Digital asset management (DAM) — what it is, how it works, and best solutions
In today's digital age, managing and organizing digital assets like images, videos, and documents has become an essential part of any business or organization. From managing brand consistency to streamlining workflow, digital asset management (DAM) systems offer a range of benefits that can help you better leverage your digital assets.
In this post, we'll explore the importance of digital asset management, what these systems do, and the different types of systems available. This post will explain:
- What is digital asset management (DAM)?
- What is a digital asset?
- What does a DAM solution do?
- What are the benefits of DAM?
- Who uses DAM?
What is digital asset management (DAM)?
Digital asset management (DAM) is the process of organizing, storing, and retrieving digital assets such as images, videos, audio files, documents, and other types of digital content. The purpose of DAM is to improve the efficiency, security, and accessibility of digital assets, ensure digital assets are used in a consistent manner, and enable the organization to use them to the fullest.
DAM involves using specialized software — either server-based or cloud-based — to create a centralized repository for digital assets, allowing users to easily access, edit, and share files.
Additionally, digital asset management can help organizations to easily track and report on the usage of their assets and ensure that they are being used in compliance with copyright and other legal requirements.
What is a digital asset?
A digital asset is any type of media or data that is stored in a digital format. This can include a wide range of files, including:
- Images — JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, RAW, etc.
- Videos — MP4, AVI, MOV, WMV, etc.
- Audio — MP3, WAV, AIFF, etc.
- Documents — PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.
- 3D models and animations — STL, OBJ, FBX, etc.
Digital assets can also include more specialized types of files, like CAD drawings, scientific data, and other types of digital content.
In general, digital assets are created, used, or managed by an organization and have value that can be leveraged. For example, images of products can be used for ecommerce, videos can be used for marketing, and documents can be used for research.
What does a DAM solution do?
A digital asset management solution is a software application or platform that is used to organize, store, and retrieve various digital files. These solutions are designed to follow the natural lifecycle of digital assets — from creating and distributing assets to archiving, reusing, and retiring them.
- Asset creation. Many DAM tools include built-in image and video editing features, which can help speed up the creation process.
- Editing and review. DAM solutions simplify collaboration with built-in tools for commenting, annotation, and version control, allowing multiple users to leave feedback and suggestions on a single asset.
- Integrations. Users can integrate with other tools such as Adobe Creative Cloud, content management systems, and project management tools.
- Sharing and distribution. You can streamline the distribution of finalized assets by integrating your DAM system with other tools like content management systems or social media platforms.
- Tracking and organization (archiving). When you’ve completed a project, digital asset management solutions make sure your assets are organized by date, metadata tags, or file type.
- Secure storage. You can use DAM solutions to protect your assets from unauthorized access or modification by setting user permissions and roles. Additionally, many DAM solutions use encryption for an added layer of protection.
- Search and retrieval. Once you’ve archived your files, DAM solutions provide tools for organizing, indexing, and searching assets. Some digital asset management tools include AI-powered search functionality, along with the ability to group assets based on specific criteria making it easier to find your assets in the future.
There are a wide variety of digital asset management systems available, from basic cloud-based solutions to enterprise-level systems with advanced features. To find the best solution for your organization, consider your team’s specific workflows and processes, which types of digital assets you’re working with, and what level of ownership and security you need.
What are the benefits of DAM?
Digital asset management can help businesses of all sizes save time and improve workflows. These benefits include:
- Improved efficiency. By centralizing and organizing digital assets, it becomes much easier for users to find and access the files they need — without having to sift through multiple locations or folders.
- Increased productivity. With easy access to the right files, users can work more efficiently, reducing the time and effort required to complete tasks. Additionally, by automating repetitive tasks such as resizing, cropping, and organizing, DAM tools can free up time for more important tasks.
- Better collaboration. A DAM system allows multiple users to access and work with digital assets simultaneously, making it easier for teams to collaborate on projects.
- Improved security. By controlling access to digital assets, and by automatically backing up files to a secure location, DAM solutions can help protect against data loss and ensure compliance with regulations and laws.
- Better use of assets. A good digital asset management tool allows users to track and report on the usage of assets, making it easy to see which assets are being used most effectively and which may be underutilized. This can help organizations to optimize their use of digital assets and make better use of their resources.
- Brand consistency. A DAM solution makes it easy to ensure that all digital assets are used in a consistent way, which helps to maintain a consistent brand image and messaging across all channels.
- Legal compliance. A DAM solution can help organizations ensure that they are using digital assets in compliance with copyright and other legal requirements, protecting them from potential legal issues.
Who uses DAM?
DAM acts as a centralized media source for everybody within your organization who may use or distribute those assets. It is used by a wide range of organizations and businesses, including:
- Marketing and sales. Digital asset management systems make it simple for creatives to generate assets for marketing materials and advertising campaigns and then collaborate with the sales team to build sales presentations and share relevant assets. DAM software can then help measure the effectiveness of their marketing and sales efforts by tracking how assets are used and who uses them.
- Designers. Designers use DAM solutions to centralize reviews and annotations, organize existing project files, and share finalized assets across teams. DAM solutions can help multiple designers collaborate on projects with version control, shared resources, and built-in editing tools.
- Developers and IT. Developers and IT departments use digital asset management solutions to store, organize, and access digital assets that are associated with development and maintenance of software, websites, and other digital products. DAM solutions can store code snippets, file libraries, and other resources that can be reused to make work on new projects more efficient.
- Legal. Legal teams may use DAM solutions to organize, store and access digital assets related to legal proceedings and negotiations — including documents, contracts, legal briefs, and more. DAM makes it simpler to collaborate and share these documents with other legal professionals.
Overall, DAM is used by any organization that creates, uses, or manages large amounts of digital content, as it improves the efficiency and accessibility of digital assets while reducing the risk of data loss and supporting compliance with regulations. Businesses that work with external users, including agencies, clients, and contractors, can use DAM solutions to set appropriate file permissions, track changes and annotations, and control how certain assets get used.
Getting started with Adobe Experience Manager
Adobe Experience Manager Assets is a cloud-native, intelligent DAM that makes creative and content production more efficient with assets that are easy to find and use so you can confidently support highly tailored customer experiences. Experience Manager Assets makes collaboration faster by letting creatives receive feedback directly in Adobe Creative Cloud applications and acts as a central filing system with easy access for all team members.
Watch the overview video or request a demo to learn more about how Adobe Experience Manager can help manage all your digital assets on a single platform that can scale to meet any traffic and processing demands.