February 1, 2020 Last updated February 6th, 2020 1,612 Reads share

Why You Should Use Digital Asset Management Systems

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

Large media companies have invested millions in a centralized digital asset management (dam) solution. Unfortunately, the big payback hasn’t started yet. Dam systems are not bad but changing existing ways of working is more difficult than it seems. Marketing and communication go hand in hand with the use of a lot of imagery. The annoying thing is that most organizations do not have a good system for storing and managing multimedia material. This results in a large cost burden. Searching for images, for example, costs time and therefore money. The large media companies already know that special software is available for this purpose: digital asset management systems. In this article we will show you all you need to know about these digital asset management systems!

What Is a DAM System?

DAM always circles around the formation of an archive, the development of an infrastructure to preserve and manage digital assets and the search functionality that makes it possible for end users to identify, locate and retrieve a specific asset. At its simplest, a DAM is a set of database records within the company. Each database record contains metadata that is explaining the name of the file, its format and information that can be used for the content. Digital asset management software can be used to create and manage the database and help the company to store media way easier than before in a much simpeler manner.

The asset that is managed is stored in a digital format that is detailed by the specific metadata. The metadata wille describe the content of the asset, the means of encoding, ownership, and the rights that are accompanied to the access. There are several categories of digital asset management that we can identify. Brand asset management systems have content which is marketing-related, you can think for example about logos. Library asset management systems focus on storage and retrieval of infrequently changing media assets, this enables the photo archiving. Production asset management systems manage assets are used for the creation of certain videogames.  There is also cloud-based digital asset management system, this kind of system allows users to access assets from any possible device you can think off.

The Use of These DAM Systems

DAM is a repository of unstructured content such as images, documents, video, audio and sometimes structured data. So, it is a place where, among other things, photographs are stored for reuse. Such a repository usually includes a number of means to edit the stored material. Version management and search options are standard. This means that there is also a layer of descriptive metadata available, on the basis of which the material can be retrieved. Dam is also interwoven with digital rights management (DRM). This is a set of rules that determines how dam content is distributed. For using these kind of DAM systems companies usually rely on enterprise digital asset management suppliers like as Microsoft, SAP, Oracle or IntelligenceBank.

Why Is DAM Complicated?

DAM is important for many large companies. Documentum, Interwoven and Artesia have real draughts solutions, but also for example Vignette and Microsoft play along with their content management systems and portal packages. Numerous niche specialized companies have emerged. Avid, for example, has developed a system especially for the film industry. There is a jumble of products, which are mostly used out-of-the-box. As with enterprise portals, this is asking for trouble. Companies usually only use a fraction of the functionality that a good dam system has to offer. This is because the capabilities of the package do not fit well with the way of working of the company in question. The possibilities that are used often cause more annoyance than profit. Balanced work processes have to be adapted because the application prescribes this. It is the opposite world.

Organizational Problems and the Use of DAM

The big problem is that DAM functionality is required across all parts of a company. Marketing and communication are driven by sheet pile information, but for example design departments, training organizers or product developers have just as much need for it. Each department has its own way of working, its own tools and its own pots from which resources have to be paid. Such a fragmented organization is difficult to change. It can be deeply ingrained in the culture. A DAM system that has to be made available for the entire organization requires a different type of funding, with a different business case. Just to get started requires perseverance, decisiveness and above all a lot of patience. In a commercial environment this is often lacking.

In short, it seems more attractive. A package selection followed by a standard implementation is, therefore, a much-followed path. At first this seems cheap, until it turns out that the existing way of working doesn’t fit the bill. The solution lies in creating a presentation layer that reflects the work processes. This requires a larger investment, but ultimately yields more. This is of course a choice that you will need to make for your company based on what it is exactly that you want to accomplish with the use of the DAM system.

Setting up a DAM Project

DAM therefore only works well if the workflow of an organization can be seen in the application. Such a project is not easy to start . Think of getting the necessary funding together and putting together a steering committee with members from the various departments. The project should start with mapping out all work processes, down to the level of tasks and activities of individual employees. The user interface should mimic these processes.

Subsequently, the DAM solution can be tried out on a small scale in a controlled environment. This keeps the risks to a minimum. Think, for example, of an application within a single department, which can then serve as an example for the next one. Do not worry if a package is already in use: with the current web service standards it is also possible to place such a presentation layer over one or more existing applications. In this way, a mistake can be rectified relatively cheaply, and making money can begin. DAM can yield a lot of profit, provided that the companies that will use them will be need to rebuild a lot.


DAM illustration -DepositPhotos

Majid Jamil

Majid Jamil

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