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How to build the business case for digital asset management

While everyday users of Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems will be only too aware of how essential they are, it’s not always as clear further up the stakeholder chain.

By: Lydia Bird


While everyday users of Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems will be only too aware of how essential they are, it’s not always as clear further up the stakeholder chain.

Even when the value of a DAM platform is recognised, there is always some degree of formal process involved in purchasing a new system, especially one as critical to operational efficiency as this. In fact, investing in a new DAM or media asset management (MAM) solution is increasingly popular. The global DAM market is set to see a solid compound annual growth rate of 18.36%, with forecasts predicting a rise from USD 3.078 billion in 2019 to USD 10.018 billion by 2026, according to a recent analyst report.

While that’s certainly indicative of a healthy market for DAM technologies, and a clear indicator that many enterprise customers are finding significant value in the sector, it also shows that many businesses are still considering this digital transformation journey. It’s quite possible that board-level officers (e.g. CEOs and CFOs) don’t understand the day-to-day frustrations from media/marketing/creative teams, and have wider company concerns that will need to be answered during any DAM specification or procurement process.

Adopting a DAM will take time – there are a number of hoops to jump through. And that’s just the start. According to Hubspot, “selling to enterprise-level companies increases the number of stakeholders needed to sign off and is usually accompanied by more legal and technical red tape.” This translates as long lead times and complex decision processes. So, if you are hungry to get your DAM system bought and implemented fast, it’s important to get your CEO or senior stakeholders on board early in the process.

Here are our top tips to help you do just that.

1. Put ROI at the top of your ‘why?’ list

The first question your CEO will ask is: “what does the return on investment look like?” Fortunately, DAM systems offer considerable ROI opportunities that enable businesses to:

  • Reduce time spent searching for files
  • Reduce time and money spent recreating lost files
  • Improve security of shared files and guard against data loss
  • Increase accessibility to enhance internal/external collaboration
  • Open new revenue streams (e.g. content licensing)

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Addressing the risk of lost or misfiled assets with centralised file storage (a single source of truth for your data) shouldn’t be underestimated. A 2019 survey found that workers can spend more than two hours a day bogged down with administrative tasks. For example, 37% of UK-based marketing professionals say that it takes them several minutes to find an asset, with a further 21% unsure of even where to find them.

It’s not just tackling internal staff time wastage, of course. With a centralised storage solution that’s equipped with powerful search functionality, enterprises can make real-world savings in areas such as duplication of effort. This is especially key in terms of post-production treatments of assets, which can mount up quickly.

Another important area where costs can easily spiral out of control is brand continuity, as losing brand traction, visibility or trust can become a serious barrier to profitability. A good DAM platform enables the consistent watermarking of assets and highly granular rights management, all managed seamlessly and universally within the system. In addition, any brand assets (such as logos in different contexts) can be easily and quickly updated when required, helping to prevent older versions being used at crucial moments.

2. Highlight the value of better workflows throughout the business

Aligning and improving workflows throughout the business for better efficiency and effectiveness resonates well with C-Level management.

It will also be popular with other media asset stakeholders and can be used to gain broad-based internal support from your peers and teams. It’s a crucial step, not only because it shows your CEO that you’ve covered off good due diligence, but also as it ensures that all stakeholders are on board and have been consulted fully.

By automating time-consuming and repetitive media management tasks, such as audio transcription, automatic image and media conversion, notifications, file distribution and more, employees are freed up to focus on more important things.

Multinational insurance company Aon, for example, uses Imagen Pro to tackle a large number of ad-hoc media requests easily and quickly – improving its video workflow from 12 days in man hours to just 12 hours.

To highlight the importance of workflows, try to identify (and ideally benchmark) some existing challenges that a DAM will help solve. These might include:

  • Speeding up content uploads
  • Automating media conversion
  • Formalising file storage
  • Improving asset discoverability
  • Streamlining file sharing and distribution
  • Increasing data security

Encourage other stakeholders to use the same – or comparable – structure and metrics if applicable. Real-world examples from the specific enterprise and market conditions are ideal, linking back into the ROI part of the DAM jigsaw. These might be a simple log of asset requests from external customers, or examples of projects that required commissioning new assets because the old ones couldn’t be found.

3. Show that increased asset visibility can lead to increased revenues

No CEO or senior stakeholder will ignore you if you can demonstrate how the business can increase existing revenues. Yet a DAM implementation has the potential to discover entirely new revenue streams thanks to improved asset visibility.

Automated metadata, AI-powered tagging schemas and the ability to use intuitive semantic search to discover assets, can all combine to produce unexpected results. This is especially true for large portfolio rights holders, where entirely new content channels and premium features can be powered by the ability to more finely segment or ‘slice and dice’ content.

Automated metadata is often a bit of an unsung hero, delivering huge benefits at the simplest level – the ability of people to find existing assets quickly and effectively.

NatureScot, formerly Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) uses Imagen Pro to ensure that 700 members of staff spread across 40 locations can access image, video and audio assets seamlessly. One aspect in particular has been invaluable to the organisation – the ability to add time-based metadata to mark-up the most important and interesting points in videos, which can then be clipped easily within the platform, so that only the pertinent parts were shared. This new source of detailed metadata has aided discovery and visibility significantly for the public body responsible for Scotland’s national heritage.

Another good example is the experience of WTA Media – a partnership between the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and global sports media company, DAZN. WTA Media acts as the central, global hub for media rights for the WTA’s 47 premier and international level tournaments, carrying a vast range of broadcast-ready content and managing a high volume of requests from partners. The company uses Imagen Pro to consolidate its entire library into a single cloud-based platform, enabling broadcast partners to easily search, filter, discover and license programming, interviews and other key tennis content.

With these examples in mind, think about where your business may be able to increase revenues, time to market or customer engagement, and be sure to include this in your proposal to the CEO.

4. Explain how easy a DAM platform will be to implement

Any team that manages a large number of media assets will be aware of the necessity for a clean and easy implementation process, and any board-level sponsors will be just as keen to avoid costly business disruption.

The key here is to have checked that the specification includes all the internal use-cases, and that there are no legacy databases or asset pools that have not been captured and included. The next step is to choose a reputable DAM vendor, ideally one that is well-known to have an extensive track record of seamless implementations.

Finally, manage the expectations of your CEO or senior team by making them aware that implementing a new system in stages is helpful in avoiding sudden disruptions. Testing key integrations in advance of going live is key, along with a phased migration of content and implementing a ‘closed beta’. This will help with staff training and subsequent feedback on the system.

Demonstrating that you’ve thought through the implementation process to ensure all stakeholders will be brought onboard and expectations will be aligned in advance of a launch, builds trust in you as the sponsor of the project and will increase your chances of getting buy-in from your CEO.

Getting CEO or senior management sponsorship for a DAM initiative is part of the process of getting started with the project. Demonstrating that a well-specified and implemented DAM system offers a huge range of benefits to any business, whatever the scale of assets in question and the maturity of that industry segment, is the key to getting it done faster.

There’s an old saying that most business decisions can be boiled down to three questions: ‘does it make us money?’, ‘does it save us money?’, ‘does it mitigate risk?’ Explain to your CEO that a DAM can help you do all three.


Need more information about choosing a DAM platform? Discover how to create a DAM good RFP or see how Imagen works for yourself. Contact us to book a demo.

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