An Asset Audit Is Not Your First Step
An audit should not be your first DAM implementation step. It should be second or third. First step is getting clear on what you do with your assets now, as in today - how is your team handling files?

You’re in the RFI stage for finding your DAM or maybe you have already decided on the software that will best fit your company. You know you’re ready to bring DAM onboard and understand the value it will bring to your company today and in the future. You keep hearing your first step needs to be a digital asset audit.

Instead, I recommend you figure out what's happening with files now. In Where To Start With DAM? I give you four questions that will help you figure out how your team handles files now. It’s not to call people out, it’s to help all of you get clear and on the same page about how you will move forward with naming files.

Preparing for and implementing your DAM is not as simple as downloading a software and giving your team access to it.

You’ve been through “implementations” before when you moved from any old practice to a new one.

You’re probably familiar with shared folders. They were a great tool and frankly, the first clumsy iteration of asset management. They often became a file dumps for companies. Shared folders could become cluttered with files that were outdated, duplicated, not remotely associated with the current business of the company and as human nature dictates; because people could remember the path to certain folders and not others, they’d put everything in the folder they could remember and had access to. Things could become a real mess.

Processes and Policies Can Be A Bother, But They Make Life Easier

Even with a “suggested” policy around how to store files, people are people. They’re busy. They get impatient. They name files in some personal way because they want to get it quickly and when someone else comes along they have no idea what that file name means, let alone if it is important to the company.

That sinking feeling when files or folders disappear

In the early 2000s I was the director of client services at a healthcare software company that acted like a startup, presented itself like an established company and had 5 ceos in the 4 years I was there. It was a chaotic place to say the least.

It was a small company. Everyone who had any input into how things should go had a different opinion about how policies should look and with each influx of new executives, new policies and processes came with them. We used the classic shared network drives and in startup nature; access was handed out pretty widely.

Shared drives disappeared several times because someone deleted them thinking they were deleting a single file, out of carelessness or simply out of not understanding what they were dealing with. The very small and very overworked IT team was great (they had to be), so backups saved these mistakes from us losing critical assets. Most of the time.

Back to the future

If you ever experienced rooting through shared drives that made no sense, you get how important it is to find out how files are being handled by your team now, and how important it is to get everyone onboard with a consistent process to handle files. If you haven’t had that extraordinary experience consider yourself unscathed. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever had a hard time finding files on your phone or laptop. Same experience, only you know exactly who the person is who put files where you couldn’t find them.

Your first DAM implementation step is to find out how your team handles files right now.

Send them the 4 questions in Where To Start With DAM? And curate responses and feedback. This is your Naming Convention foundation. Next? Time to Audit.

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