5 Must-Have Capabilities of a Modern DAM

  1. chevron left icon5 Must-Have Capabilities of a Modern DAM
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Josh Van DykMay 22, 2023
  • Digital Asset Management

5 Must-Have Capabilities of a Modern DAM

Most companies have to deal with huge volumes of digital assets, daily. Managing them correctly can be the difference between stagnation or phenomenal growth.The right digital asset management system, or DAM, for your company provides an instant power-up to your martech stack. OrganizingManaging thousands of digital assets becomes smoother and routine marketing tasks become easier.

But choosing the right DAM isn’t always easy. Some features are a given; robust search capabilities and permissions management, for example. Nearly all the DAM SaaS solutions on the market claim to meet those requirements. But many also tout extras, such as interface customisation or commenting. How do you decide which features are truly crucial?

When choosing, keep one thing in mind: you’re looking for a DAM that meets all of your needs now and in the future. The following list of capabilities will help you sort out which DAM solutions are temporary fixes, and which ones are in it for the long haul.

Capability #1: Graph Database

Graph Databases are sometimes referred to as ‘semantic graph database’
or ‘RDF Triplestore’.

Does the DAM use a graph, or semantic, database on the back-end? Graph databases are particularly well-suited for modeling complex, interconnected data. That makes them ideal for cases where relationships between entities in the database are as important as the entities themselves. This is the case in services such as recommendation engines (i.e. Amazon’s ‘Customers also bought’) or for fraud detection.

When applied to a cutting-edge DAM, graph databases provide the ability to manage assets (the entities in the graph) while also seeing how those assets relate to each other. Graph databases are designed to scale horizontally, adding information via nodes without adding more layers to wade through. This allows graph databases to handle large amounts of data and high query loads.

Capability #2: Automations

Can workflows be automated within the DAM, and to what degree? DAM systems offer many ways to simplify both complex and manual tasks with an overall goal of streamlining and reusing assets whenever possible. Automations include:

  • AI for metadata
  • Push button publishing
  • Workflow automation
  • Archiving
  • Asset renditions
  • Print production

How much of an impact can DAM automation have? One company used censhare’s DAM to pre-template 70% of its magazine pages, allowing employees to focus on the quality of the end product.

Capability #3: Scalable Architecture

Does your DAM scale? It’s suitable for your organization’s needs now - but what about in five years?

A good DAM solution costs too much to constantly rely on upgrades in order to scale. Companies value continuity and systems that don’t need to be changed out regularly, so it’s crucial that your DAM can grow along with you. Scalability can relate to the database itself (which is why a graph database is so important), and also to the assets within the database. For example, US clothing retailer, Land’s End, is rapidly expanding its asset database to support an ambitious digital transformation strategy.

Does the DAM have an asset limit? Are files limited by size or type? Can DAM performance scale with increased use? Answering those questions will give you insight into real-world issues like how the DAM will handle peak time loads, loads that will only increase as your organization grows. Many DAMs have an 8GB storage limit per asset, limiting the length and resolution of video, for example. Censhare, on the other hand, has unlimited storage meaning high resolution images and video can be found quickly.

Capability #4: API Maturity

Not all APIs are created equal, and not all DAM solutions handle them the same way. What maturity level does the DAM operate on? To find that out, you may need to dig into current API documentation, so how established is that documentation?

And once again, there’s the scalability issue. Can the DAM handle additional APIs with different programming languages, such as Java or REST? Censhare DAM user, Kwikee, distributes data to 7,000 users of its online channel as well as to hundreds of retailers via an API gateway.

Capability #5: Open Architecture

Open architecture builds on scalability, allowing the DAM to grow without compromising existing assets. Companies need to consider whether or not they can change their DAM, for example with an upgrade, without the risk of losing information. A DAM that can be upgraded only at the expense of information currently stored on it is hardly suitable for an organization with thousands of assets and rapidly-shifting needs.

Bonus: Integrations

If a DAM handles integrations well, consider that a much-needed bonus. Integrating a DAM with a PIM (Product Information Management) solution, or with another aspect of your martech stack, tends to boost performance across the board.

A DAM with good native integrations is likely to be more open in its architecture, and therefore more scalable. That in turn increases the chances for automated workflows that draw in resources from all available solutions.

For example, people working across integrated systems automatically see continuous workflows. People can transfer assets from PIM to DAM and back again without having to download or email. These integrations open the door for a truly omnichannel content management system.

Looking for a modern, forward-looking DAM solution?

Look for something with a graph database, automations, scalable architecture, API maturity, and an open architecture. Or in the meantime, look for censhare, a truly modern DAM.

Josh Van Dyk Headshot.jpg
Josh Van Dyk
As Vice President, North American Sales for censhare US, Josh oversees the censhare solution consultants, and sales teams for North America, and has over 15 years of tech experience in the software industry. Over the last several years at censhare, he has had the opportunity to help many companies benefit from implementing a truly unified enterprise DAM, and understands the value of helping companies knock down data silos and create RIO through automation.

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