Uniform blog/What is digital asset management (DAM)?
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Uniform
Posted on Jan 21, 2023

5 min read

What is digital asset management (DAM)?

To promote merchandise online, businesses nowadays must deliver rich media across devices by first ensuring that the content is in one place as the single source of truth for use by various teams. Another mandatory step is to transform the assets into the correct format for delivery in context. Doing that requires a digital asset management (DAM) system.

Functions and benefits of DAM systems

DAM systems (called DAMs for short) help enterprises store, organize, find, retrieve, share, and publish content. Of prominence is a centralized library that accords employees, clients, contractors, and other stakeholders controlled access to assets like photos, creative files, video, audio, presentations, documents. 
DAMs offer three significant benefits:
  • Easy cross-team access to files and assets
  • High productivity for promotional campaigns
  • A consistent brand identity and presence
The DAM that works the best for you is the one that stores and organizes your assets such that they lend your brand optimum value. This guide describes DAMs and their benefits, serving as a roadmap for evaluating and choosing a DAM that can effectively transform your business’s content-management process.

Types of digital assets

Below are the common types of business-oriented digital assets, which vary according to industry and marketing strategy:
GIFs
Images
Videos
Infographics
ebooks
Whitepapers
Email marketing
Blogs
Social media
AR
VR
3D
Various file formats apply to social media and email marketing: short videos, memes, header images, social icons. As a rule, enterprise libraries grow exponentially and can quickly become overwhelming. Hence the need for DAMs.

Evolution of DAM

Marketing teams and agencies have been practicing DAM for over three decades.  Originally, DAMs served as an analog library and filing system of a company’s print and media assets—mostly photos and videos that typically resided on premise and that required complex customizations.
During the past five to 10 years, to meet corporate demands, DAMs expanded to become a creative-media library for more complex branding elements. Nonetheless, DAMs mainly focused on managing documents, videos, and photos.
In contrast, modern DAMs are much more robust and sophisticated, with companies storing and repurposing assets across channels. To be effective and remain competitive, DAMs nowadays must integrate with popular marketing tools, such as platforms like Adobe Creative Cloud and MS Office, as well as solutions for managing social media and creating content.

Teams that use DAM

The use of DAM varies team by team, depending on your marketing strategy and industry.
 

Marketing and sales

DAM for marketing and sales facilitates collaboration on presentations by offering easy access to important branded assets like templates and legal documentation, sparking efficient DAM practices and streamlining promotion campaigns. 

Legal and IT

For IT and legal teams, DAM simplifies the process of access control and accords technicians ready access to system-maintenance resources. 
Legal teams can add expiration dates to critical or sensitive documents, shielding members and clients from significant legal liability.

Creatives

Creatives like photographers and graphic designers can easily upload and distribute their output through DAM—a significant benefit for integration. In addition, creatives can move projects to their DAM from apps like Adobe Creative Studio and other project-management tools, and vice versa. 

Vendors

Thanks to modern DAMs, third-party vendors can collaborate with your team, which can handily share files with those vendors for collaboration.

Creative agencies

Through DAM, marketing and social media organize and monitor client feedback, share finished projects with clients, and move projects through the final steps of production workflows. 

Components of DAM

Proper DAM requires detailed record keeping for all stored assets, which is accomplished by means of the components described below.

Metadata

Metadata, the description of each and every file in your library, is searchable within your DAM. The more specific the descriptions and the more keywords, the easier it is to locate assets.

Digital-rights management

DAM’s digital-rights management component ensures that files never fall into the wrong hands, controlling access even as companies work with third-party contractors. For example, by setting expiration dates, legal teams can manage access to files within the network. That way, both internal and external collaborations are much more secure, especially for international organizations subject to the General Data Privacy Regulation Act (GDPR).

Taxonomy and tagging

Within a DAM system, your team can categorize assets with tag files and taxonomy, marking assets that belong to a team or project or assigning deliverables to a vendor or department. Transparency then results, showing the latest project status and the next steps. 

Storage

Long a main component of DAM, storage now offers robust, scalable cloud capacity through which internal and external stakeholders can access files from virtually anywhere. 

Retrieval systems

You can search by name, taxonomy, or tag within the DAM library. However, combing through enterprise libraries of thousands of files can be tedious and time consuming. Be sure to look for a user-friendly retrieval system on which you can set up search parameters.

Benefits of DAM

Here are the major DAM benefits:
  • Seamless remote collaboration. All stakeholders access the assets of all formats in your library from a central location—and, thanks to cloud storage, from almost anywhere. 
  • Efficient distribution. Access to assets is instantaneous. As soon as you’ve uploaded a file, it becomes available to those stakeholders with access permissions.
  • Consistent brand image. A central storage for all assets ensures that they stay on brand. Teams can routinely audit files to remove off-brand or outdated content. 
  • No misplaced or lost assets. DAM translates to superior organization of assets by keeping them in one place and rendering them easily searchable and retrievable in seconds. 
  • In-depth analytics and reporting. Most modern DAMs monitor and analyze usage. At your fingertips are reports on who is accessing which assets, how often, and what edits have been made. Teams can aggregate and analyze that data to build content strategy and determine future asset-management choices.
  • Higher cybersecurity. Controlling and centralizing access to your assets reduces security risk. Files are available to only those who need them, and teams no longer have to wander around in search of “lost files.” 

The future of DAM

Having come a long way since its emergence thirty years ago, DAM continues to evolve. Today’s DAMs are cloud-based, integrated libraries capable of delivering content to numerous different devices, channels, and repositories, comprising Application programming interfaces (APIs) with which assets can plug into apps and efficiently perform routine tasks. Furthermore, through AI, DAMs can aptly tag and cross-reference assets, predict content needs, and recommend content.
To move onward and upward, you need a digital experience composition platform (DXCP) like Uniform that connects all your tools.  For details on how Uniform supercharges your DAM through dynamic integrations, schedule a free demo with us.
DAM refers to the management of digital files, whereby teams can easily share, edit, and collaborate on blogs, pictures, videos, infographics, and the like. A CMS is a platform for launching and editing content for websites.