Digital Asset Management (DAM) continues to help organizations across every industry improve efficiency and transparency. But where do you begin if you’re selecting your first DAM system? Or replacing a legacy system? We want to share with you 16 top tips for selecting a DAM system that have helped guide our customers through the DAM selection process.
Table of Contents
Here are 15 simple steps on how Digital Asset Management drives efficiency and transparency at your company today in a nutshell:
- Evaluate Metadata Input Methods.
- Ensure the DAM System’s Ability to Scale.
- Consider the Degree of System Customization.
- Determine Cataloging Capabilities.
- Make Sure it Can Integrate with Other Systems.
- Review Hosting Options.
- Choose Video Capabilities.
- Evaluate Asset Search Sophistication.
- Ascertain Fit with Existing Business Processes.
- Scope Out Permissions.
- Scrutinize Workflow Capabilities.
- Verify Security Features.
- Investigate Vendor Track Record.
- Assess Customer Support.
- Explore Usage Reporting and Analytics.
1. Evaluate Metadata Input Methods.
User adoption of a DAM system depends on metadata entry, and sometimes getting metadata into existing assets is no small project. Make sure you review capabilities, either manual or automated, to input crucial custom metadata, and that your system can ingest existing metadata standards such as XMP.
To learn more about the importance of Metadata and best practices, download our White Paper below.
2. Ensure the DAM System’s Ability to Scale.
It should go without saying that a DAM system should be able to easily scale to any sufficiently large number of media assets, but it should also easily scale by number of users in a way that makes pricing sense.
3. Consider the Degree of System Customization.
Every enterprise is a unique ecosystem of people, processes and systems. Your DAM system should be flexible enough to meet the needs of your users. Understand how simple or complex it will be to configure the DAM – for instance, find out if it requires tons of custom code or simple setting adjustments to dial it in.
4. Determine Cataloging Capabilities.
Any reasonable DAM system should be able to present assets in catalogs that are curated for specific users, both inside and outside of your enterprise.
5. Make Sure it Can Integrate with Other Systems.
Any enterprise DAM system should offer a robust API that enables systems integration, all the way from systems like Web CMS to ERP, PIM, eCommerce, CRM and even Adobe tools.
6. Review Hosting Options.
Match your prospective DAM systems with your existing IT infrastructure and do a cost/benefit analysis of on premise, cloud or hybrid deployment. If your IT staff is a skeleton crew then cloud hosting may be right for you, but if you are a large organization with dedicated IT resources and security mandates, then on premise or hybrid could be the right choice.
7. Choose Video Capabilities.
If video is critical to your communication strategy, your DAM system should be able to manage video and associated metadata as seamlessly as other forms of rich media, including local and remote broadcast functionality.
8. Evaluate Asset Search Sophistication.
The assets in a digital asset management system are only useful if you can find them. Strong DAM systems have many search filters and advanced ones are bringing in new and sophisticated search techniques and technologies.
9. Ascertain Fit with Existing Business Processes.
Dropping a DAM system in an existing ecosystem of users and workflows is never easy. Map out your business processes and see where DAM can help not hinder the most productive ones and eliminate the cumbersome ones.
10. Scope Out Permissions.
Making assets only available to those who need them is an important business practice that a DAM system should support. Permissions should be available at catalog, group and even individual asset levels. Consider not only who can see which assets, but also what they can do with them – in terms of hi-res, low-res and watermark depending on user.
11. Scrutinize Workflow Capabilities.
Think about whether you need to support formal and/or informal marketing workflows between different people and groups within the enterprise. DAM workflows often come into play during asset production, as well as approval processes.
To learn more about how Merlin’s Workflow Engine Tools function, download our White Paper below.
12. Verify Security Features.
Keep your assets safe knowing that you can share files, images, photos, and videos securely using security encryption or HIPAA compliance.
13. Investigate Vendor Track Record.
Go with a trusted vendor with an established DAM platform and list of clients. DAM is a multidimensional field and it takes time to build up the expertise to serve clients well.
14. Assess Customer Support.
You want to select a DAM vendor who will support your system with true customer care and dedicated support staff. DAM is an ongoing program, not just an installation.
15. Explore Usage Reporting and Analytics.
Business managers should be able to keep a running scorecard of DAM adoption, such as who is using what, when and where, for decision making and system optimization. Learn more about the enhanced ad-hoc reporting capabilities within the Merlin DAM here.