Are you Cracking the Right “WIP”?

Inflexible Administrative Controls and Pre-Established User Roles May Add Unforeseen Complications to your Team’s Workflow when Sharing Work-in-Progress Media Assets.



The digital transformation boom of the past decade has given life to a wide range of innovative enterprise solutions in the world of DAM (digital asset management). As more businesses across all industries continue digitization efforts of aging physical assets, they too will need to systemically catalog these digitized assets. Add in the thousands of digital assets that have yet to be created by those entities and we find that the demand for user-friendly, out-of-the-box, enterprise solutions has never been higher. In the digital age, it is imperative that companies not only implement a DAM for the exploitation, long-term storage, and secure exchange of digital assets, but to also assure that you have a glove-fit solution before making the financial commitment. A less than perfect solution can potentially put your priceless intellectual property at risk.


Remember Your WIP!

When assessing the feature set your business requires in a DAM solution, remember your WIP! Never heard of a WIP (work-in-progress) asset? Well, it is exactly what you might expect. In the media industry, a WIP asset is an unfinished, usually high-security, pre-release asset that is not final or ready for public consumption. WIP assets, simply by their nature of being unfinished, are in a perpetual game of Hot Potato, constantly exchanging hands and shared between creative teams, editors, vendors, and third-party partners. Examples of WIP assets include print marketing material, film scenes requiring new edits, and unfinished scripts. A DAM should be the foundation to any asset management environment but be sure to have a deep understanding of your team’s WIP workflows before moving forward with a product as these assets will live in the DAM while in the WIP phase, and ultimately remain there through its entire lifecycle. Failure to keep your WIP workflows in mind could result in overly complicated workarounds to achieve previously simpler workflows.


Not all User Roles are Created Equal

In any database system, the first line of defense against security risks or leaks resides with your administrator and established user roles. In a DAM environment, user roles dictate the level of access or the type of permissions a user has within the DAM. User roles are assigned to all new users as they are granted access into the DAM. Some standard user roles include: view only, view and download, or inbox only – where users can only receive content shared with them outside of the DAM. These are a few basic examples of user roles. Typical WIP workflows require less stringent user roles or must allow for flexibility, particularly for teams working across multiple projects out of the DAM. A specific user (or group of users) may need to have varying user permissions depending on the project.


For example, a marketing team may onboard a new vendor into the DAM for a new project and issue them a “view only” user role. Then, suppose the same vendor is selected by the VFX team to serve as their vendor for color-correction of video content. This requires the vendor to have “view and download” privileges as they will need to download the content out of the DAM. But wait! The vendor was previously onboarded into the DAM with a “view only” user role. Changing the user role now will put the content from the marketing team’s project at risk of download! Now what? Your DAM admin may be able to grant temporary privileges, or enable certain features as a workaround, but this requires a vigilant admin to restore the account back to the original user role at just the right time, and this can get messy.


Pro tip: find a solution or product where multiple users roles can be issued to a user depending on the asset type they are engaged with within the DAM. Creating a metadata model where your DAM can differentiate between a WIP asset, among others, while seamlessly switching the user role can save you from permission-based roadblocks.


Take Your Time in Discovery

Understanding how all users, across all business units, will utilize your DAM is imperative prior to choosing the right solution for your business, and WIP workflows tend to be among the most complicated. Be sure to engage your DAM’s future user base with plenty of time prior to selecting a product. Make no assumptions. Give equal time to all business units, regardless of their anticipated level of engagement with the DAM. You may uncover workflows you hadn’t considered before and speaking from experience, it is these workflows that will come back to haunt you if you have your heart set on a particular solution.


Digital asset workflows will continue to be a hot topic as we cross into the 2020s, and the desire for simplification and automation of our digital systems will persist. Simplicity does not always equal efficiency. Take the time to be thorough in assessing your asset management needs as a whole ...and remember your WIP!

Asset 7
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Berlin
  • Los Angeles
  • Minneapolis
  • New England
  • New York