on September 22, 2014 Post Production

Solve for the Creative: How to Successfully Implement a Media Management Platform

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Have you ever had an aunt who knitted you a maroon sweater? Remember the feeling when you had to wear the sweater over to your aunt’s house every time you went? Of course you do because it was a terrible feeling, being forced to do something in which you had no interest. Then came the amazing feeling of tearing off the sweater as soon as you possibly could when you got home. You never wanted a new sweater, and being forced to wear it out of obligation was a steady reminder of how much you hated the color maroon. The same could be said about rolling out software within a creative team.

Being forced to use a tool based off someone else’s parameters and criteria with little regard for your creative workflow can be downright insulting. Creatives want to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. The last thing they want is someone telling them what tools they can or can’t use based off someone else’s standards without any input from them. Look no further than the BBC’s Digital Media Initiative which was declared by British Parliament to be a “Complete Failure” in their 52nd report on the project. Their critical mistake? They imposed a system on a user base that had no interest in adopting it.

In order to avoid a catastrophe like the BBC's, follow these three steps when rolling out a media management platform:

1. Involve the Creatives in Your Evaluation Process

Nobody knows their workflow better than the creatives themselves. They will come up with solutions to problems that you didn't know existed. Select a range of users of varying technical competencies, from early adopters to pragmatists to technology skeptics. While it is almost impossible to make everyone happy, you can seek to allay the concerns of potential dissenters by including them from a very early point, and making sure their input is heard. Make sure you include “opinion leaders” on you team. These are experts who other folks turn to for guidance on technology. Make them your workflow ambassadors. They will help you with adoption of the new platform.

2. Create an Adoption Plan Instead of a Rollout

Allow departments to adopt the solution of their own volition, in their own time to solve their own problems. Find a single, willing team to target first to build a beachhead of good will. Allow them to let their colleagues know about the success. Select a SaaS platform that offers free trials so that teams can experiment with the platform without IT spending. Identify workflow ambassadors who understand the solution and are willing to help you advocate it through your company’s departments.

3. Connect and Extend the Eco-System

The most successful asset management systems integrate with other tools in the creative workflow to provide a single launching pad for all activities. This reduces the number of systems that a creative pro needs to learn and interact with. Some systems will come with out-of-the-box integrations built in while others will need to be created custom. Going to the custom route can be costly, but it can also pay dividends in the long-run

Depending on the size of your team, balancing security with features and ease of use can be a major struggle. The best way around that struggle? Solicit input from your team before the rollout takes place. Ask questions of your team like would they actually use the platform you’re evaluating? If not, why? What should you avoid in your search and what should you make sure to look for? The worst case scenario is your team will end up using the tool of their choice in place of the one you’ve chosen for them wasting your time and money. People will do what they want to do 100% of the time. All you can do is influence.

What lessons have you learned when rolling out media management platforms? Let us know in the comments section below.

EBook Download: How To Implement DAM For Creative Professionals

Shannon Hawkins

I'm a content marketing/strategist at MediaSilo. I'm also the first person on record to ever feel "whelmed".