Common Pitfalls of Selecting a DAM System

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Being in Sales, I work with many companies who must be cautious of the common blunders in selecting a digital asset management solution.  Many of the very same companies who experience these pitfalls are right back at square one six to twelve months down the road because they are unhappy with the selection for various reasons.  Don’t let it happen to you.

1.) Don’t “over buy/over spend” – “You get what you pay for,” but make sure you pay for only what you will use.  Many DAM vendors, hosted or installed, have very “customizable” solutions.  Be cautions of what is “customizable” and what is “configurable.”  The difference being, configuration can be handled within the current capabilities of the product, usually through some sort of administration settings.  The beauty of customization and configuration is that it allows you to mold the solution to make it work better for your people and the different workflows.  Expect customization to be costly, while paying closer attention to how much of the solution is configurable. When you watch a demo, always ask “Is what I see, what I get.”

2.) Use the system – Do a trial or have the vendor set up a sandbox.  As the analysts at CMS Watch say, “Have a bake off in your kitchen.”  Use the system with your assets, your users and your workflow.  The only way to truly know how a system will work is to try it.  When you buy a car, you’re the one who drives the test drive correct?  It wouldn’t make much sense not to do this with a digital media management solution either.  Last, don’t just have the power users or administrators take the trial, have the everyday users get involved too.

3.) If you’re buying from a “mega-vendor” – Does that come with mega support?  Is the training, tech support, upgrades and maintenance part of the core offering or are there separate service plans?  There’s nothing worse than purchasing a system and then not having the appropriate level of service and support or having to purchase separate service plans.  Also, is that solution “turnover proof?”  Can the solution withstand the events in the changing of tides?    

4.) Support your Executive team to gain support from your Executive team.  When you find a solution you like, inform your stakeholders.  Communicate the changes that need to take place to avoid the common push backs during the selection process.  Challenge your vendor to supply you with the necessary support materials to build your case.  If your executive sponsors don’t realize the benefit, understand the level of change and see the return, the greatest software in the world won’t survive.

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