This interview focuses on one of our newer DAM users, Sara Sarow. Sara is the Marketing Services Operations Specialist at Promega in Madison, WI, and has worked there for almost six years. While she’s new to Widen DAM, she’s a seasoned marketing professional with a passion for keeping things organized.
Like many other DAM admins, Sara has worked in several groups at her organization. She’s familiar with many facets of Promega as well as the systems and file structures being used throughout the company. Because of her flexibility, knowledge and interest, she was asked to research the DAM systems available in the market and help recommend one that would serve the growing needs of Promega.
“The major driver for getting a DAM system was to help our different branches see all the files available to them and quickly use what they need,” Sara said. “I’m big on organization and one source of truth. It’s great to be able to say that a file someone is looking for is in the DAM.”
“It’s really valuable to have someone in the admin role who is flexible and capable of learning the different aspects of the company without necessarily doing a deep dive,” Sara said. “The thought of hiring someone with archiving capabilities and experience can be exciting, but scary too, because they need to know the organization as well. The inner workings of an organization can be very complicated.”
Sara played a key role in the setup of Promega’s DAM system. Decisions about their metadata schema and vocabulary, the creation of their taxonomy – all were weighed seriously to make sure the system was useful and meaningful to Promega’s people and workflows. Even when the system wasn’t fully implemented, Sara felt employees needed to get familiar with it, so they started using the DAM system and quickly realized their original setup was built around final files, not work in progress files, and that some of their original metadata fields were limiting. Thinking about the DAM system abstractly was daunting, but actually getting in there and doing tasks helped people envision how they really wanted to use it.
Here’s what Sara’s workspace looks like with the Media Collective open on her computer and all!
1. How long have you been a Widen user?
I haven’t used a DAM system anywhere else. I’m a new user. We just finished our bulk upload with Widen, but before that we were uploading several assets. My manager was really excited about it. We had couple of brand meetings coming up in Europe, so, we rolled out a beta version to show them what we’re doing. We put a lot of stock art up in the DAM system and tagged it. We also used several of our more recent project files. Because I’m a perfectionist, the early roll out wouldn’t have been my first choice, but it’s been a good place to start and probably better to do it that way than one big launch. Widen’s DAM system is very intuitive and search and download is very easy to do. Since that was the initial driver for getting the system, it will be good to get the feedback on how to use the DAM while we continue to set up.
2. How often do you envision using the Media Collective?
I imagine it will be daily thing. We’re still working out our processes for this, but I see several hours a day tagging and uploading and getting things together. We’re still deciding if it’s just me or if others will help. Having other people using it is really valuable.
3. In what area(s) of your organization is Widen’s DAM system being used?
Right now, it’s mainly the Marketing Services (Creative Services) group. Each branch will use it for their own creative services group. They tend to use design from the US, but then customize for specific promotions and languages. But I’m optimistic that the DAM will be a source of truth. Our R&D group came to Marketing Services about pushing their data to marketing. They’d like to use the DAM to organize their data assets, so they have only one file master per data set. Corporate Affairs will use it to store pictures and things for future materials. We want to accommodate as many groups as we can. If people have a problem that the DAM system can solve, then we’re willing to explore those options. We have an internal archiving and library service with a librarian on staff. They handle a lot of the historical archives. Now, they’ll be trained on the Widen Media Collective and how to use it.
4. For what kinds of activities are you using it?
We're using the collective for distribution, archival, and storage of assets. Mainly we're putting finished pieces up, not work in progress.
5. What is the most useful thing the Media Collective does for you?
For Promega, it’s having the single source of truth. It’s always been kind of an issue that different people are going off of different information and we have files stored in every place you can imagine - hard copy, on different systems and folders. It’s time-consuming to find anything. Getting the assets in one place and having them tagged is so useful because you know that’s the final version. You’re able to just search and find what you need.
6. What are your favorite apps on your smart phone?
I love the yelp app, especially while traveling. I love food, so that’s a big one. Also the Starbucks app, and google maps. Kind of the basics, I like games on my phone too, but only a few.
7. Which tech websites or blogs do you follow?
I kind of follow the DAM foundation website and the articles aggregated there. Other than that, it’s things I pick up when I search around and what I come across.
8. What do you think is the most important thing other users should know about using a digital asset management system?
The major thing is that the DAM system shouldn’t be a dumping ground. Take the time to tag your assets with useful information. If you put junk in, you’re going to pull junk out. The time needed and full effort to tag assets is important. I think we had over 40,000 duplicate assets from our previous system because it was being used like a server with files and folders; the assets themselves weren't tagged completely.