Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Do we need a Digital Asset Management System? And other DAM questions!

Companies and other organizations that hear about Digital Asset Management (DAM) sometimes wonder whether they need a DAM system. (Just as they enjoy the word play of the DAM acronym!)

Since Digital Asset Management assessment includes lots of other questions, I thought I would address a few of them here. I welcome you to add comments regarding your own unanswered questions.

What exactly is a digital asset? 

A digital asset is any form of content or media formatted into a binary source, categorized into three major groups: 1. Textual content; 2. Images;  3. Multimedia.

Beyond these categories, the distinguishing factors include a couple of important caveats:
  • The digital asset captures information with value to the organization that’s worth keeping, using and reusing.
  • The organization has the right to use the digital asset. Since digital information is easily copied and replicated, this is an important factor.

How are digital assets used?

Digital assets are most often used in creative departments, yet digital assets have value and use in a variety of ways, especially in today's web publishing and social media era (however digital asset use is moving well beyond the creative space into all aspects of the business):
  • Historical purposes, for archiving information related to the timeline of the organization.
  • Branding purposes, for company logos, positioning statements and other brand information.
  • Marketing purposes such as collateral or images for use in blogging or social media.
  • Sales purposes such as standard sales presentations.
  • Monetization 
The list could continue on, depending on the nature and size of your organization.

What does a Digital Asset Management system do?

Digital Asset Management technology allows you to store digital asset files along with their metadata, or the ‘data about the data’ contextual information that can be mapped to a variety of searchable fields for fast, easy retrieval. These systems generally include security, rights management, support for a wide range of file types, advanced search methods and versioning capability.

What is the difference between Digital Asset Management and Content Management systems (CMS)?

Digital Asset Management focuses on the asset itself, including metadata or contextual information that enables logical storing and easy retrieval of the asset. Content Management Systems focus on integrating digital assets into content for publishing in the required media format, generally for web publishing though CMS can apply to other media as well. DAM systems store digital assets that are often used in CMS applications to create content, and the larger technology vendors include interoperability between them.

What does it cost the organization if we don’t have a DAM system?

Implementing a Digital Asset Management system can be costly, not only the technology itself but the processes and people to make it work. Yet the costs associated with not implementing a DAM system can also be significant:
  • Compensation for staff and outside vendors to create the digital assets.
  • Expenses related to the purchase of stock photography and other digital assets.
  • Time wasted looking for the assets, or not knowing of an asset that could be used.
Multiply this by days, weeks and months over many employees and the costs quickly add up.

Should we invest in a Digital Asset Management System?

This final question depends on how many digital asset files you have now, how much it’s growing, how they are being used and what you are missing out on by not being able to use these digital media files in marketing, sales, customer service, business development, product development or any other business function.

It’s often said that a digital file is only a digital asset when it can be easily found and used. Otherwise it’s just another collection of stored bits and bytes.

LAC Group offers a range of Digital Asset Management services, from the evaluation and assessment of needs to vendor selection and contract negotiation to permanent or temporary staffing for archiving, research and more. For those of you with DAM systems in place, we can counsel you on trends and best practices and consult with you to make sure you are getting the most out of your digital assets

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