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Digital asset management

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What is digital asset management (DAM)?

Digital asset management helps organizations achieve increased value from their digital content by tracking, organizing, storing and distributing those assets. Read on to learn more about what digital asset management is and why it's of value.

What is a digital asset?

A digital asset is any file that is created and can be stored digitally, including: 

  • Word documents

  • Contracts

  • Spreadsheets

  • Presentations

  • Photographs

  • Videos

  • Audio files

  • PDFs

  • CAD and other design files

  • Photoshop and other image creation files

All types of digital assets in illustration

Image Source: https://openasset.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/What-is-a-digital-assetjpg.jpg 

Large and small organizations create and share thousands of digital assets every day. Team members often collaborate on digital assets and combine different types to create new ones, such as using digital photos, graphics, and text files to create web pages and marketing materials.

What is the digital asset lifecycle?

All digital assets have a defined lifecycle, starting with creating the asset and ending when that asset is retired.

Content production lifecycle

Image Source: Author

1. Create

The digital asset lifecycle starts with the creation of the digital asset. This could be a Photoshop or Illustrator file, a video file being edited, or just a Word document. 

2. Collaborate

Content creation often involves collaboration between multiple people. The collaboration process requires synchronized access to digital assets and the ability for team members to review, edit and approve changes in real-time.

3. Distribute

After finalizing the digital asset, it's ready to be distributed internally and externally. External delivery can include customers, clients or publicly, via websites and social media.

4. Archive

After the digital asset has been delivered, it needs to be stored so others can find and reuse it in the future. Archiving involves adding metadata to the asset to enable quick and easy searching and retrieval.

5. Repurpose

Many digital assets have a long tail and can be reused and repurposed in other media and for other purposes. This enables you to extract the maximum possible value from them.

6. Retire

Once a digital asset has reached the end of its lifecycle, it can be retired from the asset management program and removed from active storage. Retired assets can be compressed and archived in a separate location with limited access. 

What is digital asset management? 

Digital asset management (DAM) controls all aspects of the digital asset lifecycle. It enables organizations to get full value from all their digital assets.

A successful digital asset management strategy requires identifying your organization's specific needs, defining your digital assets, and detailing asset workflows and ownership. Once a strategy is in place, you can choose a DAM solution that best meets your requirements. 

DAM solutions can be either server-based or cloud-based. On-premises solutions are easier to manage for smaller organizations, while cloud-based solutions offer better access for remote workers and are easily scalable as a company's needs change. 

The following video discusses DAM in detail, from content creation to long-term storage:


What are the benefits of DAM?

DAM helps organizations track, store and manage various digital assets. It provides 24/7 access to all of the organization's digital content. Authorized employees can securely access digital assets either on-premises or from remote locations using any device. 

Digital asset management offers many benefits to companies of all types, including the following:

Preventing lost or misplaced work

The tracking capabilities built into most DAM solutions help pinpoint the location of every digital asset anywhere within the lifecycle. According to Demand Metric, half of all marketers have digital assets that go unused because employees either can't find them or don't realize they exist. With DAM, few files go missing, and the system won't allow employees to misplace assets in progress.

Enhanced remote collaboration

MarCom Central notes that a digital asset management system is crucial for today's growing remote workforce. DAM solutions provide a central hub for employees to access the documents, photos, videos and other digital assets they need to collaborate remotely. 

Improved brand consistency

Building a single content repository forces all actors to adhere to branding standards, thus improving brand consistency and integrity. Off-brand assets are discouraged or prohibited, and outdated branding is eliminated. 

Streamlined distribution

The self-serve DAM system provides all stakeholders with immediate access to authorized digital assets. This makes it easy to distribute content both internally and to third-party partners.

Stronger security

Centralizing all digital assets enables stronger digital security. Permissioned access prohibits unauthorized users from accessing sensitive files they shouldn't be using while at the same time enabling access for actors who need those files.

Detailed reporting and analytics

DAM solutions often include robust reporting and analytics tools that track and analyze asset usage – who is accessing what assets when and how. These tools produce actionable insights that inform real-time asset management decisions and future content strategy. 

What does a DAM solution do?

Most DAM solutions include the following components:

Asset creation

In creative environments, DAM software helps staff initiate new digital assets. New assets can be built from existing ones stored in a digital asset repository.

Editing and review

Many digital assets are created as group projects. DAM software helps manage the collaborative workflow and enables real-time editing and review.

Tracking and organization

DAM solutions keep track of every single digital asset created in the system. Most systems also organize assets by type or usage for easier retrieval.

Sharing and distribution 

Most digital assets are created to be shared. This sharing can be internal or external.

Secure file storage

Digital storage is an essential component of any digital asset management solution. Digital files must be securely stored, often in the cloud, and protected against data breaches and cyberattacks.

Search and retrieval

Since multiple parties can reuse stored digital assets, quickly and easily searching and retrieving specific assets is essential. Repurposing digital assets helps extend their usable life and provides extended value to the organization.

Turn to Optimizely for better digital asset management

Optimizely's digital experience platform and cloud-based CMS solutions seamlessly integrate with several leading DAM solutions. When used alongside Optimizely's content management platform, these solutions help you better manage your digital assets, optimize the customer experience and enhance your company's ecommerce efforts.

Contact Optimizely today to learn how to employ digital asset management in your organization.