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What is Workflow?

April 30, 2020

Workflow: Some people fear this eight-letter word, but you don't have to be one of them.

Think of workflow as a process. Sound scary?

Actually, it’s not scary. Many people are scared of workflow, but that could be because there is a lack of understanding. Think of workflow as an application or a process (I promise, also not scary) that recognizes common tasks that occur every day in virtually every organization whether heritage and culture, fashion, brand, catalog, retail, government (yes, even the government), and many more.

The difference between a workflow and the process which defines its practice is pretty simple.

Any task to accomplish objective X which is done by steps A – B – C, is a workflow.

Yes, it is that easy.

  • Step 1: Receive a brief description of the image or graphic from the requesting party.
  • Step 2: Review and ensure all the data is included to find said image.
  • Step 3: Query the DAM system by whichever search criteria makes the most sense: creation date, event, or file name.
  • Step 4: Once the image is found, you must ensure that it can be used for medium requested. This could include checking on authorized usage date or terms that may be indicated in contracts or terms of use.
  • Step 5: Ask yourself: “Is it in the right format?” “Who converts this image and how?” “Who are all of the stakeholders this should this be delivered to and how should they be notified?”
    • There is a whole new process to consider that incurs from this original process, but for brevity let’s assume no new conversion needed.

At the end of this with delivery of the correct asset to the requestor, the file is posted by the team(s) responsible. This takes the image out of your hands and puts it, and the trust to not misuse it, into someone else’s care.

As you can see, for something as simple as this (which can happen all day long), the process involves at least 5 steps and can be as complex as your rules require. This is a perfect example of a workflow in action. While manual and not automated, it is still a workflow, even if you don’t think of it as such.

Just because it’s simple, does not mean it’s not a workflow

Recently, I had a conversation with a customer about posting a file. Since, posting a file was easy, this customer did not think it should be considered a workflow. My advice was to consider this a workflow because it involves transformation of IP into a new and usable form. So, just because it’s easy, doesn’t mean it’s not a process that should be considered a workflow.

Step by step

One final thought: workflows can be as small as one or two steps. I would challenge anyone out there to look at everything you do as workflow. It’s not possible to change, search, or update your files, without following some sort of workflow. Remember, workflow isn’t scary and in some cases, very simple.

We’ll be continuing the discussion on this general topic throughout the year as workflow and process with DAM is considered more and more. We look forward to continuing to have this conversation with you.

See how your organization can use automated keywording, rights management, and compression to improve your organization’s workflow.

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