10 Aug 2021

3 Benefits for Planning a Digital Asset Management (DAM) Soft Launch

Think of a soft launch as a coming attraction, a teaser of sorts to what should be expected once your system is released to your organization as a whole. This preview allows a controlled number of users to review your Digital Asset Management (DAM) platform before it reaches a larger audience. So what’s the benefit of that?

Planning a soft launch can be beneficial in many ways. It can help determine training methods and areas that need the most focus. It can be used as a strategy for early user engagement and therefore retention. Likewise, it also is a chance for more realistic testing regarding day-to-day workflows.

In this article, I’m going to discuss 3 benefits of planning a DAM soft launch and why it’s important. 

Early Feedback

Early feedback is beneficial because you are used to being within the DAM daily, areas such as branding, ease of site navigation, search and browsing functionality, types of digital content, and user experience as a whole can create a bias. Having fresh sets of eyes can provide perspectives that were overlooked or simply missed. 

It should be pointed out to the participating group that everything might not be working as expected. Setting this expectation can help you emphasize why their help is so important and how this is the opportunity to make the tool better by providing true feedback. It’s this feedback that can lead to making necessary changes such as taxonomy structure, metadata, workflows, and even how the homepage/dashboard should be set up. 

That being said, it’s a good idea to cater your soft launch around a group of power users; individuals that will be heavily active within the tool. Having a variety of users from multiple departments will provide valuable insight.

Additional Testing

During your DAM implementation and after weeks of User Acceptance Testing (UAT), there is a chance something could have been missed. During UAT, the stakeholders still have their day-to-day work, which can lead to the testing not having their full attention. With a soft launch, testing can be 100% reflective of everyday workflows. This can provide good data and a chance to create more detailed training resources for future use.

On the technical side, a soft launch can create a load testing opportunity as well. There have been instances where everything works in UAT for functional testing but when all the migration or data load is completed (especially for massive data loads) the system is not tuned yet to perform under heavy load. This potentially is not recognized until the announcement email is sent out that the DAM is now in business. This can significantly impact adoption if the system crashes in the first hour of a launch.

Preparing Your Users

Another benefit of planning a DAM soft launch is simply a way to start preparing your users for what to expect from the new tool. Even with a small sample of users, you will be able to understand and even view their behavior within the tool. If the users you selected are a handful of your power users, this is also the opportunity to start working on and developing your DAM user community. Hopefully, from listening to their feedback and implementing some changes, you’ll recognize those users that will help with promoting and building a positive view of the tool.

On the administration’s side, during a soft launch, handling tickets, administrative functions, and getting the support infrastructure and processes in place can be a big advantage compared to handling a go-live with a very large group. This can help meet the expectations and users from getting lost.

In addition, I feel it is important that I point out for you and your team to be prepared for the feedback you will receive. I am sure you are aware that not all feedback will be positive, and what you have put so much time into will receive criticism. However, this is necessary. In the end, the goal is to provide the best user experience possible and to prove to your stakeholders that their investment in a DAM was a move in the right direction for your company’s business needs.