As a formal definition, Digital Asset Management (DAM) offers an effective solution to store, manage, organize and distribute digital assets from a central repository.
Easy-to-use, a centralized digital library provides peers, contractors and any other key stakeholders controlled access to digital assets — including images, photos, creative files, video, audio, presentations, documents and more.
The term digital asset management actually covers a large array of software solutions, from an individual’s digital file library to solutions that resemble enterprise Content Management.
DAM software has core capabilities surrounding cloud storage and includes functions as: the retrieval and sharing of assets, creative workflow automation, archival and backups, usage tracking, e-commerce and more.
In addition, it’s important to understand that all digital assets have a lifecycle.
Understanding the lifecycle of digital assets is essential to understanding why a central content management hub is important. Three main phases can be identified in the asset lifecycle:
- Creation: It’s more than the action of shooting video or developing artwork. The Asset definition, the generation, planning and development of ideas are part of the creative process
- Management: Includes the approval, version control and the logistics of giving people access to view and comment on digital assets.
- Distribution: Internally, an asset might move between departments, to affiliate partners or be routed to salespeople. Externally, your website, social media platforms and affiliate partner marketing collateral are all destinations for your assets.
DAM main features
A DAM system describes and defines your asset by means of the Metadata language. Metadata can be descriptive, like title, author, creation date or keywords; it can be structural, referring to the format or dimensions; or it can be administrative, giving important information on digital asset usage guidelines and copyrights. Metadata is important because it contains key information about your digital assets. Good metadata allows you to easily pinpoint specific assets during a search.
Each DAM system offers its own metadata organization — from text fields, to drop-down menus, to palettes and checkboxes. Some systems come with pre-set metadata fields, while others allow you to customize and create your own.
Digital rights management
Different levels of access, or permissions can be assigned to users by group. Permissions categories allows you to control what users see and what they can do with digital assets in the system.
Licensing, copyrights, and usage guidelines are more important than ever before, therefore ensuring proper use of digital assets is a key concern.
DAM software offers multiple ways to manage licensed assets like metadata, user roles and permissions, end-user license agreements (EULAs) and watermarking.
- Metadata: items can be categorized and searched by rights, and the automatic warnings can be applied.
- Roles and permissions: creating user roles allows to grant controlled access to users by group. The use of expired or outdated digital assets can be avoided by allowing users to access only those assets they need.
- EULAs and watermarks: These management tools are generally applied at the asset download level. EULA’s may be tied to individual digital assets or groups, and appear as an agreement the downloader must approve before downloading the asset. Similarly, many DAM systems enable watermarks to be assigned to digital assets before download of specific file types.
- Asset analytics: Many DAM systems now offer the functionality to see who has downloaded an asset or where digital assets have been used in social media. Knowing when, how and by whom assets are being used can help avoid misuse.
Security considerations for storing digital assets
Security means digital assets protection and also includes the backing up of files and metadata.
The kind of security assurances you need vary according to your organization and the type of DAM system you select. On the organizational side, if you handle sensitive documents like medical records, there are strict guidelines regulating how they must be stored and secured.
Selecting a SaaS provider for managing your DAM, you are mostly dependent on them to attend to security. The benefits of a SaaS is that it stores digital assets in the cloud so they can be accessed anywhere via the internet, and it also offers freedom from maintaining servers.
Synthesis of typical features
- Metadata Management
- Cataloging / Categorization
- Online Proofing
- Approval Process Control
- Asset Sharing
- Brand Control
- Filtered Search
- Keyword Search
- Search Within Document
- Image Editing
- Social Sharing
- Usage Tracking / Analytics
- Version Control
- Video Management
Cloud DAM benefits
Cloud DAM provides anytime, anywhere access to all of your digital media. Have secured access to all of your business critical files from any web device whether you’re at your desk, working from home or at a coffee shop around the world. Online DAM provides exactly what you need to easily manage, access, share and track all of your digital assets.
Anytime, Anywhere File Sharing & Access
Cloud DAM makes file sharing and accessibility simple in one central location. The configuration of different levels of permissions ensures the right people have access to the right files.
Easy Asset Organization & Control
Organize in a secure and centralized cloud DAM your important digital assets. Metadata management provides the ability to add keywords to assets and even customize a controlled vocabulary. Keyword consistency and powerful search options greatly improve search in rich media. You may maintain multiple versions of a video under one URL, reducing the possibility of outdated versions being used. Powerful is the control on what users can download, upload, delete and more.
Digital Publishing & Distribution
Digital publishing tools in DAM allow you to push your digital assets to social channels, web content management systems, marketing solutions, third-party distribution services and more. Usage guidelines with logos or brand assets can be included.
Marketing & Creative Collaboration
You may access archived marketing materials to inform projects in development. You can also group assets together in collections to share with other team members and increase productivity. Powerful tools are streamline workflows with real-time alerts, comments, version control, approvals and more.