Do you need a Digital Asset Management solution?

Cover photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Businesses are moving more and more towards digital storage from running paperless projects to saving terabytes of images. Digital Asset Management (DAM) is the name for solutions that organise, store and distribute digital files such as images, videos and documents. I previously worked in an organisation that was creating and implementing a new DAM solution for their global offices. We were very clear on the issues we were trying to solve, like lost assets and disconnected global teams; going into the vendor selection process, we had a long list of requirements.

An important thing to remember is that a DAM solution is not essential for every business but here are some things to consider.

Assets stored in multiple locations

If you use a local server, your laptop or even (deep breath) a portable hard drive as your main form of digital file storage for your business, it is time to take a look at your asset management. Online solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive and Box are an improvement but can lead to security issues, hours of searching for assets and multiple versions of the same file. Version control in large organisations can be a time-consuming problem as people search to verify that their Word Document is the latest ‘now_absolutely_final_file_23.doc’. A DAM solution can bring together disparate assets to create one shared global overview. It also ensures only the final, approved file is available to download.

Think of assets like clothes but instead of cost-per-wear, think about cost-per-use.

Global offices and teams

Your marketing team in London needs to know what’s being created by the design team in Sydney. Your sales rep needs the latest version of the company deck while out on a call. If your work spans global regions or even mobile teams and you have to share assets, having a shared online storage solution can be invaluable. It can provide visibility for teams who can see what everyone else is producing and what information they can use publicly. Think of assets like clothes but instead of cost-per-wear, think about cost-per-use. If your asset cost you €1,000 to produce, why use it just once? Get more value from your assets. Sharing assets can maximise their cost-per-use and save you money in the long run.

Volume of assets

Recently, I went to a talk where the organisation was creating 20,000 new assets every year. That’s about 55 new assets every single day. It was absolutely necessary that they had some way to file, store and retrieve these assets to continue running their organisation effectively and efficiently. It is rare that an organisation will create at this rate but if you are dealing with lots of photography, videos, graphics or documents it is worth considering how much time you are spending searching for assets or emailing colleagues looking for assets.

Finding the right solution for storing your metadata and information is just as important as the storage capacity.

Tracking rights and information

When was the photo taken? What rights did the model or agency give you? Who took the photo? Is this file the final approved version? Which campaign did you use it in? All of these questions might come up one, two or ten years down the line. I have watched people struggle to backtrack and search for this information with almost no leads to go on. This can be a huge source of pain for companies who use the same asset once every few years and have to delve into their archive each time. Finding the right solution for storing your metadata and information is just as important as the storage capacity. A DAM will be able to record and search metadata and rights attached to specific assets.

Consistent branding

As a designer I can’t count how many requests I have received for the company logo, the office templates, the exact company colour or font. When we implemented the new DAM solution, everyone could access the information they needed really effortlessly and, importantly, they could trust that the assets were final, approved and correct. Sharing templates, slides, documents and guides makes life a little easier for everyone but will also ensure consistency across your marketing and communications.

You may not need a DAM solution right now or even at all. If you have a small, disciplined team or very few assets, simply having an effective filing system will probably meet your needs. The cost of a solution would have to balance with the benefit of the time saved.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about DAM solutions.