What is Digital Asset Management?

Digital asset management (DAM) is a process mostly used by businesses (but also used for smaller organisations, freelancers and even at home) for organising, storing and retrieving media and managing digital rights and permissions. Media assets that are normally associated with the use of Digital Asset Management Software include photos, videos, music, animations, podcasts and various other multimedia content.

DAM typically includes the making of a framework, filing system or an archive, to safeguard and oversee rich media content. One of the main features of a DAM would be a searchable archive that permits users to distinguish, locate and retrieve an asset. At its easiest, a DAM is an arrangement of database records. Every database record contains metadata clarifying the name of the document, its organization data about its substance and utilization. Digital Asset Management applications can be utilized to create and manage the database, helping the organization to store rich media in a savvy, cost-effective way.

What is a Digital Asset?
The asset being managed is stored in a digital format and is detailed by its metadata. The metadata can describe the asset content, the means of encoding, ownership, and rights of access. As we’ve mentioned previously, we’re dealing with media assets here (though, be sure not to confuse Digital Asset Management with Media Asset Management). This rich media content could be anything from photos, videos, music to animations or podcasts. To break it down, it’s simpler to say that DAM is a catchall for various different types of asset management. Let’s look at some of these in greater detail.

Types of digital asset management

  • Media Asset Management (MAM) – management of audio and video content, usually large files.
  • Marketing Asset Management (MAM) – refers to the management of all marketing assets, including digital assets, brand guidelines, marketing plans and other marketing assets.
  • Brand Asset Management (BAM) – refers to managing digital assets and brand guidelines, and the ability to explain branding to users, and provide an approval process to ensure that content is ‘on brand’.
  • Digital Content Management (DCM) – refers to the management of digital assets, with the capability of embedding content onto websites. This could also cross into Digital Rights Management.
  • Enterprise Content Management (ECM) – is the management of all files for an organisation. This is a very broad category.
  • Product Information Management (PIM) – refers to the management of product assets such as images, technical information and production details. Can you imagine IKEA’s PIM library?

There is also cloud-based digital asset management system, which allows users to access assets from any device, including mobile.

Clearly, there is a lot of overlap in the list above. Though, regardless of the types of digital assets a platform manages, in essence, every DAM platform is either focused on creative production, or operational use.

DAM software
Back in the day, digital media management software tools were once used almost exclusively by media companies or publishers. Nowadays, they are increasingly being incorporated into content management systems and are of particular interest to retail companies that have customer-facing websites.

DAM is generally considered to be a subset of enterprise content management (ECM), a business process for organizing text documents, email and spreadsheets.

Benefits of DAM software
One benefit of DAM software is that it allows access to digital media anytime, anywhere. The cataloguing and organisation also means that there is a set standard for how things should be added, stored and accessed. It creates a blueprint for storing media, which can be particularly useful in large companies.

Use Cases
Anyone who needs to optimise digital asset workflows needs a digital asset management system. Marketers can grow their brands and increase brand consistency with a DAM system. Designers can use DAM to optimise their workflows by being able to quickly search for files and repurpose assets. Sales teams can have up-to-date materials and resources anytime and anywhere. Agencies can use DAM to keep all of their creative files organised, enabling for faster turnaround times. And distributors can optimise their delivery process.