What is the DAM Digital Asset Management System

What does "digital asset management" actually mean?

from Redaktion print.de,

The clever organization and management of important media files is the absolute basis for modern omnichannel publishing. If there is no digital asset management system (DAM) in place, the company is threatened with "data anarchy" - with chaos of duplicates, versions and coordination. But what exactly is DAM and what specific advantages can a print media company generate from it?



The management & archiving of digital files

In order to be clear about what "digital asset management" actually means, you should first know what "digital assets" actually are. Ultimately, these are digital files that are in the possession of a person or a company and are stored digitally so that they are initially archived centrally and can be reused at a later point in time. These digital files are called "assets" because they have a "higher value" than a "normal" digital file. Hence the English term »asset«, which actually describes an asset in the German translation! The “digital assets” can include images from stock libraries, photos, design files, brand logos, Powerpoint and Keynote presentations, Excel charts, digital notes, documents and much more.

What is "Digital Asset Management"?

Ultimately, the term “digital asset management” means nothing more than the “act of managing” digital assets. This includes organizing the assets in folder systems, assigning the correct file names - possibly according to naming conventions and also at the meta level (also often referred to as "managing metadata for digital assets"), ensuring that digital access rights are used Distribution of digital assets to the right people and secure storage of the assets - to name just a few.

Advantages of "digital asset management"

There are numerous benefits that one can achieve by using digital asset management solutions. These range from saving time when searching for images to centralizing all images and files in a single asset library to improving the overall return on investment. But depending on which type of DAM solution you choose (on-premise, private cloud, cloud), the advantages also differ. Basically, however, one can say that a DAM has the following advantages:

  • Storage of digital assets:
    Organizations will (never again) have to worry about their files being stored and stored in different locations or about not having enough storage space! A DAM solution offers a “central home” for all digital assets and should also make it possible to store huge amounts of data at any time.
  • Creating digital assets from the Digital Asset Library:
    The possibilities for creative collaboration differ from DAM to DAM. In any case, a good digital asset management solution should enable users to share their work while production is running and receive comments and ratings. It should also be able to interact with other programs so that users can always get the best out of every project - for example through integration with Adobe Creative Cloud Solutions such as Photoshop or Indesign. In addition, a good DAM solution should have APIs for customer-specific integration options.
  • Easy management of digital assets:
    Standard DAM solutions have metadata and tagging functions that are intended to help manage digital assets more effectively. More advanced applications can even be integrated into AI (Artificial Intelligence) solutions to make the work of digital asset management “librarians” even smoother and more cost-effective. This and the search functionalities of a DAM solution are usually among the »main driving forces« for increasing the return on investment (ROI). In most cases, DAM solutions also have precisely coordinated rights management so that users who need to access certain digital files are always (and exclusively) granted the access rights they need - regardless of whether they are internal or external teams, freelancers or simply project-based employees.
  • Publishing of digital assets:
    Because digital asset management systems specifically aim to make handling all types of digital files as simple and smooth as possible, they should also have publishing functionality in conjunction with content management systems (CMS), master data Enable management / master data management (MDM) and product information management (PIM) solutions as well as e-commerce websites - to name just a few applications. While maintaining brand consistency at the same time (the solution should help to track / track how the brand identity is used in the collaboration), publishing is also significantly faster - whereby integration into a multichannel content solution would be a basic requirement.
  • Secure storage of digital assets:
    DAM systems always consider how important digital files and assets are to their users. Apart from the fact that all assets are housed in a central location, their security is also taken care of - through high security software that is virtually impossible to hack, with watermark functionality on the image data and in some cases even with single sign-on authentication (if the DAM solution has REST APIs and webhook integrations).



How do you choose the right solution?

Because of its increasing popularity, digital asset management software is receiving increasing attention and is now in high demand in companies around the world. But while some companies have been using DAM solutions for years, others are only now discovering the benefits of organizing their data in this way. Either way - if you are thinking of investing or reinvesting in DAM software, you should pay particular attention to three things:

  • Determine business needs:
    When choosing a DAM solution, it is important to determine the business requirements in advance. This not only narrows the selection criteria for a suitable DAM, but is also the best argument to motivate the most important decision-makers in the company. Of course, digital asset management solutions are mainly used in practice by people for whom handling digital assets is part of their daily work routine. A conversation with marketing, design, photography, sales, customer service, sales partners, freelancers, and communications specialists should be a good starting point for determining business needs. You should ask them what (in their opinion) would make their work with the digital assets easier. In addition, employees from the respective technology or IT teams should be asked for their opinion on the different usage models of DAM solutions (on-premise, private cloud, cloud), as these can help to determine which type of DAM solutions Solution is best suited for the current technical systems of the respective company.
  • Meet business needs:
    When looking at various DAM solutions, it should be noted which system already has all the necessary individual functional requirements that are required in the company. The »problem -> solution -> motivation« approach may help to find out how the in-house catalog of requirements must be approached. So the problem should be determined first. A solution can be found based on the feedback that comes from the employee teams. For example, if a media designer reports that files are constantly being lost while the financial controller is pretending that the expenditure on images from stock libraries must be reduced, the solution could be a DAM system that uses extensive search, metadata and tagging Features. The motivation to invest in such a system would then be clear: It reduces the time required to search for assets, while at the same time saving costs for constantly new assets because these are no longer lost if they are correctly labeled.
  • Is it really worth the investment?
    If you take a look at the direct investment costs and the long-term savings potential of digital asset management, this question no longer arises at all. Especially not when you consider the large number of your own assets and how much time and nerves it takes to find and download certain digital files. Not to mention the large number of users who access this data - and their hourly wage costs ... [7857]


This basic article is the secondary publication of an entry by Madré Roothman on the English-language Woodwing blog. It is published with the kind permission of the Dutch software company.

"How to save money with a digital asset management system" shows the company Woodwing Software in a free Whitepaper exemplarily based on the in-house Elvis DAM solution.


You can access the Vendor Selection Matrix Digital Asset Management - Germany access. The DAM provider landscape is objectively assessed here.




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