December 01, 2022

Reading time minutes

What is digital asset management (DAM)?

There is an exponential demand for content in today’s digital world, especially rich media assets such as images and video. These assets are no longer just the purview of the marketing organizations either — their use is spreading across the organization internally and externally by helping to deliver a richer and more personalized customer experience.

Alan Porter.

Alan Porter

Industry-leading content strategist and Nuxeo’s Director of Product Marketing

Person sits at desktop computer with houseplants on desk.
  • Do you have media assets housed in different isolated systems all over the place?
  • Are you planning to use those media assets more than once?
  • Are your media assets a mix of different file types, images, 3D renderings, videos, documents and more?
  • Are you wanting to enrich those assets with additional information?
  • Do different groups across the organization create and manage media assets?

If the answer to these questions is YES, then you need a digital asset management (DAM) solution. A good DAM system can save a company money by making it easier to find digital assets, reduce duplicate work, and unlock the potential and reach of existing assets.

Definition of digital asset management

TechTarget defines DAM as follows:

The definition of digital asset management (DAM) is a business process for organizing, storing and retrieving rich media and managing digital rights and permissions. Rich media assets include photos, music, videos, animations, podcasts and other multimedia content.

— TechTarget

In this blog post, we cover some of the main benefits and features of DAM, what sort of DAM you should be considering and why it is beneficial to organizations.

Benefits of a digital asset management

A streamlined DAM offers many benefits to modern organizations and product companies. Here are some of the main benefits of DAM solutions:

  • Greater visibility of creative assets
  • Streamlined collaboration
  • Accelerated time to market
  • Enhanced security
  • Brand consistency

Digital asset management features

A DAM solution is a way to store, share and organize your growing library of digital media assets from a centralized hub as a way to maximize the DAM benefits you receive from those assets.

The basic functionality of any DAM solution should include:

  • Creation
  • Indexing
  • Workflow
  • Version control
  • Access control

> Read more | Explore the Nuxeo Platform for DAM

Why is it important to get DAM

Searching for files isn’t the most productive use of an employees’ time, but creative teams often waste hours searching for marketing materials in siloed solutions, regularly losing previously created assets. As more enterprises struggle to manage creative content, more marketing teams have stopped asking, “Why is digital asset management important?” and started investigating potential solutions.

There are many reasons why using a digital asset management solution is important for modern organizations, including:

  • Increasing operational efficiency
  • Reducing employee time wasted searching for creative assets
  • Decreasing the number of lost assets
  • Ensuring file security and user access control
  • Increasing marketing effectiveness
  • Showing usage rights
  • Speeding up time to market of products
  • Reusing digital content

Digital asset management has emerged as a critical solution for eliminating search fatigue by enabling a company to store multiple creative assets in one location so they can be found by employees more efficiently.

Difference between DAM system and DAM software

Digital asset management software

The dictionary definition of software is a set of instructions or programs instructing a computer to do specific tasks; in other words, it is a generic term used to describe computer programs. We tend to think of software solutions as fitting an application to meet a certain functional need — i.e., a way to create documents, do calculations or build presentations etc. The same with DAM software, which is designed to do the basic functions listed above around the storage of media assets. When considered as a separate software application a DAM solution is usually designed for use in a discrete functional space such as managing marketing assets or images for a website as an integrated part of a web content management system (CMS).

Software applications can also be thought of as being out-of-the-box (OOTB) solutions. These types of DAM solutions are designed to provide the almost immediate usability and functionality of a newly purchased product. They are designed for the most common use cases and are often restricted to what the software designers and developers believe you need, meaning that you often have to adjust existing processes to meet the restrictions of the application.

Digital asset management system

The dictionary definition of a system is a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network. From a DAM perspective, that generally means that as well as providing the basic functionality you would expect, the solution is integrated as part of a larger system where it interacts with other applications. This allows the media assets to be automatically called where needed, or information to be pulled from other applications to enrich the media assets themselves.

Some DAM systems actually operate as a platform — a foundation for building solutions and systems. Platforms allow multiple products, applications or integrated approaches to be built within the same technical framework. This allows for faster and wider-ranging integration of processes and applications across an organization. Today it’s important to think of a platform approach not as just a technical solution but as a business framework.

A DAM platform, such as Hyland's Nuxeo Platform, is ideally suited to enterprises that have:

  • Complex asset storage
  • Multifaceted DAM workflows with cross-functional boundaries
  • The need to connect the assets with data drawn from a variety of business systems throughout the operational lifecycle

Open source digital asset management

Open source DAM systems are a popular choice because they have a public source that anyone can interact with to develop new features and create a customized DAM experience.

Why is brand management different than digital asset management

Brand management is a bandage. Sometimes what organizations think they’re looking for — a simple brand asset management tool that’s a “single source of truth” that different teams can leverage — is all they need. But much more often, when we really dig into how they’re running their business and the pressures they’re under, we help them see that the problem they think they’ll solve with this solution is actually a symptom of a larger set of challenges — and solving it on its own is, at best, a temporary bandage.

Enterprise platforms can avoid the bandage approach with a modern, connected and properly implemented platform for managing brand assets. This ensures that everyone who touches the creative asset pipeline can accelerate their work, reduce manual effort and improve results for the business.

Still asking "What is DAM?" 

To learn more: