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Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Content Management Systems (CMS) both deal with digital content, but the two systems were developed for entirely different purposes. A CMS’s core function is to display and publish editorial content on websites. DAM is a central location where all kinds of files can be created, managed and used - a content hub.

An overview of the 3 most important differences

1. First Difference: Users

Whereas a CMS is mainly used by Web-Designers and Content-Editors in Marketing, for example, the number of users who would benefit from working with DAM is practically infinite. Large companies in particular have an enormous number of potential users. Marketers, creatives as well as legal departments have to access a wide variety of different files. A central content hub from which they could manage their work would therefore be of great advantage to them.   

2. Second Difference: Photos, Videos and Files

CMSs traditionally contain a number of text-heavy files which also serve as text modules and are published on several landing pages. Naturally, images and videos are also used to visually enhance the website, making it more attractive. Within the CMS, relevant webpage files can be arranged in special layouts prior to publishing them on the website.

DAM, however, is home to all files - in all kinds of formats – that are created, managed and used within a company. Hundreds of thousands, even millions of different images, videos and texts can be managed from the central content hub. Digital Asset Management thus also enables long-term storage of large amounts of data. Indexing media guarantees that files can be easily searched for and quickly located.

3. Third Difference: Workflows

Finally, there are also big differences between CMS and DAM when it comes to workflow. One great advantage that DAM has, is that media can be versioned. What does that mean, exactly? If, for example, Marketing updates the company presentation, then you automatically have access to the latest version thanks to DAM. This ensures content consistency. DAM also facilitates the approval process, particularly for creatives working together with agencies.

Workflows in CMS are designated by content that is relevant to the homepage, and its release for publication. The separate archive in which photos and texts for publication are stored in CMS, has to be managed separately and checked for validity. If a user wishes to add an image to a blog entry on the website, s/he first has to upload this to the internal CMS library, and decide on a filing structure.

Conclusion: Though their purposes are very different, the two system functions perfectly complement each other. A combination of CMS and DAM is the optimal solution when it comes to simplifying time-consuming workflows in CMS and reducing these to just a few work steps. By combining the two systems, companies can achieve innovative advantages, saving time and money. 

How does the combination of CMS and DAM work in everyday business?

If you have connected your CMS to DAM, you continue to work as usual in the normal CMS user interface. However, instead of using the internal, separate media library, you intuitively select images and other media files using the central content hub. All release processes and production steps have already been taken at this point, and you do not have to first upload the file to the system. This also ensures that you only ever use the currently authorised photos. All you have to do, is select the image or video of your choice and insert it in the desired position on the website.
Possible error sources and long, tedious searches can thus be avoided using the combination of CMS and DAM.

Our Expert Advice

Look for an experienced partner when it comes to integrating DAM in CMS (this is the technical term) – one who can assist you as a specialist in the technical implementation, as well as in preparation and follow-up. At CELUM, we offer DAM-integration for the leading CMSs such as Wordpress, TYPO3, Sitecore, FirstSpirit, Drupal, CoreMedia Connect, Gentics, OpenText WSM or Magnolia. You can read up on all the information on our DAM-system CELUM ContentHub here.