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How to audit your digital asset management system in 10 easy steps

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Digital Asset Management Site AuditAs a follow-on to the CMSWire article “Have You Audited Your Digital Assets Lately?” by Henrik de Gyor, we thought we’d share a guide to help you audit your digital asset management system.

This Digital Asset Management Site Audit was developed for Widen Media Collective customers. However, the format can be adopted for just about any DAM solution as a way to evaluate, improve and optimize the structure of your DAM system and, in turn, the use of your brand assets.

As you go through these steps, keep in mind Widen client service teams can help you complete your digital asset management site audit!

1. Start with a “Snapshot.”
Take a look at your current status and how things have changed since your system launch date including quantity of users, quantity of digital assets and total storage. This will provide a good high-level overview for tracking growth over time.

2. Who makes up your user base?
Who are your most active users? Take a look at the top users by number of logins.

Who are your top contributors? Take a look at the top users by number of uploads.

What about inactive users? These are users that have never logged in or haven’t logged in in the last 12 months.

An audit of your user base will help you identify the “power users” you can turn to for feedback and guidance. A look at the inactive users will show you who to better communicate with or remove from your system to protect the security of the site its contents.

3. Examine your user Roles and Permissions.
How are your roles structured? At the most basic level, you have top-level admins with full permissions over all the features, users and contents of the system. On the opposite end, you have your general users with limited access to find and download current assets intended for that group.

In between, you have countless roles of sub-level admins, including: asset admins who may have permission to upload and/or add & edit metadata; user admins creating tiers of administration over other groups of users; and various other roles that may have partial access over other features like embedding videos, publishing to social networks and building ads & brochures.

Knowing how to segment your users is just as important as knowing how to segment your customers.

Your Roles and Permissions table includes:

  • Name and description of each role
  • Number of users assigned to each role
  • Hierarchy of 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.

Digital Asset Management Site Audit Table

4. How ‘bout them 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 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 & 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. It’s repurposaceous!
 
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 photoshoots, lightboxes, campaigns, events, product launches and other promotions.

8. Check in on that Administration Dashboard.
Saving the easier steps for later, your Administration Dashboard provides an up-close look at all the maintenance areas needing your attention, including:

User-Related Tasks: Expired/Expiring Users, Pending Registration Requests, Unapproved Orders, Users without Roles, Asset Related Tasks, and Assets with Empty Required Metadata.

Asset Related Tasks: Assets without Categories, Conflicted Asset Uploads, Deleted Assets, Expired Assets, Expiring or Unavailable Assets with Embed Codes, Lost Assets (without asset groups) and Unreleased/Pending Admin Approval Assets.

Widen DAM Administration Dashboard

9. What optional features should you be taking advantage of?
We issue upgrades to Collective about four times per year, so there are likely several optional enhancements that you don’t currently have activated, but could benefit greatly from. Some of the more popular ones include:

  • Versioning
  • Alerts & Watching
  • Watermarking
  • Video & Audio Transcoding
  • Embed Codes
  • Social Publishing
  • Dynamic Media Building
  • API

10. What can you gain from Google Analytics Insights?
Widen Collective has Google Analytics profiles set up for every client, which makes for a nice complement to the admin setup and export tools Widen provides.

Some the added visitor and usage insights you can gain from Google Analytics include:

Visitor (user) overviews involving quantity of visits, unique visitors, pageviews, time on site, bounce rate and new visits.

Visitor (user) segmentation showing countries/geographies, languages, browsers & operating systems, screen resolutions and mobile devices used to access your site.

Powerful search insights showing top keywords used, keyword trends month-to-month, top categories used and category trends month-to-month. A comparison of total keyword and category searches can indicate which is a more popular search method among your users. That helps you, the admin, understand where to focus more effort into optimizing your site structure.
 

The upcoming 6.2 release will make running a digital asset management site audit go really smoothly, with the release of an all new Analytics interface showing key site management data displays.

Better yet, we know you’re busy. If you need help putting together a digital asset management site audit, just ask and the Widen Client Development team will help!

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