Digital asset management solutions are becoming more innovative and useful every day, thanks to technology advancements such as Big Data and analytics, artificial intelligence, better integration with existing platforms, and other improvements. It’s not yet a perfect technology, and the coming years are likely to bring even more sophisticated capabilities and functionality.
To gain some insight into some of the challenges users face in working with digital asset management as well as solutions for managing the systems, processes, people, and the software technology itself, we rounded up 50 expert tips and insights below related to the current state of these DAM facets, as well as some informative predictions about what the future of DAM holds in store.
Browse below for insights on:
- DAM Systems and Processes
- DAM Software Challenges and Solutions
- The People Component in Digital Asset Management
- The Future of Digital Asset Management
DAM Systems and Processes
1. Most companies don’t have the tools and processes in place to produce and manage a large volume of creative assets. “The truth is, most companies don’t have the tools and processes in place to manage and maintain the high volume of creative assets they are producing. They make due with various disconnected technology and tools. Asset requests are made in email where things like feedback and changes are easily lost. Specifications are put in Google Docs.
“Files get shared in a confusing Dropbox or Google Drive folder structure but then the approvals are made via chat and on and on. This is just the process for creating an asset! Fast forward a couple months and the people who need these in the first place can’t find latest version. Often, old branded material is sent to customers, images with expired licenses are still live on the blog, no one can search for available assets across the company so people start making their own, and/or money and time get spent recreating assets that already exist but can’t be found. The bottom line is it’s a mess and a problem that compounds itself with every passing week.” – Stephen Skidmore, Overcoming Creative Content Challenges with Digital Asset Management, Acquia; Twitter: @acquia
2. Companies need to think about how much to store and what to cut, as the more you store, the greater the costs. “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.” – Derek Walter, Identify and Solve Your Digital Asset Management Problems, IT Pro Today; Twitter: @ITProToday
3. Big Data should come into play when large volumes of assets are managed. “For many DAM users, the volume of assets they plan to manage does not take it anywhere near to the kind of scale where Big Data should be on the agenda. Even after a number of years, many enterprise DAMs might not make it north of six figures in terms of asset volumes and the repository storage sizes are often in the single or double figure terabyte range – typically even less if there is little or no HD video content involved. Obviously, there are exceptions to those figures and I am just considering average numbers here. Over a period of time, it is likely that they will get towards a scale where Big Data techniques become necessary, but not at a speed that makes it operationally significant for decision makers right now purely for DAM.” – Ralph Windsor, Big Data And The Integrated Future For Small DAM Systems, DAM News; Twitter: @DAMNEWS
4. Digital asset management solutions with poor usability struggle to gain adoption. “DAM systems that are not easy to use because they have clunky user interfaces or poor taxonomy/metadata development inherently have poor user adoption. What’s a clunky UI you ask? Generally speaking, over-gridded, over-cluttered, over-segmented interfaces with in an overabundance of features most users won’t use tend to be clunky. Systems with good UI design make a big difference for advancing user adoption. Solid taxonomies/metadata structures allow assets to be found easily. If a user can easily find what he or she is looking for in DAM library, then they’ll come back again. Additionally, vendors who offer training and best practices in setting up the system, counting taxonomies and metadata structures, are among the most important factors in selecting a digital asset management system.” – Jake Athey, Overcoming Digital Asset Management Challenges, Widen; Twitter: @WidenEnterprise
5. Lost assets result in a loss of time and increased costs. “One of the main problems that businesses face with managing their digital assets is files becoming inadvertently lost or destroyed. Think of how many resources and employee hours go into creating images, videos, documents and other content for your business. Can you really afford to just leave your content investments hanging out to dry or buried in an obscure drive where nobody can find them?
- On average, most employees look for media files 83 times a week but fail to find it 35% of the time
- DAM solutions reduce these types of failure to less than 5%
“To protect your digital assets and save company time, DAM provides faster creation, storage, search and distribution of your business digital assets. There is also less of a chance that you will have to invest into resources for lost project files and media. It can even help you realize other savings by tracking rights usage information so you can avoid fees related to improper usage, license violations, and other compliance-related issues.” – Why Your Business Needs Digital Asset Management, Acrodex; Twitter: @Acrodex
6. Without a solid DAM solution, creative teams lose control over assets once they’re distributed. “Without a digital asset management solution, the creative team loses power and cannot control the asset once it is distributed. But in order to stay nimble and keep up with the speed of the internet, we have to give teams access to assets and trust they will be used correctly.
“How can we turn over brand assets and still have some control over their use?
“If you want to break down silos and give teams the freedom to use brand assets, you have to be incredibly organized and establish appropriate workflows. DAM solutions allow creative teams to control who can access certain assets, and create workflows for efficient editing and approval processes.” – Jenay Sellers, 5 DAM Problems with Easy Solutions; Brandfolder; Twitter: @Brandfolder
7. One of the biggest challenges companies face in implementing DAM solutions is simply getting started. “One of the biggest challenges people face when determining how their organization will incorporate a DAM solution is getting started. It can feel like a daunting task to analyze your entire workflow, but understanding how people acquire, create, organize, distribute, and archive assets can help address bottlenecks and plan for the future.
“Examining your current processes and infrastructure is important, too. What software and hardware do you already have? Are there other systems you need to integrate with?” – Amy Chan, What is Digital Asset Management and How Do I Choose the Right Solution?, Extensis; Twitter: @extensis
8. If your team is struggling to locate assets or you’re experiencing workflow bottlenecks or inconsistencies, it’s time to consider a digital asset management solution. “For organizations in most industries, the percentage of their total assets that are digital (as opposed to tangible) has increased exponentially over the last 30 years. The need for a DAM system typically arises after an organization has reached the point where their library of digital assets (images, documents, video, etc.) has become so large that it can no longer effectively be managed on CDs and hard drives. Often times this can occur at only a few thousand files. This problem usually manifests itself with time wasted locating assets, workflow bottlenecks and inefficiencies, brand consistency and quality assurance issues, and delayed time to market for products or services associated with digital files. At this point a centralized, web-based, enterprise quality DAM solution is needed.” – DAM Value Proposition, NetX
9. Implementing a DAM can improve workflows as well as asset usage. “Increasingly DAM systems are either being developed with workflow management capabilities or are integrated with specialized third-party project management tools to track the use or creation of assets. Each approach has its merits based on the organization or solution needs regarding assets use. By some estimates a DAM solution can save upwards of 2.5 hours per resource per week—which is roughly $5000 per person year; so a team with 10 designers could be looking at $50,000 of time that can be redirected. Some productivity advantages with utilizing workflow tools within a centralized system are:
- Ability to leverage existing assets,
- Ability to track creative development in a system of record while providing collaboration space with greater visibility to progress,
- Automated reviews and approvals
- Ability to release completed and approved assets directly to the DAM for access” – Mark Pierce, Digital Asset Management Systems: Benefits for In-House Creative Groups, Cella; Twitter: @CellaConsulting
10. Enterprises need a global system of record (SOR). “As enterprise marketing teams develop increasingly global strategies for their content, enterprise marketing teams need a centralized, cloud or SaaS-based system for digital assets. The DAM can be the system of record (SOR); a technical term for software which is used to define the ‘authoritative data source for a given data element or piece of information.’ Not only should DAM serve as a SOR, it should also serve as the centralized point of activity for marketing workflows, including asset approval, updates, modifications, and information on usage.” – Digital Asset Management Software for Enterprises: 7 Massive Benefits, Pica9; Twitter: @Pica9
11. A digital workplace strategy is more than the sum of its parts, and linking data across systems and platforms eliminates silos. “All [DAM, wikis, and intranets] are knowledge/information-containing repositories across your enterprise that exist to house company IP, codify tacit knowledge into records and connect people with information.
“None of this matters if you aren’t applying metadata, including linked data, across your digital ecosystem and fostering a culture of radical documentation. A culture of radical documentation implies companies know the following:
- When employees leave companies, knowledge can be lost.
- Creations are intellectual property and need to be preserved and shared.
- If you don’t learn from the past, you are doomed to repeat it.
“If there is anything that an intranet can teach us, it is that linked data eats silos for breakfast and that a culture of radical documentation ensures preservation of corporate memory, history, processes and knowledge-sharing.” – Emily Kolvitz, A Digital Workplace Strategy Is More Than Its Parts, CMS Wire; Twitter: @CMSWire
12. Many marketing teams need to make minor alterations to content, such as adapting copy to different languages. “Minor alterations — such as copy changes to existing campaigns — can be made cheaply and efficiently. That benefit is multiplied many times over for teams that work in different time zones and need to adapt copy for different languages.” – Christabelle Tani, Why Today’s Marketers Need a Digital Asset Management (DAM) System, Simple HQ; Twitter: @SimpleHQ
13. Smart use of metadata improves enterprise search. “The old adage ‘garbage in, garbage out’ applies to this day, particularly in enterprise search. If you create content that you hope to reliably find again, play your role to insure your search works right without any guessing games: use the metadata!” – Miles Kehoe, Improve Enterprise Search by Putting Your Metadata to Work, CMS Wire; Twitter: @CMSWire
14. Machine-aided indexing is often better than purely human-led or automated indexing approaches. “When conference speakers and others state that automated indexing has been proven repeatedly in test comparisons to be more ‘reliable’ and more ‘consistent’ than human/manual indexing, while true, that does not mean it is better. Human indexing is certainly not as consistent, as two trained indexers will not index exactly the same way, but the way they differ is rarely so substantial. One indexer may add an additional index term. Another indexer may index with a slightly different, but related, term. Automated indexing, on the other hand, while consistent, is not as correct. Depending on the method, it can be approximately 20% inaccurate, indexing with completely wrong terms or completely missing the most appropriate terms. That’s where ‘machine-aided indexing’ comes in, where indexing is initially automated, but a human quickly reviews the suggested terms, adding or deleting terms as appropriate.” – Heather Hedden, Auto-categorization and Taxonomies, The Accidental Taxonomist; Twitter: @hhedden
DAM Software Challenges and Solutions
15. DAM systems range from single-user applications to complete enterprise-grade software systems, and it’s important to know the difference. “DAM technology originated as a departmental tool: a sort of ‘iPhoto on steroids,’ enabling marketers or photographers to organize and search their brand assets or snapshots over the last year (or more) of photo shoots. When we first started evaluating the technology about 5 years ago, the primary complaint from most enterprises customers was lack of scalability. ‘We took it beyond the marketing department and it croaked.’
“Today, though, about half the vendors we cover in our DAM vendor evaluation research are large-enterprise or large-implementation suitable, while many we categorize as workgroup or departmental are still barely scalable beyond a few dozen users and a few thousand assets.
“All vendors will tell you their platforms are ‘enterprise grade.’ Don’t believe them. If the real story is that DAM systems range from single-user desktop applications to full-blown enterprise software systems, how do you know the difference?” – Theresa Regli, Challenge of Scale Part 7 – Digital Asset Management, Real Story Group; Twitter: @realstorygroup
16. Auto-tagging still requires human intervention in some cases to be truly useful. “Ralph and I came to similar conclusions: in most cases the auto-suggested tags keywords coming from APIs such as Google Cloud Vision are not yet good enough to be added directly to assets in a DAM application without human intervention.
“The reason I wrote in most cases is because during our user testing we have found exceptions to this. For example, one of our clients manages images for a tourist board that has a large number of photos of outdoor scenes. They found that, although the auto-suggested keywords were not 100% accurate, they were good enough – especially when they considered that, because of the volume of images they have to process on a daily basis, without the auto-suggested keywords their assets don’t receive any keywords at all.
“My summary is that, using the online APIs available at the time of writing, auto-suggested tags could add value to your DAM application if:
- Most of your images contain subjects that the APIs have learnt about. This is an obvious point that highlights a key issue: you and your DAM application are not in control of how these systems learn. Their learning process is opaque but a good guess is that most of them are learning using images from the web (as well as other sources). So if your images are mostly of generic subjects often found on web pages – for example, shots of nature or people – then your results are more likely to be accurate.
- You can tolerate some wrong keywords and some missing keywords. At present these APIs have not learned enough to get it right all the time, even if your images are ‘of the right sort’.
- The alternative is worse, e.g. you just don’t have the time or money to manually add keywords to every image.” – Martin Wilson, AI In DAM: The Challenges And Opportunities, DAM News; Twitter: @DAMNEWS
17. Multimedia complexity challenges DAMs. “‘Digital Asset Management’ is a tough term to define, seeing as it’s a marketing term as much as anything else. Designers of software tools are always working to differentiate their products in the marketplace and to be able to claim ‘best of breed’ status for whatever vertical they define. DAM as a category is no different, but beyond the surface confusion there are real differences in what DAMs do versus other differentiations such as Enterprise Content Management, Document Management or Content Management Systems.
“DAM focuses to a greater degree on complex content and on maximizing the ability to access and reuse it. ‘Complex content’ generally means multimedia (which the advertising industry often calls ‘rich media’), including images, video, audio and materials with a dynamic complexity. DAM tools also concentrate to a greater degree on integration with creative authoring tools (such as layout, design and video and audio editing applications) to allow asset managers ready access to their content storage infrastructure for re-use purposes.
“Multimedia complexity challenges DAMs in their ‘day jobs’ but it’s even more challenging as they start to address longer-term preservation and stewardship issues.” – Butch Lazorchak, DAMs Vs. LAMs: It’s On!, Library of Congress; Twitter: @libraryconngress
18. Determining where DAM reports in an organization can be challenging. “The question of where DAM reports in the organization can prove more vexing than expected — should it be treated as an IT application owned by the Corporate MIS team, a production platform run by, say, the Broadcast Operations group, or a business capability reporting, say, to the Chief Marketing Officer? Larger companies, especially, can find this question challenging if they have separated IT and production operations into distinct groups with individual value systems. DAM is an ‘application’ that may not fall neatly into the value system of any one group — looking very IT-like in its technology platforms and infrastructure, while being deeply embedded in the content creation and delivery pipeline.” – The DAM Leadership Challenge — Transitioning from Project to Operations, Cognizant; Twitter: @Cognizant
19. Voice and audio search technology improves findability for video and voice assets. “How do you make a video/audio file searchable without paying someone to sit down and type out a transcript (an expensive and time consuming process)? Or do you have to sit someone down and have him or her view hours and hours of video?
“About 5 years ago we looked at this question from the point of view of some of our media customers. Until then the only way to search a video file was by its filename, which frequently was some cryptic, machine-generated useless label. We wondered if there was some way to make the spoken words INSIDE the video or audio file available without human labor, so we started experimenting.
“The end result is the ability to type in a search term, and if it appears in a caption, or a Word document, or a spreadsheet, or a video or audio file, it is at your fingertips. If a video or audio file, just click on the hit and the video is automatically queued up 5 seconds before your term appears, and you can quickly decide if it is important to you, or not.” – Behind Digital Asset Management: Video/Audio Search Technology, MerlinOne; Twitter: @MerlinOne_Inc
20. Storage scalability is key for DAMs. “To scale with minimal impact on existing users, you need to be able to introduce additional storage locations without the necessity to transfer all existing assets to a new consolidated facility. So you should be able to just bolt on new storage and the DAM will start using it in addition to what you already have. At key points you may well need to consolidate everything to reduce the management overhead of having numerous storage locations, but that should be an optional choice which you can plan for at your discretion, not something forced on you by the limitations of the vendor’s product.” – Ralph Windsor, Making It Big In DAM, DAM News; Twitter: @DAMNEWS
21. It’s easier to adopt DAM while an organization is smaller (and with a smaller volume of assets), as it’s easier to organize a smaller volume of assets in a new solution. “Why use digital asset management software when one can organize the assets on his own? According to a report by Harvard Business Review, digital assets have doubled in the past 15 years. This is in lieu of firms investing resources into digitizing their physical assets. Seeing as digital assets are becoming a norm across various sectors, it’s easy to say that it might fully take over the industry and it would be best for businessmen to think of better ways to organize their assets.
“The digital asset management market is already big as of this year and it’s worth $2.44 billion this 2017. A report by Markets And Markets suggests that the sector will grow to $5.66 billion by 2022. A wise move for investors would be to rely on digital assets as soon as they can; organizing these assets will be a lot easier.” – What Is Digital Asset Management Software: Analysis of Features, Benefits and Pricing, FinancesOnline.com; Twitter: @Financesonline
22. If you don’t have access to IT support or infrastructure, a cloud DAM is best. “If you won’t have support from IT professionals, or you don’t have server hardware suitable for DAM use, Cloud DAM is a virtual requirement. Unlike Photoshop or Microsoft Office, you can’t just install enterprise digital asset management software on a user’s computer, turn it on and start reaping the benefits. DAM software must be configured to reflect the way you work and the goals you have set.” – Cloud DAM vs. Installed On-Premise, Picturepark; Twitter: @Picturepark
23. Rather than look for a single solution that solves all your technology needs, look for specialized solutions that play well together. “It seems like the ideal solution would be for someone to build a tool that could do everything for everyone, using resources such as databases and bandwidth seamlessly and without logjams or delays, accessible by any department at any time, and easily upgradeable over the long term – a comprehensive solution that could serve marketing, operations, sales, customer service, human resources, accounting and more. Unfortunately, such a solution doesn’t exist, and it may never exist. More importantly, you may not actually want it to exist.
“Why not? Because tools made to serve a very specific purpose, created by people who specialize in that purpose and are passionate about really doing a limited number of things very well, are always better at solving a particular problem than a tool set meant to be everything to everyone. Invariably, tool sets that try to be everything to everyone have severe weaknesses in one or more functions that are outside the core competencies of the original core business problem(s) the software set out to solve.
“The key isn’t having one giant software suite that does everything; the key is to have specialized software solutions that are all designed to play well together.” – John Zimmerer, Digital Asset Management: Solution or Part of the CX Problem?, Topdown; Twitter: @TopDownSystems
24. A DAM without version control capabilities can lead to expensive problems. “In their DAM, everyone has old versions of their company logo, or the less-than-perfect product shots, documents showing a product name that was later changed before release, or that photo of their CEO from the wrong angle. An object worked on by a collaborative team ended up going through 5 revisions, and we need the latest one in a hurry. Also, did legal get the final one, or did they only approve an early version? How about product ‘X’ where we learned its name violated a copyright, so we had to re-shoot the pictures with its new name: which version did the ad agency grab for their video spot?
“What could possibly go wrong?
“Outside of lawsuits, lost time, missed deadlines, the impact of rework, and an irritated CEO, not much.
25. Easy, browser-based sharing, search, and workflow capabilities are also important elements of DAM software. “DAMs should be intuitive and easy to use, allowing creatives to contribute assets, and marketers to find relevant and approved assets.
“Easy, browser-based sharing is essential, alongside security, metadata, search, workflow capabilities and scalability into the millions of assets. Systems should support video and format conversions, previews and editing capabilities on images and other media.” – Jackie Dove, Digital Asset Management: Why it’s something you should be doing, The Next Web; Twitter: @TheNextWeb
26. Speed is crucial in a DAM system. “Let’s trace the course of the terrific photo you are waiting for, from shooting at the Red Carpet to your desktop. The photographer shoots it, adds caption information and uploads it via WiFi (via email, FTP, or some upload process) to your DAM. There it pops into a folder with stuff coming in from all your input channels, some of which arrived ahead of it (the backlog). Your DAM chews thru each preceding object one at a time, and for each one it has to extract the metadata, make thumbnails of different sizes, insert a record into the database, and index all the fields so it is searchable. How long does all this take: ‘it depends’. How big is the backlog, how slow is your thumbnail generation, how quickly is a new record indexed?
“Best practice, by the way, for a special event is to setup a special high priority input queue just for Red Carpet material, so no other incoming traffic can slow things down. A good DAM can input a new object in ~250 milliseconds, so there should be no waiting.” – In a DAM, Speed is all that Matters, MerlinOne; Twitter: @MerlinOne_Inc
27. Digital rights management is imperative. “When a company purchases an image from a stock photo provider, they receive a license with specific instructions on when, where and how they can use it. But a contributor might just search for images and post what they find without first considering copyright infringement and what could happen if its violated.
“The best way to avoid copyright infringement from user-generated or professional content is to understand the ins and outs of digital rights management and make the essentials known to your contributors. That way employees and users who post your images on your site or social media channels can clearly see when and how they may use that image.
28. A good DAM system can reduce risks associated with locally-stored files. “When my computer is the sole storage location for the content I produce, my computer becomes extremely valuable. What should be worth a thousand bucks or so, suddenly becomes worth tens of thousands of dollars or more, depending on the enterprise value (or loss estimate) of the content therein.
“If I lose the computer, or the hard drive crashes, we’re screwed. If I my laptop is stolen, and I’ve just been working on industrial designs for the iPhone 8, what’s that loss worth? Not only do we no longer have those files, but someone else now does.
“Content that is developed under the employment of an organization most typically belongs to that organization. The onus is on the organization to ensure that content (investment) is protected. Granted, even with a DAM or other content system in place, an employee might forget to move works-in-progress to the system; but policy can educate (threaten) employees to help them develop good habits. And with some systems, the copying of locally developed content to the enterprise system might even be automatic.” – David Diamond, The Worst Way to Measure DAM ROI, DAM Survival Guide; Twitter: @DAMSurvival
The People Component in Digital Asset Management
29. Remember that it takes people to keep a DAM system running properly, and not necessarily IT. “More people are interested in getting a Digital Asset Management system to help them actually manage their thousands or even millions of digital assets they are accumulating every year. Storage is much easier today, but actually managing and finding what is needed in a timely manner takes more effort. Once an organization selects one of the 200+ possible DAM systems and get it operational, a harsh reality sets in which few people talk about… It still takes people to keep the system working properly. To be clear, I am not referring to people running on a hamster wheel to make it run. They run more in the sense of a mechanical turk. Not like the crowdsourcing service available today, but often an internal service with institutional knowledge of your organization’s workflow, business, culture and other needs. Yes, I am referring to people embedded within your organization or at least working closely with the teams of people who request assets, create assets, upload assets, meta tag assets (kind of important part often overlooked), distribute assets where they are needed repeatedly. It is a thankless job few people understand.
“This is not an IT function. If the DAM ‘works as designed’ and it often does, IT often does not care.” – Henrik de Gyor, Do I need people to run a Digital Asset Management solution within my organization?, Another DAM Blog
30. DAM systems should empower employees to develop business strategies based on asset performance. “The DAM of the future must account for assets in a way that allows companies to improve on their business strategies based on those assets’ performance. As such, vendors expanding on the insight that DAM systems provide is becoming increasingly common.
“The business intelligence and analytics goals for users in 2015 and beyond are:
- Track the use of assets across channels
- Mine data to make content smarter
- Accelerate return on investment (ROI) reporting” – Jeff Lawrence, The DAM Sequel: The Future of Digital Asset Management, Celerity; Twitter: @CelerityITLLC
31. DAM is not yet immersed in the realm of big data analysts. “Despite the volume of content that DAM works with, this is still not the realm of big data analysts. It is not difficult to see why. Most small and medium sized business houses still make do with in-house CMS tools for managing their digital assets. Even the larger businesses that pay for dedicated DAM services have not more than a million or two files to store and process. Big data is typically used for data volumes that are much higher.
“That could be changing in the near future though. Lately, the scope of digital asset management tools has been growing from merely storing and cataloguing data to integrate with transactional business intelligence and analytics tool to provide more useful information. According to Ralph Windsor, a senior partner at consulting firm DayDream, one utility of big data in digital asset management is for marketers to apply analytics tools on DAM to identify and interpret actionable information – like using sales data to identify the kind of images or content that works versus ones that do not.” – Why the Future of Digital Asset Management Hinges on Big Data, SmartDataCollective; Twitter: @SmartDataCo
32. DAM enables streamlined creation of digital assets, reducing the time commitment for marketers and creatives to develop new assets. “Naturally, the more options we have available, the more difficult it becomes to choose the correct ones to use and combine them into one coherent campaign. Keeping track of every digital asset we use for every single one of them becomes a complex task that we need to consistently manage.
“Setting up the whole life cycle from the beginning to end takes a lot of time and effort from marketers, and does not exactly make their life easy. That’s why Digital Asset Management (DAM) platforms emerged: to help us store, organize and utilize our assets. Thanks to the development of technology and the impact it has on marketing, they can also make it possible for us to arrange personalized and unique campaigns.
“Think about it this way: wouldn’t it be great if creative marketing could create itself? We are getting to the level where it is not impossible for a marketer to create a database of several thousand pictures related to specific prop (for example, a laptop), then another one with multiple rooms and actors, and finally use a DAM software to combine the elements together to create multiple versions of a stock-like image, which can then undergo A/B testing in order to see which combination provides the best results.” – How will Digital Asset Management help marketers in the future?, Social WiFi; Twitter: @SocialWiFi_PL
33. Build a DAM decision-making team and appoint a DAM administrator to streamline the implementation process. “Depending on your role and the size of your organization, you might start the assessment process yourself and later bring in other contributors. Having an internal decision-making team to determine digital asset management software needs, evaluate options — and assist during implementation and adoption is a big help.
“Decision-making teams include marketing, sales, creative, and IT staff. Who you include depends on your organization and the key audiences using your system.
“Don’t forget that every team needs a champion, someone to manage the project and drive it forward. There are a lot of moving parts in the selection and implementation process, so as you begin talking with vendors and engage in demos, it will help if you know who your DAM administrator will be. It might be one person or divided between multiple individuals.” – Set the stage for success: What to expect from the DAM adoption journey and how to prepare for it, Widen; Twitter: @digitalassetmgmt
34. Integrating DAM with the corporate intranet can boost adoption. “Everyone in a business uses the corporate intranet in one way or another for a whole variety of resources and information, so the ideal is to have your brand management system accessible through a link on the company intranet. Through Single Sign-On (SSO), employees are logged in automatically when clicking the link so they don’t even realize they have gone to a different site.
“Once users discover they can access the digital asset management system so easily, they’ll feel encouraged to use it. That way everyone in the business can be motivated to become a brand advocate.” – Jens Lundgaard, How To Encourage All Your Employees To Use Your Digital Asset Management System, DAM News; Twitter: @DAMNEWS
35. Affordable, easily accessible DAM knowledge programs are hard to find. “Digital asset management education is hard to find. It’s not that there aren’t scores of websites and companies that promise DAM knowledge, it’s just that most of them don’t deliver on that promise.
“This leaves tomorrow’s DAM professionals to learn from a handful of DAM books, the occasional worthwhile blog post and, of course, one another, through DAM Guru Program. Missing from the DAM education scene have been affordable, DAM knowledge programs that provide structured training.” – Self-paced Digital Asset Management Education from DAM Foundation, DAM Guru; Twitter: @DAMguru
36. Training is one of the most important investments you can make. “Digital asset management training programs permit companies to keep in touch with their customer base and stay competitive because DAM provides the efficiency and high level organization required to manage large numbers of digital media and brand assets used for making those connections. Acquiring a good solution to fit your needs is an important step to take for proper management of a growing marketing library. Even more importantly, companies serious about staying ahead of the competition and looking to the future need to take seriously digital asset management training programs. One of the most important investments that can be made is to train your administrators and end-users on how to make the most of DAM tools and review your training methods regularly.” – Digital Asset Management Training: A Valuable Investment, Widen; Twitter: @WidenEnterprise
37. Create an online training center that employees can access on their own time. “Train your new employees about how your brand should be represented by creating an online training center as part of your DAM system where they can learn in their own time.” – 5 ways to encourage your employees to use your digital asset management software, Brandworkz; Twitter: @BrandworkzWorld
38. Incorrectly written metadata poses challenges for organizations. “If you don’t use the right tools to correctly describe your files, it doesn’t matter how meticulous you are—the files will be ineffective. Other systems will be unable to correctly import and see your asset’s information. This problem is completely dependent on your DAM system. Users should avoid DAM solutions with the following issues:
- Limited support of metadata standards. Random support for XMP or Native Format Specific metadata.
- Incorrectly written metadata that can’t be read in the same way it was written. For example, very few products can save/read correctly hierarchical keywords and split the location into Region\Country\State\City\Location according to IPTC\XMP\MWG specifications.
- Limited success in writing metadata for various formats, including Camera RAW, PNG or PDF.” – Murat, The most common issues with metadata; Daminion; Twitter: @daminion_net
39. User access management is an integral component of security. “DAM system users typically fall into various roles: photographers, editors, producers, talent, lawyers, administrators, and others. For this reason, the security system in a DAM can limit access to content based on its relevance to a particular user or role. The system can also limit access to features in the same way. A photographer, for example, may have permission to upload but not edit metadata, while the reverse would hold true for an editor.
“These permission features can improve the user experience for everyone who uses the DAM, while preserving the integrity of the data and limiting the exposure of sensitive content.” – Rich Zuris, 5 Benefits of Digital Asset Management Systems, Art & Logic; Twitter: @artandlogic
40. A DAM admin plays an important role in the ongoing success of your digital asset management program. “Your DAM system will function at its best when you have a dedicated DAM admin or admins who are trained and comfortable in their role — this may be someone with experience in marketing technology, library science, or with excellent organizational and people skills. Who you choose as a digital asset management admin will depend on the size of your organization and your workflows.
“Digital asset management admins come from all sorts of backgrounds and may have different titles. Typical responsibilities of a digital asset management administrator include:
- Entering and reviewing metadata, which can help with quick, efficient searching.
- Determining and implementing best practices, including system improvements and ongoing process changes.
- Gathering user feedback, which is a critical component in process improvement, as well as ongoing training and support.
- Auditing system performance to ensure optimal DAM system functionality.
- Working with outside stakeholders like agencies, media, partners and consultants.
- Creating and assigning roles and permissions.
“In addition, your DAM admin(s) may be part of implementing integrations, identifying and fixing problems, and looking out for DAM software issues. Being aware of possible problems is key to efficiency and return-on-investment. One “kink” in a DAM system can cause lost time and revenue.” – Laurel Norris, Understanding roles and permissions in a DAM system, DigitalAssetManagement.com; Twitter: @digitalassetmgmt
41. A DAM can democratize access to content and help CMOs unite teams. “Deploying a DAM can both control access to content where needed, but it can also democratize access to content. A DAM is a single repository where all work is stored, and work that is ready for distribution can be shared with others, and work that isn’t ready can be kept accessible to only the team working on it. As employees leave and enter the company, the data doesn’t go with them.” – How a DAM Can Help Marketing Leaders Unite Teams, MerlinOne; Twitter: @MerlinOne_Inc
42. As companies continue along the digital transformation path, many struggle with the idea that marketing teams no longer control every aspect of the customer relationship – nor do they control every touchpoint. “As the digital transformation mission moves forward, marketing will no longer be able to control every single touch point a company has with the customer — these run through the organization and number in the thousands. Instead of growing to control the entire business, other parts of the organization will likely absorb marketing elements into their domain. Marketing can help coordinate and govern those touch points through the mission of delivering remarkable, compelling customer experiences at every stage of the customer’s life cycle.
“Digital transformation is much bigger than marketing, but marketers have an opportunity to help architect and direct how the transformation will take hold inside each department and line of business. Whether or not they choose to follow the model used by the digital natives, brands need to recognize that digital transformation is about delivering customer experience through digital touch points that get integrated into the company’s product or service.
“Over the next year, firms will start to decide who will lead that customer experience mission — whether it is the CMO, someone from the product team, or a new chief experience officer.” – Scott Brinker, 5 Disruptions Reshaping Marketing as We Know It; Chief Martec; Twitter: @chiefmartec
The Future of Digital Asset Management
43. Analytics plays a growing role in digital asset management. “Many brands today simply create content based on the latest design scheme and push it out to market, while remaining oblivious to how customers and prospects perceive the assets.
“Deeper levels of asset tracking and performance will become more prevalent as brands turn to analytics to track and monitor performance of assets.
“Analytic integration will make it possible to answer questions such as: How are my ads doing in mobile apps and on social platforms? Are they engaging and driving click-throughs? Are they being opened and viewed? What part of the digital asset is being moused over or viewed?
“This tracking will include not only high-level performance indicators and KPIs, but also impressions, clicks and conversions. This will allow brands to identify exactly what content is working and what isn’t, and to assign deeper levels of attribution to those pieces of content.
“If a brand marketer can show that a certain set of creative drove thousands in incremental revenue, you better believe that they will get funds to do something similar in the future.” – Jonathan Moran, 3 Ways DAM Systems Will Change in the Future, CMS Wire; Twitter: @cmswire
44. DAM systems of the future should meet six core principles. “We believe the DAM of the future must meet the following 6 principles:
- It’s feature complete – covering the full content lifecycle, on a strong foundation of security and analytics, and capable of managing any asset from any source and for any destination.
- It can manage all your assets, regardless of where they live.
- It’s cloud native and connected so it’s easy to connect with other cloud services and scale smartly.
- It’s got powerful native workflows and automation that’s easy to use.
- It’s fully configurable, so it’s easy to create exactly the experience you need, without getting trapped by expensive customizations you can’t upgrade.
- It’s API-first, so it’s easy to connect to anything.” – Uri Kogan, The Future of Digital Asset Management, Nuxeo; Twitter: @nuxeo
45. Better integration with other platforms and solutions. “Contributors predict that the future of DAM doesn’t lie within the core functionality of the system, but with the various platforms that it integrates with. In order for digital asset management systems become true platforms to streamline marketing operations, it will be vital to integrate into key productivity tools, such as social media distribution, print-on-demand software and more.” – The Future of Digital Asset Management, MediaValet; Twitter: @MediaValet
46. Mobility provides an opportunity to centralize the point of engagement. “In the specific context of digital asset management, mobility presents the opportunity to centralize the point of engagement with clients and employees. It enables sales and marketing staff to access the materials they need to perform their job well anytime, anywhere – leading to a reduction in time to market and an increase in conversion rates.
“Most advanced DAM systems are now optimized for mobile deployment, but the native app remains at the center of DAM mobility because it provides a seamless user experience both online and offline compared to mobile web browsers. The app will also deliver push notifications that are timely and relevant so that users will always be informed when there is new material ready to be used.
“Moreover, while mobile web is not designed to store complex data sets, the native app is connected directly to the local file system with interactive features created for users who need quick access while out of office. Because the native app is designed to be compatible with the device’s hardware and native features, it delivers a faster, more efficient result in tandem with the portable device.” – Minh Hoang, Why the future of digital asset management is mobile, The Drum; Twitter: @TheDrum
47. Semantic databases will enable marketers to deal with more content, campaigns, and distribution channels. “With the speed of the evolution of technology how do you know if your software is on the right trajectory? The truth is that traditional databases that most software currently runs on is fine for now, but in five to ten years will be obsoleted by NoSQL databases such as a Semantic Database.
“A true enterprise level database that creates relationships with ALL of your assets rather than just what the platform recognizes through file structures is absolutely necessary for the future. Ease of use, intuitiveness, practicality, and, above all, speed is what will keep not only your creative team, but also your product team competitive.
“A Semantic Database is aimed at datasets that are geared at dealing with more content, more campaigns, more difficult localization and translations, and more distribution channels that connect your brand to more people.” – How a Semantic Network is the Future of Digital Asset Management, Censhare; Twitter: @censhare
48. DAMs in the future will cover the full content lifecycle. “It’s feature complete – covering the full content lifecycle, on a strong foundation of security and analytics, and capable of managing any asset from any source and for any destination.” – Uri Kogan, The Future of Digital Asset Management, LinkedIn
49. More DAM vendors are considering microservices offerings. “We have been discussing microservices for some time, along with Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) which is not the same, but has similar design objectives.
“The simplified definition is they are application components which can be called up independently and without necessarily requiring all the other elements of an application — in other words, they are modular and you don’t need to buy a whole set of them from the same people.
“When discussing initiatives in this area with a number of vendors, an interesting trend has come up. A number of vendors are actively considering marketing these microservices independently of the rest of their platform and potentially to other firms too. Once a few firms start using this model, the momentum will make it more difficult for other vendors not to participate. Otherwise they run the risk of being deemed ‘inflexible’ or ‘unresponsive.'” – Ralph Windsor, DAM Innovation Is Finally on the Horizon: From Value Chains To Blockchains, CMS Wire; Twitter: @CMSWire
50. By 2030, artificial intelligence will transform digital asset management. “Machine learning will allow DAMs to understand both their assets and their users better. People will no longer have to spend hours uploading, tagging and categorizing assets – DAMs will take care of this themselves. Sophisticated visual recognition systems will identify subjects, people, locations, facial expressions and much more. This is already possible now, of course, but nothing compared to what we’ll see. What’s more, artificial intelligence will be able to predict users’ needs based on past behavior, creating a more fluid, intuitive experience.” – Martin Wilson, 7 predictions for digital asset management in 2030, Information Age; Twitter: @InformationAge