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Topics for Digital Asset Management System Evaluations

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While in New York for the Createasphere Digital Asset Management conference, I had the privilege to speak to a group of graduate students at Columbia University. Believe it or not, there actually is a graduate level course concentrating on Digital Asset Management, and it’s part of Columbia’s Knowledge Management degree program (Master of Science in Information and Digital Resource Management). If you ask me, that’s great news for where the industry is heading!

I was asked to reverse roles and put myself in the buyers’ shoes and help the students understand what questions to ask when evaluating Digital Asset Management systems. I should preface with what one of the students in the class pointed out: “Yes, all or most DAM vendors are already prepared to answer these questions.” That’s why this resource and method of substantiating a solution needs to be accompanied by asking the “tough questions,” doing your due diligence with a detailed use case analysis and cross-check and performing in-depth product reviews, as with a sandbox or trial.

When you have the option to try a product before you buy it, you can get a pretty good idea of whether the solution will actually serve your needs and perhaps recognize some areas DAM can help that you didn’t expect. Before providing the dozens and dozens of questions, we first put into perspective the duties of a DAM project manager and the results of a successfully managed project.*

The topic areas involved in evaluating Digital Asset Management solutions include:

  • Company information to discover stability, growth & focus
  • Application structure, including installed (on-premise) vs. SaaS/cloud vs. open source
  • Core functionality with access, ingestion, and search
  • Types of assets & metadata structure and standards supported
  • Transcoding, distribution and fulfillment
  • Users and governance
  • Administration and responsibilities of admins
  • Implementation process
  • Upgrades and release schedules
  • Training, support and ongoing process
  • Cost structure
  • The "tough questions" about experience and weaknesses (transparency check)
  • Future outlook and roadmap
  • Evaluation measures
  • ROI valuation & total cost of ownership considerations

*The use of the term “project” is a bit of a misnomer because there is no “end date” to DAM as it is a living, breathing, evolving product of your organization and a foundation to so many other things and it should be treated that way during the research and evaluation phases, implementation and beyond.

For more information, visit DigitalAssetManagement.com/authoring-a-request-for-proposal/ or get access to the entire slide deck when you create your user account at DAMsystem.com.


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