What to Look for in a DAM Administrator
Contrary to popular belief, a digital asset management (DAM) system doesn’t run itself. You need a skilled DAM administrator to keep it running smoothly in order to tell your brand story and provide superior customer experiences. But, what exactly does it mean to be a DAM admin? And, what skills should they possess? While this role requires someone with many multifaceted abilities, we believe these five skills are non-negotiable.
1. Highly organized
At the most basic level, DAM admins ensure your digital assets are accessible, findable, and usable. But, this responsibility is anything but basic. Much like an architect, DAM admins must develop a sound structure to support everything you put into your system. With hundreds to thousands of digital assets, an admin needs organizational skills that allow them to create advanced conventions (aka metadata and taxonomy) to categorize and make your digital assets easy to locate. In the eyes of a DAM admin, “There is a place for everything.” And, rest assured, they’ll figure out how to organize it!
Beyond this, admin organizational skills must be forward-looking. DAM admins need to create site structures that are durable, yet adaptable to the changes of the future. They need to develop organized governance documents that future-proof your system. And, most importantly, they need to keep the whole DAM system organized in a way that makes sense to diverse groups of users.
2. People person
A DAM admin isn’t someone that simply sits at their desk, head down, tweaking metadata fields. That’s part of it, but they also need to interact with people. They need to engage users so they can understand their needs and make informed decisions in the system. Whether via calls, surveys, face-to-face conversations, or interactive games, admins must find creative ways to connect with and get to know the challenges, wants, and pain points of their user base.
Furthermore, DAM admins need to play the role of advocate and cheerleader. Just because you invest in a DAM system doesn’t mean that people will automatically use it. Admins must advocate and encourage system adoption by communicating its benefits and continually training and educating the organization. This isn’t a sit-back-and-relax kind of role; it’s hands-on and requires an outgoing, friendly personality type.
3. Iron-clad patience
DAM admins sit in a difficult position. They must balance the needs of the entire organization within one system. As such, they need to accept and tolerate imperfections in the system and its users. For starters, it takes time to get your DAM system where it needs to be. The best DAM admins work methodically and patiently to evolve the system to meet business and user needs.
They also need the patience to get their users where they need to be. Old habits die hard. And, many users are resistant to change (or rules in general). Although an admin may feel like a broken record –– repeating system rules and answering the same questions over and over again –– they need to maintain a stoic rapport with their user base. More likely than not, the typical DAM user has priorities for the day that may overshadow their desire or memory of how to “do things right.” DAM admins need the patience and resolve to work through this with their users, explain consequences, and continually train and retrain users so everyone (including the admin!) can get the most out of the system.
4. Follow through
A DAM admin needs to keep your system clean and optimized, which requires immense follow through and discipline. Without ongoing maintenance, irrelevant assets, bad metadata, and poor-performing content can quickly take over. It’s up to the DAM admin to wrangle this chaos, often without recognition or reminders. Many DAM admins are great at starting projects. They successfully get the system up and running. They create the needed governance documents and they run initial user trainings. However, true success is in an admin’s ability to see these efforts through. Look for a DAM admin that plans for follow through. This is someone that strategizes in advance with weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual maintenance schedules. It’s also someone who puts their processes into practice and sets a good example for other users.
5. Proactively agile
A DAM system is anything but static. As business priorities change, user needs mature, and organization grows, your DAM system needs to evolve alongside it all. The best DAM admins understand this and are wired for change. They know that with change comes progress. As a result, they proactively work to evolve your system so it meets the present and future needs and goals of your organization and users. Whether gathering user feedback, evaluating processes and policies, or fostering change within your organization, a DAM admin must be nimble and prepared for change. If DAM admins are stuck in their ways or resistant to user feedback, your system and investment will suffer. And, nobody wants that!
Who to hire?
Many companies hire a librarian as their DAM admin. This is a professional that you typically find in a fast-paced academic or corporate environment that has all the skills we highlighted. Or, it could be someone nestled among stacks of books at your local library. They are organized, good with people, patient, and they have excellent follow through and agility. If you can’t find a librarian, perhaps you can still find someone with librarian tendencies! Need more information on what to look for in a DAM admin? Look for these 10 librarian principles in your next hire. If you need additional help, please contact our team today. We are here to help!