A guide to digital asset management: investing in the future of DAM

In part two of our guide to digital asset management, we discussed the DAM revolution that’s underway among modern brands. The question is no longer whether to invest in DAM, but how best to do so to prepare your business for an asset-centric future. In the final part of our guide to navigating DAM, we discuss the advanced technologies available and how to select the best solution for your business.

So you’ve decided to invest in updating your business’ DAM solution. What next? Against the backdrop of a changing world, brands are rethinking how they manage their assets. They’re increasingly looking to new technologies for future-proof solutions. In fact, IDC research shows that 40% of organizations are looking for alternatives to their existing solution to help them respond to today’s marketing pressures and opportunities.

Whether your brand is at the start of its DAM journey, or looking to enhance an existing solution, selecting the right technology for your digital asset management isn’t a choice to be taken lightly. The technology you invest in will impact a broad range of workflows, teams departments. Your business’ ability to truly add value through DAM could become a critical factor in your ability to stay competitive in the asset-oriented digital landscape.

The global DAM market is expected to grow to $5.66 billion, with a 18.3% CAGR, by 2022. As such, there are endless options to choose from, and endless factors to consider: cross-platform capabilities; hosting options; systems integrations costs; ease-of-use, licensing; scaling and customization. To maximize ROI on your DAM solution, it’s critical to select a technology that matches your specific business needs.

To help you unlock the true power of an advanced DAM solution, in the final part of our guide to digital asset management, we’ll break down the key features to look for.

5 features of a state-of-the-art DAM solution

1. Usability

In a recent study into why businesses invest in DAM, 66% of respondents said they’re looking for a collaboration system that streamlines the workflow between creative services and digital marketers. As such, a key question to be considered is whether certain DAM technologies will improve asset-related workflow issues for your brand, or merely add new issues due to increased complexity and change? Therefore, your DAM technology should equip you with robust templates for collaborative workflows, and a level of usability that all necessary stakeholders and users can work with, regardless of technical expertise. You’ll want to minimize the amount of training necessary, as well as the level of integration with external solutions needed in order to be able to accommodate the entire asset lifestyle. Carefully match the usability of your DAM solution’s interface to the level of those that will be using it.

2. Repository capabilities

Crucially, your enterprise’ DAM solution should give you a complete view of your digital assets, and advanced metadata management capabilities, including for assets stored externally to a solution’s repository. It should provide single location in which to manage and store a high volume of assets, eliminating siloed systems and the need for antiquated storage methods. Furthermore, you need a DAM system that allows you to locate your assets quickly via faceted and federated search capabilities. Additionally, it should safeguard your assets, via security policies and user access controls. In addition, you DAM solution should enable the delivery of rich media assets to any channel, and in any format too. Your solution should also be able to convert assets into readily available renditions as needed for specific outputs.

3. Easy integration

Recent research from IDC shows that the average organization integrates their DAM solution with over twelve applications. That means a key requirement when selecting a DAM solution to invest in will be how strong its integration capabilities are. Most offer REST APIs or SDKs, or you might choose to select a DAM technology with a pre-built integration, such as Adobe’s creative tools integration. In order to achieve a truly seamless asset management experience with a single source of truth, your DAM solution must offer state-of-the-art integration and extensibility.

4. Video

Increasingly, video is becoming the cornerstone of digital experiences. The percentage of marketers leveraging video content has risen in the last two years from 63% in 2017 to a staggering 87% in 2019. In the face of an overwhelming amount of online content, users have come to expect video content too, with 68% of users stating in a recent survey that video is their preferred way to learn about a new product or service. Though brilliant for users, video assets are far more challenging for content authors to manage. Therefore, when selecting your DAM solution, you’ll need a platform that supports this paradigm shift towards video, and the growing need to author dynamic media and deliver it at speed. You’ll need the capacity to author video interactions cross-channel and for different audience segments.

Video won’t stop there though: there’s an increasing demand for interactive video content that directly engages customers too. That means another feature to look for in your DAM technology is the capacity to introduce interactive layers into your dynamic video content.

5. Automation

A truly intelligent DAM solution will handle granular processes so you don’t have to. One area that’s ripe for automation when it comes to digital asset management is populating metadata. Historically, authors had to manually add metadata individually to assets, meaning a short video could involve tagging thousands of images manually. However, DAM technology can now automate this process, meaning you simply enter metadata one time, and your system populates that data to assets automatically, saving a vast amount of time and resources. Indeed, a 2018 study discovered that the automation of metadata tasks sped up asset creation workflows by 47%. This liberates your marketing teams to focus on high-value creatively-focused tasks, such as generating dynamic content and campaigns. Therefore, look for a DAM solution that has automation built in. This will enable you to preset rules regarding metadata tagging, asset sizing for channels and image resolutions, and leave your DAM technology to handle the rest through automated population.

Adobe Experience Manager Assets

Adobe Experience Manager Assets is an enterprise digital asset management technology within AEM that enables businesses to create, manage and deliver assets seamlessly. With its native connection to the Adobe Creative Cloud, it allows brands to visualize an asset throughout its lifestyle and manage it holistically, right from collaborative creation, to optimization, cross channel delivery, ongoing management and performance monitoring. The addition of Adobe Sensei even allows you to leverage machine learning to go beyond automated tagging, to smart tagging. AEM Assets’ smart tagging tool contains a self-learning, already trained algorithm with the ability to generate highly descriptive tags based on a growing understanding of an asset’s content.

Netcentric: Your DAM partner

At Netcentric, we specialize in unlocking advanced digital asset management for our clients, by unlocking the capabilities of AEM Assets. That’s why Siemens partnered with Netcentric when they needed to implement a new dedicated assets management system. They required a solution that supported more streamlined collaboration among their content managers. Furthermore, Siemens needed intuitive UI for their DAM that enabled users to work with enormous volumes of content with ease and speed. Our implementation supported the introduction of state-of-the-art infrastructure that could drive best practices in license management, metadata management, taxonomy and rights management.

After migrating a staggering 12 terabytes of assets (which equates to 12,000 gigabytes), Siemens is now equipped with an entirely new and separate digital asset management user interface, which acts as a reliable and clean single point of truth for content. Netcentric’s commitment to transforming asset management for our client was recognised by Adobe, and we were proud to be awarded the Audience Choice Award Best Innovation Experience for this innovative solution. You can access our insights into innovative asset management by downloading our whitepaper ‘Smarter Assets Now’.

Updating your DAM isn’t a quick-fix, nor is it a small-scale change. It should be part of a holistic re-evaluation of your assets: how you manage them and work with them. To achieve the necessary calibre and velocity of content to stay relevant, how is the time to invest in transforming your digital asset management. However, businesses that view this transformation as purely technical will fail to implement effectively and reduce the vast ROI possible. Truly innovative brands will see updating their DAM solution as an opportunity to equip themselves strategically for the digital marketing challenges of tomorrow - both on a human and technological level.

Explore how our assets expertise can help you revolutionize your DAM today.

Note: While this article was published originally in 2018, our experts and editors constantly updated it to ensure the latest practices are captured. The last update was done in February 2022.