While a DAM is an archive, it is also much more than that. An “archive” implies old data. A DAM can contain current data, files that are being actively worked on. It can have workflows that allow for content to be modified, for users to be notified of content being available for approval. A DAM needs to be able to centralize and help organize assets, and make collaboration and distribution easy.
The first function of a DAM is easy to understand. It centralizes storage of the company’s digital assets, gives “one stop shopping”, and has all of the assets in one place. No more checking to see if John or Sarah has the image or file that you need for your project, just search the DAM.
Any single digital asset in a DAM has no value if it can’t be found and retrieved. A DAM needs a variety of methods to organize assets so they can be found easily and quickly. Flexible metadata schemes allow for a customer to modify fields and labels to suit their needs and make searching for a specific asset intuitive. Collections contain a set of assets to be grouped without necessarily needing to modify their metadata. You could create a collection for your current project and then delete that collection when the project is complete, without deleting the assets themselves or needing to update their metadata in any way.
Collaboration is vital in today’s workplace. A DAM can provide a lot of tools to assist collaboration. Email is not always the best tool for undertaking a dialog centering on projects and assets in your collection. A DAM has tools to organize assets around projects and can improve communication involving digital assets. Being able to attach comments targeted at assets or groups of assets and share with other users of your DAM will prove to be a more efficient way to communicate.
Once a project is complete, or possibly during the collaboration phase, you will want to be able to distribute assets in a variety of ways. A DAM should be able to easily and quickly output assets to social media, to publication platforms, to your desktop, to email messages.
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