Digital asset management (DAM) is the storage, retrieval, management, optimization and distribution of digital files. Many brands and retailers use complex digital asset management systems to assist with the organization of massive volumes of files, images and videos.
In short, DAM software helps you manage your brand’s content, and passes it on to people or connected systems. Put more simply, it’s a central database for a company’s digital files. Let’s take a deeper dive though to fully answer the question, what is digital asset management?
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What are Digital Assets?
Digital assets are any electronically stored materials with which companies can create value. These materials include, but are not limited to, audio, images, slide decks, spreadsheets, videos, websites and works-in-progress.
Other examples of common digital assets and their file extensions:
- Documents (.docx, .pdf, .html, .txt, .pptx)
- Spreadsheets (.xlsx, .csv, .tsv, .sxc, .ods)
- Images (.gif, .jpeg, .png, .tiff, .bmp)
- Videos (.mp4, .mov, .avi, .wmv, .flv, .html5)
- Audio (.mp3, .aac, .flac, .wav, .alac)
- Works-in-Progress (.psd, .psp, .prproj, .fcpx)
Of course, there are also many other types of files. The DemoUp Cliplister DAM even maintains 3D/AR models from brands and distributes them to leading retailers worldwide.
What Is a Digital Asset Management System?
A digital asset management system is a software application designed to organize, store, retrieve, and manage digital assets efficiently.
The primary purpose of a DAM system is to centralize and streamline the management of these digital assets, making it easier for individuals or organizations to find and use their media files effectively.
Why Do You Need a Digital Asset Management System?
Most companies in almost every industry would benefit from implementing digital asset management software. Here are some signs that you should probably start looking into finding a DAM:
1. You Have Huge Volumes of Files
As a system (and in some cases, a job description), a digital asset manager provides a comprehensive overview of all your files and assets which improves efficiency, improves asset performance, strengthens security and accelerates production timelines.
If you work with a lot of files, a digital asset management system will help you organize, store and share files in a secure and central location. DAM software helps employees use digital materials like images, videos and other media more effectively and in a controlled manner. As mentioned by the Content Marketing Institute, “DAM is concerned with delivering the right content, to the right people, on all devices.”
Because the number of images, videos, documents, and other files increases exponentially with a company’s growth, it becomes harder and harder to keep track of which brand assets are being used where, who’s working on what and where the final products are being delivered.
As a result, time is lost organizing files and managing all the different versions of an individual asset becomes increasingly complex. Without an overview of your digital content and the licenses you hold for each asset, you risk receiving costly warnings if the content is used incorrectly.
A digital asset management system solves these problems through clean, central management of digital content with associated metadata and clear version control. These are just a few of the many reasons to rely on a DAM system.
2. You Have Several Types of Users
There are different roles in the digital asset management process, and you should implement user permissions according to the structure of your company.
The users of a digital asset management system are widely distributed across a firm. Chances are, most departments, especially your marketing teams, will use specific aspects of a digital asset management platform every day.
Marketing and content will use the system to make new advertising material, product videos and images, or even 3D content available company-wide.
Other departments can also create and store files in the system. In principle, it makes sense to give every employee at least read-only access so that everyone has access to uniform content and information.
3. You Need to Optimize Files for Storage and Delivery
Even in companies with standard processes, people have different hardware and systems they use, even within the same teams. Apple products use different formats than Windows systems, which use different formats from devices using an Android OS.
By using a digital asset management solution with dynamic delivery and image optimization already built-in, you will save your team time and resources converting files, establish a standardized way of working, and ultimately increase the speed with which you can deliver new content.
The Benefits of Digital Asset Management for E-Commerce Companies
Online stores have to manage extraordinary amounts of digital files. To do this effectively, they need to combine various functions like DAM, PIM, MAM, content management, and other processes to form a function called product experience management.
Therefore, it’s important that you can manage large volumes of images, videos, and product information in a scalable manner to operate the shop. A DAM system enables easy and quick access to any asset related to any of your products at any time and provides the foundation all other systems operate on top of.
Since you must update and maintain your content regularly, it’s best to develop a digital asset management implementation plan, so you can properly incorporate the system into your company’s existing workflows and shop systems.
For eCommerce brands, digital asset management should also include distribution of optimized files directly to your partner retailers’ shops. This saves time-consuming conversion and publication processes for digital content.
Digital Asset Management for International Companies
For international companies, a DAM system plays an even more crucial role. A content hub allows employees to work internationally with company assets and makes information available in several languages based on location. Therefore, the support of multilingual metadata should be an important factor when choosing a DAM in an international corporate context.
How Does a Digital Asset Management System Work?
At their most basic level, digital asset management systems work by enabling workflows your team can use to store and share files. Each time a user uploads a new asset, they assign metadata to the file. Metadata includes keywords, attributes and tags that the system uses to categorize, search for, and retrieve specific content.
Some systems, like DemoUp Cliplister’s, offer automatic metadata tagging using technology that recognizes patterns in images and videos. This saves you and your teams enormous amounts of time.
Types of Digital Asset Management
There are several different types of digital asset management systems, and also various hosting environments. Finding the best combination of each will provide you with the most effective digital asset management capabilities.
Digital Asset Management
A traditional DAM is used for managing all types of assets, including videos, images, audio files, documents, and so on. It helps your business create a searchable digital library so that every employee can find exactly what they need. It acts as a single source of truth so that you can maintain brand consistency and avoid outdated content.
Media Asset Management
Media asset management (MAM) is more specific. MAM software is explicitly for managing digital media like videos, images, or 3D models. It won’t have the same capabilities as a DAM for document management, but will usually have additional functionality for managing videos or images.
Video Asset Management
Video asset management is a very specific form of MAM, strictly focused on the management of video files. This is typically used by companies who only need to manage video files and little else. Video asset management systems are ideal for companies in the media or broadcasting industries.
Product Information Management
Product Information Management (PIM) is a centralized system that effectively organizes, enriches, and disseminates comprehensive and accurate product data across various channels and platforms. A PIM is typically used along with a DAM to provide a complete Product Experience Management (PXM) platform.
Brand management is fairly different to the four types of asset management listed above. Rather than managing digital assets, organizations use brand management software to ensure that their trademarks, imagery, videos, and other communications materials (both internal and external) are consistent.
Typically, companies use a DAM to store brand management resources, like corporate identity and media kits, logos, color schemes, and more.
Marketing Resource Management
Marketing Resource Management (MRM) is a more strategic approach. It is the planning, coordination, and optimization of marketing activities. MRM manages people, processes, and technology to allocate and utilize marketing resources effectively, aiming to enhance efficiency, streamline workflows, improve collaboration, and maximize ROI.
MRM provides a centralized platform for planning, executing, and measuring marketing initiatives, enabling organizations to achieve greater control, visibility, and effectiveness in their marketing efforts.
How to Choose the Right DAM System for Your Company
Choosing the right DAM system is important regardless of the size and industry your firm operates in. For most people, though, knowing how to choose a digital asset management system is a battle in and of itself.
However, before you start with the selection process, you need to know your current workflow, the problems your employees have with the status quo and how much time and resources you spend maintaining files the way things are.
After you understand this, there are other questions you need to answer before you begin your search. Here are some basic criteria most companies find useful in helping them narrow down their search for their next digital asset management platform.
- How many users should use the DAM?
- How many files should be saved?
- Is there a focus on specific content formats (e.g., videos)?
- Will the system be used internationally?
- Which systems need to be connected to the DAM?
- What languages does the system need to support?
- Which formats does the digital asset management system need to be able to convert?
- Do individual workflows have to be mapped in the DAM?
- Does the digital asset management system also have to be able to deliver content efficiently?
- Should the DAM be hosted in the cloud or on-premises?
- Are functions with artificial intelligence required?
By taking the time to properly map out your company’s needs, you get a better picture of exactly the type of system you need. This can also help you build RFPs to send to vendors and get the best DAM software for your organization’s unique requirements.
Digital Asset Management with DemoUp Cliplister
Actively looking for a DAM? Be sure to check out DemoUp Cliplister’s digital asset management software for eCommerce brands and shops. Here are some features you won’t find anywhere else:
- Real-time transfer of product content from brands to shops
- Optional “headless” implementation via an API
- Fully-customizable workflows
- Automatic metadata tagging & translations
- Dynamic image delivery capabilities
- 3D asset management
- Much more
Want to see our DAM in action? Book a free demo now!
What makes this different to my existing PIM, MAM, or CMS?
On the surface, digital asset management platforms sound a lot like product information management (PIM), media asset management (MAM), or content management systems (CMS). However, there are some crucial differences worth outlining.
Differences Between PIM and DAM
The primary difference between a DAM and a PIM is the task each system performs. A PIM system is responsible for storing and delivering product data, whereas a DAM solution stores and distributes various types of files.
These systems are complementary to each other. A DAM system can help your team access and deliver certain files to specific retailers. A PIM system can help your team access and deliver product specifications, numbers, and other descriptive text to product detail pages (PDPs).
Differences Between MAM and DAM
The difference between digital and media asset management is more nuanced. Media asset management is the process of creating, storing, distributing and analyzing media files. This gives media asset management a more specific role in the file management space.
MAM systems have more capabilities surrounding the management of videos, but lack functionalities in other areas like documents, images or works-in-progress.
DAM platforms, on the other hand, provide an all-encompassing solution. The software provides you and your team with the flexibility to work with all kinds of file types for all types of purposes, optimize those files and deliver them to relevant stakeholders.
Differences Between a DAM and CMS
A Digital Asset Management (DAM) system organizes and shares multimedia assets like images and videos, while a Content Management System (CMS) focuses on creating, managing, and publishing text-based content for websites.
In a nutshell, DAM systems excel at metadata management and collaboration, while CMS platforms prioritize delivering content to the web.
Digital Asset Management Hosting Environments
DAM providers typically offer two types of systems. On-premises DAMs use servers physically located on-site, while cloud-based DAMs store files electronically.
Employees of companies using cloud-based DAMs, also known as SaaS or web-based DAMs, can access systems from anywhere, whereas workers must be physically connected to a local area network (LAN) to access files stored on-premises.
If you’re deciding which type of DAM solution is right for you, read our post on the differences between on-premises and cloud-based DAMs to better understand each option’s pros and cons.
Types of SaaS-Based DAMs
Additionally, there are two types of SaaS DAMs, also known as cloud-based DAM systems, and each has a different level of flexibility versus simplicity.
The first type is traditional DAM software, which comes with a pre-built front-end and user interface (UI). Traditional DAMs are plug-and-play and ready for implementation out of the box. However, these systems rely on strict, pre-determined workflows.
Headless DAMs, on the other hand, are fully customizable using advanced programming interfaces, also known as APIs.
Since these systems don’t use pre-built UIs or pre-defined workflows, you can implement custom processes that make the most sense for your business. Most enterprises prefer headless DAM systems because the platforms allow the flexibility required for managing huge amounts of digital assets.
Types of On-Premises DAMs
An on-premises DAM is a digital asset management system hosted by the company or organization using it. These are common in industries that require a high-level of security or have a large, cheap availability of labor (think universities) that can manage and maintain the infrastructure required to operate something as complex as a DAM.
On-premises DAMs can be managed externally but hosted locally, home-brewed, or completely self-contained. To operate a locally-hosted or on-premises DAM requires a large amount of server space, an ability to maintain and upkeep the servers, and room to store the servers in.
This makes on-premises DAMs a hard thing to manage for many businesses. Unless you have a large, dedicated team able to manage, maintain and develop it, you would be better off with a SaaS DAM.
Digital asset management is one of the most important processes in a business. These systems and the elements of them are the central points for all a brand’s digital content.
A DAM makes the use of media, facilitates search and creating multiple versions of an asset easier by sourcing them from one primary file. In addition, it simplifies the international use of media and avoids costly licensing problems by providing your employees with the ability to assign additional metadata to digital assets.
However, it’s only possible to implement DAM software optimally when it is seamlessly integrated into the processes of a company and made easily accessible to many employees. An example would be using a DAM system in parallel with a PIM platform to take full control of your retailer’s product pages.
By choosing the right system, you can greatly improve your processes, increase efficiencies across your business, strengthen security and improve your overall performance.
Check out the DemoUp Cliplister blog for more information about product content and how it can be used to improve your eCommerce business, or visit the homepage to see an overview of DemoUp Cliplister’s full line of products and services.