital environment already looks like ie server platforms, security requirements, corporate account integrations (SSO), and in-house processes that will inform your application selection process.

Once these details are in hand, you will be able to make informed recommendations for solutions that best fit your identified needs that should also grow with you over time.

Do you have a favorite digital asset?

Take a look at the case study “BAM: Open Source Brand Asset Management in the Amazon Cloud” I posted on Slideshare that provides an overview of the Capgemini DAM processes and outcomes to date.

Are you a DAM Champ or do you know one? We want to talk to you! More info here.

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