Six Reasons Why You Need a DAM Administrator

Six reasons you need a DAM administrator

You’ve invested in a digital asset management (DAM) system. You’ve also invested in the images, videos, graphics, and marketing collateral you store in it. But, you’re hedging your bets when it comes to a DAM administrator. After all, can’t someone handle the responsibilities on top of their regular role? Doesn’t the system more or less run itself?

You are not alone in these questions. Many organizations struggle to realize that a DAM admin is often the key to system success. In this article, we’ll discuss what an admin does and highlight six reasons why they are critical to your organization.

1. The numbers don’t lie.

The role of a DAM admin is not to be taken lightly. Many organizations believe that one person can manage their DAM system part time. This is fine and well, but only if that person can dedicate at least 50% of their time — or ideally more — to the system.

According to the 2017 Widen Customer Satisfaction Survey, companies with a dedicated admin that spends at least half of their time on the system:

  • Use the system 25% more often
  • Access 200% more assets
  • Use twice the amount of assets

Yet, only 20% of admins dedicate this time to the system! Why the disconnect? Often, organizations start out with good intentions. They assign a system lead (which is better than nothing), but they fail to understand how demanding the role can be. And, since “DAM admin” isn’t included in this part-timer’s job title, the associated responsibilities often get pushed aside for their actual job. As the survey shows, this lack of dedication hurts an organization’s return on investment and stifles user engagement.

2. Machines still need humans.

When you do a Google query, the search algorithm returns the best results for what you’re looking for. But, smart and knowledgeable people are behind this. Humans, not machines, need to program, update, and refine these complex algorithms. The same applies to a DAM system. It’s only as good as the information your DAM admin puts into it. For example, your admin tags (or helps your team tag) digital assets with metadata. This asset-specific information, such as descriptions, keywords, and location, makes it possible for people to find what they’re looking for. Using system data and anecdotal feedback, admins also optimize your system, improving the search experience, user adoption, content performance, and much more.

3. Straw houses don’t last.

If you’re familiar with the children’s fable “The Three Little Pigs,” you know that the little pig that built his house out of straw and sticks didn’t fair well in the end. Just like a home, your DAM system needs a strong foundation. Before you load your system with “stuff,” you need to build a strong site structure that can withstand the test of time. A knowledgeable and trained DAM admin will lay this groundwork. For example, they’ll establish the hierarchical tree structure, or taxonomy, that categorizes and houses your files. Similarly, they’ll build a structure for your metadata, which includes setting up controlled vocabulary lists. Using set field types like dropdown or multi-inclusion lists, controlled vocabulary lists help avoid erratic terminology, spelling errors, lost time, and other metadata inconsistencies. Beyond this, your admin will formulate the processes and strategies needed to ensure the right people can access the right content at the right time. For example, they can set up folder- or asset-level permissions for users or groups of users based on criteria like location, role, department, or use case.

4. People have more questions than “where can I find this?”

The system will solve the problem of people asking, “Where can I find this?” But users need guidance beyond this, especially with a new system or user. And, even with organizations that have had their system for years, users will still have questions about how to use the site or interpret special instructions tied to an asset. If you rely on a pseudo-admin that’s preoccupied with too many other tasks, your system will suffer, and its users will not receive the support they need. Beyond this, remember that your system is a work in progress. Your DAM admin is responsible for answering questions, observing user behavior, and analyzing user data so that they can funnel this knowledge back into system improvements.

5. “If you build it, they will come” doesn’t hold up.

Just because you invest in a DAM solution, doesn’t mean people will use it. The reality is that people don’t easily change the way they work. The instinct is to revert to what’s familiar and comfortable. Your DAM admin is the coach and cheerleader behind your system. They not only educate, train, and develop their users, but they get them excited about what a DAM system can do for them. Adoption doesn’t happen on its own. You need a dedicated admin to think creatively about getting users engaged and to find ways to position DAM at the center of your organization. If your admin is juggling too many responsibilities, they will struggle to create help documents, run training sessions, hold office hours, and plan fun exercises and awards to promote system use.

6. Your digital assets need a bodyguard.

One of the biggest reasons organizations invest in a DAM system is for peace of mind. They need to know that their assets are safe from server crashes, system threats, and unauthorized users. Aside from outside forces, you need to ensure that authorized users can only access the assets that you want them to access. Without a DAM admin, your system won’t automatically know which copyright, privacy, legal, expiration dates, and access rules you need to implement. You need a dedicated admin to set up security measures like rights management and granular roles and permissions that ensure your digital assets only get into the right hands.

Ready to invest in a DAM admin?

Regardless of the size of your organization or the number of assets you have, you need a dedicated admin that can spend 50 to 100% of their time on your system. The wrong admin, or not having a dedicated person at all, is a recipe for disaster. Whether the right DAM admin already exists at your organization or you’re ready to find your next great hire, be on the lookout for someone that’s detail-oriented, approachable, strategic, agile, and loves solving problems. In fact, many organizations hire or develop digital librarians to take on the role of DAM admin, as they possess many of these skill sets. To learn more about what goes into being an admin, check out this article or contact our knowledgeable team today. We are here to help!

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