Workflow management: A primer

So, again, the DAM Foundation article notes that a full DAM system has proper workflow management.  What is workflow management?

The Wikipedia article really is pretty clean on this.  You need a few components working together:

  1. Process tracking and management.  We all, at some point, have those forms with three or more signature blanks that basically say, “these people have done what they need to do with this.”  That’s process tracking.  The forms, though, don’t usually say what those people are doing, assuming that they know.  That has the hazard of creating knowledge depots: “Greg’s out, we can’t do this.  What about Gary?  He does the same thing, right?  He could, but he doesn’t know what Greg does on these.  Well, we’ll have Gary ask Greg when he comes back.”  And then Greg gets hit by a bus, and you make up another process without him, but that’s okay, Greg’s process was made up when Joe got hit by a bus (lots of killer buses in my office).  A WMS allows someone to say, “For these items, Jim does this, and then Jim decides which things Greg or Gary need to do from this pool of possible things, and we usually give it a week to get done.”
  2. Process automation.  Suppose Dave’s process is always “open this file, run this filter, save file as PNG”.  That’s macro-able, right?  You’ve got better things for Dave to do, right?  Please say yes.  Anyways, a WMS can work with other application’s automated capabilities to do certain things to assets without having a human do a certain exact thing over and over again.  And again, Jim can make the decision on what automatic things are needed for a certain item as his step.
  3. Complex project processes.  While Jim’s working, Team Delta needs to create these three files, send two to Team Bravo, and have those three files waiting for Peter when step five comes around.  Some of these processes border on project management.

Now, think of this.  Your team may not need all of these items in your DAM system.  Maybe your processes aren’t that automatable.  Maybe you need a more or less rigorous version control system to go along.  Maybe you expect to grow into a system.  You can see that DAM solutions should definitely be modular and possibly even from more than one manufacturer.  When we talk about these things, we moving a bit beyond software applications and more towards business solutions and systems.  Your decision on DAM may incorporate budget, ability to use open-source solutions, and changing needs.  But at least you’re getting a start on what you require and why you require it.

Workflow management: A primer

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