Migrating your digital assets is like moving into a new house

Posted: 13 November 2012

What do all those property shows tell you to do when you move house? De-clutter! It's exactly the same when you are migrating your assets. Go through all the rooms in the house (even the shed & the loft) and throw away or give away the things you don't need anymore. If you're not sure put them into storage. When you've reached the day of reckoning, you can actually move into your new home with only the things that you really want.

Exactly the same process applies in migrating to a new Brand Asset Management or Digital Asset Management system. And, as with house moving, you can start the de-cluttering process long before you've awarded the contract. Let's face it you wouldn't start sorting out the clutter in your house on the day you picked up the keys would you?

Here are 7 steps to success with less stress:

  1. Audit your digital assets:

    Create an audit (detailed list) of all your assets and look for them everywhere; existing systems, cloud based storage services, FTP's, desktops, shared drives, hard drives, CD's and even YouTube. You'd be surprised how many teams find it easier to get their campaigns from YouTube rather than their own systems.

  2. Identify the asset owners:

    Knowing who owns the assets, why they were created and what they're for is all necessary information that can be incorporated into the system metadata (see point 6).

  3. Pool all the assets in one place:

    By putting them in one place you can more easily see what's missing. If there are gaps or inconsistencies look again until you've found everything.

  4. De-clutter your assets:

    Separate out old/expired assets from the current live assets. For the old/expired assets decide whether to archive them within the new brand asset management system or (more cheaply) off-line. Just bear in mind that if they're offline, they'll be harder to access in the future.

  5. Create a simple taxonomy:

    In essence, create an easy to understand classification system. Put yourself in the shoes of your end user and organise your content and assets in a simple and intuitive structure, which is easy to browse.

  6. Put intelligence around your assets by adding metadata:

    Ask yourself what information needs to be appended to make an asset easy to find again. As a minimum include: campaign name, asset type, brand name, year, brief description, rights and usage, expiry date. Try to keep your list of metadata as short as possible and with as few mandatory fields, striking the balance between being able to find the correct assets whilst minimising the workload for people uploading materials.

  7. Migrate the assets:

    Decide whether to upload assets manually or automatically. Most people would choose to migrate automatically as it seems so much quicker. Whether you decide to migrate manually or automatically you still need to check the final results. Can you find the assets? Does the taxonomy make sense? Is there enough metadata to make assets easy to find? Does it look right?

And finally, don't underestimate how long it will take to migrate all your digital assets. Working with content is a project in itself and will often take longer than the technology. You will need an owner of this project and whoever this is should be meticulous and dedicated with the patience of a saint!