In this day and age, the demand for digital assets (such as images, videos, photos, documents and other marketing collateral) has skyrocketed. Accor-ding to Radiant Insights, this trend will continue in the following years.
Therefore, it is becoming more and more important to bring structure into the growing pile of digital data and find ways to share and edit them within and across organizations.
Digital asset management (DAM) helps organize this often-neglected field of business practice.
In this article, we summarize all necessary information about DAM: What does it entail, why is it important, and (above all) what kind of system is most suitable for the needs of your company?
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What Is Digital Asset Management? (And What Are Digital Assets)?
Soon, we’ll get into different DAM systems, their applications, and their benefits (not only for users, but also for the company as a whole). But first, we’ll start from scratch by providing a proper definition of a digital asset. The term “digital” implies a binary format, while “asset” implies a right to be used. In simple terms, a digital asset refers to a digital file, which is owned by somebody.
DAM allows users to store, access, edit, and share all digital assets. Obviously, a good DAM system should safeguard against any potential data loss or theft via regular backups and synching. Furthermore, DAM systems should facilitate project collaboration by allowing authorized users to comment, make annotations, give feedback, and edit or reformat the files.
Therefore, a good DAM system should be able to organize multiple operations that involve digital assets. These operations include:
- Asset creation – This term refers to creating new digital assets, such as scanning documents and saving them on a hard drive.
- Editing and reviewing – Assets-in-progress (such as unfinished video files) need to be edited and reviewed by various members of your organization (both within it and outside it).
- Indexing – Authorized personnel should be able to easily find and use relevant assets, including metadata.
- Safety procedures – These procedures (such as version controls) are important ways to prevent the accidental deletion of files.
- Sharing and access control – You need to prevent unauthorized users from accessing files. Meanwhile, authorized users should have the right to access and share particular files (such as product photos and media kits).
Why Digital Asset Management Is Important
As you can see from this Report on Global Digital Content Market, the demand for digital assets has been rapidly increasing. With the advent of Social Media, video content needs to be distributed via numerous digital outlets (such as YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram), and it needs to be customized according to the requirements of every single platform.
But this demand is just the tip of the iceberg: Even simple written content needs to be adapted according to the different target groups of every platform. For instance, Facebook posts have a different tonality than LinkedIn posts. This differentiation has led to an increasing pile of content that needs to be efficiently managed, in order to smoothen the workflow and prevent data loss. DAM helps employees easily store, find, and distribute digital assets without losing valuable time.
Furthermore, as companies are increasingly democratizing their decision-making processes, they are producing more content, which needs to be reviewed and shared across several different departments (and even between organizations).
To illustrate this democratization, a newly rendered product picture usually falls under the responsibility of the marketing function, and it’s either created in-house or by a third party (e.g., a creative agency). Once the first rendering is finished, it needs to be shared with the product designers to see if there are any mistakes. This feedback needs to be shared with the in-house rendering function or the agency. This step usually repeats itself several times, until all parties agree on the end result.
After the process is finished, the picture needs to be shared, as web designers need to upload it onto the product webpage. And if the company in question operates globally, subsidiaries in all local markets need to have access to the picture.
DAM is vital from a content-management perspective, and it can help implement company guidelines and institutional regulations. Especially in industries involving sensitive data (such as the financial sector), access to these assets needs to be carefully managed.
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