What is Digital Asset Management? Get to know the advantages

Digital Asset Management (abbreviated DAM) is a subarea of Content Management. Digital content is understood here as assets. Digital asset management is about storing this content centrally and managing it systematically using specially designed software.

What exactly is a digital asset?

Digital assets are intangible goods that exist in file form. In terms of content, these are intellectual works that usually have a certain level of creation and are subject to copyright. They derive their value from popularity (e.g. in the case of works of art), functional role (e.g. as an advertising image) and exclusivity. Most digital assets are media such as photos, graphics or videos. In principle, of course, all content types can become digital assets, including text documents, presentations or audio files. Mixed forms (multimedia content) are also possible. The decisive factor is that the medium contains intellectual property or cultural assets that can be used or monetized in some form.

Digital assets can, of course, exist in a wide variety of file formats: pixel graphics, for example, in JPEG, TIFF or RAW formats; vector graphics in AI, CDR or SVG; videos in MP4, AVI or MOV; documents in PDF, DOCX or ODT. Of course, this is only a small selection. A good digital asset management system is characterized by the fact that all common file formats for media and documents are supported.

Digital asset management includes a wide variety of file types

To clear up a common misunderstanding right at the beginning: we will not deal with NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) in this paper. While NFTs often represent digital assets in the sense described here, this is intended to be about improved file or media management, not blockchain-based trading of virtual goods.

Digital asset management as a cloud solution

Even in larger companies, media files such as photos and videos are often stored unsystematically on various local computers, external hard drives or other data carriers such as USB sticks. At best, this leads to difficult accessibility as well as the impossibility to get an overview. In the worst case, however, data is lost, e.g. because storage media are lost or fail and no central backup is kept ready.

The classic solution would be to store all media files on a separate server. This enables, among other things, regular backups, checking for duplicate content, and secure internal access to files.
A cloud-based solution also offers all this and has the additional advantages that:

    • Access can take place regardless of location without the need to set up a VPN environment – for secure remote work without technical hurdles.
    • The DAM software can be kept up-to-date without additional effort. Updates are applied directly by the provider.
    • Geo-redundancy can be established (data is mirrored in geographically distant data centers).

And if a cloud solution has also been developed to be browser-based and responsive, it can also be used on different end devices. Whether on a desktop, smartphone or tablet, digital assets can then be worked with from any device. The prerequisite is, of course, a stable Internet connection.

What does a digital asset management system do?

A good DAM system is not just there to index media assets and bring order to digital resources. That’s what it’s all about, of course. But beyond that, a modern DAM solution can give you advantages in marketing, collaborative work, or legal compliance, for example. The following two lists contain the most important functions (1) and benefits (2).

1) What a digital asset management system must be able to do or bring to the table:

    • Support of all common file formats
    • Automatic import and intelligent evaluation of existing metadata
    • Tools for editing and creating metadata
    • Metadata export
    • Batch processing
    • customizable keyword structure (multidimensional)
    • Tools for conversion and export of files
    • intelligent search and filter functions
    • Tools to share content quickly and securely across multiple channels
    • Image license and consent management
    • digital rights management (DRM) and tracking tools
    • granular user rights management

State of the art:

    • AI support for automatic recognition of people and objects
    • Integrated content hub (media portal) for providing files to larger external audiences

Bring order to the image chaos. With an AI-powered solution, this happens as if by itself.

2.) Through good digital asset management, you can:

    • Find files instantly and share them securely with just a few clicks
    • professionalize the external media appearance
    • Create consistent brand experiences and establish brand consistency
    • Increase the efficiency of campaigns
    • Ensure that digital resources do not go unused
    • track the use of media
    • prevent unlawful use (copy protection, watermarks)
    • Simplify collaborative work
    • Accelerate workflows
    • Increase productivity
    • Avoid legal uncertainties
    • Ensure complete documentation

As you can see, the possibilities offered by digital asset management go far beyond what is traditionally associated with managing files. In the next section, we will explore the question of who DAM products are aimed at and what types of users are involved.

Who runs Digital Asset Management?

Digital asset management is relevant to a wide range of professions, industries and business sectors. In the stock photo (image) industry, digital asset management is nothing less than bread and butter. There, rights to use digital photos, graphics and videos are monetized. If an image agency does not operate a clean file and metadata management, this has a direct impact on the development of sales. Professional photographers, who often market their images independently, are also classic users of DAM software. Digital asset management is also practiced in libraries, archives and other institutions with a scientific orientation. However, there is no monetary incentive there; instead, it is mostly a matter of storing digitized material (media of analog origin) securely in the long term and making it accessible for research and teaching.

This is more about users who run digital asset management within a profit-oriented company. These may include, for example, professionals from the following fields:

    • Marketing
    • Public Relations
    • Corporate Communications
    • Distribution
    • Human Resources

You may think of other internal areas. Basically, the issue affects all employees who regularly have to work with representative material from the company’s media pool.

Outside a company, there are also actors of different types. These can be, for example:

    • Photographers
    • Press
    • Agencies
    • Customers
    • Clients
    • Partner
    • Sponsors

External users are the beneficiaries of good digital asset management. For example, a photographer gets exactly the access rights he needs to upload his photos to a specific folder; a press representative can obtain exactly the documents he needs for well-founded reporting; agencies can deliver their design proposals directly to the responsible person in the company; customers can search specifically for products and download corresponding brochures; sponsors receive exactly the photos on which their logo has been well staged, etc. Digital asset management offers a wealth of possibilities. These are just a few examples that can be realized with the help of professional DAM software.

What does a digital asset manager do?

Let’s say one thing up front: a good digital asset management system, allows to customize access rights depending on the type of user. After all, many of the stakeholders mentioned above should only be able to use the system for the purposes they need it for. All areas and rights are always available for administrators only.
As a rule, those who have primary responsibility for digital asset management naturally have admin rights. Their duties include:

    • Structuring the media pool (creating folders, albums or collections)
    • Upload, view, share, and distribute media files
    • Creation of controlled vocabulary(keyword tree, list of synonyms)
    • Keywording (tagging) of media and documents
    • manual labeling of metadata fields (according to standards such as IPTC or Dublin Core)
    • Metadata optimization (cleansing and supplementation with the help of intelligent tools)
    • Image license and consent management
    • Archiving and versioning files

In the meantime, many routine tasks that used to have to be done manually have been taken away from a digital asset manager by intelligent tools. Modern DAM systems partly work with AI-supported image recognition, so that e.g. objects and persons are recognized and corresponding TAGs (keywords) are generated automatically. The problem of duplicates can also be solved today by background routines.

In summary, we can say:

A good digital asset manager is characterized by creating meaningful metadata structures and organizing content so that it can be easily and quickly found by all participating users.

Conclusion

Digital asset management is multifaceted and affects a wide variety of business areas. It is often neglected because many decision makers are not aware of how great the added value of good media management or image management can actually be. We hope that in this article we could bring you closer to the main advantages. If there is any question left unanswered, please feel free to contact us: teamnext.com/contact

Try the cloud-based DAM solution from teamnext

If you have read this far, the topic seems interesting to you. You may now be asking yourself whether the use of a DAM solution within your company would be worthwhile and what costs could be expected.
There is no all-inclusive price for this. Most often, the cost of the software is determined by the number of user licenses, the period of use (month / year) and the amount of storage space used. The prices and services of our solution can be found here: teamnext.com/prices
If after reading this you would like to go into medias res and simply try out a professional DAM system, then you can get started almost immediately by starting a free 14-day trial for teamnext | Media Hub now. The Media Hub from teamnext is a DAM system for companies that impresses with AI functions and intuitive usability while meeting the highest data security requirements. It is preferred by medium-sized companies in the DACH region as well as by large organizations within the EU. You can find more info about the product here: teamnext.com/product

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