Digital asset management is one of those growing areas of business and personal computing that can easily give you some logistical agita.

Otherwise known as DAM, it’s the name of the process for storing, finding, and keeping track of rich media, digital rights, and permissions. DAM is an essential component of the workflow that organizations must engage in if they’re going to manage large amounts of files, keep them secure, and collaborate.

The stakes are high. No matter the nature of your organization, there’s a high likelihood you have numerous media files, assets, and other content needed by numerous teams. Such information needs to be shared, as the sales team needs to keep up with the brand consistency that may have been developed by the marketing team.

With the rise of companies that want to manage all of your data in their cloud, coming up with a robust and successful Digital Asset Management solution that is centered around your needs, not some company's pre-existing suggestions, is very possible. Let’s break down DAM into some manageable steps so you can make the right decision for your situation.


THE DAM PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS

Any company should find a way to optimize the workflow of using your digital assets. This is why you need a comprehensive DAM system that’s tailored specifically to your business or the different departments of the organization.

For example, the IT team would be supportive of either a hosted solution or one that’s cloud-based with robust security behind it. The sales and marketing teams would appreciate the ability to have the necessary images and files all in one location and eligible for easy sharing with others. Additionally, designers can maintain a consistent workflow.

So not only does your DAM solution need to be workable and secure, it must also be flexible depending on what everyone’s needs are.


PROBLEM:WHICH DIGITAL ASSETS DO YOU NEED TO STORE?

Answer: The first major question is what type of information do you want to keep. For many businesses or small operations, the key is going to be the essential files that are particular to your business. Images and videos tend to be amongst the most essential in this area.

The key decider in this area is whether or not you want these files all saved to a cloud service and accessible by others on your team. Usually this is images, video, or other media files. If you have a CMS these can be essential files that need to be around for the life of your operation. Look for a solution that will give you the ability to save and find what you need. Here are some questions you ought to consider:

  • Who will need access to these files?

  • Will they remain in the organization or will assets be shared with others?

  • What types of resources need to be made available?

  • How does the system avoid bottlenecks with collaboration?

For this type of solution, you may also want to consider the collaboration aspect since sharing is the way that most people work now. Your solution needs to have the right amount of storage, be easy to access, and have sharing options. IntelligenceBank and Canto Digital Asset Management are some that might be worth considering.


PROBLEM: HOW MUCH DO YOU STORE? HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT MAKES THE CUT?

Answer: The cloud may seem like a limitless panacea of storage. It is and it isn’t. The cloud storage and enterprise productivity space is incredibly competitive right now, so you have a good number of options no matter the size of your organization. The key issue to consider when it comes to how much to store is really about cost.

The more of that cloud you rent, the higher it will cost you. Some type of cost-benefit analysis is ideal here for deciding if you want an entire segment of your media files saved online. Additionally, many vendors offer a trial or in-depth demonstration, like this one from MerlinOne. There are a lot of different companies fighting for your business in this space, so put such offers to work.

 

Other vendors in this area like WebDAM and Bynder are ones to watch.  When it comes to storage, you’ll want to keep the following in mind:

  • Is the storage offering a good value?

  • Who needs to have access to the files?

What is the security backend to the cloud storage solution?


PROBLEM: HOW DO YOU ORGANIZE YOUR DIGITAL ASSETS?

Answer: Do you miss your librarian yet? You should, because when you’re managing terabytes of digital files, a flexible and logical organizational schema  is key. This is why jobs like Digital Asset Coordinator exist. But the reason why this is so critical isn’t just for members of your organization to find your assets, it’s also a major issue for customers as well.

Think about when you fire up a retail app and search for some of those hot, new cat treats. The ability to find them quickly and without much searching is the result of good digital asset management. Keywords, proper storage of metadata, and investing in the right solution are all matters that should be considered. Brandobility, for example, recommends focusing on the following:

  • Preparing your assets

  • Establishing a taxonomy

  • Defining roles and permissions

  • Archiving your content

  • Improving user adoption


PROBLEM: HOW WILL YOU KEEP YOUR DIGITAL ASSETS SECURE?

Answer: OK, so all of your company’s assets are in one cloud. Great! Of course, that means that all of your company’s assets are...in one place. I’ve found that many DAM providers offer single sign-on options that can ensure you move from one element of your platform to another without the need to continually sign in and out. We see this in related industries. For example, Salesforce recently purchased Quip and integrated its platform so that all you have to do is sign in with your Salesforce ID. It’s a good way to ensure that all of that information is securely stored and accessible.

Box is a long-trusted solution that’s specifically focused on enterprise storage and collaboration. There are definitely other competitors, but this is a good place to start if you want a company that’s been doing this well for a long time in this space.


PROBLEM: HOW WILL YOU FIND THE TIME TO DO ALL OF THE ABOVE?

Answer: Burgeoning to-do lists aren't  exclusive to DAM. But managing your digital assets  brings its own challenges, with digital asset management touching multiple levels of an organization. The rise of different jobs within an organization that are assigned specifically to DAM may be part of the equation here. Many organizations post jobs for and have individuals on staff whose responsibilities are to be the head of digital assets or serve as a new style of librarian. Depending on the type of archive your organization has, this might be the route to go.

Most likely you’re on the frontline when it comes to handling the DAM for your organization. If this is the case, you’ll want to look at the dashboard and other management features that are offered by the particular DAM you’re interested in. For example, WebDAM offers a brand portal that gives you control over your assets. Same thing for Templafy, which offers a rather clean interface.

Choosing a DAM solution is no easy task. The bottom line is that it’s best to keep an eye on a focused set of needs to help you decide on the best offering to go with:

  • Security

  • Storage needs

  • Collaboration features

  • Notifications and other real-time updates

  • Cloud availability

Another potential resource is this DAM guide from WebDAM. While the company is of course promoting its own services, the whitepaper does offer some more detailed analysis in a lot of different areas.