September 10, 2010

Preparing for a Digital Asset System Implementation – Part2: Using Parameters

If you have followed the recommendations of the first DAM implementation blog, your assets are neatly categorized, they have clear names and they should be easy to find – all of which are essential in creating a baseline for cataloging your assets. So let me ask, now that you have a library of assets, what happens when someone finds an asset, will they be allowed to use the asset however they wish? Additionally, have you thought about how you’re going to deal with your outdated assets within your library?

The next two major DAM fundamental areas (out of seven) that will assist you with the usage of your digital assets: Status and Constraints.

4.       Status – Nearly every asset will have an expiration date.  The only difference is that some are known up front, while others         may be event driven.  Unfortunately, many organizations have a difficult time properly managing both of these scenarios.

a. Event Driven:  When you asset becomes obsolete, like an old logo, odds are that you will probably still want your old assets in the library (it is an excellent historical reference of what assets were used), however you may not want it to be available for current usage. The asset’s Status will determine if an asset is available for use by setting some sort of ‘active’ vs. ‘inactive’ flag. This is not a terribly difficult task, but it is something often overlooked, or not properly managed…don’t be “that company” using dated assets!

b. Timed: There are occasions when an asset has a particular offer associated to it that is only good for a select period of time. Instead of wondering if that asset is still active in the system, there is a simple solution. Most DAM software solutions have a feature that allows you to select a future date that automatically expires the asset. On this date the status of the asset is automatically switched to ‘inactive’ (see a.), thus removing it possibility of it being over used.

5.       Constraints – Although an asset may have an active status, you may still have some restrictions as to how the asset is to         be used, and who can access them.

c. Asset Usage: This allows you to include guidelines on how the asset is to be used. However, once the asset is downloaded from the library, the DAM system has no way of enforcing these guidelines, so if an asset is only to be used in a certain way, at least you have the opportunity to let the users know up front.

d. User Access:  If the asset usage field is just not enough security for you, you can always take it a step further with the user access controls. You can set the user access for each asset on a group basis or an individual basis (or even both):

i.      Group basis: One way to control your assets, on a large scale, is to set up groups to determine what kind of access each group has. As an example, Group A has admin rights, Group B has edit and download rights and Group C has view only rights. This way you are assured that Group C can see all the assets, but there is no way they can download them for use or accidentally write over them.

ii.      Individual basis: Alternatively, you may have an asset that you only want a few people to have access to edit, download or even view. Instead of giving the asset group access, your DAM system should also allow you to give access to assets on an individual basis. This allows you to have more control over your assets when needed for tighter control.

Going back to my library references from the first blog – when building out the DAM’s security it may help to think of your assets as a librarian thinks of all their books. Most books are for public usage, but there are those few, in the rare book collections, that require special access.

As I said in the first blog post though, your organization has spent a lot of money and labor hours creating this valuable library. The overall organization of the assets are important, but once organized, be sure that you have controls on the assets to help manage your organizations image through its assets.