We hear it more and more – managing non-text (digital) assets along with textual content in the context of business systems and processes is challenging. What are we hearing and where are the challenges coming from?
First, as we know, websites, particularly customer-facing sites, are no longer static pages with a few graphics. Companies are racing to create dynamic sites with constantly changing content. Beyond graphics, sites are becoming media rich with integrated video, animation, sound, photos, and social media feeds.
With increasing demand for varied web experience, companies are seeking the right mix of automated and curated content. It becomes increasingly important to retrieve related content either for immediate display or as a filtered consideration set for curators or web-page editors. So here is the first challenge. Content is not tagged adequately to retrieve the most relevant related content.
Another source of challenges is that digital assets are often managed in systems that are separate from text content. Different internal organizations are involved in tagging and there has been no agreement regarding consistent tagging. And, thirdly, with the use of different content management systems, system integration solutions for automation become more complex.
A fourth challenge is change management. Businesses need to be very dynamic in identifying the concepts (read tags) that properly classify content in order to align it with new marketing needs. As a consequence, agility is required in dealing with dynamic metadata schema. Updating metadata schema without disrupting navigation and search is a significant concern.
Most organizations are not able to manage assets for devices, channels and delivery mechanisms in integrated environments. Nor is it possible to develop or deploy a unified asset management suite to handle all of these diverse environments and purposes. The technologies, applications and supporting business processes are too diverse.
DAM and MRM tools of various flavors at least seek to approach the problem from a unified perspective. Assets should be tagged and organized for easy and efficient assembly. Platforms need to be available to facilitate collaboration. Business processes should be refined to smooth the handoff and approval from department to department. Agencies and sourcing providers need to produce assets as components rather than only as composites to enable reuse in multiple contexts. Images need to be created at various resolutions and formats. Video assets need to be transcoded and stored for appropriate distribution. Rich media assets need to have the correct content models and taxonomies.
DAM and content live and flow in an integrated ecosystem of processes, tools, applications and channels. Coordination and choreography for managing this integration need to evolve with the changes in the business environment. Without this integration, it will be harder for enterprises to compete. When executed correctly, the results are lower costs, greater efficiency, increased effectiveness, better customer service and true competitive advantage.
DAM is an area that should be on the radar screen of information architects. There is more and more demand to leverage enterprise taxonomy as a critical tool in enabling integration of all types of media across many business processes, not just web content management.