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Enable, Deliver, Preserve – Your Mission for Change Can Grow with Your DAM

February 9, 2023 | Glenn McManus

Imagine being tasked with migrating 10 million assets from the past 60+ years, into a new digital asset management system. That’s a big job; one that Jennifer Dawson is DAM good at. She’s the Darkroom Tech turned Digital Asset Analyst for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and she’s using Aprimo to create a scalable system for thousands of users. Keep reading for her digital transformation strategies and cheat codes on managing a high volume of assets in a highly regulated field.

13:52 – Cheat Code #1 – Start with clean data

Before releasing any assets, Jennifer recommends reviewing and cleaning up the metadata. This will make it easy for your team to find and download the assets themselves. 

I have a legacy DAM and we’re constantly adding content to the new DAM. I’ve got photographers uploading hundreds of images every day — headshots, group shots, or pics from our Paws at Play therapy dog program. 

I try to release as many as possible by reviewing the metadata first. Our photography staff puts it in, I review it, then release it to whoever requested it.

Right now our lab has about 90 people, but we’re growing fast. We may have added people while I was on vacation last week. It’s a constant flow, and we’ve barely gotten our graphic design department in on it. They’re uploading assets. Our video department is also uploading assets. Our medical content writers are going to be added soon, too.

Some projects last months, but a studio shot is one day. I’ve got to make sure people can see their things, pick, and download it themselves, which takes the extra onus off me. I no longer have to find something, download it, work it up, and then send it through e-mail. I used to e-mail back and forth all day, which is really old-fashioned.

16:30 – Cheat Code #2 – Ask this question

Overwhelmed by the sheer volume of assets? You can figure out what is and isn’t worth migrating by asking yourself: ‘Is anybody going to request this asset down the line?’

We’re trying to migrate, but we also have 4 million other assets where we’re trying to figure out what phase to put them in or if we even need to put them in at all. It helps to ask myself, ‘Is anyone going to request this down the line other than a creative, marketer, or communicator?’

There’s around 10 million-plus assets scattered all over people’s hard drives and external drives. We have another DAM that we share with ALSAC. So we have stuff in there, too. 

With our old DAM, we had about 300 users and 60 power users. Now it’s going to be the whole institution. That’s about 6,000 people that could potentially log-in, grab PowerPoint images, or look for photos of feeding tube insertion, for example.

19:16 – Cheat Code #3 – Lean on your team

Implementing a new DAM? You don’t have to do it alone. Call on others from different departments to give you recommendations. The more people, the better.

I work with a great team; a software analyst, supervisor, and director. We’re all SysAdmins and work together. I’m in photography, so I can give recommendations on that, but software-wise, Marie does it and then we all make the big decisions together. I’m very lucky to have them helping me.

We all bring our own gifts, which is awesome because I’ve learned things I never would have known had I just kept trying to do it by myself. So yeah, don’t ever do it alone.

26:26 – Cheat Code #4 – Lean on DAM and PM

Jennifer recommends using DAM and productivity management platforms like Aprimo to streamline collaborations and minimize the busywork, like back-and-forth e-mailing. 

When restructuring our departments, we used to be separate, but now we’re all under the same umbrella: Creatives, marketers, communicators, patient education, and outreach. That has helped tremendously and made things go faster.

We’re collaborating more, and Aprimo DAM and Productivity Management are a huge part of that. I can tell a big difference. I’ll do it through Aprimo and then send it through Aprimo, instead of making phone calls or e-mailing back and forth. It’s allowed for more growth. 

29:42 – Cheat Code #5 – Form a governance council

Want to steer clear of regulatory risks? Form a governance council, aka, a dedicated compliance management team. Bonus tip: Call on Aprimo for end-to-end compliance.

We follow HIPAA compliance, and now have a new process, and patient liaison office. If someone chooses an image with a child in it, I get a notice and then the liaison office gets one, because they’re the ones that keep up with that.

They’re right on the minute of the patient’s consent status, talking to the parents. That has been a tremendous help to keep us compliant. I consider that part of our governance plan. I have a governance council.

The five of us meet every month on a Thursday. There are people I want to involve, our super users, like the liaison office. They need to be a part in order to help answer questions like, ‘What can I improve? What can I shut down or open up?’

31:36 – Cheat Code #6 – Start your planning early

Start your change management plan early. That way, you can properly prepare everyone for the benefits, changes, and extra work involved in the process of digital asset migration. 

The main thing is to start your change management plan early, like really early. In June of 2020, when I first started looking, everybody knew it was coming. But that’s not a change management plan. 

We have a plan now, but it’s for the institution. Looking back, we should have done this months ago with our creatives, because all of us have been here for a million years. We’ve got people from five years to 37 years, working with the same structured file folder system that we’ve had for 22 years.

It’s important to prepare everybody for the benefits, changes, and yes; there’s going to be a bit of an extra workload while we’re layering up those DAMs. That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned. I didn’t know what a change management plan was until I got to the middle of this. I was like, ‘Oh man, we should’ve done that.’

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