How to effectively audit your digital asset management software

How do you evaluate your DAM? One of the cornerstones of improvement, evaluation is a way to assess how things are going so you can make revisions to the structure and usage of your digital asset management software — all in an effort to increase efficiency and get more value from your digital assets.

We’ve developed a DAM site audit that can be used as a roadmap to evaluate your digital asset management software. If you happen to be a Widen client, keep in mind that their client service team is an excellent resource to help you navigate any part of this audit.

Auditing Digital Asset Management Software

10-step Digital Asset Management Site Audit

1. Take a global view

Compare your current DAM status to see how it differs from when you launched the system. What’s changed? Is your quantity of DAM users up or down? How about the volume of digital assets that are funneling into the system? Have there been any changes in monthly total storage? Taking a global view of the major areas of your digital asset management system gives you some high-level analytics that can be used to track growth, successful processes, and processes that need improvement.

2. Assess your DAM user base

Determine who your power users are. This can easily be gauged by looking at who logs into your digital asset management software the most.

Who is uploading the most digital assets? In other words, who is instigating the most uploads?

The flip side of this equation is determining your inactive users, as well as light users. Inactive users are typically categorized as individuals who have not logged in over the past 12 months. Light users, of course, use the system every once in a while.

Once you’ve determined your power users, light users and nonusers, you can devise a plan of action to engage with each group. Power users are an excellent source for information on what’s working and what can be improved. Since they’re power users, asking them what they’d like to see added to the DAM system can also improve their workflow and efficiency. Those on your inactive or light-user list may need additional training, or may just need to be removed as a DAM user.

3. Revisit user roles and permissions

Examine how your roles are structured, and determine if roles and permissions need to be tweaked, or if user permissions need to be adjusted. Do all of your top-level admins, who have full access to all features, really need complete access? Are some of your general users being hindered because they don’t have enough permissions? And what about the in-between roles of sub-level admins like asset admins and user admins? Are their permissions set to empower them to work as efficiently as possible?

Accurately segmenting users is just as important as properly segmenting customers.

Fundamental items to include in your permissions table include:
• Employee name and accurate role description (graphic designer, copywriter, etc.)
• The number of users assigned to each role
• Hierarchy of your admin tiers

A careful examination of your user roles and permissions will help identify redundancies and holes in your structure. It protects the security of your site and your assets, ensures the right people have the right access to the right assets, and can help you simplify the management of the users, including coaching, training and promotion.

4. How about those digital assets?

An audit of your digital assets provides a breakdown of all the digital assets; including types, use and what is being uploaded and downloaded.

What are your top 10 most ordered assets? Provide a look at the filename and description in addition to the asset previews.

What is the breakdown of asset storage by file type (images, video, audio, PDF, Office, etc.) with number of files and storage breakout.

Next, what’s going in and what’s coming out? Report on Asset Uploads by Quarter and Asset Orders by Quarter.

5. How are you segmenting your asset groups?

Look at your asset groups to see how the permissions are matched up with the appropriate user roles. An audit provides a list of the current Asset Groups (with description) with the quantity of assets assigned to each group.

6. What are asset upload profiles?

Asset upload profiles are the portals for configuring the default settings for security including asset group assignment and release/expiration dates, collection and category associations and batch metadata entry for all assets ingested using that profile.

It’s important to know what these are and keep the settings current!

7. Let’s optimize that search structure!

How are your categories doing? Are they relevant? Are they redundant? Do they help users find what they’re looking for?

Keep in mind that you can have as many as you need and these can be multiple levels deep, but you don’t want more than you can know, maintain and expect your users to use. With Widen’s faceted search, your categories can be seen as a starting point for search, but the filters will help your users refine as they go. Use spotlights to signal the top-level categories you want to draw attention to.

Review your metadata schema(s). What different metadata types and fields are you using? Should you have different fields for different groups of assets? Also, use controlled fields with discrete values (checkboxes, drop-downs and palettes) wherever possible! This will help you standardize metadata entry and empower your users with more intelligent search filters.

Do your new assets contain any embedded file data – EXIF/IPTC/XMP? That stuff can be mapped to searchable metadata fields upon import.

Last, do take a look at Global Collections! It’s a fairly new feature that enables you to group assets independent of category groupings. It can be quite handy for photo shoots, light boxes, campaigns, events, product launches and other promotions.

8. Dissect your administration dashboard

The administration dashboard in your digital asset management software gives you a clear picture of potential maintenance areas that require improvement, including:

User-Related Tasks
These include expired and expiring users; asset related tasks; any unapproved orders, DAM users who have not been assigned a role; digital assets with missing required metadata; and pending registration requests.

Asset-Related Tasks
Asset-related tasks include deleted assets; expired assets; lost assets; assets that don’t have categories; conflicted asset uploads; expiring assets; unavailable assets with embed codes; and unreleased or pending admin approval assets.

9. Are there optional features that you should be using?

Widen issues upgrades to their “collective” quarterly, which means there may be new optional features that didn’t exist before. Plus, as your company evolves, you may grow into some of the traditional optional features that you didn’t need before.

Popular optional DAM features include:
• Versioning
• Watermarking
• Alerts & Watching
• Social Publishing
• Video & Audio Transcoding
• Dynamic Media Building
• Embed Codes

10. Google Analytics

Having Google Analytics set up to help you review statistics is an excellent complement to your DAM admin setup, as well as any export tools your DAM software offers. Understanding the importance of these statistics, Widen creates Google Analytics profiles for every one of their customers.

Google Analytics insights are very extensive. Some of the important statistics include:

Visitor information: This includes the overall quantity of visits, as well as the amount of unique visitors, page views, bounce rate (the percentage of visitors that leave before the 30-second mark), and the average time visitors spend on the site.

Visitor segmentation:
This includes countries/geographies, languages, the type of browser a visitor is using, as well as their operating system. Visitor segmentation also provides information on screen resolutions (which can be helpful with user experience) and mobile devices used when searching.

“Top keywords used,” has become less helpful in the past few years, with 90% or more of user search terms now stating “not provided.” If you’re interested in more details on this, you can read this article over at SearchEngineLand. That being said, there is still great value to be found in analyzing top categories and month-to-month category trends. Comparing total keyword vs. category searches is one way to determine the most popular search methods used by your visitors. Google is very good at providing tutorials and articles explaining how each area of their analytics works. Just be prepared to spend some time getting to know Google Analytics, and soon it will be a valuable tool that can help you understand where to focus your efforts regarding site structure.

For more information on auditing your digital assets, check out the CMSWire article Have You Audited Your Digital Assets Lately?, by Henrik de Gyor.

Need help with a DAM site audit?
Whether you’re super busy, or just don’t have the inclination to perform a DAM site audit yourself, Widen’s Professional Services team is ready to assist you.

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