A Digital Asset Management (DAM) system is a centralised ecosystem to store, manage and share digital assets. Investing in a secure DAM system means all digital assets and files such as images, videos, documents and media are organised and securely stored.
While every DAM system works slightly differently, the concept remains the same: a convenient, organised, secure, centralised library for digital asset storage.
What Are Digital Assets?
A digital asset is any file, document or licence held within a digital format that is created or owned by a business while holding the rights to use, share and distribute.
Digital assets include any form of media, such as:
- Raw files
- Licencing files or certificates
Organising and categorising digital assets can be an arduous task, especially if your business has a constant influx of digital assets needing to be stored. Common issues that arise with incorrect storage can include loss of files, asset duplication, and over expenditure in time and resources towards locating or recreating files.
Types of digital asset management
Typically, DAM platforms are available as an on-premises system, or Cloud-based:
These refer to DAM systems where the software is installed on-premises rather than accessed via a cloud system or web browser. In short, your assets are stored in-house and you are responsible for its infrastructure.
Your business will have full control of your assets: how they are managed, maintained and kept secure. On the other hand, it means more strain on your IT department regarding deployment, hosting and troubleshooting.
On-premises software means that everything must all be resolved in-house. This can cause subsequent issues when it comes to initial onboarding, ongoing maintenance and organisation and support.
A Cloud-based DAM system is purely run through a cloud-hosted environment through a web browser and is designed for efficient, fast digital asset sharing. Cloud-based DAM systems run through subscription services, making them cost-effective and secure while providing fast data integration without instalment hassles.
Some cloud-based systems include services such as SharePoint or Google Drive; however, other DAM systems are tailored to your business and are provided through a retainer price package.
Cloud-based DAM system vendors offer direct support, onboarding, training and maintenance so the business can focus on what’s important. Vendors are also responsible for keeping the system relevant and up-to-date regarding features and compliance measures standards.
With its lower deployment and maintenance costs, Cloud-based systems are gaining popularity as well as offering more scalability as the business expands.
What is a Digital asset manager?
A digital asset manager is someone who will work within the DAM system to maintain, regulate and organise digital assets within a business.
Their exact role may differ from business to business, however, a digital asset manager is responsible for the overall management and distribution of digital assets across departments.
Their main responsibilities include optimising digital asset storage, and managing access and use to ensure on-brand consistency, compliance, and legal approval. They can also be responsible for uploading, tagging, ensuring security and maintaining usage rights.
Maintaining digital assets doesn’t stop after implementation, so it’s important to have a trusted DAM manager to take care of the admin work of DAM systems.
Quick Tip: Some DAM providers offer a full-service solution that will include training, ongoing support, and upload and tagging services directly from the provider. This will save you having to hire someone externally, saving time on training as well as additional salary expenses.
Why use a digital asset management system?
Digital Asset Management systems cut out the unnecessary hassle of losing, accidentally duplicating, or wasting valuable time sifting through a dumping ground of digital assets.
As a result, DAM software creates a hub for clear, organised, and tagged digital assets, making it easier to create, organise, and access digital assets.
Why is digital asset management important?
1. Organise Your Files Easily
Digital assets need to be clearly organised, categorised and easily accessed by your team. Implementing a DAM system creates a secure storage space for departments to locate and manage content, files and documents to ensure a cohesive, efficient workspace. This removes the risk of asset duplication and provides further opportunities for assets to be kept up-to-date and to be repurposed.
2. Locate Your Files Easily with Metadata &Tags
Metadata is the addition of tagging files with a unique description or label, allowing for efficient, easily searchable assets when you need them. Metadata tagging is everything; it can save employees time simply by attaching specific details to any digital asset. Otherwise, it can be difficult to find your files, licences, documents or videos quickly.
3. Ensure On-Brand Consistency
Because files are located within one centralised ecosystem, digital assets, marketing materials and any other legally approved assets are easily maintained and up to date. This increases brand consistency and integrity while eliminating the risk of keeping outdated or unapproved files ensuring digital assets are on-brand.
4. Share & Collaborate Digital Assets Efficiently with your Teams
DAM systems allow you to access ready-to-access files internally and externally. Furthermore, DAM systems integrate with MarTech solutions, CRMs and brand automation systems to easily distribute embedded files from the DAM directly into marketing channels. This not only improves marketing efficiency, but it ensures your brand is kept agile while seamlessly integrating with any other solution.
A DAM system is designed to make your business run smoothly with enhanced functionality, visual appeal, and intuitive searchability within one system. With all digital assets in one convenient location, businesses can focus more on the content itself rather than trying to find and organise it.
With advanced functionality, DAM systems streamline workflows with custom tooling to convert and change images and videos to different sizes and formats. This will allow users to effectively share and distribute digital assets through secure and public links to authorised users and external partners.
6. Improved Security
DAM systems incorporate permission for access levels that can be set and designated by the business. This means a more secure environment and sharing system to keep digital assets safe. With secure, Cloud-based systems, a tailored DAM system allows users to take control of access security via permission-level access, passwords and expiries.
7. Reporting and Analytics
Some DAM vendors provide reporting and analysis features to track digital asset performance and how they are being used within the business.
Who uses digital asset management software?
DAM systems work to maintain and manage digital asset collections of any size. Whether you have a small business or are part of a larger corporation, DAM systems are tailored to be customised and scaled to any digital asset database. Here are a few examples of what industries can benefit from a DAM system:
With multiple campaigns running simultaneously, marketing agencies have a massive bank of content and on-brand material constantly being accessed, edited, and shared between teams. A DAM solution allows teams and departments to have richly organised digital assets that are stored and archived within one centralised space ready for easy distribution.
Retail & eCommerce:
Retail and eCommerce rely on visual appeal and usually have a growing bank of video footage, and images to prompt customers to purchase their product. However, as this collection grows, businesses are likely to face streamlining issues as managing, uploading, tagging and organising become time-consuming and stressful. With correct tagging, brand material can be uploaded, stored and accessed easily across multiple departments to maintain the upkeep and relevant, on-brand material.
The real estate industry strongly focuses on visual appeal for potential buyers. Having a library of easily located media and content within a storage platform that is compatible with larger, raw and complex file types is essential. DAM platforms allow for scalable storage to suit a variety of file types and easy distribution between departments within one centralised ecosystem.
Tech companies need to be across multiple digital channels in line with differing client demands. Without connecting different departments with a shared space to access digital assets, templates, content, and on-brand files, it risks a bottleneck effect of time delays. DAM platforms solve isolation issues between departments and help to align and create content and on-brand material to maintain competitiveness within its industry.
Universities and higher education facilities hold massive amounts of digital assets from different faculties, across different channels and formats. Managing them efficiently and effectively can be difficult, not to mention time-consuming. DAM platforms provide both faculty and students with a shared cloud library to access digital files, media, and curriculum material easily within a secured platform.
Government entities carry mass amounts of files and imagery assets from multiple departments that require an advanced level of organisation. With detailed tagging and metadata, DAM systems allow users to easily find any asset. This means digital assets relating to local projects (whether it be imagery, documents, forms and licences) can be accessed and linked to allow for a seamless search.
How to choose a digital asset management system
A DAM system is designed as an investment tool and a solution tailored to your business for its success. Successful DAM solutions require an inclusive system to provide efficiency and functionality for the business.
Choosing a DAM system takes time, research, consideration and input from Marketing, IT, Legal and Creative teams. This means identifying how a DAM system will serve as a centralised space for your digital asset collection while solving asset lifecycle and workflow efficiency issues.
What to look for in a digital asset management system
Security and Storage Capacity
Expandable, secure storage means you only have to pay for the resources that you need, avoiding the need to purchase additional hosting or maintenance.
Cloud-based DAM systems offer remote access and a more secure, centralised space while allowing for scalability for a growing digital asset collection. This means advanced security measures and storage tailored by your DAM vendor on your behalf, so you remain in control of who has access.
Scalability is one of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a DAM. Digital assets need to be frequently uploaded, categorised and organised, so it’s important to find a DAM that can expand as your digital asset collection grows.
Features such as adding new users, expandable storage, archiving, asset lifecycle, and the ability to cater for business growth are essential to look out for in a DAM system.
Optimising the user experience with a user-friendly interface is paramount in a successful DAM. When multiple departments will have access to it, your centralised ecosystem must be straightforward to minimise the learning curve as much as possible for employees.
Ensuring that it is easily viewable from multiple devices will also ensure users can work within the space from multiple locations and devices.
Every business workspace is unique, so a successful DAM will be completely customisable to your work ecosystem and your digital asset collection. This means providing customised metadata, as well as having the ability to store and manage any file type and file size that your business requires.
Customisation is the detailed personalisation of digital assets and the way they are managed/presented. This includes focusing on the layout, messaging, content format and anything else required. It’s important to find a DAM solution that won’t just apply a templated model to your digital assets, but will work with you to create a customised asset management system.
Workflow efficiency & Integration
DAM systems are designed to optimise workflow efficiency and share compatibility with your existing team structure. This means offering API capabilities to successfully integrate with existing workspaces, programs, CMSs, and MarTech solutions within one centralised system.
A successful DAM is not just software, it’s a solution and an ongoing, long-term investment for your business. When choosing a vendor, make sure they offer onboarding, training, and a reachable customer support line for help when you need it. An assigned case manager from your vendor for employee training and the upkeep and regulation of your DAM system doesn’t hurt either. Having direct contact throughout the process to provide additional upload & tagging services will, in turn, give you more time to focus on the business – and to reap the benefits of the investment in DAM.
A common issue faced with businesses is dealing with companies with internationally-based support systems. It is important to find a DAM vendor who is locally based, matched with local support, and on-shore data storage.
Ongoing support with your DAM system is essential for its overall success. Finding a vendor who will support you throughout the implementation and beyond will be invaluable. It will also remove the risk of over-expenditure of time and resources.
Digital Asset Management Pricing
Pricing structures will differ on your DAM vendor and software features. DAM systems pricing guidelines depend on a range of inclusions, requirements and system types.
With that being said, be careful not to compromise on what kind of solution you currently require, while keeping an eye on the long-term outcomes.
Pricing structures may differ on the following inclusions:
- Additional services such as upload and metadata tagging
- Direct and local support
- On-shore data storage and data compliance
- Inclusion of multi-tiered storage across cloud and offline systems
- Cloud-based environments
- Customisable features
- Searchability functions
- Size of digital asset collection
How to set up a DAM
When it comes to setting up a DAM, there are several steps you need to take to ensure a smooth implementation and rollout:
1. 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.
2. Research & 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.
3. 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
- Remote and fragmented working practices mean people need remote access to digital assets.
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
4. Get Approval
There are usually three departments that are required to approve a DAM setup:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
Why Choose Collaboro for your digital asset management system?
Collaboro is an Australian Cloud-based DAM solution that empowers your teams to do more. Our DAM system 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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