10 Reasons you need DAM now

AEC pros share the moment they knew they needed DAM

In our recent eBook, we explored the state of DAM in AEC. More and more firms are turning to DAM to help alleviate headaches caused by the growing number of digital assets, but at what point do you abandon the status quo and consider DAM?

Here are some of the situations that caused our clients to realize they had a big DAM problem, and needed to do something about it.

1. Without a single  repository, photo management has gone rogue

  • Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners: “Before OpenAsset, staff had to know where images existed, or you went to one of a very small number of people who might know of an image, and then someone would have to trawl through folders to find it. For ease and speed, people would make their own little collections of images that they’d use over and over again, and copy from one project folder into another, resulting in a lot of duplication. Now, staff know that they can look in the image library and use keywords to search for visual materials.” Read the case study
  • Sundt Construction: “As a well-established firm with over 120 years of history, we had photos from a very wide range of projects that were spread all over. We have 8 offices, and marketing photos were shared on a drive that was accessible to marketing. Beyond that, we also had project teams keeping photos on their desktops, and each individual office had photos from company and client events stored locally. Our need for a photo library was unquestionable.” Read the case study

2. Only a few people, and sometimes only one person, know where images are and what images are available

  • Portico Group: “One of the biggest issues that the firm faced was staff turnover. Image files were stored on a server, and the marketing manager was the only person who knew what assets were available and where to find them. .” Read the case study

3. SharePoint isn’t cutting it as a centralized photo library

  • Dewberry: “Before OpenAsset, it was a very cumbersome process. To save space, we were uploading only low-res versions of our high quality photography into SharePoint. We also had to upload detailed information about the photo and project. Marketing team members would email the communications team to request high-res photos for proposals. This cumbersome process encouraged people to create their own stashes of images locally. We have offices across the U.S. and each marketing person and project manager had their own images, nobody had access to our entire photography catalog.” Read the case study
  • LMN Architects: “SharePoint development is not trivial. We’re not developers; it’s not our core competency. To think that we could develop a DAM in SharePoint, either internally and or with consultants, in a cost effective way, and then support it, was naive. And a custom built solution is never going to be as robust or feature rich as a purpose-built tool.” Read the case study
  • Nitsch Engineering: “A few of the other systems (like SharePoint) would need too much configuration and coding, you couldn’t do it yourself. It was extremely labor intensive from a consulting point of view, which became prohibitively expensive, so much so that there was no way to justify the cost to the company.” Read the case study

4. Project and Marketing teams are managing photos separately

  • Mace Group: “Project teams were keeping graphic resources like stock imagery and project photos in folders. Resources for each project were managed separately, with project teams operating as separate entities with unique workflows. As the company continued to win business, the need for a centralised photo library was becoming exponentially more important.” Read the case study

5. Duplication of images in servers is an IT nightmare

  • Bates Smart: “Our image store ran off two different servers, one at each office, so there was a lot of duplication and little integration.” Read the case study
  • Nitsch Engineering: “Our marketing drive was out of control. It was cluttered with every single size of one photo, and every single crop of one photo. The space that we were taking up was crazy.” Read the case study

6. Knowledge management is a priority

  • HKS: “The Global Knowledge Services team, Information Technology, and leaders across the firm are focused on creating a self-service model that cultivates a culture of curation that reduces search time. By weaving together compatible platforms like OpenAsset, Unily, Microsoft Dynamics, and Deltek Vision, we have the ability to create a more seamless and comprehensive search…Our previous DAM system was limited to a small group of contributors which created a bottlenecked process that was inconvenient for users to quickly and easily share project information.” Read the case study

7. Searching for, and resizing high-resolution photographs is a bottleneck in graphics workflows

  • Nitsch Engineering: “Having a way to easily search was a huge issue that we were running into. We found that we were spending forever searching for and forever resizing images for different uses, for web and for print, for example. We started keeping track of how much time it was taking to find photos. If it took an hour to resize some photos, or if it took a half an hour to find a photo, we recorded it. We did this for a couple of months, and I mean, we knew it was a lot of time, but even we were surprised by how much time we were wasting finding and resizing images.” Read the case study

8. You want to protect your clients and eliminate the risk of using unapproved images

  • Bates Smart: “Part of it was just about the difficulty of finding images and knowing which images were approved. We wanted to streamline things, and that’s how we came to OpenAsset. All of the copyright information was just kept with three or four people, so it was difficult for everyone else to know what they could and couldn’t use. It was challenging.” Read the case study
  • Sundt Construction: “We shared with leadership the difficulties we faced finding photos, making sure they were approved, and that we had rights to use them on our website or in proposals. One of the biggest risks associated with the way we managed photos was making sure that employees weren’t using photos improperly. For example, we didn’t want damage relationships with photographers by utilizing images that we didn’t have the rights to use, or assume legal risk by using site photos that aren’t safety-approved. It was really becoming a liability to use photos improperly.” Read the case study
  • POWER Engineers: “Ultimately, our goal was to save time and make the photo management process easier, but still leave control in the hands of the people who really needed to monitor the vetting process. We didn’t want anyone to fear that a key client’s project photo could end up on a tradeshow booth without having knowledge that it happened.” Read the case study

9. Storing photos in folders means there is little context about each photo

  • POWER Engineers: “We didn’t have any permission-based controls on images, so that meant that people were the gatekeepers, which created huge bottlenecks. You’re taking people who are already very busy trying to put together proposals under very tight deadlines, then tapping them to go search for photos that are approved for use. What we were finding was that the people who had the knowledge base to go along with the photos had a difficult time keeping up with the company-wide requests for photos.” Read the case study

10. You want to create a richer visual culture to remain competitive and win more business

  • Mace Group: “I needed a way to ensure that high quality images were being used, rather than outdated or low resolution images. With images scattered across the globe, it was nearly impossible to monitor which graphics were being used to create marketing materials.” Read the case study
  • Derwent London: “For us, high quality images are very much part of what we want to promote. We specialise in design excellence and need good quality photography, so having them well organised is absolutely key.” Read the case study
  • Rydon: “The Directors now want our documents to look more and more like brochures, we’ve had to up the level of our literature across the board as images are used a lot more.” Read the case study
  • ZGF: “We understand the value of getting the best material out there and available to use. And OpenAsset makes this possible.” Read the case study
  • LMN: “The assets we store in OpenAsset represent a significant investment for LMN. It was important for us to leverage a digital asset management system to maximize the value of this investment.” Read the case study

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