Digital asset management is a system of tools and practices teams use to store, share, and manage files. Most DAM platforms support metadata editors, offer flexible search settings, and shorten feedback circles. 

Digital asset management is a scalable, secure, and easy-to-use way to keep track of all files your team creates, gets from third-party contractors, or shares with partners. 

Benefits of Digital Asset Management

In the last decades, dozens of new promotion channels have emerged. To establish a presence on social media and other widely-used platforms, business owners and marketing teams need to create content constantly. 

Naturally, the number of files creators work on and share grows exponentially — so much so it’s easy for important assets to slip through the cracks. 

To prevent teams from losing files and speed up file organisation, a wider number of business owners introduce employees to DAM. Here are the benefits of digital asset management: 

  • Productive use of human resources. By eliminating the possibility to lose or misplace work, DAM helps team managers avoid assigning teammates tasks they have worked on before. This way, creators don’t have to spend time on repetitive and low-efficiency tasks. 
  • Facilitated stakeholder collaboration. DAM tools offer business owners tools needed to share internal content with clients, partners, or freelancers. If a digital asset management platform is integrated with other martech tools, there’s more room for automating distribution. 
  • Advanced reporting. DAM tools keep team managers in check on how many assets a creator is working on, who views, edits, or downloads a file. Digital asset management platforms offer business owners detailed reports that streamline change-tracking. 
  • Established best practices. Using a single platform for storing and managing new files is a way for marketers to ensure everyone on the team uses the newest version of brand assets — logos, fonts, and palettes. Digital asset management platforms are an effective way to onboard new hires since they will have access to the work of their peers and can follow the practices senior colleagues use. This way, DAM promotes uniformity in content creation and encourages teams to follow best practices. 
  • Internal security. Detailed access settings help team managers prevent asset leaks and narrow down the list of permission third-party collaborators have within the library. 

Types of Digital Asset Management Tools

Digital asset management is a broad concept adopted both by small- and large-scale teams across different industries. 

If a team manager wants to make the most out of DAM, it’s reasonable to choose a specialized asset management solution. Let’s take a closer look at the types of file management tools. 

1. Brand management platforms.

Brand management tools are the solutions that allow business owners to store, edit, and share visual identity assets (logos, fonts, and others) within the team, with clients, or partners. 

Using brand management platforms is a way for business owners to ensure the consistent use of corporate imagery and create a hurdle-free way to exchange identity elements with third-party collaborators. 

2. Video management platforms.

The main goal of video management tools is to create a centralized hub for organizing and storing video content on every stage of its lifecycle — from brainstorming and ideation to distribution. 

When it comes to video management, storage is the main concern teams face. Cloud-based DAM platforms are a fast and efficient way to mitigate storage issues, improve accessibility, as well as shareability of video content. 

3. Product data management platforms.

Product data management is the process of creating and updating product metadata. E-commerce business owners use these tools to have full control of items’ specs, photos, and descriptions. 

Product data management solutions also facilitate the launch of a global store. Product managers can store different versions of the same product description (e.g, listings in different languages) as linked assets to keep the digital library in order and avoid confusion. 

4. Marketing resource management platforms.

Tools for managing marketing resources are a different subset of DAM solutions. Teams introduce MRM to unify all marketing processes, assets, and connect people involved in the process of planning, content creation, and distribution under a single source of truth. 

Marketing resource management tools are typically integrated with popular martech solutions, allowing teams to automate processes and manage working time productively. 

How to Choose a DAM Platform?

The selection of DAM platforms available is vast. That’s why business owners and project stakeholders need a well-defined checklist for screening DAM tools and choosing a platform that fits the team’s needs. 

Here are five steps that help business owners choose a digital asset management tool that will help the team reach its peak productivity. 

Step 1: Define the objectives for using DAM.

Before examining the market, scheduling demo calls, and shortlisting solutions, make sure you understand what changes and improvements you expect to see after introducing digital asset management to the team. 

Here are a few questions to help a team manager can outline the goals and expectations for DAM:

  • Which department is the primary digital asset management user (e.g. content creators, sales, marketing, etc)?
  • Which digital asset management features have the highest priority for the business (e.g. file search, flexible metadata, collaborative editing, customisable privacy settings, integrations)?
  • How many assets does a team typically handle?
  • How many people are involved in digital asset management?
  • How rapidly is the team expected to scale data creation (it’s important for a DAM tool you choose to adapt to the company’s growth rate). 

Step 2: Settle on high-priority integrations.

Integrations are key to smooth digital asset management. Having a link between DAM and the toolset a team uses for communication, content creation and other processes allows to automate processes and seamlessly introduce digital asset management to the team’s day-to-day activities. 

The question a business owner should ask himself is: which integrations are indispensable for the team? An example answer could be: 

  • Creative teams: Adobe Creative Cloud, Sketch, Figma. 
  • Marketing and sales teams: HubSpot, Buffer. 
  • Project management teams: Trello, Asana, Jira. 

Write down a list of tools you want to connect to a DAM solution and look for platforms that support these integrations. 

Step 3: Choose DAM that fits your budget.

Pricing is another important factor on the list of considerations for choosing a digital asset management tool. The subscription fee gap between SME-oriented and large-scale digital asset management solutions is huge — so team managers should be picky and choose a tool that doesn’t strain the team’s budget. 

Here are the practices to follow when shortlisting DAM tools by pricing models:

  • Make sure the subscription is scalable both up and down. 
  • Find a provider who offers free support and setup — this way, you will cut maintenance costs years down the line. 
  • Choose vendors who are ready to customise the platform if the team needs it (keep in mind, however, that most vendors ask clients to pay for a considerable upgrade). 

Step 4: Go an extra mile for security.

A digital asset management vendor will be in charge of storing your company’s entire file library — putting in the effort to find a responsible one is worth the effort. When negotiating with vendors, business owners can ask the following security-related questions: 

  • Does the system implement multi-factor authentication?
  • Are there flexible privacy settings that help narrow the circle of teammates with full access to assets? 
  • Are there ways to restore deleted data? 
  • What contingency plans does the vendor offer in case of a third-party attack on the file library? 

Conclusion

Digital asset management is a set of practices that helps teams coordinate file creation, storage and distribution, increasing working productivity and foster collaboration between creators and departments. 

There are many kinds of available digital asset management tools. Business owners should take their time to find the right solution type and a reputable vendor — this way, they will be able to make the most out of DAM and transform corporate file management. 

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