Develop a taste for the different flavors of DAM: A great deal of differentiation exists among DAM products — DAM means anything and everything, depending on the vendor you're talking to. Customization often cannot overcome
a misaligned DAM technology.

Think of DAM as a piece of the larger customer experience management (CXM) puzzle: DAM solutions are rarely siloed, so consider how they will integrate with other key systems, such as web content management (WCM) and eCommerce.

Remember that taxonomy is the key to findability: Searching images is hard; there's no equivalent to a full-text search, so navigation is key. The most effective navigation schemes communicate the system's breadth and depth so that users are exposed to the whole menu of possibilities from which they can choose.

Treat your information workers well: Focus on configuring user interfaces according by role and creating intuitive advanced search forms that will allow users to build robust and effective queries in order to find
relevant content.

Contemplate your video plans carefully: Not all vendors are created equal. Image concerns often dominate DAM vendor selection despite the growing importance of video content.

Apply governance with a rich media-specific twist: Many different types of people implement, administer and use DAM. With so many "cooks" getting involved, governance becomes very important.

Avoid the packrat mentality, and don't use DAM to store anything and everything: While DAM systems can help control the number of renditions, they don't prevent information workers from uploading multiple variations of
the same asset.

Call the retention police: As DAM initiatives grow, enterprise retention policies must align in order to ensure compliance,
protect company interests in litigation matters and ensure appropriate management of company assets.

Don't be afraid to play Big Brother: Periodic system audits measure and analyze system performance, usage and resource capacity. This is especially important with DAM systems, where the assets stored are
significantly larger than in other ECM systems.

Put on your detective hat when it comes to customer references: Be careful of vendors, regardless of their size, that have all the right features in a demo but can't easily produce references of companies like yours.

Stephen Powers is a research director & principal analyst at Forrester Research, where he serves Business Process Professionals. For more information, visit

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