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What Is Digital Asset Management?

Digital asset management is a set of practices for storing, organizing, and sharing files online. By digital assets, most business owners refer to photos, videos, audio clips, documents, and RAW files.

There are several types of digital asset management systems:

  • 1.
    Brand asset managers store logos, fonts, and marketing materials related to the company.
  • 2.
    DAM tools that manage file libraries are designed to store data that doesn’t change frequently. Library DAM platforms are often used to archive essential corporate
  • 3.
    Production DAM tools help creators store and share drafts, as well as edit them collaboratively. These platforms store PSD files, RAW video files, etc.
  • 4.
    Cloud-based digital asset management platforms. Accessibility and off-premise storage are the defining characteristics of this type of DAM tools.

Applications of Digital Asset Management For Teams

There are multiple purposes for using digital asset management platforms. Here are the tasks teams use these platforms for:

Monitor the license compliance of the files you store

DAM platforms allow team managers and business owners to keep track of license expiry dates for their assets. Top-tier platforms go as far as to automatically delete files as soon as the copyright permission expires.

Metadata creation and editing

No matter which files you upload, there likely are relevant details you don’t want to forget or you’d love your team to pay attention to. With DAM tools, it’s easy to create, edit, and monitor custom metadata tags.

Here’s what file settings creators are keeping track of:

  • 1.
    Asset creation type.
  • 2.
    File type.
  • 3.
    The category of the storage the asset is saved in.

Creating unified content creation practices and monitoring compliance

Running a global team, dispersed across several headquarters and locations is hard. One of the problems managers face is struggling to establish uniform content creation workflows.

That’s where DAM comes in handy. Digital asset management tools allow team managers to create clear workflows, review drafts in production, leave comments, and rate their juniors’ work.

Ensuring branding consistency

As your company grows, its visual identity changes. Logos, typography, and designs need to adapt to trends and design teams work hard to keep branding elements appealing.

However, without a clear organization system, there’s a risk of accidentally sending a material featuring outdated identity elements to a client or a partner. To avoid accidents and confusion, teams use digital asset management.

It’s a unique source of truth for all corporate branding assets with flexible access settings. Business owners can be confident that no one outside the team can edit or download visual identity elements.

Improving the team’s productivity

Digital asset management is a powerful way to get your team up to its peak efficiency. Here’s how DAM tools are helpful for project managers and business owners:

  • 1.
    Create an uninterrupted communication flow.
  • 2.
    Ensures project management transparency.
  • 3.
    Optimizes content creation - according to statistics, 97% of DAM users significantly reduced the time and cost of content creation.
  • 4.
    Ensuring that the tasks you assign to your teammates don’t overwrite each other.
  • 5.
    Lowers accidental deletion risks.

Top Digital Asset Management Platform Features

There are plenty of DAM tools out there. That’s why business owners might feel challenged by finding the right platform.

While the decision-making process for choosing a digital asset management tool that fits your needs is unique for each team, there are key features a top-notch solution should have.

Here’s the break down of the 6 top features of a DAM platform.

File organization

A good digital asset management tool helps business owners create accessible, easy-to-navigate, and reliable file storage. Top-notch DAM platforms typically allow business owners to organize files vertically (as a set of parent and child folders) and horizontally (by using keywords and tags).

Data search

If you don’t feel like browsing through folders and exploring your digital library, it might be more convenient to locate assets by searching them directly. To make sure everyone on your team has hands-reach access to key files, make sure to choose a platform with a robust search infrastructure.

Here are the file searching features most business owners use frequently:

  • 1.
    Keyword-based search.
  • 2.
    AI-based search that locates files based on the content.
  • 3.
    Metadata-based search.

File sharing

Collaboration lies at the core of excellent teamwork. Working with colleagues, press, third-party agencies, or partners isn’t easy since all of them have a different level of involvement in content creation and distribution.

To make sure you can use DAM to collaborate with people both in and outside your team, consider choosing a solution with the following sharing features:

  • 1.
    Link-based file sharing. Sending files over email or messengers is still one of the most convenient data-sharing practices. To make exchanging data with business owners as convenient as it can be, choose a DAM tool that supports linked-based sharing and is integrated with the email client you use.
  • 2.
    Lightboxes. When you are working on a project, you might need to pull out files from different categories into a separate folder. That’s where lightboxes - a project-based collection of assets from different libraries come in handy. To make sure everyone on the team has access to the assets needed for a specific project, just share a lightbox with your peers.
  • 3.
    Branded websites. Sending links to your clients might be convenient but it’s not the most powerful way to impress people with your work. How about taking it to the new level by creating a custom website that features your portfolio? To cut the time and costs needed to create a website from scratch, a lot of business owners choose DAM tools that support templated branded websites. You can make this website public or password-protect them.

Version control

One of the most hyped features in DAM platforms is version control - a way to store linked assets together and compare different drafts of the same files. It helps declutter your storage, facilitates team management, and brings transparency to the workflow.

There are the most useful version control features in a DAM solution:

  • 1.
    Linked assets.
  • 2.
    Version history.
  • 3.
    Edit tracking.
  • 4.
    Rating the quality of file versions.
  • 5.
    Visual comparison of assets.

User Roles in Digital Asset Management

To make sure your team makes the most out of digital asset management, take your time to research different roles your peers can play in file organization and management.

Here’s a quick rundown of the seven main digital asset management actors:

  • 1.
    Administrator - a leader of the team, with full access to all data and corporate accounts.
  • 2.
    Team administrator - a talent manager, with access to user accounts (but not to corporate files).
  • 3.
    Library manager - a teammate with access to all corporate files but not to user data.
  • 4.
    Contributor - a creator who can add content to the library (after it’s approved by the administrator) and edit assets.
  • 5.
    Approver - typically a project or marketing manager who reviews and approves all assets added to the digital library.
  • 6.
    Member - a user who has the right to view and download files but can’t edit or upload new data.
  • 7.
    Guest - a partner or a client who can view and comment on files but doesn’t have the permission to make edits or download assets.

Conclusion

This is a brief rundown of the concept of digital asset management, its top features, benefits for team managers, and the main user roles. To get a deeper understanding of all the concepts of DAM, take a look at other glossary entries.

After getting to know the main terms and definitions, you will be able to easily talk to vendors, describe the benefits of asset management solutions to your team, and optimize workflows.

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