digital asset management dam celum

Helping you understand why your business demands a Digital Asset Manager (DAM)

November 8, 2016

By Rainer J. Sommer, Head of Global Marketing CELUM

Helping you understand why your business demands a DAM

The utilities of a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system are easy to observe and understand:  A modern DAM system provides for the storage, location, sharing, and repurposing of digital assets.  Yet, the question often remains: “Why is DAM important enough to our business to justify the effort and expense of adding another software system?”

The answer is strikingly simple.  Operating without a modern DAM system:`

  • Leaves your digital property vulnerable
  • Considerably increases operation cost
  • Decreases the potential value of your assets

These three corporate consequences burden business from the smallest creative design shops to the global brand juggernauts; the only difference is the exponential severity of the impact.  Realizing this business affect just might convince you to pull the trigger on implementing a DAM system.

How does DAM secure our assets?

Operating without a Digital Asset Management system leaves businesses open to a diverse range of hazards.

Loss of your Intellectual Property

After putting in the time, effort, and money to acquire or create content, the last thing you want is for it to fall into the wrong hands.  Traditional file-level security measures are often not flexible enough to allow control by your content organizers; many who are not IT professionals.  Often, file-level security is not easy to set and manage for asset permissions.  The usual justification is that it is too much work to restrict access.  What generally happens is everyone is given open access to the entire asset collection and only the most sensitive content is permitted for access as needed.  With the majority of your content exposed, your valuable content may easily be taken at will. One of the strengths of a DAM system is the ability to allow your content managers to control access via a combination of permissions, roles, user groups, and content rules. All of this can be accomplished from an application interface without involvement from your IT department.  The easier it is to set security, the more likely your content managers will follow through with securing your content.  Thus, making it harder for unauthorized users to gain access.

Litigation

The misuse of digital content may leave your company in a very actionable position.  Purchased and licensed assets usually have usage rights associated that define when, where, and how many times the asset may be used.  These usage rights are often very complicated and easily violated.  Breached asset usage rights leave you open to legal action by the original asset owner.  This can be very costly, both in legal fees as well as damages awarded based on the infraction. Ensuring that usage rights are enforced is easier said than done, especially when your assets are managed manually. 

How does DAM help cut our costs? 

When starting to consider the cost reduction benefits of DAM, it is best to take a step back and look at the full life-cycle of a single image asset.  This image may start as a photo from a photography studio or from a graphic designer’s desktop.  The image is then transferred and placed somewhere others can make use of it.  Often, the image is just the beginning.  It might be used as a product image or in marketing material.  That means others need to access the image to generate new content.  Then their content has to be converted to the correct format and color space, transferred, and placed somewhere before it is delivered for consumption. 

Process improvement is the primary benefit realized from a DAM.  It reduces the total number of man-hours spent per asset and thus per project or campaign.  Decreasing wasted man-hours can increase throughput and help your team deliver projects more quickly. 

How does DAM increase the value of our assets? 

Every photo, image, logo, video, brochure, banner, presentation, and pamphlet you create and manage is valuable.  These assets required money for purchase or time for production.  While DAM can help decrease the cost surrounding these assets, cost saving is only a small portion of what DAM can and should do.  At its core, DAM is a hub that connects its digital spokes into almost every facet of your business.  It is responsible for the digital content that affects sales, marketing, human resources, customer relations, and more.  The value generated through DAM can be felt in each of those business units.

Here are a few areas where DAM adds real value to your business:

Strengthening Your Brand

One of the key points to building and maintaining a strong brand is a clear, direct communication to consumers; this is important for both the spoken and visual message.  A DAM system helps you maintain content consistency.  As the single source for digital assets, DAM can make certain that:

  • Your current logo is correctly used on your website, in marketing emails, and in print media
  • Your sales force is using the approved marketing slides for their presentations
  • Your product images displayed in your catalog are up to date and match the images found on your website
  • Your marketing videos are promptly displayed online and then pulled when the campaign ends
  • Your product manuals have the correct diagrams after a recall

By providing the means to secure, control, review, and approve content, DAM can help align your visual message and avoid conflicting branding.

Quickly connecting and delivering to new content markets

The consumption of content is ever changing.  What started with print has expanded to a constant fluctuation of online and digital delivery markets.  Legacy marketing might have targeted consumers with a single printed catalog or even a single company website.  Today, consumers are actively engaged, seeking out and consuming content from print, television, social media, brand or product specific websites, massive e-commerce websites, video-sharing websites, blogs, review websites; the list goes on.  Leveraging the delivery capabilities of a DAM system can allow you to push the right content to the right endpoint quickly.  As old markets die and new markets emerge, you can make small adjustments within your DAM to not miss a beat.

So, What Now?

The utility a Digital Asset Management provides has become less of a luxury for enterprise scale business and more of a necessity for all business.   Determining which DAM system to implement is not an easy decision; there exist consultant groups devoted solely to helping companies make that choice.  However, you should now understand the reasons why it is too important to postpone.  Your first step should be to take a look at your current content workflows and processes.  Identify and rank the processes that cause the most problems.  This list will serve as a guide when comparing DAM system as it will help you recognize which platform is the best fit for your specific needs.  When you manage to find the right fit and start integrating DAM into your core business processes, you will realize that DAM is more than just a software system; it can be a powerful business solution.

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