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Digital Asset Management 101: Understand The Basics

With the increasing importance of digital content in the modern business world, the need for an organized and systematic approach to digital asset management has become crucial.

If you have a business that relies on digital assets, it’s even more important to understand what it means to own these things, why you need to manage them, and how you can use them more effectively to serve your goals. With digital asset management (DAM), you can get far more value out of your digital assets.

For many businesses, digital asset management is a necessity. But managing digital assets and keeping track of them requires a digital asset management system that won’t slow you down or complicate things. Fortunately, a DAM system can give you a single place to keep your assets and have them ready for use when necessary.

So what exactly is a digital asset management system? This article will provide a comprehensive overview of digital assets, the advantages of utilizing DAM software, and more. Here’s everything you need to know about digital asset management and how to integrate it into your business operations.

Digital asset management is the process of organizing, storing, and retrieving digital files

What is digital asset management (DAM)?

Digital asset management, or DAM, is a software solution designed to store and organize your digital items and content. Digital asset management also describes a business process.

Ideally, DAM software should allow you or others to easily access digital assets quickly and efficiently from a centralized location, even if the assets exist on different hardware and multiple devices.

Digital asset management software should allow a business to:

  • Automate tasks, such as tagging and distribution of digital assets
  • Share disparately located assets from a central portal
  • Collaborate on asset management and manipulation from anywhere
  • Provide analytics and performance data for digital assets
  • Ensure digital brand consistency with all available digital assets

Depending on the DAM system, there are a lot of features that businesses can take advantage of. As a central repository, a digital asset management solution can work in various ways to streamline business processes.

Understanding digital assets

Answering the question of “what is digital asset management?” requires a further understanding of what constitutes a digital asset in a business sense. While it’s easy to say that anything you digitally own represents a digital asset, there are some nuances involved with businesses that deal with digital assets in trade.

But for the most part, there are a few common types of digital assets that you should be aware of, which we’ll discuss below.

Common types of digital assets

Common types of digital assets include things like digital photos, documents, books, videos, audio files, and other content that’s digitally storable. Beyond these types of files, other types of digital assets exist as well, such as social media profiles and the digital files of a company’s logos.

Beyond even these types of digital assets, you can also consider things like cryptocurrency and NFTs as digital assets. Non-website assets can also fall under the category of digital assets. Even though they’re not on the internet, they’re still assets of value.

Common types of digital assets: digital photos, documents, books, videos, audio files

Characteristics of digital assets

When speaking of digital assets, it’s important to know that not all digital assets fall into the category of digital assets used by businesses. For viability as a digital asset, the asset must have some value or can create value.

You have digital assets for your business if you can:

  • Sell the asset
  • Hand ownership of the asset to someone else
  • Use the asset to generate value for your business or brand

In addition, the digital asset must have a level of discoverability. It must exist somewhere, such as on a server.

By contrast, someone who has hundreds of photos on their smartphone but doesn't engage in any form of commerce with them possesses digital assets. However, these assets lack the characteristics of business digital assets that would benefit from utilizing digital asset management solutions.

Still, if that person were to transition to selling those photos or using the images for marketing, the nature and characteristics of those digital assets would have changed.

What are the benefits of digital asset management?

The benefits of digital asset management increase in direct correlation to the number of digital assets a business owns and how much their business relies on those assets. But in every case, several benefits come with a DAM system, no matter the size of the digital asset inventory.

Improved organization and accessibility

A main advantage of digital asset management platforms comes from their ability to tag assets, organize them, and make them easily accessible. For a business with a large number of digital assets, a DAM system isn’t just an option. It’s a necessity.

The high level of organization ensures users have access to the most relevant and up-to-date digital assets at any given time. This can make the difference between sending out an old document with errors and sending out the updated and most relevant version.

Depending on the business, that mishap can become a devastating or embarrassing mistake. A DAM system will help to mitigate or eliminate such possibilities.

Enhanced collaboration and teamwork

A DAM system allows people to collaborate and work together on or with digital assets without needing to constantly send them back and forth.

Because of the centralized nature of a DAM system, people can establish workflows that cut down on time, improve productivity, and maintain brand consistency. This can also help reduce costs because you're able to get more done in less time.

Streamlined processes and workflow

A digital asset management system will create a place where everyone at a company can annotate, mark, comment on, suggest changes for, and generally streamline the process of dealing with a digital asset. If your business has a review or approval process, having the asset readily accessible makes that process faster, more efficient, and far more streamlined.

A contrast to this comes from using collaboration software or websites that don’t also contain the relevant information from the digital asset itself. You would still need to take extra steps between communications. DAM technology eliminates that bottleneck.

Increased security and protection

Security represents a major feature of digital asset management systems. Not all systems come with the same security features, but most dam solutions will allow you to do things like:

  • Set permissions to limit access to the system and the assets
  • Use controls for how someone can use the assets
  • Insert private links for assets for external clients and collaborators
  • Add encryption or expiration dates to digital assets and their links
  • Asset backup features and other features to ensure asset data integrity

Managing digital assets requires a high level of security, just like with any other valuable asset. Not all digital asset management solutions provide the same type or level of security. So, it’s important to pay attention to the security features offered by any platform.

The digital asset management market is set to soar from $4.2 billion to *8 billion by 2027

How to implement digital asset management

Every business has different assets, so every business will need a different way to manage those assets.

You may not need all forms of security for your digital assets, such as those offered by an enterprise solution. Find what will work for your business and look for scalable solutions so that you can continue to use a DAM system even as your business grows.

What is digital asset management to you? To implement a DAM system, you can start with a few considerations.

Evaluate your needs and goals

What do you need DAM software for? If you’re a small business or a single-person business, you might just need simple management tools.

However, larger companies may need their DAM system to facilitate various aspects of the business itself. Think about how your organization's digital assets may differ from someone else's.

To put that in perspective, consider what a creator might need compared to what an advertising agency might need when it comes to digital asset management. Both types of businesses can benefit from a DAM system, but their needs and goals will differ.

Consider what you might need and what you want to accomplish with a digital asset management system before you try to implement one.

For example, do you need more robust image hosting? Or do you need a system that can organize and distribute thousands of images at once? A digital management system can do both things, so choose one that scales with your needs.

Choose the right digital asset management system

Once you evaluate your business’s goals, you need to select the right digital asset management system to meet those goals. Look at the options, features, and pricing of each DAM system you’re interested in.

For example, if you need a high level of customization or branding, look at DAM systems that offer those features. If you need to host huge video files or non-typical video formats, make sure you don’t choose options with limitations of file size or allowed video types. Choose a DAM system that offers the features you need.

Integrate the system

Once you select the right DAM software for your business, the next step is to integrate the system into your operations. It’s crucial to choose a system that will work well with the applications your company already has in place.

Your DAM integrations should work with the platforms you use to market, sell, work, create, or do anything else you do during your business operations. So choose a system that plays well with your existing applications. The more compatibility you have, the more seamless the integration.

Stay on top of employee training

The more people you add to your DAM system, the more critical it becomes to ensure they’re all on the same page with accessing, using, or manipulating the stored digital assets. Before collaborating or giving someone else access to the DAM system, make sure they understand your guidelines for dealing with the digital assets and the system in general.

Your digital asset management system can do a lot for your business, especially when combined with digital marketing tools. This is especially true when you can integrate the DAM system with the management, marketing, and analytics tools, such as those offered by Mailchimp.

Mailchimp offers digital marketing storage software that you can use to store your brand assets. You can manage all your media files, including photos, videos, and audio files, to ensure your marketing campaigns are consistent. You can also edit your assets directly from the platform and use them across all your campaigns.

With Mailchimp, businesses can keep all their digital assets right where they need them. Check out Mailchimp's content studio so you can manage your digital assets better than before.

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