Rightsizing Your DAM

DAM, a system that stores, shares, and organizes digital assets in a central location. But what kind of DAM does your company need?

  1. chevron left iconRightsizing Your DAM
Ben BertschMarch 25, 2021
  • Digital Asset Management

There are a ton of digital asset management solutions on the market today. But what kind of system does your company need?

Does it need something basic, like a repository system? Or does it need an enterprise-level solution like a Universal Content Management platform? Above all, how does your company find the solution that best fits its needs?

No matter where you are in your organization’s DAM process, it’s critical to evaluate your vision and ask yourself whether you’re approaching DAM from a tactical standpoint or a strategic one. Do you have enterprise solutions in place that can streamline workflows and organize your digital files? Or do you have a DAM that’s causing more harm than good?

Cision expects the digital asset management market to grow by 2.5 billion over the next four years. It cites the reason for this as the “increasing digitalization of content and the need for effective collaboration on corporate assets.”

DAM has numerous advantages to businesses of all sizes and if you don’t have the right DAM for your particular organization, you can wind up losing money. However, implementing a DAM comes with inherent risks all of its own, that can end up costing you thousands. So, what questions should you ask yourself to ensure that your company puts the right pieces in place?

This article describes the planning that goes into choosing a DAM that fits your company’s organizational needs. If you find yourself looking for a way to centralize and automate your content, consider censhare. Its Universal Content Management system will let you market on any channel in any language, with less time spent on content admin.

What is Digital Asset Management?

Digital assets are files such as videos, music, photos, documents, and other media forms. Every company needs an organizational structure that gives the right employees easy access to these assets. That’s where a company’s DAM helps - a system that stores, shares, and organizes such digital assets in a central location. It is essentially a company’s central content sharing and storage solution.

What Different Types of DAM Systems Are There?

There are three basic types of DAM systems. Choosing which one is best for your company depends on multiple factors such as your company’s size, its growth rate, and the number of assets you manage.

The Basic Repository
Basic repository digital asset management works well for companies who don’t have complex employee access needs or a robust digital asset stockpile to curate. An example of a basic repository system would be Google Drive or Dropbox.

The Light DAM
Lightweight DAM solutions come with some of the capabilities of enterprise-level systems, but they fall short in other areas. They don’t have the metadata capabilities that enterprise solutions have, and they don’t automate as many functions.

The Full Scale DAM (Enterprise Level Solutions)
Enterprise digital asset management requires an enterprise-level DAM solution. These DAMs automate essential duties that kill productivity when performed by inhouse employees, such as automatically updating text or images across a set of digital ads. Not only do these systems organize files in a central location, they make digital assets easily accessible through simple search techniques made possible through well managed metadata.

These solutions also offer more advanced user permission sets. Advanced permission sets don’t only make it easier for the employee or department to locate assets. They also improve interdepartmental communication. With enterprise-level DAM, your team can streamline approval on any media within minutes instead of having to toggle through channels and complex technological barriers.

Why Use a Digital Asset Management System?

As your team and company expand, so do your digital assets. If you reach the point where managing these assets becomes a struggle, it is most likely time to implement a digital asset management system.

A DAM can help a busines in the following ways:

Increased Efficiency
Digital asset management systems help companies increase their productivity in a variety of ways. With enterprise solutions that use advanced permission protocols, employees no longer have to go through multiple channels to use assets.

Housing all of your images and brand materials in one location also increases your marketing capabilities and creative workflow. Your creative team no longer has to comb through multiple channels to locate the perfect image for a marketing campaign.

Effective DAM solutions consolidate a company’s assets in one location so employees can easily access whatever content they need to right away.

Secure Asset Allocation
A study published by Varonis found that 21% of business files are unprotected. An effective DAM changes that.

When you have images and other files all over the place, you can’t be sure who has access to them. The right DAM solution gives you a complete insight into who has your files. It can also give you options to group your assets using metadata.

More guidelines and security equate to more efficient workflows. When everyone understands what assets they have access to and where to find those assets, their roles become more straightforward and better defined.

External Distribution
DAMs let companies share their branded assets securely with other parties such as freelancers and contractors. It also upholds uniform brand material use, enhancing brand consistency and reducing asset request times. With these security systems in place, you can automate media requests and increase your productivity.

Outgrowing Your Current DAM Solution

Now that you know the benefits of having the right digital asset management solution in place, let’s shift gears. Businesses are always trying to expand, but growth isn’t painless. Implementing a DAM solution that fits your needs shows how challenging that growth can be.

How do you know when your business has outgrown its DAM solution, and where should you turn to next when considering a new DAM? There are a few questions you can ask yourself if you’re deciding whether a new digital asset management system is right for your organization.

Questions to ask when evaluating your DAM:

  • Does my business have adequate permission sets in place? I.e, do you find yourself continuously running into the same problems of giving employees access to specific files?
  • Does your current digital asset management solution promote optimized workflows? Or do you find that your employees have to search for assets and often lose time doing so?
  • Do you lose access to past versions of assets? Implementing a DAM not only serves as a filing cabinet for your assets. It also archives them, so if you want to refer to a past project, you can quickly locate it.

Maturing Out of Your DAM Solution

After identifying that you need to implement a better digital asset management solution, it can be tempting to jump at the first system you see. It’s understandable why you would do such a thing. Choosing a DAM provider is an important decision. However, you should never act in haste when it comes to streamlining your workflows.

That’s why it’s critical to understand the risks and costs involved in maturing out of your DAM. Doing this will help you better gauge the rightsized solution for your organization.

What happens when you mature out of your DAM:

  • You need additional resources and time to switch over to a different DAM
  • Issues may arise from change management
  • Added legal costs and resources occur
  • Migration costs occur
  • Integration costs occur
  • Training costs occur
  • Affected user adoption rates
  • Overlapping licenses

When choosing the right sized digital asset management system for your company, you should carefully consider the issues mentioned above. Doing so will ensure that you understand all of the risks going into the switch, making the transition as smooth as possible for your company.

Common DAM Deployment Mistakes

There are three common mistakes companies make when deploying a new DAM system. They essentially come down to lacking a complete vision for the future of their DAM, approaching DAM tactically instead of strategically, and using inadequate governance rules for end users.

Lacking a Clear Vision
The most common mistake organizations make when implementing a DAM is not having a “north star” vision for where they want to take their file-sharing solutions. Organizational leaders should ask themselves what they see digital asset management bringing to their table.

What long-term advantages can the new DAM system create? How would you implement this system? What capabilities do you need? Can you scale with a light DAM system? These are all valid questions you need to ask yourself.

Sit down with your team and identify where your bottlenecks are, then look at the various options available to you. Doing this ensures that your transition is smooth and that you don’t lose money trying to implement solutions that don’t fit your company’s strategy.

Approaching DAM Tactically Instead of Strategically
Another common mistake organizations make is approaching DAM from a tactical standpoint instead of a strategic one. It can be tempting to try and find an isolated solution to recurring problems.

For example, your team has a tough time finding files, so you quickly implement a light DAM solution to solve the problem. This approach might work in the short term, but if your company is scaling up and problems keep mounting, you’re not implementing a strategic solution to your problem.

Enterprise-level companies shouldn’t look at DAM solutions as short-term fixes to long-term problems. These systems need to be an integral component of your company’s growth scheme.

Inadequate Governance Rules for End Users
How you utilize metadata, asset grouping, and security for end users is essential for whether you have the proper digital asset management in place. If you consistently grant the wrong user access to assets, you undermine the entire system. You might also fail to group your assets altogether.

DAMs give you the tools to manage your assets, but it’s up to you to decide how to automate tasks and make it easier for your team to locate their required assets. Failing to devise a comprehensive solution to these needs almost always results in lost time and money.

How Do I Get the Most Out of My DAM?

Getting the most out of your DAM depends on a few factors. First, it is advisable to pursue a flexible, modular system so you can expand as you go. The more customized your plan is to your business’s needs, the more you can continue to tailor it as your needs change.

The next step is to make sure you have a comprehensive onboarding plan in place. Many companies implement digital asset management systems without understanding how it fits within their organization. Identify who needs access to which assets and be clear on which tasks you plan to automate.

Remember, training costs can cancel out the time you save using DAM, so thoroughly examine how you plan to train your employees in the new system.

Feedback is crucial for any new system, and you should get your team’s input on how things are operating from the jump. Implementing a DAM is an ongoing process that you need to reevaluate as your business scales.

You might not have access to all of the potential hiccups and adjustments that need to be made. Including your team ensures you understand what to change and which processes to keep in place.

5 Questions to Ask Your Potential DAM Provider

If you’re considering making the switch to a new DAM provider, there are a few questions you should ask before making your decision. Asking these questions will make your transition smooth and ensure that you’ve found the right solution for your organization.

“Does Your Solution Handle Multiple Taxonomies?” As your company grows, it adds more business units. Ask the prospective DAM company whether they would scale auto servers to meet your increasing needs. Having a company answer this question for you ensures that they can handle your strategy and deliver on your vision for your company’s future.

“Does Your Architecture Allow Clustering Servers/Autoscaling For Addressing Peak Times?” As your user adoption grows, your DAM performance might be affected despite high peak usage. To find out the company’s capabilities, ask if they have performed benchmark testing for performance limits. It’s a good indicator your system will continue to run efficiently at peak usage times if they have.

“How Many Permission Roles Does Your DAM Solution Support?” Enterprise solutions need multiple levels of secure access to assets. When searching for a DAM company, try to look for an optimal admin GUI and UI that makes user management, permissions, styling/branding, transcoding, and metadata easier to handle.

“Does Your Solution Have an Admin GUI UI For Easy Adjustment of User Management Permissions, Styling/Branding?” Companies that use graphical user interfaces (GUI) allow the users to navigate quickly and interact with DAM using graphic icons and visual indicators. GUIs offer easy user adjustments, and they are more straightforward than the alternative command-line interfaces (CLIs). Using a system with this modification will make training and implementation less of a hassle.

“Does Your DAM Solution Support More Than DAM Functionality?” If you’re an enterprise-level company, you might need a system that offers more than just DAM capabilities. You might need product information management (PIM), marketing resource management (MRM), workflows, or campaign management systems.

You might not need those solutions right away, but pairing with a company that can respond to your growing needs is always a pragmatic decision. Doing so ensures that you don’t have to go through the complex, costly process in the future of switching providers.

Conclusion - Rightsizing Your DAM

As your business continues to expand, it’s essential to streamline workflows. The appropriate digital asset management for your company will put efficient, productive, and secure systems in place that lead to fewer bottlenecks and an increased bottom line.

However, when deciding on a DAM, you need to ask yourself the right questions about your DAM strategy and what you want long-term from your DAM provider. It’s not just about having a file-sharing system in place. It’s about having one in place that responds to your company’s growing needs.

censhare can respond to all of your growing business’s content management needs. We offer enterprise solutions that include DAM, PIM, and CMS systems. Our universal content management system gives you the freedom to create, store, transform, and deliver your content to suit your target audiences.

Contact censharefor a complimentary strategy session with our solutions consultants and start streamlining your content workflows. It’s time to rid yourself of the complexity that comes from working with multiple or ineffective content management systems.

Ben Bertsch
Benjamin Bertsch holds a B.A. in History from the University of Colorado at Boulder and specializes in technical and marketing writing. He has also written articles in sports journalism and travel. In his free time, Ben is a musician, skier, and scuba diver.

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