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What is Digital Asset Management and How Do I Choose the Right Solution?

The definition of Digital Asset Management...

Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a discipline to organize, categorize, search, retrieve, and archive digital files, such as images, documents, creative files, audio, and video clips. These digital files are referred to as assets because a significant amount of time, effort, and expense goes into creating content, thus making the files a valuable resource. However, the value of these assets can only be truly realized if they are accessible by everyone who needs them, when they need them.

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.

How Do I Know if I Need Digital Asset Management?

Can you find the files you need, when you need them? Do you often re-purchase assets your organization already owns because you cannot locate them? Have you become the “go-to” person for locating assets? Do you often perform time-consuming and repetitive tasks such as resizing, renaming, and converting files? If these are common problems for you, then Digital Asset Management software will help you, probably a lot.

How to Choose the Right DAM System

There are several key steps to ensure you get the right solution for your organization:

1. Get key stakeholders on board

Seems obvious but countless business ventures have died slow and painful deaths because important decision-makers weren’t involved from the beginning. Check out Graham Kenny’s 5 Questions To Identify Key Stakeholders article for Harvard Business Review. A nice excerpt…

“If you don’t focus on the relationships that matter most, management and staff will be running in all directions, not meeting anyone’s needs very well.”

By involving the right people early on, you can get a better idea of your organization’s needs and pain points.

2. Analyze your current state

One of the biggest challenges people face when determining how their organization will incorporate a DAM solution is getting started. It can feel like a daunting task to analyze your entire workflow, but understanding how people acquire, create, organize, distribute, and archive assets can help address bottlenecks and plan for the future.

Examining your current processes and infrastructure is important, too. What software and hardware do you already have? Are there other systems you need to integrate with?

3. Develop selection criteria

After analyzing your current state and existing workflow, work with stakeholders to develop a list of criteria for choosing a DAM solution. Key considerations might include:

*Ability to scale—Where is your company today? What are your growth plans? And how many users will need to access your system as you expand?

*Hosting options (premise-based, cloud, mix)—Different vendors offer different hosting options so check with IT to determine what works best for you.

*Licensing options—How many people will need to access the system? How many will be uploading assets?

Still have questions? Check out the DAM Best Practices Guide! It’s packed with more information to help guide you on the path to DAM success. Fill out the form below to get the guide.