With a variety of digital asset management software solutions to choose from, finding the right solution to meet your organization’s needs can be overwhelming. From ease of use to search capabilities, organizational hierarchies, collaboration, and other features and functionality, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to evaluating and selecting a DAM software.
To avoid the most common mistakes buyers make in evaluating digital asset management software vendors, you’ll want to first understand why you need a DAM solution, know what questions to ask when evaluating vendors, and follow some best practices for selecting and implementing a DAM solution so that your company can reap the maximum benefits of digital asset management fast.
To that end, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide, including 50 expert tips and insights on the benefits of DAM solutions, the most important questions to ask when considering vendors, tips for purchasing and implementing DAM, mistakes to avoid, and more.
In this guide, you’ll find tips and expert guidance on:
- Why You Need Digital Asset Management Software
- Questions to Ask Before Selecting a DAM Software Vendor
- Tips for Choosing the Right Digital Asset Management Software
- Mistakes to Avoid When Purchasing Digital Asset Management Software
Why You Need Digital Asset Management Software
1. Digital asset management provides a single source of truth. “One of the biggest struggles of marketing and communications teams is the assembling of digital content, managing the workflow and approval process, and then determining how that content will be shared, distributed, or published. If your marketing team does not work in a centralized fashion then you run the risk of wasting time locating assets, delaying opportunities to share them, or quite possibly delivering the wrong or outdated version content.
“To avoid these problems the deployment of a Digital Asset Management solution (DAM) will allow you to take control of how assets are catalogued, managed, and accessed within a single repository. It is your single source of truth.” – Digital Asset Management (DAM) Buyers Guide, MerlinOne; Twitter: @MerlinOne_Inc
2. Digital asset management is much more than a super-organized filing system. “DAM software offers much more than storage; it automates tagging, storage, and retrieval, meaning that when team members and clients request articles, images, logos, and other pieces of content, the software saves time by removing much of the manual, hunt-until-you-stumble-upon-it efforts. For example, your solution can automatically tag your content by year, topic, event, and content type (white paper vs. blog post, visual storytelling vs. analytics) based on the taxonomy and systems your company puts into place.
“Finding a particular asset or collection of assets by date, type, or topic (or some combination) takes seconds. And because DAM tools impose a system on your asset-storage methods, it forces each member of your team to fall into line (once they see how efficiently DAM technology works, they’ll be willing accomplices).” – Cathy McPhillips, How Digital Asset Management Can Make a Big Impact on Your Content Marketing, Content Marketing Institute; Twitter: @CMIContent
3. Digital asset management improves productivity. “A quality digital asset management solution will enable users to access the digital assets they need as fast as possible. This could be by downloading the asset, viewing the asset or embedding the asset on an external site. Having an active content delivery network (CDN) will ensure that the asset is loaded to the external source as quickly as possible.
“To access an asset, you first need to be able to find it. DAM solutions provide a number of quick and easy ways to navigate through your digital assets. The traditional way to organize assets is through a system of folders. Each asset is placed into the folder that suits its type or purpose. An alternative, but common, approach to digital asset organization is through a filter system—where digital assets are assigned a series of meta-properties during the upload process. The user can apply filters to the digital asset bank and filter out the assets that they do not want.” – Digital asset management – a definition, Bynder; Twitter: @bynder
4. A DAM solution provides a central repository, making it easier to upload, catalog, manage, and distribute a large volume of digital assets with ease. “Many large companies are hiring Digital Asset Managers to ‘be fanatical about creating order’ and ‘fall in love with metadata.’ Digital Asset Management software can help organizations improve efficiency by saving time and money…without hiring a metadata-loving-fanatic (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).
“Software solutions can simplify these tasks and help you maximize the value of your assets. A DAM system can provide a centralized repository that makes it quick and easy to upload, catalog, manage and distribute a large collection of valuable assets. There are a wide variety of DAM systems available on the market, so it is important to have a strategy for evaluating and selecting the best solution for your desired workflow.” – Amy Chan, What is Digital Asset Management and How Do I Choose the Right Solution?, Extensis; Twitter: @extensis
5. DAM software can help organizations maintain adherence to established brand guidelines. “DAM systems are often implemented by marketing and operations teams across various industries for help in defining and managing their online brands. These products can also be used to reduce the duplication of an organization’s assets, maintain up-to-date collections, and control security of assets with role-based permissions. Some businesses assign specific individuals as DAM administrators or ‘librarians’ to oversee these assets and ensure they follow established brand-specific guidelines.” – Best Digital Asset Management Software, G2 Crowd; Twitter: @G2Crowd
6. DAM solutions aren’t just used by large corporations. “DAM is mostly used by companies to save, store, and distribute important company assets. However, as an individual, you may already be familiar with digital asset management without even knowing it.
“If you’ve ever used Google Drive, Dropbox, or any type of shared folder/file system, you’ve already used a DAM system.
“Digitally managing assets can be a great tool for businesses of all size. For smaller companies, newly-hired employees can be trained via DAM-stored video clips and computer based training modules.
“For larger corporations, having a shared system where you can pull the necessary files up from anywhere is a lifesaver for on-the-go sales teams or working with off-site teams.” – DAM 101: Digital Asset Management Basics, Spiral Scout; Twitter: @SpiralScout
7. DAM, or media asset management (MAM), enables organizations to keep their media relevant, useful, and profitable. “Enterprises that manage large file stores need more than desktop folders, online storage and document sharing protocols. Digital asset management (DAM) is a process that organizations use to manage and monetize their media portfolio. At the process core is the way enterprises use the content. The software allows enterprises to manage their content with a single interface and may include:
- Text documents
“All media has limited usefulness. DAM helps enterprises keep the media relevant, useful and profitable.” – The Infrastructure and Needs for Digital Asset Management (DAM), Rutgers; Twitter: @Rutgersonline
8. DAM can help you get more value from the rest of your technology stack. “A premium DAM solution can integrate seamlessly with your ERP, CRM, and other enterprise solutions, increasing the value of components in your tech stack. The integrations between solutions lets you automatically share information, reducing data entry time and eliminating the need for constantly moving, downloading, uploading, and saving new versions of your assets. Additionally, DAM integration helps you insert your visual assets into standard company workflows– increasing visibility of those assets and providing context to your projects for your whole organization.” – Roger Erra, A Winning Case for DAM: 7 Reasons Why Decision Makers Choose DAM, OpenAsset; Twitter: @OpenAsset
9. Many DAMs are flexible and adaptable to the needs of your company. “DAM is the most effective solution to store, organize, share and manage all your assets. One of the biggest selling points to DAM is that you can tailor the software to suit your business needs. If you don’t want to make use of all of its features, then you don’t have to. It’s flexible and adaptable to each and every enterprise.
“It will also help streamline your entire organization as your employees, clients, contractors and anybody else who needs access to your assets can log in and retrieve the files that they need instantly.” – Digital Asset Management vs Cloud File Storage, Asset Bank; Twitter: @brightassetbank
10. The right DAM solution can ease the burden on the marketing team to support the work of other departments. “You spend a great deal of your working day supporting the efforts of other departments. So let us suggest you spend a little more time thinking about your own needs! Yes, introducing a DAM system is about providing a strong organizational structure everyone can follow, but the marketing team will benefit more than most. If you persuade management to invest in a DAM system, you’ll be helping the whole company to help you work better.
“At most companies, the task of sourcing, and monitoring the use of, visual content across the entire company falls onto your overworked marketing team. This can be a huge administrative pain in the butt. You waste copious amounts of time searching for images for other people’s projects, and because your regular elite marketing professionals and not The Avengers, you can’t possibly do it all, no matter how good you are. Manually quality-checking every image in every presentation and piece of marketing material your colleagues use is just not an option. Not to mention worrying about the copyright issues of people stealing stuff from the internet.” – Robert Dysell, Why do I need digital asset management software?, Pickit; Twitter: @pickit
11. A DAM solution will save both time and money. “44% of business leaders believe that dealing with inefficient processes is their top time-waster. If the adage is true that time is money, then inefficiency could be viewed as the top money waster. I think most business leaders would agree that people are expensive and getting the most out of each employee is vital to running a successful and lean organization. How is it possible to do that without giving them the proper tools? Over 50% of marketers have to rely on 5 – 10 tools to perform their job daily. If you could replace those tools with one platform it would eventually pay for itself.
“With a DAM your marketers will have an easily searchable database where they can access any asset needed and easily edit in real time. The workflows within a DAM will ease any clunky systems around the editing and approval process, easily assign them to the right person, and be done with a click of a button.” – Douglas Eldridge, How Digital Asset Management Will Save You Money, Censhare; Twitter: @censhare
12. DAM supports complex workflows as well as multiple stakeholders. “DAM systems have integrated components of marketing resource management (MRM) technologies around planning and allocation of resources. DAM allows your team to pass around an asset for creative and legal approval. Each stakeholder can annotate assets and review iterations before creative teams finalize assets.” – Nick Barber, Don’t Be Fooled — DAM Is Still Relevant, Forrester; Twitter: @nickjb
13. Digital asset management offers benefits spanning the complete content lifecycle. “A robust DAM offers benefits that span the content life cycle – from creation to management to distribution to storage – so it can help your organization master the challenges of modern content marketing.
“A DAM acts as a single source of truth for your marketing organization. It brings together people, processes, and data to make many essential content marketing workflows – including creative collaboration, content review and approval, brand management, version control, and license management – more streamlined and efficient.
“By allowing your team to create content once and then customize it for delivery across multiple media channels, a DAM helps you reach more customers on more platforms with more targeted content so that you can be more effective at making sales.
“And the best DAMs can interface with your existing marketing automation solutions to provide a single view into all of your marketing data, analytics, and resources.” – Jill Talvensaari, The DAM Truth: All You Need to Know About Digital Asset Management, Content Marketing Institute; Twitter: @CMIContent
14. DAM can enhance the security of your digital assets. “Security solutions certainly have improved as technology advances, but that also means it’s even easier for your digital assets to be compromised. Knowing that files crucial to your brand image and marketing strategy are not properly secure, should keep you up all night.
“DAM software not only offers one central locations for your digital assets, but it’s a secure location, with features that guarantee your important files are safe. For example, you can customize user permissions so that only people who need certain assets will be able to access them.
“Instead of one big, messy folder where anyone could alter or delete your files, you’ll have control over who can (and should!) be managing those assets.” – Caroline Malamut, Why Your Marketing Team Needs Digital Asset Management Software, Capterra; Twitter: @CapterraMktAuto
Questions to Ask Before Selecting a DAM Software Vendor
15. How many digital assets does your team (or company) produce each year? “How much time does your design team have to create new projects and assets? Are they constantly working to help local outlets update assets for one-off use? Understanding the status of your asset flow helps you hone in on the needs of the design team, the needs of the local affiliates, and helps with a greater understanding of where your asset creation process is bottlenecked.
“When estimating the number of assets you produce annually, it’s important to understand the number produced by your design team and local versions. If your design team is producing one-off assets daily for hundreds of franchisees, your current workflow is not working. Ideally, your team should be able to create a series of customizable templates, that can easily be localized by the local marketer.” – 9 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Distributed DAM Software, Pica9; Twitter: @Pica9
16. What problems are you trying to solve? “Though a DAM can solve many problems, it’s a good idea to focus on a few core ‘cures’ that are easily measured. For example, if a primary problem for you is that people can’t find files, make sure your DAM makes finding files easy, without undue training or fuss. If your problem is the global coordination of ad campaigns, make sure your DAM includes features for notifications and collaboration between users. If sharing and publishing content to the Web is a problem, then make sure your DAM offers sharing features that make it easy to leverage approved content.
“If you focus on too many problems, you’re more likely to compromise on the important points while trying to solve as many problems as possible. The last thing you need is a DAM that offers a million features but barely solves any true problems.” – DAM Software Comparisons, Picturepark; Twitter: @Picturepark
17. What capabilities do you require? “Prior to selecting or implementing a digital asset management solution, you should first determine what are the critical features that a system must support to meet the needs of your organization or company. Do you need the capability to manage and convert Camera RAW images? Do you need video transcoding and scene detection capabilities? Do you need self-service capabilities or extensive access control capabilities? Defining these critical needs prior to doing any research or viewing any demos will help to keep your selection process focused.” – Ivan Mironchuk, On Choosing an Open Source Digital Asset Management System, DPCI; Twitter: @ivanmironchuk
18. Does the vendor support multiple types of media? “In today’s connected world, it’s important that your brand asset management software support your company’s multi-channel engagement strategies. Your brand management solution should support media delivery to multiple devices (i.e., mobile/desktop), social media networks, direct mail, e-commerce, point of sale and more.” – How to Choose A Digital Brand Asset Management Software Vendor, Genus Technologies; Twitter: @Genusllc
19. What types of files are most critical to your organization every day? “In beginning your evaluation of the right DAM, start with the types of files that are most critical to your every day. For example, while you might need to store all kinds of files, certain playback or preview functionalities might be imperative, like reviewing large videos or images. This alone might limit certain DAM products and focus your choices. Even then, files like video have additional criteria that need to be considered like quality, resolution, performance, and compatibility. Some product support video, but might support high-quality ProRes playback.” – Taylor Tyng, A Quick Primer for Selecting a Digital Asset Management Solution, Wiredrive; Twitter: @wiredrive
20. How does the solution handle version control? “A digital asset management solution ensures that the right asset versions are being accessed by all users, across all digital properties. It does this by syncing modifications in real-time, tracking uploads, downloads, and edits, and letting users revert to older versions when necessary. In the industry, the target version, which usually has the highest resolution and fidelity, is referred to as the ‘essence.’ Lower-fidelity versions used for reference are referred to as ‘proxy copies.’” – Digital Asset Management Software Comparison, TechnologyAdvice; Twitter: @Technology_Adv
21. Does the DAM solution play nice with other software? “Choose software that is designed to be open. Whether it’s open source digital asset management software that supports open standards, a customer communications management solution with robust support for web services, a web content management system that’s friendly to third-party plugins and APIs, etc., the best way to keep IT and business users happy (and costs down) is to choose software that is made with the philosophy of working well with the rest of an organization’s systems pretty much out of the box.
“Software that is too proprietary and locked down – suites that are designed to work only with solutions produced by one company, within their own systems and no one else’s – can cause serious problems when you want to add on a tool from someone else. And when it comes time to upgrade that proprietary system, it can be tremendously costly to have to upgrade everything at the same time just to get that one feature you needed from one piece of that system.” – John Zimmerer, Digital Asset Management: Solution or Part of the CX Problem?, Topdown Systems; Twitter: @johnzimmerer
22. What are the processes for tagging, sharing, and collaborating on assets? “First and foremost, you should be able to upload and download files and folders with ease, from any location. Once in the system, or as they’re being imported, you should be able to easily tag your files and folders with metadata, that will enable you to find those files later on with a simple keyword search. Sharing and collaboration are essential functions in a DAM, and many systems allow you to share assets and chat in real-time, which means you can compare images and agree which media to use in one central, online space. You should also be able to publish and share links to your media which can be emailed or used in your website CMS, or social channels.” – What is a DAM system and is it different from a digital media library? And why do I need a DAM?, Third Light; Twitter: @3rdlight
23. What technology framework is required to support the DAM solution? “For example, if the vendor’s solution is built on Java but your technology stake is all .Net, it might not be a good fit. Having in-house IT resources that can support the technology is necessary for the success of a DAM project.” – Jeff Lawrence, DAM Shopping? Use These Criteria to Find the Right DAM Vendor, Celerity; Twitter: @CelerityITLLC
24. Is the system configurable to your needs, both now and in the future? “A DAM system may look right for you and your users today, but will it still be right in a couple of years’ time? Almost certainly not. Businesses change, and brands, processes and people change too.
“As you grow into your DAM platform you’ll want to change or create new folder structures, site colors, user groups, metadata schemas and so on. So it’s imperative that your DAM system can change with you and, most importantly, be changed by you — unless you want the expense of paying the vendor to do it.
“Look for a platform that allows you, the system admin, to make these changes. And look for a vendor who is dependable and ready to advise and train you in how to optimize the system yourself, thus avoiding further costs.” – Anna Cotton, 5 Questions to Ask Your DAM Vendor, CMSWire; Twitter: @BrandworkzWorld
25. What security measures are in place to protect your data? “As a DAM vendor we always make sure that people understand what goes on behind the scenes. Security is something that people should not take for granted. You should ask these questions to your DAM SaaS vendor to make sure that your valuable assets are safe and always available to you.
- Redundant Architecture– are there at least 2 copies of your data?
- High Availability– will you have uninterrupted access to your system?
- Information Technology Security Policy– who has access to your data?
- Acceptable Use Policy– you don’t want just anyone copying your data.
- Vulnerability Scans– is your vendor willing to have scans to make sure your servers are free from attacks?
- Disaster and Incident Recovery Plan– your vendor should have a plan to share.” – 6 questions to ask to make sure your DAM data is safe, MerlinOne; Twitter: @MerlinOne_Inc
Tips for Choosing the Right Digital Asset Management Software
26. Know your use case. “While a stock photo distributor might pick a digital asset management product for its search and metadata capabilities, a telecommunications company might use DAM to update and manage service videos that show field workers how to fix equipment at a customer location.” – Jonathan Gourlay, Use is primary proviso when choosing a digital asset management system, TechTarget SearchConentManagement; Twitter: @sContentMgmt
27. Make a list of your most pressing current problems. “If you’re battling the case to move on from legacy systems, the best place to start is by writing a list of key current problems. This itself may help you identify some requirements as it’ll highlight what you can’t do right now. Your list might include lack of integration with your CMS, and the inability to access your files remotely. It might include having to use several applications to be able to share images. Your next step will be to identify any further user requirements, like being able to edit images or set pre-determined download formats. If you’re looking to introduce a system like this for the first time, this is where you start. Think about all the potential users in your business, as well as people who may be external, such as contract photographers or marketing agencies. Make a list of users as well as system managers, and make sure you involve them in your plan. You need them on board just as much as you need those who hold the purse-strings. It will also be essential to define roles so everyone knows who will be doing what during implementation and afterwards.” – Jenny Ridge, Digital Asset Management – how to demonstrate business value, create a business case and start your search for the best solution, London Graphic Systems; Twitter: @LGS_online
28. Conduct an audit of your digital assets. “The first step toward choosing digital asset management system is performing a thorough audit of your content and digital assets. An audit will help you get a clear picture of the type of content you have, identify ways to re-purpose valuable content, and help weed out underperforming or irrelevant assets.
“To organize your audit, you can use any standard spreadsheet tool, or you can download this free audit template. To help you decide which assets to keep, consider the following:
- Is it professional looking, on-brand, and consistent with your corporate voice and tone?
- Is it generating action (views, downloads, click-throughs, etc.)?
- Is it supporting your business objectives?
- Is it search optimized?
- Do you have enough content developed for the most popular/useful types and formats?
- Is the content you have topical, and does it support current industry trends?
“Once you complete your audit, it’s time to develop a plan that takes your business objectives and content strategy into consideration. Think about the platforms for which you want to create content (YouTube, company website, mobile app, Snapchat, podcasts, Instagram, etc.), determine the types of assets you’ll need to make that happen (photography, infographics, audio files, etc.), and establish which languages and regions you need to support.
“By updating your (relevant) content catalogue and identifying the gaps in your inventory, you’ll be able to develop an actionable roadmap, and be ready to execute on your content strategy once your digital asset management system is in place.” – Expert Advice on Choosing the Digital Asset Management System That’s Right for Your Company, Smartsheet; Twitter: @Smartsheet
29. Consider the sources of your digital assets, as well as rights. “Additional consideration should be given to rights management. What are the sources of your digital assets and what are the rights and restrictions (if any) for further access and re-use? They may include files that are created within and owned by your organization, user-generated from customers, partners and the like, or stock content purchased from vendors like Getty Images. Most large enterprises have collections that include all three, making digital rights management an increasingly important consideration.” – Rob Corrao, Finding the best digital asset management software, LibSource; Twitter: @thelibsource
30. Choose a DAM solution that allows for manipulating assets and their metadata individually or in mass sets. “DAM systems ingest assets individually or in mass sets, and allow for the manipulation of those assets and their metadata individually or with mass actions. This is accomplished in part by assigning a unique identifier to each asset on ingest.” – Henrik de Gyor, Ten Core Characteristics of Digital Asset Management: Is it really a DAM?, Another DAM Blog; Twitter: @hgg101
31. Choose a DAM solution that integrates with your organization’s existing infrastructure. “A digital asset management solution should integrate well with the existing infrastructure of the organization. It should be easy for creative workflow and approval, collaboration, and version control. Your DAM solution must also allow you to take advantage of deep integration with campaign management, marketing automation, and marketing technology platforms to boost marketing agility.” – Ritesh Gujrati, 7 Considerations to Choose Digital Asset Management Right, Hacker Noon; Twitter: @hackernoon
32. Robust search functionality is key. “It is important to be able to find files based on file type, keyword, metadata description and owner to name a few. It is handy that directory and file naming convention can be pre-defined so every user will adopt the same rule on a check-in of a few. Alternatively, the user can focus on one item at a time and try to organize the associated files underneath in the Repository browser. One advantage of TACTIC is that it provides a customizable directory structure that the administrator (or users) can understand if the browser based UI was removed and you needed to present the user with the file system in Windows Explorer or Finder.” – What to look for when choosing a DAM system?, Southpaw Technology; Twitter: @tactic_software
33. Intuitive menus and shortcuts make DAM software easier to use. “Although your employees are likely tech savvy, new applications with unfamiliar menu options can include steep learning curves. You want to choose DAM software that includes intuitive menus and shortcuts that are similar to what your employees already use in other programs. If you can’t quite figure out how to perform a task within the application, the user guide should have the answer you need, and you should be able to find it quickly.” – Digital Asset Management Software Review, Top 10 Reviews; Twitter: @Top10Reviews
34. Training, installation, and security also matter. “Almost every organization relying on digital media will eventually purchase a digital asset management (DAM) solution. Digital asset management (DAM) is business software that provides services for maintaining, storing and retrieving digital media, while managing rights and permissions. These cloud-based services become essential software for IT and marketing departments, as organizations and businesses grow and accumulate large amounts of data.
“Choosing the best DAM software for your business or organization involves a multitude of considerations.
- Does it include training?
- How complicated is installation and migration?
- Does it come with support?
- Does it offer security and backup management?
- Are there public, private and/or hybrid platform options?
- How much data can it manage?
- Will it integrate with your current business solutions and function on your hardware?
“Ultimately, the best DAM software for your IT department will likely be a combination of relevant features and overall cost. If you’re considering purchasing DAM software, consider these popular options before you buy.” – Tom Hurst, Best Digital Asset Management Software, KnowledgeNet; Twitter: @KNetLive
35. A check in/check out feature can improve accuracy and save time otherwise spent passing assets back and forth. “An easy-to-use check-in/check-out feature can greatly improve accuracy and reduce the time spent passing out and receiving assets. Look for software that auto-populates fields for check-in/check-out with a ‘quick find’ feature that searches your database by asset tag, asset, vendor, customer or employee. Some software offerings allow you to use a single transaction when checking-in/out multiple assets to multiple assignees – a great benefit for tool cribs, schools and emergency response units with large numbers of assets that must be regularly checked-in/out to multiple users.” – Brian Sutter, 14 Things to Look For When Choosing Asset Management Software For Your Business, Business 2 Community; Twitter: @SmallBizBrian
Mistakes to Avoid When Purchasing Digital Asset Management Software
36. Don’t choose software that’s difficult to use – your team simply won’t use it. “If the system interface isn’t simple and a pleasure to use, your people won’t want to use it. Simple as that. Good user experience means good user retention. And because a really good DAM system will enable you to project your own strong brand image and values across your organization, it will also encourage enthusiastic uptake by fostering a pride and sense of ownership among your users.” – Anna Cotton, DAM Simple: How To Select The Right Digital Asset Management System If You Are A Marketer, Digital Asset Management News; Twitter: @BrandwokzWorld, @DAMNEWS
37. Consider whether purchasing and maintaining software is right for your organization, or if an on-demand solution is better-suited for your needs. “Depending on how extensive a solution you need, and how customized to your specific business, you may be able to choose the lower-cost option of a hosted DAM solution rather than purchasing and maintaining your own.
“Be sure to consider the legal issues of having your assets stored by an off-site entity. You may have certain assets that regulations or other concerns prevent you from placing under someone else’s care.” – Dee-Ann LeBlanc, 6 Things to Consider When Selecting A Digital Asset Management Solution, CMSWire; Twitter: @CMSWire
38. Don’t neglect the opportunity to improve your workflow when implementing a DAM solution. “If you are not using a digital asset management system, implementing one is going to change the way you work. If you are using a DAM system, but are looking for a new one, this is an opportunity to improve the way your organization handles digital assets. It’s also an opportunity to improve your workflow.
“Moving from a manual workflow to an automated one requires careful consideration before a system is put in place. Explore an ideal DAM workflow by engaging the people who will use the system during all stages of the asset lifecycle.
“That should include content creators, reviewers, system administrators — and anyone else who will handle digital assets. Marketing teams, sales people, graphic designers and project managers are often the people who use, create, or view digital assets. Talking with these users about the current workflow will help you identify areas and processes that can be improved upon before you implement a DAM solution. Then, make sure you have a plan to move forward once the digital asset management system is in place.” – Advanced DAM, DigitalAssetManagement.com; Twitter: @digitalassetmgmt
39. Don’t give one section of the business total control over your DAM solution. “It’s important to ensure that the overall management of the technology is spread across every department. Because DAM is primarily a marketing tool, some companies make the error of giving final say to the creative department.
“However, this is a mistake. Obviously one or two people must hold responsibility, but all departments that’ll be using the Digital Asset Management software should have a say in its implementation, including:
- Social media
- Offline and print advertising
“As well as any others.
“There must be a compromise across departments if the software is to be effective for everyone.” – Nick Genty, Digital Asset Management – The Complete 2017 Guide, Iconic Solutions; Twitter: @IconicSolutions
40. Avoid choosing a DAM solution that lacks the ability to scale with your business. “Where is your company today, and where do you want it to be? What are your growth plans? Those might impact the number of users who will need access to your system. Right now, it might only be an internal thing, but as you grow, vendors, contractors, and others outside your organization might need access to your digital asset management system.” – Jim Kidwell, Digital Asset Management Best Practices: Selecting the Right Solution, Extensis; Twitter: @extensis
41. Choosing a DAM without evaluating metadata input methods can result in headaches later. “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.” – Geoff M., 16 Tips for Selecting a Digital Asset Management System in 2016, Canto; Twitter: @Canto
42. It’s imperative to consider how a DAM solution fits in the context of the other technologies your company utilizes. “Though DAM historically was implemented in a silo, used and maintained by only a few marketers or archivists, that’s changed. DAM is now fully embraced by the C-suite as a key enterprise application. Just as much effort is being put into DAM systems connecting to other systems as deploying simply the DAM, itself.
“So how does DAM fit into the bigger picture of consumer-centric digital marketing? It’s not always obvious. Choosing the right tools for holistic and effective digital marketing is not unlike crafting a complex cocktail: you have to find the right mix of ingredients, and the right balance, that works for you.
“What works for one organization might not work for yours, much like one person prefers a martini and someone else will prefer a negroni. Both drinks contain vermouth, just like two organizations might both have DAMs, but it’s the mixing with the other ingredients that make the results quite different, and the right mix for you.
“As a digital marketer, you need to think of yourself as the enterprise technology mixologist, and work with your colleagues to come up with the right mix. So while DAM is obviously on your ingredient list, it’s equally important to plan for the others, and to understand the role that each technology plays. Otherwise, your cocktail will be crap, and no one will come back to your bar.” – Theresa Regli, Digital Asset Management in the Martech Cocktail, an excerpt from Digital & Marketing Asset Management: The Real Story of DAM Technology & Practice, via ChiefMartec; Twitter: @chiefmartec
43. Ensure that the DAM solution you choose is tailored specifically to your business or to the needs of the different departments that will be using it. “Any company should find a way to optimize the workflow of using your digital assets. This is why you need a comprehensive DAM system that’s tailored specifically to your business or the different departments of the organization.
“For example, the IT team would be supportive of either a hosted solution or one that’s cloud-based with robust security behind it. The sales and marketing teams would appreciate the ability to have the necessary images and files all in one location and eligible for easy sharing with others. Additionally, designers can maintain a consistent workflow.
“So not only does your DAM solution need to be workable and secure, it must also be flexible depending on what everyone’s needs are.” – Derek Walter, Identify and Solve Your Digital Asset Management Problems, IT Pro; Twitter: @ITProToday
44. Adoption should be nearly instantaneous to get the most value from a DAM software. A solution with a steep learning curve will hinder your company from realizing the benefits. “The adoption of DAM should be almost instantaneous so that value addition (via DAM) starts straight away. Better repurposing and reuse of assets, minimization of asset redundancy, and forestalling duplication are the early benefits delivered when DAM’s adoption is quick.” – Abhinandan Ghosh, Digital Asset Management: (DAM)n, it Makes Life Easier!, MarTech Advisor; Twitter: @MarTechAdvisor
45. Don’t ignore IT rules, policies, and constraints. “Many organizations have strict policies around their IT infrastructure, including access to external sources, firewalls, and data transfer rules. The project team should understand the IT policies so that the system can be built to adhere to internal standards. For example, companies have very strict policies concerning external user access to File Transfer Protocol (FTP) sites or to provide an unsecured HTTP access to internal applications, typically requiring users to be authenticated via a VPN or a Portal. While designing the system, such policies should be considered in order to eliminate issues in the future.” – Srikanth Raghavan, 10 Steps to a Successful Digital Asset Management Implementation, OpenText; Twitter: @OpenText
46. Audit your workflows and systems to identify needs and requirements. “Auditing systems and workflows helps paint a picture of who handles assets along the way and what they do with them. For example, a graphic designer creates assets, and then puts them into a repository or sends them to someone. Somewhere along the way, the assets are approved and final versions are made. Where is the repository for final versions, or who receives the final assets?
“You might want to map out your current workflow on a blackboard or pieces of paper. Seeing your current process as a whole is a great to determine who your users are, what areas of the current workflow are troublesome, where you want to see improvements, and where potential risks lie for losing assets.” – Laurel Norris, 10 short questions that assess your DAM system needs, DigitalAssetManagement.com; Twitter: @digitalassetmgmt
47. Don’t choose a DAM that doesn’t provide multiple, robust search capabilities. “If you have very consistent naming conventions across all of your assets, there’s a chance you could do just fine with Dropbox. The system’s search capabilities are limited to only title and file type, but with a small amount of assets and the right processes in place it’s possible to work around this limitation, although a lot of companies choose to avoid this route and upgrade to a DAM instead.
“With a DAM, you have nearly endless searching options to find the assets you’re looking for. You can search by category, title, keyword, you name it! And after your initial search you can filter by star-rating, asset type and approval status. While this amount of search functionality can be too much for some companies, most enjoy having the robust search capabilities of a DAM.” – Dropbox or DAM? 6 Questions to Ask, MediaValet; Twitter: @MediaValet
48. Don’t neglect to gain buy-in, not only from stakeholders, but from users. “Sometimes staff can be stubborn and unwilling to adapt to change. This is especially true if your staff is filled with more senior members who have become used to doing something a certain way. If this is the case, you need to sit down and ask yourself how much effort will it take to get them to use a digital asset management system?
“Of course, managers can push change through if they really want to. Even if your staff is reluctant to adapt, if management is on board, acquiring a digital asset management system can be a good idea. The question you have to ask yourself is if your managers are truly on board.
“If not? Work on selling your management team and the rest of your staff on the benefits of a digital asset management system before purchasing one. If you need to pitch your staff, start with the people a DAM system will provide the most benefits too. Marketing managers, graphic designers, etc. They’ll have the easiest time seeing the benefits.” – You Don’t Need a Digital Asset Management System If …, Filecamp; Twitter: @Filecamp
49. Don’t implement new technology without defining objectives and measuring success. “When starting a digital asset management project, you and your company will have some expectations. Maybe you have an idea of how your workflow should change due to its implementation or you might have a feeling for how your organizational structure will adjust.
“While the ‘if’ may be evident, the ‘why’ is a bit more complex. So why measure project objectives? Some reasons are obvious, like aligning stakeholder interests or getting stakeholder buy-in. But managing expectations – both from stakeholders and team members – is a very important reason to define objectives. Defining and evaluating objectives will also help to align the overall DAM strategy.” – Cory Schmidt, How to Measure Digital Asset Management Success, Canto; Twitter: @Canto
50. Don’t develop a taxonomy for your DAM without first auditing your assets. “Before you begin, you’ll need to have a scope for DAM system. Which assets belong in your DAM and which do not? Knowing the mission and scope of your digital asset library allows you to quickly determine if an asset belongs or not, and if it needs to be accounted for in the metadata and taxonomy. You can audit all relevant folders and drives, whether they are local, shared network drives at your company, or are in cloud storage. Exploring the breadth of digital assets at your organization will allow you to gain an understanding of a wide variety of assets for each individual, team and department. From there, you can compile a list of file types (i.e. .jpg, .png. pdf, .mov, etc).” – Emily Kolvitz, Create a taxonomy for digital asset management in 5 easy steps, Bynder; Twitter: @bynder