Whitepaper Digital Asset Management: Definition, Benefits, Selection Criteria and More

Images, videos, audio files, text documents, 3D files. Companies accumulate countless files. Many already have a large number of digital assets. The problem is that it’s often difficult to find files and distribute them on different channels. Digital asset management systems offer a remedy. In this article, you will learn what distinguishes a DAM system and when a DAM solution makes sense for companies. We will also show you in which business areas DAM systems are used. For those who want to learn more about DAM systems, we offer our free whitepaper for download.

Download Whitepaper “Digital Asset Management – DAM System Guide”

In our whitepaper:

  • you get a definition of the DAM system
  • we give you an overview of current challenges in data retrieval
  • we distinguish DAM systems from CMS and classic folder structures
  • you will get a differentiation of different DAM systems
  • we introduce you to the functions of DAM systems
  • we offer you an overview of the areas of application
  • we clarify the question when a DAM system makes sense for you
  • we show you the most important advantages
  • you receive selection criteria for your suitable DAM solution

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DAM System Definition

Companies sometimes use a number of different systems for managing data and media. Well-known systems include media asset management (MAM) systems, product information management (PIM) systems, and content management systems (CMS). So how does a DAM system fit into these solutions?

Digital Asset Management systems are primarily databases, just like MAM and PIM. However, DAM systems do more than just store data and media content. They centralize, structure and standardize digital assets. They also enable digital content to be exported on a channel-specific basis.

Sounds a bit like the definition of a PIM or MAM system? Basically, all three management systems work in the same way. But: they focus on different data formats. Want to learn more about the differences? In our article on PIM systems you will find a differentiation between DAM, MAM and PIM.

Digital Assets

Digital assets are files that are classified, indexed, versioned, protected, formatted, and stored for efficient enterprise use. The greatest attraction of a digital asset, however, is the metadata it stores. DAM systems can trigger this. The information stored in metadata allows employees in the organization to quickly and easily find files such as images or videos. Metadata includes information such as the file type, resolution, an author or the creation date. Employees can also use metadata to tag digital assets and add descriptions.

Digital Asset Management: DAM systems handle these tasks

DAM solutions take into account a wide range of files and content relevant to marketing. Instead of being limited to media files, they manage 3D content, PDFs and other text documents, and much more. Thus, DAM solutions go much further in managing files than a CMS. In addition, a DAM system performs multiple tasks. It is responsible for the creation of digital assets, the management of digital assets, and the channel-specific distribution of digital content.

A DAM system performs functions such as:

  • Importing digital assets
  • Extracting metadata and converting files
  • Enriching existing metadata with additional information
  • Structuring of digital assets
  • Tagging of digital assets
  • Rights and license management
  • Search and preview functions
  • Creation of asset collections
  • Connection to other systems for data export
  • Download delivery of digital assets

How a DAM system is structured varies depending on the requirements of the company. A rough distinction is made between horizontal and vertical DAM systems, each with a different focus. Horizontal DAM systems in particular provide important support for marketing. This is because they primarily enable the distribution of digital content across the board. Companies that want to reach their customers on a variety of channels should therefore rely on a horizontal DAM system, for example.

But at what point does a DAM solution make sense at all? Is DAM software already worthwhile for small companies? Or only for large companies?

When is DAM software worthwhile?

As usual, it is not possible to make a blanket statement about the sensible use of DAM software. However, it is generally apparent that the need for DAM solutions is growing. This is because 48 percent of companies confirm that searching for and publishing digital assets inhibits employee productivity. This is the conclusion of the benchmark report “The State of Digital Asset Mangement 2020“. The reason: there is no “single source of truth” that can manage digital assets smartly. The question of when DAM software is worthwhile for your company should be evaluated individually. However, some aspects speak for the use of a digital asset management solution:

  1. The volume of data and digital assets is increasing significantly or is already very extensive.
  2. You work with many different service providers who need to access digital content.
  3. Searching for digital content is resource intensive.
  4. You work globally, in multiple locations. Employees need access to digital assets across locations.
  5. You want to increase the currency and quality of your digital assets.
  6. You want to further enhance data security.

Especially if several factors come together in your company, it makes sense to implement DAM software. Of course, it tends to be larger companies to which this applies. But: even a fast-growing company should consider a DAM system from the beginning, if possible. By intelligently storing your assets early in growth, you create opportunities to respond more quickly to expanding customer touchpoints. And they work efficiently in broad areas where competitors sometimes still have to search for their assets at great expense.

Corporate DAM

What are digital asset management tools suitable for? Anyone who integrates software into their company’s system landscape naturally wants to know in which areas the software will be used effectively. With their extensive functions, DAM systems are very versatile in this context. However, the main areas of application are basically in marketing and – due to data centralization – in IT. In marketing, a digital asset management system helps with brand management as well as product communication and media production. It also simplifies coordination processes and media provision in marketing and communications. Last but not least, DAM software allows you to centrally control your usage rights for images, videos and other digital media. This minimizes the risk of outdated or incorrect licenses.

Implementation requires change management

Regardless of whether you choose an on-premise or cloud DAM solution: To ensure that DAM is used efficiently in your company, you should definitely accompany the implementation. The goal is to get all employees in the company on board through active change management. Ultimately, they not only have to accept the change, but also adapt processes and maintain them in the long term. Therefore, don’t just get lost in requirement catalogs and cost comparisons. Actively involve your employees in the implementation.

Are you looking for the right DAM software? In our white paper, we have collected some selection criteria that will help you narrow down your search.

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