MM: We have seen other DAMs in similar businesses using what we’ve called an ROI dashboard. People log onto it and there’s a little admin panel. It basically says, “Here is the total volume,” to-date, year-to-date or whatever. “We estimate that it eliminated 595 DVDs at a fully-burdened cost of $74.00 to burn and ship and receive.” The data summarizes year-to-date savings: x-amount of money or x-number of hours in reworking or redoing preexisting pieces that they couldn’t find. This would’ve been based on historical baseline information that you would’ve gotten prior to deploying the system.
BG: Prior to moving forward I worked up a return on investment, obviously, to sell it to my boss—so that I could embark on this venture. Although our main goal at the onset was for protection of assets, a library that held everything and was accessible to finding images for layouts, etc. However, I did think that it would save designers time and I wanted to put a value to it. After asking several people throughout the firm how much time they spent tracking down hard-drives, looking at web-native systems we came up with about a fifth of their time each week was spent searching for images. This was the case for many people in the company. So if it were a 50-hour week, maybe 10 hours a week could be saved.
I also put a cost savings to the many downloads that we get charged for from vendors and FedEx shipments which probably end up being $350,000 a year in savings.
BG: Yes, agree.
MM: One of the other things that we’ve learned from other people in situations similar to yourself is setting up departmental benchmarks. In terms of basic asset reuse as well as who creates more reusable stuff as opposed to less reusable stuff. It’s just simply a report card for your asset creator communities, in terms of who creates the more reusable stuff. That kind of starts to set up a game to create more reusable stuff.
In some cases, we’ve seen companies put incentives in place for asset creators to want to create more reusable stuff as a function of how they do layers and PhotoShop files or Illustrator files. How well they’ve done meta-tagging, et cetera.
As you were talking about some of the technologies that you really appreciated in a state of the art DAM platform, you’d mentioned the XMP metadata piece. The flexible user interface. The high-speed data transfer and the reporting functions. Were there any other features of a DAM system that you wanted to have?
BG: I think the workflow capabilities were something always in the back of my mind. A couple of the vendors that I looked at had workflow capabilities built in, but it wasn’t my initial criteria for going out and embarking to build an image library. If they had workflow services, it was a plus.
AS: DAM customers are increasingly realizing that having a secure yet accessible content archive is only a first step. There is a growing premium connected to the availability of integrated tools and services that drive and optimize key workflows. [NOTE: Andrew Salop joins this interview. As a consultant, he worked with BJ Gray in implementing the DAM at Victoria’s Secret]