Introduction to Digital Asset Management

Any professional who works at creating, managing, or marketing a website understands how important digital assets are in their work. Digital assets are electronically stored data that come with the right to use, bring value to their owners, and are uniquely identifiable. Examples of digital assets include audio files, PDF white papers, graphics, photos, HTML documents, and presentations.

Individual viewing computer monitor with a title overlay of digital asset management

Web professionals can use these assets to help educate people on a topic, improve a company or organization’s digital presence, and market products or services online. However, as the number of stored digital assets grows at an organization, it becomes time-consuming and difficult for different web professionals to manage and retrieve assets.

A digital asset management (DAM) solution is a type of software that helps web professionals properly store, update, index, and retrieve their digital assets. The demand for dedicated DAM tools is expected to surge over the coming years, and recent research predicted the global DAM market to reach $8.1 billion by 2024.

Read on to find out the types of DAM available, the service models you can implement when using DAM systems, and some specific use cases of DAM software for web professionals. You will also get some tips and best practices for getting the most out of any DAM solution.

Types of Tools

There are three main types of Digital Asset Management tools; however, many enterprise solutions can be classified and used as any single one or as all of these types simultaneously.

  • Library asset management focuses on building an organized digital library of infrequently changing assets for easy storage and retrieval.
  • Production asset management meets the needs of web professionals who need to collaborate on, control and use digital assets that are frequently updated and revised.
  • Brand asset management entails using and reusing marketing materials, logos, and other assets that help to build brand identity.

Software Service Models

There are two main service models for implementing Digital Asset Management:

  • On-premise DAM solutions are installed locally on an organization’s servers. Everything is kept in-house and users typically access assets via the internal corporate network.
  • Cloud DAM solutions are hosted on external web servers and the software is accessed through a web browser via an Internet connection.

On-premise DAM systems are better suited for web professionals whose roles involve stringent data security obligations, such as people working in government departments and highly regulated industries. A cloud DAM is a cheaper, more flexible solution that can also facilitate the needs of distributed teams and remote workers.

Benefits of DAM for Web Professionals

Web professionals work in a wide range of roles, but here are some general benefits of DAM software for all web professionals:

  • DAM software reduces time spent looking for assets, improves workflows, and facilitates quick repurposing of digital assets. The result is greater productivity.
  • By building a central repository of digital assets and using versioning controls, DAM provides asset consistency and facilitates collaboration for web professionals.
  • DAM software tracks the usage rights associated with assets, which can help reduce the risk of copyright issues from improper asset use. For example, there might be restrictions in how you use purchased stock photos.
  • Cloud and on-premise DAM software typically come with access control, meaning you can secure your most sensitive assets and make sure that the only people with access to them are those who need such access to do their jobs.

Best Practices When Using a DAM System

DAM offers many benefits for web professionals but how you use your chosen tool can make a huge difference. Here are some best practices for getting the most from DAM software.

Metadata is Critical

Metadata is information about your assets. Your DAM software is only as good as the metadata you store with each asset. There is a balance between too much metadata and too little. You need to enter the most important information about every asset you wish to catalog because metadata is what turns a piece of digital data into an easily searchable and retrievable asset.   You should also have a policy to enter metadata into the system as soon as you upload a given asset. Procrastination leads to an inefficient setup that makes it hard to find assets.

Specify Usage Terms

Assets rights issues can easily emerge when an asset has been stored without reference to its usage rights. For all rights-managed assets, it’s imperative to specify the usage terms in their metadata.

Leverage Analytics

DAM software often comes with advanced tracking and analytics features. You can use this information to your advantage, for example, marketers can identify the asset categories that bring the most ROI to your organization. You can also use the analytics to identify assets or collections of assets that are most frequently used and try to make such assets more easily discoverable.

Assign an Administrator

Particularly in large organizations, it is prudent to have a dedicated DAM administrator. This person can manage access controls for different users and ensure user roles and permissions are kept current. The administrator should also be responsible for creating and deleting users from the system.

Train Users

When you adopt a DAM system, it’s a good idea to set up a dedicated half-day of training that teaches different web professionals in your organization how to use your chosen software. If you avoid training users, they will need to learn on the job, which can lead to a lot of frustration and lost productivity.   

Conclusion

The expected growth in the DAM software market reflects the growing influence of digital assets in the daily work of various web professionals from designers to marketers to website copywriters. Cloud DAM solutions have emerged as a lower cost alternative service model for DAM, however, on-premise systems are still the standard for professionals in government departments and highly regulated sectors.

Editor’s Note: This sponsored content was provided by Gilad Maayan (Developer Community Advisor) at Agile SEO.

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