Our world is experiencing a digital revolution. According to an eMarketer study, adults in the U.S. spent over 10 hours a day with some type of digital media, such as social media, gaming, television, or online in 2019. Given that this number has only increased since then, it’s clear that the creation, production, and distribution of digital content is crucial to sustainable business growth, especially in consumer-facing industries.
While digital assets obviously hold immense value, managing them effectively is a struggle for many organizations, both small and large. Assets are lost, misplaced, unorganized, and almost impossible to find. Recreating them is costly and time-consuming. Copyright restrictions and the need for brand consistency result in a complex and confusing web of rules governing the way assets are used that employees have difficulty navigating. As the amount of content created increases to meet demand, mountains of assets pile up which makes them even more difficult to handle.
Clearly, organizations need tools and processes to successfully manage their digital assets. One tool that many brands adopt is a digital asset management (DAM) platform. Simply put, a DAM platform is a third-party software program that includes features that allow for the management of assets. These platforms are the digital solution to a digital problem for many organizations, and they come in many shapes and sizes. While they offer many benefits, DAM platforms may not work well for every brand. In this article, we outline the benefits and challenges of adopting a DAM system, regardless of software so you can identify the solution that will work best for your organization.
Benefits of DAM Platforms
The toolkits provided by DAM platforms allow organizations to gain control of their assets and successfully scale their marketing efforts. They can also transform workflows and greatly increase the productivity of the teams which use digital assets.
When all your digital assets are in one place, you don’t have to guess who has a copy of an important video or wonder if your graphic designer ever finished a particular campaign piece. A thoughtfully designed DAM system places all your assets in one central location or library and standardizes the way they are organized. It also outlives employee turnover so that even the newest member of your team can use it proficiently.
If you use a cloud-based DAM system, all your assets will be safely stored in the cloud. This eliminates the need for your IT department to manage different technologies in different locations such as complex server systems which inevitably become clogged or run out of storage.
2. Power of Search
Effective search is what makes digital asset libraries useful. However, searches are only successful if every asset in the library has metadata applied to it. Metadata is the data that describes and gives information about a digital asset. Without it, a DAM platform is just a fancy storage bin. Metadata is what enables users to search for any digital asset using filenames and customizable keywords and phrases. Combined with a straightforward folder structure, it makes locating the right asset quickly a breeze.
Want to know more about organizing your assets to enable effective search? Read more here.
3. Savings and ROI
Nobody wants to feel like they’re wasting time and money, but if it takes your team a day and a half to locate a certain file or if they have to recreate a lost asset, you’re doing just that. By implementing a DAM system, you’ll easily be able to locate any asset you need when you need it.
The metrics and reporting features included in DAM software programs can provide detailed information about your library and every asset in it. Analytics will pinpoint any gaps or holes in your creative content so you’ll know where to invest next. Reports such as download frequency, asset location, and asset usage are also very helpful. By using these tools, your team can make budget-friendly and strategic decisions about content that will take your brand to new heights.
4. Reducing Workflow Redundancies
Having a DAM platform in place helps reduce workflow redundancies by avoiding the need to create new content. It can extend the life of your assets by enabling the reuse of relevant images, videos, and other design files to fit the needs of new projects.
Without processes and workflows that DAM platforms assist your team in building, assets fall through the cracks. With a DAM platform, assets continue to provide value even after they fall out of regular use. Historical backlogs and libraries of stock images for sale are easy to create and manage.
5. Streamline Creation and Sharing
DAM systems can improve organizational efficiency by streamlining asset production and distribution processes. This ensures that all stakeholders can have what they need when they need it. Since all digital assets live in one organized, centralized library, your team members can feel confident they’re using the most accurate, highest quality resources available for their projects. Cloud-based DAM systems can give them the ability to instantly access, interact with, and download assets anywhere. This eliminates the need for interdepartmental requests and the time waiting for those requests to be fulfilled.
DAM systems also allow greater control over who can access specific assets. For example, if your organization has recently gone through a rebranding, you’ll want to limit access to your former colors, logos, and organizational language. This will ensure that your brand consistency and integrity remain intact but still permit the retrieval of archived materials by authorized users.
Challenges of DAM Platform Adoption
As is often the case with any good tool, DAM platforms can be costly. Given the huge variation in their size and complexity, there is a significant range in price between different platforms. For most organizations, a platform is a significant investment. For many, the purchase is easy to justify since it will help them centralize, streamline, and manage their asset libraries.
When your organization is ready to purchase DAM software, start by determining your budget. Then evaluate the platforms that fall within your range. If you cannot make the investment now, set revenue goals for “earning” a DAM platform. Be sure to identify achievable objectives for each group that would benefit from it.
2. Implementation Time
DAM platforms require significant time to set up and manage effectively. Before you invest in one, you’ll need to have clear and understandable standards for handling your digital assets. You’ll also have to apply these standards to your assets by renaming, reorganizing, and tagging them with metadata. In addition, you may need to work with your IT team to be sure you can customize and set up the platform to your liking. Before you can use the platform, security and permissions structures must be established, your team trained and onboarded, and your enriched assets migrated into the system.
If you don’t have the manpower or bandwidth to complete all these steps, your DAM system will be underused and won’t produce the benefits it could otherwise. Before purchasing a platform, assess whether you have the internal or resources to successfully implement it in the required time frame. If not, you may need to hire a DAM consultant or delay the project.
3. Complexity and Size
The most important challenge involved with adopting a DAM platform is selecting one of the right size and complexity to suit your organization. Take the time to properly evaluate every platform in your price range. Otherwise, you may select one that is too large and complex for your needs and difficult to implement and manage. Conversely, your choice may not include all the features you want, be too small to grow with your brand, and have to be replaced before long as a result.
The last thing you or your organization wants is to have to change DAM platforms because the one you chose doesn’t satisfy your requirements. This problem can be avoided if you begin the process by developing your standards and workflows and use them as a roadmap for evaluating platforms.
If you’re unable to decide if implementing a DAM platform is right for your organization, need help finding the right one, or are having trouble developing standards, Stacks can help. We make DAM impossibly easy for brands of all shapes and sizes through our consulting, implementation, and management services. Let us know how we can help today!
If you’d like to learn more about DAM platforms read our article here. To learn more about the costs associated with DAM platforms, check out this article on CMSWire.