When employees spend, on average, around 30% of the working day searching for information, files, or documents, a Digital Asset Management System (DAM) is invaluable.
There are hundreds of DAM vendors that you can choose from, so it’s important to understand what you need out of your DAM system. We’ve put together a helpful guide to show you how a DAM can help your business and what you need to look out for when choosing the right one for you.
The importance of digital asset management
Digital Asset Management empowers teams that use visual assets to be agile, efficient and cohesive. As such, DAM systems create a centralised ecosystem to store, manage and share digital content. This may include images, videos and raw files across a variety of file formats and sizes.
The right DAM system streamlines the way your team can access and manage files within a customised online environment with the ability to expand as the business grows.
With scalable storage and an intuitive interface, employees can easily access any file type from any device. As a result, digital assets are correctly stored and tagged within one shared space, increasing efficiency, reducing data regulation risk while removing the risk of loss or duplication.
How to choose a DAM system
Finding the right DAM system for you takes time, support and research across all departments. This involves identifying how a DAM system will solve asset lifecycle issues and serve as a centralised ecosystem for your digital asset database.
Implementing a DAM system is a long-term investment, so it’s important to consider all factors before deciding on a vendor, including:
- Key Features
- Key Considerations
- DAM Pricing
- Cloud-based vs. On-Premise
- How to set up a DAM solution
- Long term DAM upkeep and management.
Key features you need in a DAM system
Feature and inclusions will differ depending on your DAM vendor and will need to fit your use cases, business model, structure and long-term plan for growth. You should consider your DAM vendor as a partner in an ongoing investment rather than just a supplier. Make sure your chosen DAM system offers the relevant integrations of tools, CRM’s and MarTech solutions your business requires. This will ensure your DAM system will continue to maintain and fit your use cases as they inevitable evolve in the future.
Here is a quick overview of some must-have features of a DAM system to consider:
Your DAM system should be able to handle when your business grows and your digital assets expand along with it. Scalable storage is essential for empowering teams to manage a growing digital asset collection accordingly and keep up with the consistent growth.
Scalable storage should mean compatibility with your commonly used file types and handling larger files, including raw videos and outdoor deliverables. The DAM system must not only be scalable, but it also needs to be able to keep up with the demands of your business without facing restrictions around file formatting, file types and licences.
Scalability also means flexibility in the number and the type of users as well as the capacity to scale with your business growth. Questions to consider may include preview options for images, audio and video files in the system and if the system can support the file types you need.
When it comes to considering prospective DAM vendors, enquire about the scale or type of storage they offer and the hosting costs associated with it. Can they support larger file types? Do they offer additional archival storage? How can life-cycle management deliver long term cost efficiencies? These questions prompt long-term considerations rather than simply solving current storage issues.
Quick Tip: Complete an inventory of file formats and types your business uses to ensure your DAM system will support your requirements.
Every workspace ecosystem is unique, so search for a vendor who will customise the system to suit your business. This will optimise efficiency, productivity and minimise the learning curve among employees, resulting in more time available to spend on the content.
A customisable DAM system is designed to create a user-friendly interface (UI) and a positive user experience (UX). Questions to consider for your vendor may include whether it is designed for intuitive actions, what the search experience is like, and will the UI reflect your brand and enhance usability.
A successful DAM should include detailed metadata, AI tags and natural language searches so you can easily access the files you need. Enquire if/how metadata is specifically customised to your brand, if they import existing metadata, and if the metadata is still attached to the file once it leaves the system.
Implementing an inclusive DAM system will empower employees to smoothly transition into a new workspace while utilising features designed to optimise their specific workflows.
Quick tip: Ask potential DAM vendors if they will work with you to customise your DAM system and provide intuitive metadata tagging and functionality tailored to your business.
Seamless integration with other software and services such as brand automation platforms, CMS, MRM, and Review & Approval ensures your brand is kept agile. This not only improves marketing efficiency but secures complete brand compliance across your MarTech software.
Understanding the future direction of the DAM features and functionality is a good idea to gauge the roadmap of the vendor and the direction of their DAM software.
You will need to speak with other departments to understand what applications are needed to allow for a streamlined distribution of assets.
Quick Tip: Enquire what MarTech software your Marketing teams use and enquire with potential DAM vendors as to whether they can cater towards multiple programs.
Online and offline environments
Cloud-based storage offers scalability, lower hosting costs, and greater security for a growing digital asset collection. With that being said, using both online and offline storage environments drastically expand the capacity of digital asset storage.
Providing offline storage for larger file types not only saves on cloud-hosting costs, but it allows for raw files and videos to be archived before converting to a content-ready format. This means that raw files, videos and outdoor deliverables that are usually too large for upload can be stored securely within an additional offline platform.
Additional services & support
DAM Systems require ongoing work to maintain upload, asset tagging and regulatory data compliance measures. Some DAM vendors offer continuing maintenance, support and additional services while acting as a partner to create an inclusive solution.
Admin work such as uploading, metadata tagging, transcoding and ingesting assets and data is a time-consuming task. To save your DAM system from becoming a dumping ground of assets, or a partial solution, find a DAM vendor who can offer you supplementary services. These may include onboarding, training upload & tagging services, and ongoing support.
This might mean having Australian-based customer support or having a direct line to an assigned case manager for help when you need it. Furthermore, ensure your DAM vendor meets your expectations regarding data storage, customisation and support.
Research the DAM vendor as a company, their clients, company stability, if they build or acquire their software and if they have a user community for support. Be sure to also ask prospective DAM vendors if they provide training, resources and a dedicated contact to reach out to.
Key considerations for choosing a DAM system
There are a few key considerations that you will need to decide upon to begin the implementation process:
How many users do you need?
Speak to your managers and departments to distinguish who will be using the system to ensure an all-encompassing solution for all users involved. This will require you to think about your company culture and research how users will utilise the DAM (who will be uploading content, who will be sharing it etc.)
Will it solve your digital asset issues?
Understand what asset issues your business is facing and how the DAM system you choose will offer a solution to them. Ask yourself:
- What kind of security are you after?
- Do you need reporting and analytics functionality?
- Are you losing or unnecessarily duplicating assets?
Identifying the key areas of concern is paramount so you can have a clear understanding of what is required when speaking with your vendor.
Who will be in charge of maintenance?
DAM systems require ongoing maintenance and scalable storage solutions to adequately fulfil your business requirements. Do you have the time to upload and tag all assets to ensure your system is kept up-to-date, or would you prefer your vendor to take care of this task?
Do you have the support you need?
Ongoing, easily reachable support is paramount for DAM users. There’s nothing worse than having to wait days for a response that requires an immediate solution. Having Australian-based support and a direct line to a case manager ensures that you are taken care of.
Here are some factors that are likely to influence your vendor’s pricing structure:
Cloud-based or on-premises
Most cloud-based platforms are subscription-based with a retainer package that can vary depending on its inclusions while on-premises tend to have higher deployment costs. Cloud-based platforms have lower Cloud-hosting costs and are scalable to your business, meaning you only have to pay for the storage that you need. This may change the complexity of the infrastructure, security levels, and the overall cost of the system.
Additional services inclusions & support
Additional services may include one-on-one training, onboarding or upload & tagging services. Consider the long-term benefits of having an accessible vendor to provide guidance and help with the workload so you can focus on the business. This means continuing support throughout its deployment, providing resources, taking care of the admin side of the system while maintaining direct contact with the vendor.
Advanced functionality & customisations
The level of customisation the DAM will need and the advancement of functionality will impact the price due to the number of resources it will take to tailor it to your business. In the long run, however, having a completely customised system with advanced functionality will optimise ROI and increase overall efficiency.
User licenses and storage capacity
The number of users and licencing capacity will contribute to the scaling of administrative tasks and regulatory practices performed by the DAM vendor. Whether you have Cloud storage or an on-premises system, storage space will contribute to the overall price in terms of hosting costs or bandwidth. While you may only have a few gigabytes of digital assets if you need to store hundreds of thousands of digital assets, expect the price to go up accordingly.
Detailed metadata, natural language searches and AI tagging streamline digital asset searchability and are delivered as part of customising the system to the business. The more customisations and the more advanced the metadata formula are will impact the DAM pricing structure. Having metadata is essential for a successful DAM, optimising search quality, efficiency and locating assets to share and distribute across channels and platforms.
How to set up a DAM solution
There are several steps that you will need to consider to set up your DAM:
Gather a team
Setting up a DAM takes time and a lot of work, so you will need to build a team to help start the process and lead the project. Each member of the team will bring something to the table in terms of ideas, approaches and task delegation. Include different members from different departments such as IT, Accounting, Sales and Marketing to ensure the DAM is not only well-received across all departments but different skills can be utilised accordingly across the project.
Research and discovery
Research within each department to understand what the key areas of concern are. This might mean an over-expenditure of time or resources spent on locating or duplicating assets or struggling with storage or file type limitations.
The DAM system needs to be supported and well-received across the departments that will require access to it, including Marketing, Creative, Sales and IT. As such, it is essential to research any shortcomings, ongoing issues, concerns or queries from these departments and apply them to the project deliverables.
Speak to the other teams and departments to gauge what is needed and essential to better measure your DAM ROI. Be specific and what will each of them be researching.
Build a business case
Building a case involves presenting a clear outline of your proposal to upper management to ascertain why a DAM system is the best decision for the business. This may include:
- The rapid growth of digital assets (going from hundreds to thousands or hundreds of thousands)
- Over expenditure of resources and time locating files
- Need to further protect brand integrity and consistency
- Increased difficulty sharing and distributing files
- Employee work is being interrupted or slowed down trying to convert, track or duplicate files
- Difficulty keeping up with file categorising and management
These points need to explain how they cost the business money and why a DAM system will help resolve these issues. You will then need to further translate these into opportunities and benefits of a DAM system. This may include:
- Increased efficiency
- More security
- Improved searchability
- Easy access to files to share and distribute among channels
- Up-to-date brand consistency and brand security
- Reduces costs spent on duplicating assets
- Easily track asset performance and use
There are usually three departments that are required to approve a DAM system setup:
- IT: They will likely be involved in the back-end implementation such as guiding permission level access and security and providing network information to the vendor.
- Marketing: The Marketing team needs to confirm the budget and contribute to the business’s content. They will also need to confirm what is required in terms of file types, sizes and formats of digital assets.
- Legal: Your Legal team will be required to ensure that the DAM vendor is compatible with data compliance and regulations. They will also need to sign off on any terms and conditions.
Book a demo
Booking a Demo will allow you to gauge user functionality, user experience, metadata examples and searchability to ensure you can get the most out of the system. During the Demo, make sure to ask the following:
- What kind of platform does it use i.e. Microsoft Azure?
- What are its core features?
- What kind of additional services do they offer?
- Do they offer training?
- What file types does the system support?
- How is metadata customised?
- How many users are included in the pricing package?
- What is the level of security for digital assets?
- Do they offer continuing support or direct contact?
Why choose Collaboro for your DAM system?
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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