December 01, 2022

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A beginner’s guide to digital asset management workflows

As the volume of creative content has exploded beyond the limits of manual processing, digital asset management (DAM) workflows have become a necessity for creative teams.

Julie Allouch

Julie Allouch

Search Marketing Manager

Person with beard and headphones works on a laptop.

An IDC survey found that 85% of marketers say they’re under pressure to create more assets, with 71% saying they’re creating 10 times as many assets today as they did just a few years ago. At the same time, legacy solutions have become less effective at managing key content like media files, images, and videos.

Yet few marketers have a streamlined process to identify and process these assets. Research shows that over half of employees have used Google to search for their own company’s logo, which inevitably contributes to a lack of brand consistency. This suggests most employees don’t have access to the marketing materials needed to work effectively.

To thrive in the marketplace, creative teams not only need a central repository for marketing assets but a complete Digital Asset Management workflow solution that optimizes the management process and reduces reliance on inefficient ad-hoc solutions like emails and shared drives. Your teams don’t use assets in precisely the same way, nor do they need the same information across the board about them.

Legacy DAM products that force companies to choose a limited way of organizing data make finding the right asset a slog through irrelevance: marketing content teams organize their work around marketing creative campaigns, while product managers think in terms of products; the legal team may demand granularity that is meaningless to marketing communications; HR may produce content that the product team has neither the time nor patience to wade through… and on we go, down the road to universal dissatisfaction.

An employee looks unhappily at her laptop as she tries to find assets in an inefficient digital asset management solution.

That distress can push your teams to create ad-hoc process flows to manage the assets they are most concerned with, and up go the silos your DAM was meant to prevent. A Digital Asset Management solution gives you total control over the assets and associated metadata your users see, creating a transparent asset supply chain with the relevance and ease of use they need, avoiding wasting your time on image hide and seek.


What is a digital asset management workflow?

A workflow is a series of tasks that process a set of data. In the context of the asset management process, a workflow includes everything from drafting assets to ingesting them to a digital solution, submitting them for approval, and editing them. Whereas a lifecycle, for example, highlights your overall progress on the project.

You can read more about what a workflow is here, but in this article today, we’re going to cover workflows specifically tailored for images, videos and rich media.

DAM process flows digitize the asset management process and enable users to manage the entire creative workflow from a single location. View creative assets in one place, while automated workflows help you process those assets more efficiently. More specifically, automated approvals, task lists, reminders, task reassignment, and delegation features eliminate manual processing, so employees don’t have to waste time manually routing assets to other creatives.

Next-generation cloud-based DAM solutions like Hyland’s Nuxeo Content Services Platform enable you to design custom process flow from scratch via a workflow engine that they can interact with via drag-and-drop. The workflow engine enables the user to decide when workflows progress from one stage to the next.

When it comes to creating workflows, legacy DAM products demand custom coding, which means pulling in your IT team for even small changes. You may need to integrate a separate workflow creation product, inducing lags in cycle times and additional expense. Costs and delays can mount up quickly when it’s time to modify your DAM to accommodate changing workflows, but at least you’ll get to know your IT team very, very well. (We advocate getting to know your IT team, of course, but we think it’s nicer if you can share lunch and a few laughs instead of sweating over a DAM solution that can’t keep up.)

Content management workflows are native to Hyland’s Nuxeo Platform. There’s no need for custom coding to create new process flows, and it adapts to changes in processes and workflows with ease. Non-technical users who configure project or departmental workflows don’t have to code.

How DAM workflows optimize the creative process

In most organizations, creatives are not only held back by a lack of transparency over assets, but by inefficient manual processes. Lack of a standardized workflow for storing and processing materials often results in inconsistent and convoluted workflows that confuse designers.

Cloud-based Digital Asset Management workflows eliminate these problems by providing you with structured workflows that standardize and automate the asset management process. For example, whenever a designer uploads a new asset, the workflow can automatically send a notification that a new asset is available for review and add it to their task list. Providing a better experience and enabling designers to manage assets with less risk.

The user can then choose to accept or reject the design. The system can then tag accepted designs with relevant digital assets metadata and store them on the platform so that others can find them easily. At the same time, the system can send rejected designs back to the designer for further editing.

By automatically notifying about new designs and assigning tasks, there is less manual admin required to process assets, meaning that more assets can be delivered to market in less time. The process gives big brands much more agility when managing their marketing materials.

An employee happily creates a DAM workflow from his laptop.

4 ways DAM workflows can help improve your productivity

There are many ways that DAM process flows can enhance your creative process, all the way from optimizing document approval workflow software to issuing notifications, drafting task lists, and rerouting unprocessed assets. Below we’re going to look at 5 ways Digital Asset Management workflows can help improve your productivity:

1. Speeding up approval workflows

In many environments, creative teams manage approvals via inefficient and opaque channels like email and slack messages, resulting in slow time-to-delivery and lost content. Document approval workflow software addresses these problems by enabling users to view and manage the state of assets in one place so they can change the state of assets from draft to in-review once a design is complete.

2. Notifying users about new assets

A cloud-based DAM platform can notify a user as soon as a new asset is uploaded that requires review. Email notifications eliminate the need for another employee to send assets via email manually and provide timely updates whenever new assets are released.

3. Increasing transparency over pending assets

Nuxeo provides you a task queue on the dashboard, which shows a full list of tasks they need to complete, including what assets they need to review. This reduces the likelihood of losing assets and provides users with a single location to stay on top of new materials.

4. Rerouting unprocessed assets with escalation policies

If users don’t process assets promptly, escalation policies automatically reallocate assets to other users for approval. Escalating alerts in this way reduces the chance of delays in getting assets to market. In short, it keeps content moving through the creative pipeline consistently, even if the first point of contact doesn’t respond immediately.

Streamline your creative process

If you want to reduce the amount of time your team spends on managing creative assets, then a cloud-based DAM workflow is a great place to start. A standardized Digital Asset Management workflow will enable you to optimize and streamline your creative process so that your team can process assets without wading through pages of emails first.

Traditional DAM platforms lack the speed to execute fast, reliable file transfers. 3D graphics, 360-degree videos and other rich media formats eat huge amounts of bandwidth and can take forever to process. Legacy DAM systems won’t be able to process emerging formats like live videos, AR, or visual storytelling technologies.

For some, the decision to invest in a DAM solution is spearheaded by a non-technical group or department, so the intricacies of system architecture may take a backseat to other concerns. When you’re using last-generation content services architecture, the devil in those details will rear its ugly head pretty quickly: your DAM may integrate with some of the technologies your team uses, but not the full stack – or not at all.

Optimizing your creative process will not only make for a more fulfilling working environment for your team but also reduce the likelihood of losing assets that you’ll have to replace.

Your business doesn’t move in a straight line, so why should your DAM?