November 02, 2022

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Why you should choose an open source digital asset management software

Open source digital asset management (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.

Julie Allouch

Julie Allouch

Search Marketing Manager

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Open source Digital Asset Management (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.

Digital Asset Management: Open source software vs. proprietary DAM

The key difference between an open source Digital Asset Management tool and a proprietary DAM platform is that the former’s source code is publicly available while the latter’s isn’t. That means a vendor sells a proprietary platform ‘as-is’ without personalization. It can’t be modified or extended (beyond any customizable features offered by the vendor). Open source DAM solutions provide users with complete access to the source code to add new features and functionalities. Free access to the source code makes it easier to extend the platform to integrate it with an organization’s existing technologies. Overall, open source DAM solutions give creative teams much more control over how users store and manage digital assets than is possible to achieve with prepackaged proprietary DAM solutions. This extensibility allows the management systems to be more agile in the creative process. If you’re new to Digital Asset Management, you might be interested in this 101 guide: Everything you need to know about Digital Asset Management

6 reasons to adopt open source Digital Asset Management software: The business case for DAM

There are many reasons to adopt an open source DAM solution, from customization options to cutting costs and active community support. The top six main reasons to adopt a Digital Asset Management open source software are listed below:

Greater customization

As mentioned above, the public source code enables developers to customize the DAM experience with features that are relevant to their environment. This means if the out-of-the-box platform doesn’t have a feature they want, they can build it themselves. They can change the entire product and content lifecycle, depending on their objective or the teams structure for instance. What are the Benefits, Features & Requirements of Digital Asset Management? 


Open-source DAM platforms also provide increased scalability because whenever you add new assets to the platform, you can add new features to enable users to discover and protect those files. A while ago, Nuxeo put our platform to the test for a major tech company. In our scalability pressure cooker, we benchmarked Nuxeo Platform’s upload, download, and search performance for a one billion asset DAM, crammed full of files with sizes up to 44GB. Read more about Nuxeo’s scalability for DAM here.


One of the most significant advantages of Open-Source DAM platforms is that the licensing is free. While there are costs for storing a high volume of assets, it is still a cost-effective alternative to the high license and storage costs of proprietary DAM tools.

Ready out-of-the-box

Most open source DAM platforms have a comprehensive feature-set available out-of-the-box, which you can use without writing new code. Default features enable you to hit the ground running when adopting a new DAM solution.
Read more about Digital Asset Management Workflows and DAM Taxonomy.

Community support

Many open source DAM tools have an active user community of users collaborating to offer guidance on modifications that other users can make to enhance their asset management capabilities. Hyland Community support highlights ways to enhance your DAM experience you wouldn’t know if you were using a fixed DAM solution.

Check out the answers brought to you by our community.

Quick bug fixes

One of the benefits of having an active user community is that users will use the DAM source code to identify bugs and create fixes. This means bug fixes are released quicker for open source platforms because thousands of users work together on fixes, rather than a small team of engineers.

Digital Asset Management software: Open source limitations

While there are many reasons to choose an open source DAM, there are some slight disadvantages it’s important to be aware of, from the need to maintain an experienced IT team to unexpected costs, liabilities, and warranties. The main limitations of open-source DAM solutions are listed below:

You need an experienced IT team

If you want to make use of the coding and customization options offered by an open source DAM platform, then you need an experienced team of IT professionals with experience managing and coding Digital Asset Management. For most organizations, this requires investing in onboarding employees who have those skills.

You need to verify security

While your IT team has control over coding an open source DAM, they also need to take responsibility for keeping your assets encrypted and secure. Failing to protect your assets will leave you vulnerable to a data breach and other financial, legal, and reputational damage.

Other unexpected costs

While open-source tools are great for getting you away from license fees and subscription costs, there are other potential costs. Costs like setup/installation cost, employee training, data migration, maintenance, and third party support should all be considered in advance to avoid any unexpected expenses.

Increased liabilities and warranties

Most proprietary software comes with a license agreement, warranty, and indemnity protection, as the vendor takes responsibility for securing the platform and its internal code. Open source platforms don’t come with these protections because you’re modifying the source code, which means it’s your responsibility to secure your assets.

Best open source Digital Asset Management: a must for flexibility

Open source tools aren’t necessarily better than proprietary tools; they just have their own set of advantages. If you want a consistent prepackaged and effective Digital Asset Management experience out-of-the-box, then a proprietary tool is the natural choice as you will have a range of well-designed, prebuilt features to use.

However, suppose you want to tweak your Digital Asset Management system and build a solution specific to your organization’s needs. In that case, an open source tool is going to be a better fit as it will give you the flexibility to implement features that complement your existing processes.

Want to find out more about how our open source DAM can help your team find digital assets faster? Grab a free copy of the Gartner Market Guide for Digital Asset Management or the Forrester Now Tech for DAM.