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Communicating the Value of DAM Clearly and Often – Ellen Maly

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Communicating the Value of DAM Cleary and Often – Ellen Maly | Widen Podcast

“If you don’t have people who adopt the system and use it and see the value, then it’s not going to be successful. My ultimate goal was to make sure everybody knew what a DAM system could do for us.” – Ellen Maly, Pegasystems

Ellen Maly was the catalyst for bringing a DAM solution to Pegasystems. “When I started at Pega I noticed that we did not have a single, centralized system for brand assets – they were all over the organization on everyone’s hard drives and on share drives and things. So I asked that we look into getting a DAM system.” She was part of the team that reviewed and selected the Widen Collective®, and then led their implementation process.  

Learn about what worked well for Ellen and her team in this episode of the Widen Podcast. Episode topics include:

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Starting small

Ellen involved a range of stakeholders in defining how the Collective should be structured. She said, “we identified those groups that used a lot of digital assets in their day-to-day work, and…we interviewed them and we asked them what they wanted in a system, how they wanted things to be organized, how they would be using the system.”

She also used their input on keywords and search preferences to create the metadata schema. “We told everyone to gather their assets and look at the types of data or metadata that would need to be attached to them to make sure we setup the system properly.”

This feedback helped Ellen make informed decisions that positioned the DAM system for a successful implementation. She said it also helped to deliberately limit the scope of their initial launch to just the creative team. They started with a few thousand assets and about 30 users. “It’s grown over time,” she said. “We have over 800 people using it right now!”

Communicating value

Ellen’s biggest priority leading up to their implementation was getting everyone on board. “If you don’t have people who adopt the system and use it and see the value, then it’s not going to be successful. My ultimate goal was to make sure everybody knew what a DAM system could do for us.” She said that several initiatives helped her team successfully reach this goal:

  • Talking to key stakeholders. They gave presentations across departments, to secure their buy-in
  • Focusing on what provides value. Prioritizing what was included in the initial launch helped her team communicate the system’s value. She said, “Look for the things that are of most value to people – the sharable stuff. Because those are the things that will be used over and over and deliver the most value to your users.”
  • Educating users. They created training opportunities for employees across the organization, via in-person sessions and virtual meetings, “so we could introduce people to the DAM and how it would work.” She admitted that virtual training is hard! “But we tried to do the best we could with Webex and things like that.”

Ready to launch?

It can be difficult to really know when a new software platform is ready to launch. But Ellen felt that Pegasystem’s DAM solution was ready once these milestones were reached:

  • All of their key users were trained
  • The assets were gathered and tagged
  • Single sign-on (SOO) was in place
  • The value of the DAM system had been broadly communicated across the company

She said, “We took our time getting the DAM ready. We felt that it was a good process, and we worked really closely with our Widen support folks (they were awesome by the way)!”

Continued growth

While planning for their DAM implementation, Ellen’s team was also laying the groundwork for sustained system growth. For example, they identified power-users in each part of the organization, and trained them to manage permissions, roles, and asset groups for their respective teams. She shared, “There are asset groups that are more controlled so that only certain users can see them, and the power-users within the team could assign the role. So they could choose who gets into those asset groups and who doesn’t.”

This approach delegates control to the power-users, “And then we oversee it from a global perspective as owners of the brand,” Ellen said. This required a lot of guidance up-front, but the payoff has been huge because it allows Ellen’s team to spend less time on system maintenance.

Another strategy that has helped foster continual DAM growth was clearly defining what content should be in the DAM, and what should not. “Things like business and strategy documents stayed in Box, and shareable assets that were used in branding and creative and anything this is of promotional nature was put into DAM.” Content policies like this have streamlined system maintenance, and have helped ensure that it doesn’t turn into a dumping ground for the wrong kind of content.

Ongoing challenges

As adoption of the system spreads across the organization, Ellen says that one of her biggest challenges is, “making sure they [content owners] keep up with their metadata, that it doesn’t languish, because if it doesn’t have any metadata people can’t find it.  And then it’s not useful.” In an effort to avoid this behavior, she and her team communicate with their users cleary and often!

They also stay focused on several key responsibilities as DAM admins. She said, “It’s just a matter of being the keeper of the DAM, making sure people are following the guidance that you put out there, that there’s governance around the quality of the assets, and making sure you’ve got your ear tuned to the needs of your users – that you’re listening. And always looking for new things, new ways to use it. That’s what our role is.”

Being a DAM champ

In addition to being the lead internal DAM champ for Pegasystems, Ellen also helps lead the Widen User Group in Boston. The group has attracted professionals from an interesting mix of industries, including medical, technology, and education. “The way we all share assets, there’s always a common thread that runs through it, but we’ve all got different ways of selling, different ways of marketing, and it’s really fun to share that.” The group meets regularly to discuss best practices, and in doing so they support each other in their shared pursuit of DAM excellence!

To this end, Ellen would advise other admins embarking on a DAM implementation to “find the value, and make sure to communicate it. It’s really hard to sell a DAM to an organization if you can’t show that it’s not going to help their bottom line, through time savings, people hours, things like that. So you want to make sure that you do your research up front…and see how it fits into all the other tools that people use, you want to make sure it fits pretty seamlessly.”

The Widen Implementation podcast is about helping customers prepare for and execute their DAM roll out. Each episode will involve conversations with people who have implemented the Widen DAM solution. It's our hope that each episode will help future Widen customers by giving them a few tips regarding the implementation process.

About our guest

Ellen Maly is the Global Brand Director at Pegasystems, where she drives successful brand and creative strategies at the worldwide level. As the leader in software for digital transformation,  Pegasystems has a 35-year history of helping the world's leading organizations achieve breakthrough business results.

About our host

Bill Banham is a marketing and publishing professional based in Toronto. He is the founder of the HR Gazette and Iceni Marketing as well as the co-founder of the WorkingTech show and the InnovateWork event series. Bill hosts several CPSA podcast shows on topics including social selling and tech, business strategy, and sales strategy.

Listen to more episodes from the Widen Implementation Podcast series.

Topics: Widen Podcast, DAM Implementation

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