Header image: Microsoft Sharepoint in comparison with DAM systems

Microsoft SharePoint and DAM systems in comparison

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Professional management of digital media and documents is essential for most companies. One software frequently used for this purpose is Microsoft SharePoint. It was developed especially for the management and distribution of document file types. Software systems that are designed more for the management of image and video files, on the other hand, fall into the category of digital asset management (DAM). Media content is rightly understood here as a company’s asset.

Both Microsoft SharePoint and typical DAM systems offer functions for storing, organizing and sharing digital content. However, despite this functional overlap, there are significant differences that can be decisive depending on the orientation of a company.

It therefore goes without saying that the question of the appropriateness of investing in one of the systems can only be answered meaningfully if the company-specific requirements are known.

Main purpose and functionality of SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint is primarily used as a document management system. E.g., file types from Microsoft’s office applications (DOCX, XLSX, PPTX etc.), numerous open formats (ODT, ODS, ODP etc.) and standard formats such as PDF, HTML or EML are supported.

A core feature of SharePoint is version management, which can be used to track changes to a file, among other things. The extensive logging of modifications also makes it possible to restore older file versions. Working with alternative drafts is also made considerably easier and more professional. With regard to the version history, however, only document formats are fully supported. Metadata in media files such as JPEG, PSD or MP4 is not imported into SharePoint. Accordingly, no changes to the metadata can be recorded.

The second main function of SharePoint falls into the category of collaboration. In everyday language we speak of teamwork. With SharePoint, this collaboration takes place internally, i.e. within a company. Employees from completely different departments can thus exchange and manage files. However, SharePoint was not designed for collaboration with external partners.

SharePoint is available as an on-premises and cloud solution. For particularly strict data protection requirements, it can be advantageous to host SharePoint on your own servers. The total costs are then generally higher.

Main purpose and functionality of a DAM system

DAM systems are specially developed for the central management, structuring and distribution of digital media such as photos, graphics and videos. Today, the range of functions extends from metadata optimization, license management and duplicate detection to AI-based analyses of image and video content.

DAM systems usually support all common media file types. This means that the corresponding files can be displayed or played back. The editing options are mostly limited to cutting and scaling media. DAM solutions are therefore by no means suitable as a replacement for Photoshop and the like. They are primarily used to manage content that has already been created.

Typical organizations that work with DAM systems are:

    • Advertising, marketing and PR agencies
    • Providers of stock photos and videos
    • News and press agencies
    • Museums and picture archives
    • Marketing and communication departments
    • Product manufacturer
    • Sports and entertainment organizations
    • Public institutions and universities

Today, DAM systems are used in many companies that are not directly associated with sale and distribution of media material. For example, digital asset management can be useful not only in the obvious area of marketing, but also in areas such as internal communication or human resources.

Like SharePoint, DAM solutions can also be hosted on your own servers (on-premises). However, the trend is clearly moving towards SaaS solutions in the cloud.

Advantages of SharePoint

For companies that mainly work with documents and already use Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), SharePoint offers a number of advantages.

Highly developed version management
SharePoint’s version history tool is certainly its greatest asset alongside its collaboration functions. Version statuses can be easily compared and restored if necessary.

Strong security mechanisms
SharePoint is also equipped with strong encryption and authentication protocols, providing an additional layer of security for company data. Administrators can define exactly which users have access to which files. Of course, the type of access can also be determined. Write permissions allow a file to be edited and changed, while read permissions only allow it to be viewed and downloaded.

Disadvantages of SharePoint

Closed system
SharePoint is tied to the Microsoft ecosystem and cannot be integrated into other working environments such as Google Workspace or the Adobe Creative Cloud. Conversely, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, for example, must be converted into an equivalent Microsoft or OpenDocument format for importing into SharePoint. Unfortunately, version histories are lost in the process.

No automatic metadata import for images and videos
As described above, any contained metadata is ignored when importing media files into SharePoint. This is a major disadvantage for users who frequently work with image, graphic or video files and are dependent on this meta information. It is possible to subsequently import metadata into the SharePoint database via CSV files, but this is not a fully-fledged replacement.

No integration of external stakeholders
The biggest disadvantage of SharePoint is probably that data exchange is limited to internal teams and external stakeholders cannot be integrated at all or only with severe restrictions. If your company works a lot with freelancers, external partners or agencies, the use of SharePoint could therefore be obstructive.

No intuitive user interface
Setting up SharePoint is considered comparatively demanding. This also applies to user interfaces for non-administrative users. They could also be designed more intuitively. Taken together, this explains why Microsoft SharePoint requires intensive training.

Advantages of a modern DAM system

Granular access controls
When it comes to security, modern DAM systems are in no way inferior to SharePoint. There are usually advanced role systems for fine-grained access controls down to the individual file level. There are also metadata-based filters and options for intelligent file sharing management.

Data integration
Content stored in DAM systems is not necessarily tied to a specific working environment. Thanks to flexible interfaces such as REST APIs, customized connections can be developed. Depending on the DAM provider, it is even possible to access and retrieve managed folders and files via familiar applications from Adobe, Google or Microsoft.

Maximized metadata support
Metadata management is a basic component of every DAM system. Accordingly, reading and importing existing metadata is a standard process here. Modern DAM solutions support at least the metadata formats XMP and Exif (and optionally the legacy format IPTC-IIM).

Metadata not only serves to improve structure and findability, but also enables the documentation of license data, image rights or other legal dispositions.

Advanced AI functions
Modern DAM systems are increasingly using deep learning methods to enable, for example, similar image searches, visual searches based on natural language and the automatic recognition of people and objects in photos and videos (and their automatic tagging).

SharePoint lacks comparable functions, as the focus there is not on visual media.

User-friendliness and accessibility
A good DAM system is characterized by intuitive user interfaces, ease of use and high accessibility. Of course, there are differences depending on the provider. However, many DAM solutions prove to be comparatively user-friendly.

Disadvantages of DAM solutions

No version history tool for documents
Document file types can be saved and partially displayed within a DAM system. However, detailed modification histories are usually not available for documents. SharePoint has a clear advantage here.

Higher investment required
Compared to SharePoint, whose cloud version is already included in a Microsoft 365 subscription, the acquisition and operating costs of DAM systems are usually higher. For companies that work a lot with media content, however, amortization is only a matter of time.


The choice between Microsoft SharePoint and a DAM system depends largely on the specific needs and requirements of a company. SharePoint is ideal for document management and internal collaboration, especially in companies that are already deeply rooted in the Microsoft ecosystem. Its strengths lie in its comprehensive version management and high level of data security.

On the other hand, there are DAM systems that are specially designed for the management and distribution of media content. They impress with sophisticated metadata support, advanced AI functions and user-friendly interfaces. Moreover, they commonly offer flexible integration options and promote efficient collaboration between internal and external parties.

The Media Hub from teamnext

teamnext’s Media Hub is a comprehensive solution for managing digital assets that meets the requirements of a wide range of companies and organizations. The Media Hub comes with AI-based tools for individual object and person recognition and can be equipped with customized functions depending on the industry and catalog of requirements. It is used, for example, by professional sports organizations, organizers of major events, public institutions or traditional product manufacturers.

The Media Hub offers further advantages by supporting numerous file formats of very different types (images, vector graphics, videos, RAW formats, documents) and impresses with intelligent file sharing management and an associated media portal for improved collaboration between internal and external partners.

In addition, content stored in the Media Hub can be opened and edited from popular applications thanks to a connector. Examples include applications from Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign), Microsoft 365 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and Google Workspace (Docs, Sheets, Slides).

The teamnext | Media Hub is therefore not only an advanced alternative to SharePoint, but, thanks to its flexibility and functional features, also stands out from other DAM solutions.

The proof is in the pudding

If you would like to try out our solution after reading this, you can get started almost immediately with a free 14-day test phase. You can also book an appointment for a free online product demo with one of our experts at any time. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us personally. Here, you can find our contact information.

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