Does sharing images with your team give you a headache? When the media calls, do you feel like nothing is organized and that you can’t find that one backgrounder you desperately need? Are you forever hunting for that one version of the logo you swear was on the shared drive? Here’s the best DAM remedy for asset sharing among large groups of people: use a digital asset management (DAM) tool.
What exactly is a DAM?
IBM says, “A digital asset management solution is a software and systems solution that provides a systematic approach to efficiently storing, organizing, managing, retrieving and distributing an organization’s digital assets. A DAM can be used to refer to both a business process and a form of information management technology, or a digital asset management system. DAM functionality helps many organizations create a centralized place where they can access their media assets.”
So in a nutshell, it’s a database of rich media content that is easily searched, cross-referenced, categorized, tagged, dated and maintained. In other words, it’s the central repository for an organization’s content, bringing order to the chaos of files and folders. This content can include anything from photos, videos, PDFs, presentations, animations, audio content, etc.
Here’s why you need a DAM:
You need a DAM if you have:
- Too many rich media files (i.e. photo, PDF, video, audio, PPT, white papers, brochures, etc.) to keep track of;
- No way to search through all your files to find the one that you need;
- No clue how to cross reference your files;
- No method to stale date files; or
- No solution to create multiple lists or “views” of your files.
With all these great reasons, it’s no surprise that companies, especially large organizations, are turning to DAMs to organize their digital files.
What should your proposed DAM offer?
Ready to find a DAM that works for you? According to IBM, it’s recommended to find a DAM that offers the following:
- Support asset lifecycle and role-based permissions: Your DAM solution should enable you to manage your digital assets from idea through conception and throughout their lifecycles. It should also provide access rights and permissions with the granularity that you need to preserve the integrity of your assets.
- Integration: Your DAM solution should integrate with the solutions that you have in place today, such as asset creation and distribution, and any systems you plan to add in the future.
- Bidirectional flexibility: A flexible, agile DAM solution will provide the flexibility to search for assets in any direction. Bidirectional flexibility enables you to search metadata, such as brand, to find an asset, or search specific assets to find metadata. This capability supports the search and repurposing of assets by other functional groups within an organization.
- Import and export capability: Your DAM solution should not create an isolated island of data. Your ideal solution should include the ability to share digital assets as well as search results and other data.
- Stable storage and transfer infrastructure: The DAM solution you choose is equally as important as how and where the assets are stored, and the ability to transfer the assets wherever they are needed. Whether you choose on premises software-defined storage or cloud-based storage, consider the reliability, flexibility, scalability, performance and recoverability to protect your assets.
- File transfer efficiency: Speed and efficiency of file transfer are important because they directly affect your speed of business. The ability to share and use the assets when and where you need them will help to define the effectiveness of the solution that you choose.
To add to this list, we recommend that your DAM:
- Allows for ease of use for end-users and publishers
- Dates and stale-dates content
- Sends update reminders/notifications
- Has security options ranging from fully visible to fully protected
- Includes redundancy and backup features
- Allows embedding of database “views” (lists) and pre-built searches
What DAM should I choose?
Here are a few DAM systems you can evaluate to get a feel for the costs and features:
- If your website is powered by WordPress, you might be able to make do with a very basic, entry-level pseudo DAM by adding a plugin like Enhanced Media Library. The Pro version of this plugin costs a mere USD$25 for a lifetime licence!
- Airtable is not a DAM per se, but a database as a service – think of it like MS Access or Filemaker Pro in the cloud. This is a user-friendly DIY solution, with many templates on Airtable to get you started. We tend to think of Airtable as entry-level to mid-market software. Pricing ranges from free to USD$24/user/month or higher for large businesses with many users.
- Filecamp is a low-priced DAM with a rich feature-set that is priced between USD$29 and $89 per month.
- Bynder is a well-reviewed mid-market system that’s rumored to start at around USD$450 per month, but they do not publish their prices so your price might vary considerably depending on users and assets.
- And, finally, software review site G2 lists many other DAM systems to help you with your DAM shopping.
If your company desperately needs a more efficient way to catalogue photos, diagrams, reports, white papers, studies, diagrams, videos and much more, give us a call. We give a DAM and are here to help.