A large number of IT or software projects regularly fail to deliver in one way or the another — there are cost and time overruns, often there are major bugs, users are unhappy, or the final result does not look anywhere close to the initial scope. Projects continue to fail, even though IT technologies and processes are much more mature now than they were only a few years ago. Furthermore, if traditional IT projects are excluded from the sample and only those related to content management, and in particular digital asset management (DAM), are considered, the success rate would be even lower.
So what can be done to improve the success rate of DAM projects? While having the right set of tools and technologies is important for a project, that alone is insufficient to ensure success. An organisation needs to look at and address varied challenges across human-, information- and systems-related aspects. To do that, it is important to follow a structured and repeatable methodology.
Effective implementation of a DAM project includes addressing not just technology-related aspects, but also tackling those that relate to governance, people and processes. In fact, as with other large enterprise content management (ECM) projects, a DAM implementation requires careful planning and development of a holistic strategy to address all categories of challenge. To begin any such initiative however, it is very important that an organisation knows:
- Where it currently stands. Or in simplified terms, it needs to be aware of its current state. This is also known as an ‘As-Is’ state, or the current state of the organisation with respect to technology, processes, people and organisation.
- Where it wants to be (also known as a ‘To-Be’ state or the final state the organisation aspires to reach). Based on an organisation’s business objectives and vision, it decides where it wants to be in the short term as well as the long term.
- It needs to be able to do a gap analysis based on the As-Is and To-Be states and then decide what steps need to be taken to progress from one state to another
In short, an organisation needs an approach that allows it to do all of the above in a structured way.
The DAM Maturity Model (DAM3) elaborated here enables an organisation to analyse its current – as well as desired – states across various aspects. This methodology is based on Enterprise Content Management Maturity Model (ECM3): an open-source and free-to-use model that provides a framework for continual improvement based on maturity levels. The framework suggests graded levels of capabilities — ranging from rudimentary information collection and basic control through increasingly sophisticated levels of management and integration — finally resulting in a mature state of continuous experimentation and improvement.
- Level 1: Unmanaged
- Level 2: Incipient
- Level 3: Formative
- Level 4: Operational
- Level 5: Optimal
Like all maturity models, it is partly descriptive and partly prescriptive. You can apply the model to audit, assess, and explain your current state, as well as inform a roadmap for maturing your enterprise capabilities. It can help you understand where you are over- and under-investing in one dimension or another (e.g., overspending on technology and under-investing in content analysis), so you can rebalance your portfolio of capabilities. The model can also facilitate developing a common vocabulary and shared vision among DAM project stakeholders.