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Rolling out DAM in a large organization: insights from retailer ‘S Group’


In a recent Henry Stewart webinar, DAM expert Sandra Sundbäck, Development Manager & PO at S Group – one of Finland’s largest retailers – was interviewed by WoodWing’s Perry Solomon on the practicalities of rolling out a DAM in a large organization of 1,500 DAM users and 2 million digital assets.

Key takeaways

  • DAM requires a different approach due to the fact it is often not well understood.
  • Building a business case and getting management buy-in are both critical.
  • It is important to break down silos and find common pain points to get the ball rolling. 

The conversation looked at a number of aspects of such a rollout and combined them with academic insights that Sandra gained as she wrote a thesis Digital Asset Management. Below is a summary of the key insights from the discussion, with the full webinar embedded at the end.

Why DAM is different  

When beginning a new initiative, project managers or related in large organizations often begin with the People, Process, Technology (PPT) methodology. However, DAM is a little different from your standard project implementation in that it is not a widely understood concept and a great deal of learning is required for a number of parties, including the project owners, management and department stakeholders, and also end users. For this reason Sandra advises including “Insights” into the standard PPT methodology. 


Insights relates to a number of things. For many stakeholders, simply understanding the concept of DAM is important. Beyond this, other important things to learn about include metadata, building a taxonomy, and so on. And beyond that, there is a whole world of functionalities, integration possibilities, potential workflows and SOPs that need to be understood or created to make your DAM program a success. 

Getting started 

In a large organization it is critical to begin with identifying organizational needs, and gaining buy-in from management level first. To get management support, you will need to build a strong business case that involves how DAM will benefit different parts of the organization. But this presents a few challenges. As mentioned above educating people on what a DAM is and why it is beneficial is critical. Bear in mind that even if stakeholders do understand the concept in theory, they still may struggle to imagine the tangible benefits without seeing them directly. 

Find your champions

In practice what this means in such an organization is breaking down silos to find common ground across the organization, recruiting people from across different teams who have their own interest in DAM, and bringing them together around the same table. In Sandra’s words, this means “a lot of interrupting people from their normal day-to-day work and finding common pain points.” 

According to Sandra, at S Group once she started recruiting people with a need for DAM from different teams, she discovered that most people have similar problems they need to solve, and finding this common ground gave the project an extra impetus. One other interesting thing that happened is that a number of people internally who did not necessarily see the need for DAM in the early stages of the project later became promoters of the concept as they discovered its benefits.  

Building your business case

Critical to building a successful business case is understanding what drives decision making, and tying that back to ROI and the time it takes to pay back the original investment. For a DAM, ROI covers a range of possibilities, including:

  • removing inefficiencies in workflows
  • increasing speed-to-market
  • faster collaboration with agencies
  • providing a better customer experience 
  • digital transformation, 

and many more. From this point you can identify the current costs in the way you’re doing things to calculate your critical metrics. 

Pro tip: A useful way to discover new functionalities and possibilities to meet your KPIs is through speaking to vendors. Conversations with vendors illustrate what is possible, and can often bring ideas or new functionalities to your attention, which can be tied back to your specific business needs. 

Implementation is a project, DAM is a strategic consideration

Although the discussion focused primarily on rollout and implementation, Sandra also highlighted that it is too easy to think of it in terms of a project that can steer itself once the rollout is complete. In reality, DAM needs an owner – and in a large organization potentially a team of stakeholders to drive incremental improvements from both technical and process perspectives. At S Group, that means a steering group made up of stakeholders from different departments, who plan increments in the quarter ahead, based on what they have learned in the previous quarter. Even in the steering committee, new concepts or features can take some explaining, so communication and training is critical. 

See the complete webinar below!

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