Creating a DAM Strategy For Your Museum


Published on

Collections Trust CEO Nick Poole’s original PowerPoint presentation to delegates at the DAM for Museums Conference in November 2013. He puts his “10 Steps to a DAM Strategy” into context, explains why a strategy is needed, the important role of leadership, and some common pitfalls – all with a focus on successfully managing change.

Published in: Business, Technology
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Creating a DAM Strategy For Your Museum

  1. 1. Developing a DAM Strategy for your Museum Nick Poole CEO, Collections Trust
  2. 2. Contents • Why a DAM Strategy? • Before you begin • Managing change • What gets measured gets managed – the role of leadership • 10 Steps to Developing your DAM Strategy • Common Pitfalls (and how to avoid them)
  3. 3. Why a DAM Strategy? • Successful implementation of a Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) in any organisation is not a question of technology, formats or processes • Implementing a DAMS is a culture change which affects your whole organisation and everyone working in it • A DAM Strategy is, first and foremost, a communications tool – it is there to tell everyone affected what is changing, how and why • Developing a DAM Strategy allows you to connect everything you do with your DAMS back to your core purpose, culture and values • Failing to plan = planning to fail!
  4. 4. Before you begin There are some useful questions to ask yourself... • • • • • • • • What are you hoping to achieve? Who are you doing it for? What do they need? How will it benefit your organisation? Who are the main people who need to be involved? Do the people in charge have the skill to know what they’re doing? Why are you doing it now? What would ‘succeeding’ look like? You are embarking on a wholesale culture change, at the end of which digital assets need to be valued, managed and used across every part of the museum.
  5. 5. Managing Change There is no single approach to managing change, but there are some consistent principles: •Influence is important – change needs champions (both senior and staff) •Communicate, communicate, communicate * – – – – WHY the change needs to happen WHAT, precisely, you are proposing to do WHEN the change will happen HOW you will be implementing the change * Which includes listening & asking questions
  6. 6. Managing Change • People look to their peer-group for solidarity, support and advice • People need to see before they believe – phased implementation, quick wins and concrete examples all help • Celebrate the small advances – quick wins & human psychology count for a lot (cake, prizes, beer & badges make a big difference...) • People need knowledge, skills and support to embed the change into their working practice Most DAMS implementations fail because the culture change is not seen through consistently & with leadership, not because of the software
  7. 7. 10 Steps to a DAM Strategy! #1 Talk to people • Take a walk, have a staff meeting, go to the pub – whatever works for your museum. Take time to talk to people about how they are using pictures, video and information. Find out about their hopes, fears and concerns and think about whether they are likely to be an ally for your Strategy.
  8. 8. 10 Steps to a DAM Strategy! #2 Identify some Use Cases • Identify the main ways that Digital Assets are currently used in your museum. You aren’t going to be able to satisfy everyone’s needs so ask questions and try to distil the answers down to a few simple activities (more complex/niche needs can be met later) • Think about all of the different ways in which your museum might need to use a single photograph – from marketing to collections, learning to the shop • Write them down & show them to everyone (putting them up on the staff room wall helps)
  9. 9. 10 Steps to a DAM Strategy! #3 Audit assets & systems • Chances are you will already have a lot of digital assets in your museum. Take some time to evaluate how much stuff you have, in what formats. What rights and permissions are there? Are there clear priorities which have to take precedence? What systems and platforms are you using to store digital assets? • As you are looking at what you already have, start to think about a classification scheme – both in terms of types of assets and in terms of their content. • Create a visualisation or map of your existing assets & put it up on the staff room wall (next to your Use Cases)
  10. 10. 10 Steps to a DAM Strategy! #4 Identify stakeholders & allies • Work out who has an impact on your DAM Strategy and make a list of people who can help you. Who depends on it? Who can act as a champion? Who has the most to lose from the changes you are making? • Think about pioneers, settlers and well-poisoners • Write down your list of allies and potential well-poisoners (might be best not to put this one up on the wall)
  11. 11. 10 Steps to a DAM Strategy! #5 Talk to your vendor • If you have a Collections Management System provider already, talk to them about DAMS capability. Find out what your existing tools can do & how digital assets & DAM workflow might integrate into your existing practice. • Identify other providers if necessary, but always take the time to meet with them – an assessment grid won’t tell you whether they buy into your organisation or will be there when you need them.
  12. 12. 10 Steps to a DAM Strategy! #6 Develop a Business Case • Your DAMS will need support and investment. It’s a lot easier to secure these if you are clear about the costs of what you are doing and the benefits you are hoping to achieve! • Develop a Business Case which states: – – – – How DAM will help your museum achieve its Mission & purpose What the problem is to which DAM is the solution What the key milestones are for your museum What kinds of value you are looking to create
  13. 13. 10 Steps to a DAM Strategy! #7 Create a plan • Create a clear plan of action for DAMS implementation and beyond, identify key milestones and dates and tell people when they are going to have a chance to get involved. • Put your plan up on the wall in the staff room (and on the back of the staff exit, if you have one)
  14. 14. 10 Steps to a DAM Strategy! #8 Rollout in phases • Try to go too far, too fast, and your DAM Strategy will fail. It is better to start small and build support and momentum in incremental phases. • Always take time to celebrate the wins – a new user, a department coming on board, a leaflet or website that got made. People respond best when they keep hearing about the value they’re getting back.
  15. 15. 10 Steps to a DAM Strategy! #9 Integrate into practice • A lack of adoption is the biggest barrier to success with Digital Asset Management projects. Create a Digital Asset Management Plan which integrates the creation, management, description and use of your digital assets into the daily work of the whole organisation. • Consider writing ‘Digital Asset Management’ into job descriptions and appraisals across the museum.
  16. 16. 10 Steps to a DAM Strategy! #10 Create a community • Digital Asset Management doesn’t stop with the implementation of a system or a Digital Asset Management Plan, people need ongoing help, a place to share ideas, new people need inducting. • Create a DAM User Community in your museum, communicate & meet regularly and feedback to senior management, celebrate achievements and identify issues.
  17. 17. 10 Steps to a DAM Strategy 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Talk to people Identify Use Cases Audit your existing assets & systems Identify stakeholders & allies Talk to your vendor Develop a Business Case Create a plan Rollout in incremental phases Integrate into your existing practice Create an ongoing DAM community in your museum
  18. 18. Common pitfalls (and how to avoid them) #1 Your project stalls (or never starts) • DAM Strategies need leadership & momentum, are your senior champions actively championing the project? • Try creating a ‘burning platform’ (a compelling reason why the change has to happen now or to ensure that the museum is ready for a specific event, exhibition or funding opportunity) • If all else fails – create a crisis (eg. the impending loss of your pictures)
  19. 19. Common pitfalls (and how to avoid them) #2 Nobody is using your DAMS • You can implement the best DAM Strategy in the world, and people may simply not respond to the system • Go back a few steps – are people clear on how digital assets impact on their work, and the direct benefit to them of having a proper plan & system in place? • Run a consultation/user-group/survey (anonymous if necessary) and listen to what people are saying about the system without getting defensive!
  20. 20. Common pitfalls (and how to avoid them) #3 “My department comes first...” • You will come under political pressure to keep one specific user group or department happy (either because they have influence, or money, or are more organised) • Be clear about the overall plan & the points at which you will deliver specific value for that team or department • Focus on core or shared functionality first – things everyone needs to be able to do – and try and hold niche/specialist requirements to a later phase
  21. 21. Common pitfalls (and how to avoid them) #4 System A can’t see System B • DAMS that depend on complex middleware can be a nightmare to integrate into existing practice. • Always try and stay close to the platforms & systems you are using/people are comfortable with already and explore their DAMS functionality before branching out into more complex solutions.
  22. 22. Conclusions • There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ approach to the development of a Digital Asset Management Strategy for your museum • What you create needs to be sensitive to your needs, capacity, resources activities and plans – but most of all it needs to be useful • Developing, rolling out and supporting a DAM Strategy in the long-term is a process of change-management • A DAM Strategy has far more to do with psychology, motivation and people than it does with technology, file formats or metadata schemata
  23. 23. Take it further Visit the Collections Trust’s DAM resources: Download ‘SPECTRUM Digital Asset Management’ Use our Digital Benchmarking Tool Sign up to Collections Link: Join our LinkedIn community: (search ‘Collections Management’)