Picture this: you’re on a tight deadline and need one last video clip to complete your campaign, but you can’t find the clip anywhere. You go through every folder you can find, ask teammates, and still can’t find the clip. After too much time wasted, you realize you’re stuck. 

If this situation sounds familiar, it might be time to think about digital assessment management (DAM). In this post, you’ll learn all the basics about digital assets and how DAM can transform your workflow.

What defines a digital asset?

Put simply, a digital asset is any content stored digitally that provides value to a company, user, or consumer. According to DAM News, a digital asset is “a collection of binary data which is self-contained, uniquely identifiable, and has a value.

The definition specifies that digital assets are a collection of binary data, as this is what makes them digital. The assets must be uniquely identifiable to have value, and the word asset implies that they must have value.

Here are some common file formats considered to be digital assets:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Slide decks/presentations
  • Spreadsheets
  • Files with text
  • Graphics
  • HTML documents
  • Audio files
  • PDFs

What is digital asset management?

Digital asset management (DAM) is a storage solution that helps companies organize, manage, and share digital content. DAM acts as a centralized digital library, providing employees, clients, contractors, etc. access to the digital assets they need.

This level of organization and access is possible because DAM ecompasses software solutions like digital file libraries and photo databases. Typical software features include cloud storage along with solutions for retrieving and sharing assets.

Why is digital asset management important?

To stay competitive in a digital world, companies have to utilize digital assets, and lot’s of them. The more your team expands, the more digital assets you’ll have to manage.

There comes a time in this process where managing digital assets becomes overwhelming. Companies without proper digital asset management tools can reach a content overload that leaves employees scrambling to find the assets they need, hemorrhaging productivity.

Adopting a digital asset management system can solve this problem. It provides a central location for all your data with cloud access and searchability, which transforms the way employees interact with content. A DAM also expands storage capabilities and makes it easier to create and maintain a cohesive brand identity.

Use-cases for DAM systems

Ultimately, using a DAM eliminates the time you spend searching for and tracking assets and lets you focus your energy on the work that matters. Here are some use cases that demonstrate what DAM can do for you:

  1. Production: You can use DAM software to request and fulfill media needs by requesting assets and tracking their build and approval processes through the software.
  2. Repository: Use your DAM to house all your organization’s digital files. This way, you won’t have to worry about sending out versions of your assets to other employees– they can access and find the right assets easily from anywhere.
  3. Organization: You can tag your assets with metadata to make them easier to find, and even organize them per project.
  4. Distribution: With DAM, you can share assets across teams and create permissions for proprietary files. If you are working with a client or contractor on just one project, you can give them access to view and edit only the assets that are relevant to them.
  5. Archiving: If you have a massive library of assets, you can archive what you aren’t constantly using so that you can access them, but they aren’t cluttering your storage.

Benefits of DAM software

With digital asset management software, you can access your digital assets from anywhere, at any time, from any device. This can be a game-changer, especially in an age where remote work and asynchronous communication are on the rise. DAM gives your employees the convenience of mobility. DAM also transforms the way companies manage and share their digital assets and helps form a cohesive and consistent brand identity.

Some of the specific benefits of DAM software include:

  • Intuitive asset navigation
  • Efficient utilization of digital assets
  • Keep track of your ideas and avoid recreating content
  • Access and share files with any employee, client, contractor, etc. any time, from anywhere
  • Streamlines the creation and communication of assets by putting everything in one place
  • Easily share company content to social media channels, content management systems, etc.
  • Keep track of how assets are used, who’s using them, and how they’re performing
  • Automate workflow and boost creativity
  • Automatically tag images using facial recognition
  • Automate image and video watermarking
  • Manage copyright permissions, manage press kits and organize picture collections

How to choose the best DAM platform for your business

Choosing the best DAM software for your business is a big task, but these tips will steer you in the right direction:

1. Get your team on board (including IT!)

When searching for the best DAM software, you first need to figure out who will be impacted by your digital asset management platform implementation. Have a conversation with them to find out what they need and how you can help them succeed using the software. Be sure to point out ways they can benefit from the software as well.

It’s also crucial to get IT involved from the beginning, as they have knowledge on DAM that can help you choose the right software and make the process run smoothly from the get go.

2. Know what you want to allow– and what you don’t

This is where you identify what you want certain people to have access to, as well as what you want to restrict. DAM lets you separate people into groups, allowing each group to access only what they need.

3. Consider your existing tools

Dive into integration possibilities, considering which DAM will work with your existing tools. Integrations are also key in winning over employees who might not be on board with DAM implementation from the start. When they see how they can benefit from the integrations, they might be more excited about the change.

4. Set a timeline

DAM implementation can get intense, especially when multiple departments are involved and want the change completed as quickly as possible. To make the process easy and achievable, set realistic timelines. Separate the implementation by phases to show your antsy team members that progress is being made.

5. Pay attention to reviews and discovery calls

It’s important to make sure the DAM software you choose works for you from the beginning. You can start the process by checking out review sites like Capterra, Serchen, and G2Crowd. Checking out the features and reviews on these sites can help you narrow down your choice.

From there, consider a discovery call before jumping right to a demo. The discovery call will help you narrow down your DAM software shortlist, confirming that all contenders meet your basic needs.

Digital asset management FAQs

What is open source digital asset management?

Digital assessment management open source software has a source code available to whoever downloads the license. Open source DAM is customizable and a great solution for companies that need to tailor their DAM software to specific needs.

What is cloud based digital asset management?

Cloud based DAM is digital assessment management software hosted on a network of remote servers that you access via the web.

What is an example of a digital asset?

A digital asset is any digital content that has value for a company. Some examples include photos, videos, songs, slide decks, files with text, and PDFs.

Other types of asset management

Digital Asset Management isn’t the only type of asset management software that exists to help companies sort and organize their digital content. Depending on your needs (and what types of assets you need to manage), you can choose an asset management system that fits your needs! Below are a few of the different types:

Final thoughts on digital asset management

When you adopt digital asset management, you aren’t just changing the way you organize your files– you’re transforming your whole team’s workflow by making files easier to access, collaborate with, and distribute.

The best digital asset management software will vary depending on the needs of your organization and the types of digital assets you hope to house. If your primary need is to organize your video content, Vimeo has you covered with our branded, cinematic video library.

Organize your videos with Vimeo’s video library