IT or Marketing, Who Owns the DAM?

As I wrote at the end of my article on my Henry Stewart – NY DAM insights, I would be writing more in-depth on each of the subjects that I found most enlightening...

  1. chevron left iconIT or Marketing, Who Owns the DAM?
Douglas EldridgeJune 14, 2017
  • Digital Asset Management

As I wrote at the end of my article on my Henry Stewart – NY DAM insights I would be writing more in-depth on each of the subjects that I found most enlightening. As a marketer the subject that I found the most relevant is who should I be targeting with my content. Intuitively I want to target marketers, since a digital asset management system is most important for the department who uses digital assets, which is often marketing. But, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see that digital assets have relevance to other departments as well, most notably IT and legal. I’ll skip over legal as right management issues would not be a reason that they would take ownership of a DAM, but just a perk they would benefit from. IT, on the other hand, has a good reason to own perhaps the most comprehensive technical platform at the company. So the argument, who owns the DAM, IT or marketing, is not only relevant, but a struggle being worked out by many companies.

Fast and Slow

Often, to IT’s chagrin, the marketing department has a business need to move quickly. Simultaneously, the nature of complex technical infrastructure implementations is rarely quick. The conundrum only begins there. As mentioned above, a DAM is one of the most complex systems a company will incorporate. It might be integrated with a number of other platforms as well. Theoretically, an entire company might have a reason to access it.

One such common instance outside of marketing is the product team. Product information is just as relevant and increasingly a part of a DAM. Of course, your company’s product info are digital assets, so that makes sense, but the security of these can be vital to your company’s success, which adds another layer of relevancy to the IT department.

DAM Department?

It can’t be over-emphasized, DAM is not a simple solution that can be purchased in an afternoon. If you’re going to ensure that perhaps the largest technology investment that your company will ever make is done right having the right people to make the decision is imperative. With the number of different roles and departments who need digital assets and would utilize a proper repository, a department to research, work with the vendor(s), train, and take the lead on the technology makes a lot of sense. Still, the question has to be asked, who are these people, IT or marketers? For companies who can afford it, a mixture of the two is ideal. One thing that a good DAM can do is help solve the silo problem that many companies have. Departments will still tend to work better among themselves, so having one department who can make a decision of this magnitude rather than have multiple divisions with differing opinions is probably a wise move. Also, the level of complexity is such that a handful of experts on DAM will ensure that you not only get your money’s worth, but also eventually get a return on your investment.

And the winner is…

I’m sure it’s not too big of a surprise that I won’t be declaring a winner here. For some companies it makes sense for the marketing department to take the lead on a DAM project for others the IT department should and yet for other, larger companies, a dedicated DAM department makes the most sense. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are global takeaways to be had…

  • The solution is not something to take lightly, so anyone who will be touching it should be kept in the loop.
  • As tempting as it is to get everyone’s input, one department should take the lead or else decisions will never be made.
  • While marketing might make the decision of the need for a DAM, they can’t forget that IT is vitally important to make sure that the project is done right.
  • Marketing might take the lead for the right software solution but then IT should take the lead on implementation.

As a marketer it’s in my nature to know precisely who to target, but marketing for digital asset management solutions doesn’t allow that. Luckily, I have access to software that allows me to easily convert content for different personas. Since marketing, IT or DAM departments could all be raising their hands to instigate a DAM project, it’s best to prepare content for all three.

Douglas Eldridge
Doug Eldridge has worked in marketing and communications for fifteen years, with experience in marketing agencies and software vendors, he’s written for CMSWire, eContent Magazine and various industry blogs. Doug is based in Denver, Colorado, is an alumnus of censhare US and while he is not writing, he is a typical Coloradan, which means a lot of time in mountains and breweries.

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