What is Digital Asset Management (DAM)?

DAM is the most common term to describe the process of centralising, managing and sharing of a company’s digital files. A DAM system is a piece of software which acts as a central resource and is the location where you keep your creative assets, including photos, videos, logos, audio and graphic design files. The files can be of any format (image, video, design files, etc.) and typically include brand, marketing and product materials.

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Why do you need DAM software?

Simply, it provides staff with easy access to everything they need to create consistent, on-brand content. We know that as your organisation grows it gets harder to keep your digital files in order. Time is wasted dealing with requests for images, logos and other files, resources are scattered across CDs, hard disks and network drives, people are given the wrong file type for their needs, and a lack of overall control leads duplication of media and branding issues.

Digital Asset Management software gives your staff and partners a central location in which to quickly and easily find and then use your digital assets. You can slash approval times and unleash the value of your assets by encouraging reuse. You can fully control your brand, share assets at high speed (even out of hours) and create global, multilingual, branded resource pools.

Ultimately DAM software enables you to efficiently manage all of your digital assets saving you time and money along the way.

Benefits of Digital Asset Management (DAM) software

  • Maintains brand consistency and engagement
  • Encourages sharing of your brand assets
  • Inspires and connects your teams with great brand content 
  • Control image rights and user permissions
  • Streamline your workflows by integrating with other applications
  • Save time and make your workday more inspiring and productive
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Core features of DAM software and things to look out for include:

Flexible permission structures

Being able to not only manage who has access to your digital files, but who can actually download them is one of the invaluable parts of a DAM system. DAM systems offer flexibility so if situations change you can adapt the permissions as needed.

Image conversion

Ever wished that you could just crop an image before download to a specific or preset size for your social posts or web banners? With DAM you can! It’s such a time saver - you simply select a predefined size that you need and hit download for the perfectly cropped shot.

Powerful search and browse options

Being able to find your digital assets easily is one of the key reasons to purchase a DAM system because they make searching for images, videos and other digital files a breeze. You can browse for inspiration because of the visual layout or simply search for the digital asset you’re looking for thanks to the metadata attributed to that attribute. A good DAM system will include both simple and advanced search.

Licence and rights management

If you use imagery or video that have rights associated with them (such as copyright or other licence restrictions) then it’s essential that they are managed properly in order to protect you from litigation or fines. The beauty of a DAM system (compared to a shared drive or simple image library) is that you can put steps in place to ensure that any rights and licences management relating to your digital files is adhered to and you remain protected.

Examples of this could be: 

  • Giving the user the option to only download a file once permission has been granted.
  • Setting up a simple alert to communicate that an asset has specific restrictions before allowing download.
  • Ensuring that the licencing/rights information is injected into the file so that it travels with it on it’s usage journey. As it leaves the DAM asset expiry dates with alerts can tell users who downloaded a file that it is no longer licensed to be used.
Version control

It’s common for files to be updated, but keeping track of those changes to ensure you’re using the latest version can be a challenge. DAM solutions track changes in digital files, giving you the reassurance that you’re using the correct version. This is great when it comes to things like logos or brand guideline documents

File sharing

DAM solutions are ideal for file sharing and prior to purchasing a DAM solution you may be using other file transfer software. Whilst file transfer services are helpful often you’ll find that your organisation prohibits the use of them because they’re not approved by your IT teams. The great thing about sharing files using a DAM solution is not only the simplicity, but the range of share options available to you. 

For example:

  • You can immediately select and send assets directly from the DAM without having to first upload them somewhere else first.
  • You can also choose to send your contacts a download link to set of files or present them with a password protected gallery view of the assets you want to share, so they can review the collection on-line and only download the ones they want.
Approval workflows

Approval workflows can be linked to upload, edit or download. So you can encourage staff to upload good content, but ensure it is reviewed and approved before it goes live for others to see. On the flip side you might only want people to be able to download files once you know where and what they’ll be used for. This helps reduce some digital assets being overused if that is a concern.

Integrations with other systems that utilise digital files (such as a Content Management System)

Once your DAM solution is live and has been adopted, a typical phase two is to connect it to other systems that integrate with your workflows and that make use of digital files. This can include linking to your CMS to make it easy for editors to utilise approved images directly from the DAM, or connect with templating or asset creation systems. With a REST API, Publishing Module and Asset Transformer, there are many ways to connect your DAM to your other applications.

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