Content is king! In today’s experience economy every is a ‘publisher’ in the broadest sense of the word.
However, the building blocks of differentiating experiences - the content - can either be a costly overhead or a hardworking asset, depending on how it is created, processed, deployed and stored. As content curators, companies have a multitude of digital assets, such as audio and video files, images and articles. The challenge they face is around making the most of these digital resources; making them available across the and easily deployable, within an and transparent workflow. This is where Digital Asset Management, or DAM systems come in. Here I unpack what lies behind the acronym and explore the value that DAM technologies can offer companies, now and in the future.
We’re all familiar with the stories of huge corporations, such as the New York Times and NASA, suffering the consequences of losing substantial digital assets, sometimes just down to poor preservation, but often due to external factors such as natural disasters or sabotage. While many enterprises rely heavily on their digital assets make money, these losses can have huge impact on the business. Obvious examples are publishing houses for whom content is the business.
However, the risks associated with not safeguarding content are not contained to these , nor just to the marketing departments that are the content creators in others. Today, the use and re-use of assets expands to sales, legal, HR departments and many more. Therefore, it is vitally important that both business users can access the right content in a timely manner.
This is where DAM systems come into play. Digital asset management specialist, Theresa Regli, defines DAM as an umbrella term for both the technology and the discipline that helps companies and control their digital assets. Historically, DAMs have their roots in the early 1990s, when early adopters came up with simple ways of storing image files. 30 years on, companies like Adobe, Sitecore and Aprimo offer enterprise-level solutions for seeking a better way to manage their digital assets.
What makes it so DAMn special?
With options for both universal and customized solutions on the market, how should a company go about choosing the DAM for them? The starting point is to understand the core principles that make a good DAM system.
It will need to ingest, both single and mass sets of assets; it must be secure; it will store assets and corresponding metadata; transform assets into new file formats; enrich assets with metadata; be able to relate and track the lifecycle of an asset; enable a clear process; allow users to easily find assets and preview them before downloading and finally, publish externally.
Does the technology Alone Matter?
With many opportunities to invest in shiny, new technology when considering a DAM system, companies need to understand that technology alone does not guarantee success. The BBC started their DAM journey back in 2008, when they commissioned a partner to help them implement new technology to manage their content. After a few years of struggling with this initiative, the project was dropped in 2013, and the CTO suspended. The situation was later by PwC who that the over-focused on the technology but did not consider the cultural and social factors involved in adoption.
According to the DAM maturity model, a tool developed by the DAM Foundation, a not-for-profit think tank that helps companies measure their current level of DAM proficiency, the 4 pillars of success are people, information, systems and process. The technology cannot achieve its full potential without a healthy, supportive and functional ecosystem.
The DAMn value
It’s time to answer the all-important question, how will a functioning DAM system add value to businesses? By assets, can increase their efficiency. Rather than spending hours searching for documents, pictures and files;companies and their agencies can curate and execute campaigns both more quickly and more efficiently. In fact, statistics from a 2018 IDC study showed that companies using Adobe’s DAM, AEM Assets, were looking at a 366% average three-year ROI.
DAM systems can help companies deal with issues such as process and storage efficiency, as well as better monitoring of regulatory compliances and permission rights. And in today’s competitive environment, businesses need to improve their workflows, make decisions faster and create customer experiences that make them stand out from their competitors…all easier with a DAM system in place.
Here's to the future
With DAMs already offering obvious benefits to , what will the future bring? I think it’s safe to say new tech developments will make today’s systems look . I’ve been diving into the world of DAM systems for a couple of weeks and have identified these opportunities for development.
Firstly, and probably most obviously, AI will offer major new possibilities for DAM systems which will be able to make use of image and face recognition and greater automation when it comes to the curation of creative content. Secondly, data will help users their assets better, making them more quantifiable. Thirdly, DAM systems will become more and tailored to a company’s structure, rather than being the predominantly universal solutions of today. I also believe that DAM systems will become more integrated within leading to better cross-departmental use and a wider scope; from an asset’s creation to ingestion, all the way through to its external distribution. Finally, I believe that blockchain technologies will help users record, track and protect their asset usage and its rights.
In the upcoming years we’ll see a lot of development within DAM systems that will make it easier for users to control their assets and make the best of their content library. However, it will be the companies that the value of DAM, not just as a technology, but a business solution that can help them save time and profit, that will win the whole race.
Photo by Luca Upper on Unsplash
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