ECM vs DAM: What’s The Difference?

Businesses like hospitals, law firms and education facilities produce new documents by the minute.  

For employees, keeping track of this content, its organisation, access and distribution rights is no easy feat. 

Luckily, DAM and ECM software exist to help bring order to the chaos. 

Purpose-built to streamline enterprise document management, these two systems are changing the way businesses work with digital files.  

Here we’ll look at what DAM and ECM are, what they do and which system is best for your organisation.  

What Is ECM?

Enterprise Content Management (or ECM) systems help typically larger organisations manage, archive and distribute text-based files like documents, contracts and invoices.  

Consolidating these files into a single system, ECMs make file search and retrieval simple, whilst eliminating the need to keep hundreds of physical records on site.  

Essentially, ECM systems are a replacement for traditional file sharing software like Microsoft Teams and OneDrive. Popular ECM systems include OpenText, Sharepoint, Alfresco and IBM Cloud Pak. 

What Is DAM?

Digital Asset Management (or DAM) is software designed to streamline the storage, editing and sharing of digital assets like documents, videos, images and audio files.  

Either on-site or cloud-based, DAM acts as a single source of truth for branded content. It eliminates asset roadblocks, workflow disruptions and security concerns by storing every file in a central, secure and easily accessible location.  

Boasting advanced integrations and file hosting capabilities, DAM software can work directly with your existing ECM, PIM and VAM systems, or replace them completely 

DAM vs ECM: What’s the Difference?

Put simply, the key difference between these two systems is the type of content they store, and how they store it. 

ECM systems are better-suited to more simple file types like PDFs, contracts and MS Office documents. They organise files in a folder structure and search is possible through document metadata like words, phrases and file type.  

DAM software, on the other hand, hosts a range of file sizes and formats, from images and gifs to spreadsheets and eBooks. Thanks to intelligent AI tagging, search is possible through custom filters like colour, subject matter and audio transcripts.  

Quick tip: By centralising company assets, DAM eliminates time consuming file requests and endless searching for content, giving users access to the right files when and where they need it.

So, What System Is Best For Your Organisation?

ECM and DAM systems share many benefits. They both manage, store and distribute files, which is why they are often confused with one another.  

It all depends on the types of files you want to store, and what you need to manage them effectively.  

For organisations looking to purely store and manage businesses records, like accounting, healthcare and insurance companies, an ECM system may be the best option for you.  

For those in eCommerce, educational, government and creative agencies that work with a range of file types and sizes, DAM is your answer.   

DAM systems are also better-suited to businesses that collaborate with both internal and external parties. They boast features like secure hosting networks, user permissions and custom share links, enabling secure, self-service access to outside partners. ECM systems, on the other hand, are primarily designed for internal use to simplify file sharing between employees. 

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Are Features Everything?

Implementing asset management software with great features is important, but it’s the level of support, customisations and integrations that make the most difference in the long run. 

That’s why when searching for asset management software, you’ll want to keep your eye out for a vendor that offers more than just the software and an instruction manual. 

Collaboro is with you every step of the way throughout the DAM implementation process and beyond. We provide ongoing training for your employees and take care of essential DAM admin tasks like ingesting, transcoding and tagging assets. 

With Collaboro, you’ll also get a DAM platform completely custom made to your business, its existing software and processes. Everything works together seamlessly, so you’re not left with clunky software employees would rather avoid.  

To find out more about why the right vendor makes all the difference, see our article here 


Try DAM For Yourself, Book A Demo Today 

Collaboro is an Australian Cloud-based DAM solution that empowers your teams to do more. Our DAM platform will centralise all your digital assets, making it easier for your teams to organise, find and share all your digital media files, in one place, from anywhere.  

But a successful DAM solution requires more. This is where Collaboro brings local Australian expertise and support services to provide a customised end-to-end solution. 

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