Your tech­nol­ogy team has spent a lot of time and energy putting together a dig­i­tal asset man­age­ment (DAM) solu­tion. You’ve con­ducted user inter­views, vet­ted tech­nol­ogy, selected a ven­dor, and launched the new sys­tem … but why isn’t every­one using it?

To effec­tively man­age our dig­i­tal assets in today’s global mar­kets, we need a DAM solu­tion at the heart of our mar­ket­ing orga­ni­za­tion. DAM enables our global teams to main­tain brand con­sis­tency so cus­tomers know exactly what to expect when they inter­act with our brand. They let us col­lab­o­rate on the pro­duc­tion of new mar­ket­ing assets and then allow us to store them cen­trally so every­one who needs access to the lat­est con­tent can get it. DAM solu­tions let us cre­ate, man­age, and deliver our dig­i­tal assets and are a neces­sity in today’s global mar­ket. But now that we’ve invested time and energy into DAM, how do we get peo­ple to use them?

Excuse me, I think you have my sta­pler.” In this clas­sic line from the movie Office Space, Mil­ton, a soft­ware com­pany employee, resists the company’s tran­si­tion to new sta­plers and refuses to relin­quish his favorite office tool. Peo­ple develop attach­ments to old tools and resist change, espe­cially when those changes don’t appear to have value. By under­stand­ing why peo­ple resist change, we can put strate­gies in place to increase the suc­cess of our DAM solutions.

Peo­ple resist change for many reasons:

  1. Why? They do not under­stand why the change is being made. They feel they are los­ing con­trol or the change is being made with­out their input.
  2. Fear of fail­ure. Peo­ple may fear they will be incom­pe­tent with a new tool and resist using it.
  3. Break out of our com­fort zones. Peo­ple have devel­oped com­fort­able rou­tines with the old tool and resist the change.
  4. Soup du jour. Peo­ple believe a new tool is just a fad and will not have long-term stay­ing power.
  5. What’s in it for me? Peo­ple don’t see any ben­e­fit or reward from the change.


We all like to be in con­trol of our envi­ron­ments, and when a change is made, we want to know why. When there is a change in the work­place, we all want to know what prompted man­age­ment to imple­ment this new tool and what ben­e­fits we are going to see. If we do not see any ben­e­fit to the change, we may feel that the change is being made just for the sake of change, or even worse: just for the sake of tech­nol­ogy. We all want to feel like we are in con­trol and know the what, where, and when of the change. When think­ing of a larger DAM ini­tia­tive, we must make sure all of the right stake­hold­ers are at the table from the begin­ning. From the team leader to the indi­vid­ual user, all stake­hold­ers must know how it will improve their spe­cific day-to-day expe­ri­ence. Tell them why, and then prove it.

Fear of Failure

Change can make us doubt our capa­bil­i­ties and fear using the new tool. If there is a chance of fail­ure, we tend to pro­cras­ti­nate. For exam­ple, a DAM gives users unprece­dented access to an organization’s dig­i­tal assets, and a user might fear mis­tak­enly edit­ing an image or video and thus dam­ag­ing the shared asset. We often let our imag­i­na­tions run away with us with all the neg­a­tive pos­si­bil­i­ties of change. Reas­sure your team about the safe­guards in the new sys­tem, from permission-based access con­trols to auto­matic ver­sion­ing and ver­sion con­trol. Users should feel safe oper­at­ing in the sys­tem and be productive.

Break Out of Our Com­fort Zones

We all have pat­terns and rou­tines that make our lives com­fort­able. We place our tooth­brushes in the same place each day so we can eas­ily reach them, we place icons on our desk­top in loca­tions where we can find them quickly, and we place our shoes by the door so they will be avail­able when we leave. In the world of DAM, a rou­tine might be to email an asset rather than col­lab­o­rate in a sys­tem bet­ter suited for com­ments, anno­ta­tions, and review. Or it could be to stash a file locally in a folder because you lack the right tools to secure it in a con­nected environment.

Real­iz­ing the ben­e­fits to the larger orga­ni­za­tion of a change requires an indi­vid­ual to break out of his or her pre­scribed rou­tine. Under­stand­ing these “com­fort zones” can give you an advan­tage as you roll out a DAM imple­men­ta­tion. Make it sim­ple and use the right peo­ple, poli­cies, and tech­nol­ogy to ensure that the tran­si­tion is nat­ural and requires an appro­pri­ate amount of effort.

Soup du Jour

We must avoid intro­duc­ing changes too fre­quently because employ­ees can become blasé. They look at each change as the “soup du jour” and begin to ignore them, know­ing there will be a new change served up tomorrow.

Here is a trick we learned from a large enter­tain­ment com­pany that imple­mented DAM. They treated the DAM tool like a night­club. They essen­tially placed a vel­vet rope around a core group of users until adop­tion took off. Next, they rolled it out to addi­tional groups, very strate­gi­cally until the “soup du jour DAM” became the de facto stan­dard for stor­ing and man­ag­ing dig­i­tal assets.

What’s in It for Me?

Finally, many times peo­ple need to see the rea­son for the change. If a new tool is intro­duced and it will require them to first learn how to use it and then will increase the amount of work they have to do, they will resist the change. When we intro­duce DAM, we must do so by clearly demon­strat­ing the ben­e­fits of the DAM tool and how it will help each employee do his or her every­day job. We can use demon­stra­tions and spend time one-on-one with employ­ees show­ing them its benefits.

There are many rea­sons why we might not use that DAM tool, but there are strate­gies to fol­low. To increase the DAM tool’s chance of suc­cess­ful imple­men­ta­tion, we must clearly demon­strate the ben­e­fits, train and sup­port our employ­ees, com­mu­ni­cate the plan, and dis­pel mis­con­cep­tions. By address­ing why peo­ple fear change, we can imple­ment a DAM strat­egy that will help us be com­pet­i­tive in today’s global market.