Getting the Most ROI Out of Your Digital Asset Management System

How One of the Largest Publishing Companies Is Doing It

The digital asset management (DAM) market is expected to triple from 2020 to 2026 as the amount of digital assets skyrockets. Plenty of companies have a DAM system as they attempt to improve the creation, production, distribution and control of digital assets, but not all teams fully utilize the DAM software. The result is a woeful ROI and frustrated users. 

The key roadblocks to adoption are usually system complexity and a poor user experience. When assets are too difficult to find, people typically resort to their own methods and basic online storage tools tools, which introduces an incredible amount of risk, inefficiency and waste. 

That’s precisely the issue facing Hachette Book Group (HBG), a publishing company owned by Hachette Livre, the largest publishing company in France, and the third-largest trade and educational publisher in the world. The company was trying to manage more than 600,000 digital assets in a DAM system that was so complicated and inefficient that few people even bothered to use it. It was taking hours, if not days, to find what they were looking for, and there were hundreds of duplicate assets. 

Does this sound familiar? What do you do when you get to the breaking point? Is it possible to migrate and get everyone to trust, use and even enjoy another DAM system after such a miserable experience?

Watch the entire HBG experience with Avyre and Aprimo:

Keep the Status Quo or Make the Transition?

According to Forrester, some DAM users realize they’ve outgrown their existing DAM system and decide to replatform. Others continue in the mire, trying to eke out some ROI but with disappointing results. For HBG, it was time to upgrade to a more robust, intuitive platform that could keep up with its current digital content requirements and remarkable growth.

Fortunately, DAM platforms have come a long way since its inception in the late 1990s. Aprimo, for instance, is a vendor-managed SaaS solution that leverages AI and machine learning. The software speeds content creation, supercharges searches, streamlines metadata creation, manages usage and access rights, and much more—all in one platform. Instead of being a disregarded application in the tech stack, the AI-powered solution becomes the single source of truth and collaboration.

HBG desperately needed DAM software that offered several things:

  • Integration with existing platforms within its ecosystem
  • User permissions and access control 
  • Integrated digital rights and corporate governance management
  • Version control and collaboration
  • Fast and dynamic search capabilities with metadata
  • Easy onboarding
  • Scalable storage capacity 
  • Platform security and stability
  • Automation wherever possible

While these requirements are specific to HBG, they’re frequently among the same requirements most companies desire. This kind of functionality helps companies establish standards and maintain consistency as they seek to not only gain control over their ever-increasing digital assets but to create and distribute the highest-quality content possible. 

How Long Will It Take?

For large enterprises with hundreds of thousands or more digital assets, transitioning to a better DAM platform can be daunting, particularly when multiple integrations are involved. HBG needed to integrate at least 12 systems with Aprimo. It’s not uncommon to hear of migrations taking up to a year.

The migration timeline differs depending on the DAM software, but at least for HBG, the process was completed over one weekend. A major contributor to this feat was HBG’s dependence on Avyre, a professional services organization specializing in DAM ecosystems. Avyre listened to HGB’s goals and presented viable DAM solution providers that fit their requirements. As HGB said, “Aprimo won hands-down.”

HBG was smart to hire Avyre to develop the migration strategy and roadmap, build the configurations and customization, and oversee the project, including a testing phase before the “big bang” cutover. Not all companies think to do this or have the resources, but the benefits are clear in this particular case study. The time and resources saved in such a complex process by partnering with experienced digital transformation experts are worth the investment.

Nick Rourke, director of Publishing Products and HBG said, “We went down from one system on a Friday and then started a new system on Monday, which is an extremely large effort from the project team; it required a lot of communication. It was an incredible transition to flip that switch, and then it was relatively seamless. The next day Aprimo started distributing thousands of book covers.”

What DAM Users Can Expect

Once the new DAM system is in place, there’s an onboarding process. Again, the time dedicated to this stage will depend on leadership buy-in as much as the DAM software itself. With B2B marketing teams reporting 21 or more tools in their martech stack, adding another frequently solicits eye rolls. 

But when there are DAM champions at the leadership level, reception warms, especially when stakeholders understand the benefits they stand to gain. Sure, leaders already greenlighted the investment when they understood what would be gained: improved efficiency, consistency in branding and messaging, cost savings and ROI. But the actual users are the ones who must be convinced.

The first litmus test is how easy it is for users to get into and use the system. The biggest buzz kill is getting everyone hyped, and then they’re stopped in their tracks with complications. For HBG, many users declined Aprimo training because the system was so intuitive.

One of the immediate benefits an HBG user noted was the incredible ease in finding and sharing files directly from the system without having to download and then upload them to a Dropbox folder or secure email. This capability not only saves time but also practically eliminates security issues or version confusion.

Overall, HBG’s goal was to get critical digital assets to retail websites quickly, reliably, and in real time. They achieved that and more remarkably fast after implementation. But this positive experience isn’t always the case. In fact, users were expecting friction. 

No surprise. A Gartner survey of nearly 5,000 technology users found that 60% of employees said they experience frustration with new software. Frustration isn’t just a personal issue, either. Companies can attribute software adoption rates directly to how easy the software is to access and use. 

The same Gartner survey reports that 40% of the respondents say they “have resisted using applications after a negative experience by using minimal features, avoiding or delaying use.” On the other hand, when users have a positive experience with an application, 41% of them spend more time learning the application’s full functionality. 

These findings support HBG’s experience. Users were surprised at how smoothly the migration went and how quickly they could integrate it into their workflows. Adoption and ROI go hand in hand.

Where to Go From Here

A scalable DAM system is built to grow with an organization, no matter how many digital assets are fed into or created in the platform. For enterprises like HBG with millions of assets and hundreds of publishers, retailers and partners, a reliable and secure DAM application is the foundation of their business.

Companies must evaluate their current DAM software and determine whether it’s time to transition to a modern architecture. If the answer is “yes,” then the next steps in the roadmap are to define the purpose, get leadership support, communicate benefits well, plan the data migration, and engage users to test before rollout. If you have the resources, hire a company like Avyre to speed and oversee a successful migration.

Contact Aprimo to get a demo or discuss how you can transition to a modern, scalable DAM solution.

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