How to Choose a Digital Asset Management System

Most digital marketing strategies today require an insane amount of digital assets in different file formats. As an organization with so many media assets, it is impossible to manage them without using dedicated software like a Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution. But how to choose a good DAM for your needs?

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Selecting a new DAM software for your organization is an important decision. You do not want to be stuck with unexpected operational costs, poor functional fit, poor usability, dissatisfied users, inadequate ROI, etc. 

The problem is that with many options available in the market, choosing a DAM solution can become an overwhelming decision. 

In this post, you’ll learn what questions to ask and what functionality to look for to pick the right digital asset management platform for your business. 

Before we get to that, though, let’s discuss one incredibly important thing…

How to Know That You Need a Digital Asset Management Solution

Think of the days when your main task is to sort the images, videos, and other files on your mobile phone. Just the thought of it is daunting, isn’t it?

Now think of your organization trying to manage all the digital assets used to fulfill the marketing materials, digital product catalogs, content strategies, etc. The task of managing these digital assets can bring the mightiest to their knees because we are not just talking about photos and videos here. We are talking about:

  • Graphic files
  • Videos
  • Text files and other documents
  • Audio files
  • Powerpoint presentations and other slide decks
  • HTML documents, and
  • PDFs.

So, a good point to start is to see how overwhelmed (or not) the stakeholders are with managing the digital assets in your organization. You are looking to answer questions like:

  • Are the stakeholders spending too much time locating the right assets for their projects?
  • Is there chaos in content production, i.e., the feeling of a lack of control over the content?
  • Are there constant requests for correct versions of assets?
  • Are the stakeholders struggling to keep up with brand consistency through different channels?
  • Are the digital assets stored in a controlled environment where the concerned team members can access and share them?
  • Is the approval and feedback process going efficiently or suffering roadblocks?

When you answer these questions, it will be pretty clear whether you currently have efficient or poor asset management. These answers will also provide logical reasoning to the teams when they try to convince their superiors that now is the right time for getting a DAM solution. 

Once you have decided that it is time for you to get DAM software, you next must evaluate your DAM needs, and here is how to do it.

How to Evaluate Your DAM Needs

To evaluate your DAM needs, start with internal research. This research includes understanding your assets, so you can have clarity about the objective of the DAM program you are going to select later. 

So, for example, IT teams use digital assets in a specific format to ensure file compliance across companies’ devices and tech stacks. Likewise, creative teams and marketing must manage all assets required for various campaigns and initiatives. 

The point is that different teams have different uses for assets, and they use assets in different formats. 

So for your organization, you need to make a note of:

  • The different teams that are using digital assets
  • The format that they are using these assets in
  • An approximate number of digital assets in each format
  • What is the expected growth of these assets in the next 6 months or 1 year
  • What is the intellectual value of these assets, etc.

After this exercise, you will have a fair idea of your digital asset management functional requirements. In addition, you will be able to understand the objectives of the DAM program you should be looking at to manage your assets, like its functionality, size, maintenance costs, etc. 

You must also give a timeline by which you must have DAM to cater to your digital asset management requirements. When setting a deadline, do not forget to factor in the implementation and onboarding time. 

You also need to map the IT requirements for the new DAM solution.

To minimize a lot of time and money on IT and onboarding requirements, you must look at the tools you are already using with which you can integrate the DAM platform. For example, CELUM integrates with a number of tools that a lot of organizations already use, like WordPress, Salesforce, Hootsuite, Adobe, etc. 

Since your teams are already familiar with the platforms you are using, you can start managing your assets without having to learn new software by integrating them with a DAM system.

How to Choose the Best DAM Solution

So what are the factors you should consider when evaluating and choosing a DAM solution? Here are the ones that matter:

File formats

As we discussed earlier in the post, different teams have different asset usability, so every organization has a variety of asset formats. So a good DAM should let you define relevant asset types and categorize your content based on a variety of formats and use cases.

Consider pitching the idea of investing in a platform that allows managing all file formats to future-proof your DAM strategy. 

Importing capabilities

With the digital economy accelerating faster than ever, your digital assets are growing too. So either you are importing files from another system or adding them manually via drag & drop, and your chosen DAM system should have both capabilities. 

You should also be able to bulk upload files to the DAM and fetch them automatically from any connected source with a powerful content import service. The easier and more efficient the DAM makes the import process, the better.

Linking and relating content

With so many digital assets spread across multiple locations, it is easy to lose track of them and their relatedness. But it is important to have it in control to maintain brand consistency. 

A good DAM should let you keep track of your content, whether it is on social media or an ecommerce platform. You should be able to get usage data from connected systems and visualize where your assets are and how they relate to each other. So whenever something changes, you will know exactly where else you need to update your content.

Brand consistency is also the key to user adoption. So a good DAM should come with while-labeling options to create your own corporate branded UI of your DAM for your partners, public, and even internal purposes. 

Taxonomy capabilities and metadata

One of the critical functions of a good DAM is that it should give your assets context and meaning by including metadata. Metadata includes important information about the assets like keyword, date, copyright, etc., and transforms meager nameless files into meaningful assets for your organization. 

So, look for fully customizable taxonomy capabilities, and if it can support multiple languages, nothing like it. Some DAMs like CELUM allow you to assign tags automatically with artificial intelligence, so your metadata is available in all your connected systems.

Search capabilities

When going for a DAM, you are trying to save time finding digital assets on a daily basis. Therefore, you want to find the right assets and their latest versions in the minimum time possible. 

So a good DAM should have highly intelligent and powerful search widgets that can help you retrieve content quickly. So even if you are a huge organization with vast amounts of files, you should be able to find everything instantly. 

It should give you asset collection capabilities, so you can make your sets and subsets of assets per the organization’s needs and then filter between them. This will enable you to search within the subsets, thereby focusing the search.

Flexible access control

There is no point in having so many assets if they are not accessible to the right people at the right time. So, the system should have sophisticated access right management to make sure that the right people have access to the right data. 

The access management should be flexible, and you should be able to define who is allowed to see what. Good DAM will give you this capability even down to the specific metadata fields. 

Also, the DAM should let you access critical assets through mobile, as stakeholders may need them on the go. So take a careful look at this capability when selecting the system. 

Version control

Asset duplication is one of the biggest problems in managing them. A good DM has the functionality to store multiple versions of the same asset, but it shows you only the latest one, with old ones available for comparison.

Also, the system should make the assets accessible through a variety of organizational patterns. This way, there will be fewer duplicates and, eventually, lesser IT costs spent on disk space for storing duplicates.

AI-capabilities

Cutting-edge DAM providers like CELUM use artificial intelligence to help organizations streamline many of their DAM processes. For example, the AI helps companies find similar assets, detect duplicates, and even auto-tag your content assets to ensure that everyone can find them easily. 

So while selecting the best digital asset management software, look for capabilities like:

  • Automatic file transcoding: Decide what outputs to auto-generate. Upload a file and let the DAM platform do the rest. 
  • Pre-defined file types/formats: For easy image asset management, pre-define what sizes each image should be available in, and let the DAM system generate the final output. 
  • Pre-defined upload: Pre-define upload settings to automatically tag and categorize files.

With the right AI capabilities, you can save time and effort to uphold the quality of your content base.

Integrations

As we discussed before, it only makes sense to save time and money on training people if the DAM you choose can integrate with one of the tools you are already using. 

Also, integrating the DAM with your present systems also means that your team will not be going back and forth between tools, saving a ton of energy on their part. 

So, you can maximize the productivity of your stakeholders by choosing a DAM that integrates with widely used systems in your organization. 

Restrictions and expiration dates

No organization, however big, creates all its digital assets itself. Also, using graphics, free image websites, and recycling your images have a limit too. This means that you may be sourcing your digital assets from stock images or photo shoots and have licensing issues to consider. 

The DAM must let you feed in all the restrictions and expiration dates related to these assets, so they are only used as intended. 

Security

For any software, security is paramount, and digital asset management software is no different. You do not want your confidential digital assets to be compromised or duplicated.

The DAM you are selecting must use proper encryption and security protocols, and explain this to you in detail. You must know where your data is stored, whether the system is cloud-based, and the backup arrangements.  

Closing Thoughts

So, in case you are looking for an easy answer to your question of what is the best digital asset management software, we would say one that is an all-in-one tool like CELUM. 

Along with the functionalities mentioned above, a good DAM should help you Create, Manage, and Route your digital assets. An ideal DAM solution should give you end-to-end asset management capability, including their distribution to crucial touchpoints. 

Looking for a Digital Asset Management Solution?

Check out CELUM, the most advanced AI-powered platform for storing and managing digital assets.

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