Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Information Management Professionals, In-house vs. Outsourced – 4 Part Series

One of the most difficult decisions faced by executives today is not only how to properly evolve your business into this new digital environment, but also how to maintain controls, security, and varied levels of accessibility to a multitude of users over the Internet, all while protecting the integrity of your assets in the virtual marketplace. Outsourcing skilled information professionals, instead of hiring them direct is often a controversial subject. While a major increase in workflow efficiencies saves money, that money isn’t always seen in dollars, but in an increased value of your business, and the value you provide to your customers, employees and partners alike. On the other end of the spectrum, many executives and IT professionals share a common and valid concern about loss of internal controls by contracting asset management by an “outsider”.

During the next four weeks, I will take on this important strategic approach to business in the Digital Age and the tactical steps to move your business from point A to point Z, while maintaining quality control of your intellectual properties and digital library.

In this 4-part-series, we will be exploring:
Part 1 - Most common trends for outsourcing information management functions today
Part 2 - Employment options, whether contracting or hiring a Digital Asset Manager (DAM) is the best fit for you
Part 3 - Specific skill set needed to properly digitize and manage your assets
Part 4 - Pros of outsourcing, versus the pros of hiring  

I look forward to your feedback, especially from those of you who currently work in Information Management and Digital Asset Management, and can speak personally to the pros and cons of outsourcing from a first-person perspective. Part-1 of this series covers the IM functions most commonly outsourced now, all of which are standard skills for the Digital Asset Manager position.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Librarians of “The Digital Age”: Digital Asset Managers

Digital Asset Managers (DAMs), also known as: Digital Archivists and Digital Preservation Officers are essentially the new hybrid Librarians of the 21st Century. Digital Asset Managers or I'll call them DAMs for the purposes of this entry, like their traditional predecessors, still possess exceptional organizational dexterity, and an unrivaled commitment to the preservation of our history, now coupled with technical expertise and proficiency, necessary to properly organize, and manage our virtual resources. According to The New York Times, (article link embedded here for yourconvenience), there were over 20,000 people working as Digital Asset Managers in 2009, in a rapidly evolving digital market, where the demand for these new skills is expected to triple over the next decade. In addition to the time and effort required for organizing and protecting material in digital form, virtual librarians or DAMs also: handle copyright issues; license technology; serve as database administrators for our virtual-reality-networks (VRNs); and, they evaluate, purchase and manage digital and on-line content from vendors, including web content and on-line marketing tools. They assign identification markers within the electronic data, known as meta-tags, to properly catalog electronic material for high-demand access, and even manage our numerous iterations of our software and hardware, often referred to as new releases, versions and updates. Digital Asset Managers are a key component to the successful implementation, and on-going management of our assets, as we move further into this new virtual environment.      

I look forward to your feedback and comments, especially for those of you who serve as Digital Asset Managers today, employ a DAM, or are in-the-process of hiring, or outsourcing a DAM. Next Hot Topic…Digital Asset Managers, In-house vs. Outsourced.

“Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have a faith in people, that they're basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them.” – Steve Jobs

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The "Cons" of Digitization

My “cons” list for the digitization of your assets is a bit shorter, especially considering the last 20-years of my life happened simultaneously with the digitization explosion, also known as “The Digital Age”, not only of the World Wide Web, but of document imaging, digital photography, on-line videos, Facebook, Tweeting and Blogging, on-line books and magazines, and Google’s digitization frenzy of every person, place and thing.

The truth is digitization requires an upfront investment in technology, staff and time (money), with a measurable Return-On-Investment (ROI) dependent on successful implementation, and usage. We are all digitized, in almost every aspect of our lives today, so the benefits of increased operational and end-user efficiencies and are still realized. However, the appearance of those savings in our P&Ls may not be as significant as we would like, or even need.

Monetization efforts surrounding digital assets (if an option) can help pay for the process, but doesn't always (or it may take too long).  Additionally, improperly captioned or meta-tagged digital assets will delay the ROI or the amount of time it takes to achieve an acceptable return.
I encourage you to share your stories and experiences, the pros and cons you have personally encountered, with us. Be sure to state your current position on digitization, whether you are partially, in-process, or fully digitized, or exploring this option for the future. Next Hot Topic….DAMs!

“One must spend time in gathering knowledge to give it out richly.” – Edmund Clarence Stedman

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The "Pros" of Digitization

I am surprised more often than not, that so few in our industry recognize, and/or promote the obvious and significant “Green” aspect of digitization. By eliminating the necessity for producing excessive hard copies of our intellectual properties, digitization is changing our very relationship with the Earth, by dramatically reducing the amount of natural resources we consume on a daily basis. The business “pros” of digitizing assets, also include: more effective (and free-flowing) communications - internal and external - accelerating customer and client service levels;  asset preservation; assets are more accessible and attainable to your entire staff, and all clients, partners and prospects; images and data are available faster, for a multitude of users, from multiple locations, at the same time; assets are stored in the form of a functional back-up copy; and, the digitization of your assets streamlines processes, and increases operational efficiencies by saving you time, and money.   Next week I'll discuss the "Cons" of digitization.