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Call us for a free FastStart Consultation: +61 3 8899 7476


 

by Craig Borowski,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: October 22, 2016


As the old saying goes, “Online, content is king.” Content is the driving force behind much of online traffic and companies are increasingly managing their content like the strategic and valuable asset that it is.

If online content is king, then digital assets can probably be crowned king of kings. Digital assets refer to non-text-based content, like images, videos, diagrams, audio recordings and graphs.

Internet users have strong preference for clear and concise content that’s easy to digest. Combined with the wisdom of another old saying—the one about pictures being worth a thousand words—and it’s easy to understand why digital assets are so valuable. They’re very effective at clearly, concisely presenting information in a form that’s quick and easy to digest. Consumers and customers love digital assets and many companies are using them effectively in their sales, marketing and customer service strategies.

This, of course, requires that the companies manage them effectively. Managing images, video, audio and other types of media is different than managing other kinds of files and content. Companies that deal with media files need a way to manage them so that they’re organized, secure, easy to retrieve and centrally available to anyone in the organization.

Digital asset management (DAM) software stores and organizes media files and protects brand assets. It also let users collaborate and distribute files both internally and with people outside the organization. DAM software can provide very advanced functionality, letting companies schedule their asset distribution and manage all stages of a digital asset’s lifecycle.

This buyer’s guide explains the functionality of DAM software, as well as discuss the benefits and pricing information for this type of software. Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Digital Asset Management Software?
Common DAM Functionality
Benefits of Digital Asset Management Systems
How Is This Software Priced?

What Is Digital Asset Management Software?

Since digital content is a subset of all content, it logically follows that DAM software is a subset of content management software. And, it is. In fact, many content management systems have applications designed to handle digital assets. The difference is that DAM software is specifically designed and purpose-built to manage digital assets and media files. These files include:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Audio files
  • Graphics
  • Presentations
  • Infographics
  • Diagrams

Additionally, DAM software stores and organizes files for retrieval through search functions, and allows users to download digital assets in various file formats.

Users can create and manage asset profiles, which can include descriptions, metadata, keywords associated with the file, rights and permissions and information on the creator. Many systems also provide file conversion functionality to download media in the appropriate format.

Sharing files externally with kiteworks

Typically, a DAM system can integrate with other applications, such as a content management system, project management software, enterprise asset management software and tools for media manipulation, such as Photoshop.

Common DAM Functionality

The four essential functions of a DAM are to:

  • Upload digital assets, sometimes called “ingesting”
  • Edit or manipulate assets
  • Define assets to increase searchability
  • Distribute and repurpose assets

The common capabilities of these systems facilitate those four key actions. These applications, modules and features include, but are not limited to:

Asset uploading This function allows users to upload single files, or up to thousands of files in batches. Most systems will also extract metadata during this process, supporting EXIF, XMP and IPTC standards.
Asset management Asset management functionality in a DAM system is comprised of several tools for manipulating digital assets: file conversion, metadata editing, version management and digital rights management. These tools help make assets more secure as well as easier to find and collaborate on.
Dashboards A dashboard view can display various information about digital assets: number of assets, views, uploads or downloads and other user activity. Many dashboards also offer notifications and thumbnails of recently added assets.
Search Search features help users find content through keywords, file types, upload dates, metadata or by using checkboxes to filter assets.
Asset sharing A DAM can facilitate asset sharing in multiple ways: by email, embed codes, through social media channels, direct download links, a download pickup page with preview thumbnails and more.

Benefits of Digital Asset Management Systems

Whether you manage digital assets as a photographer, with a public relations agency, in information technology or in some other function, a DAM system offers compelling benefits for efficiency and accuracy:

Increases organization and speed. Since digital assets can be uploaded and tagged with keywords and metadata, and filters can be used for searches, assets are found and distributed more quickly.

Simplifies collaboration and version control. Assets are all stored in the same central location and can be manipulated by multiple people. Users can review, approve or leave comments on assets, and version control keeps everyone working on the most up-to-date instance of an asset.

Protects your brand image. A DAM helps organizations protect assets with watermarking and copyright embedding. It also allows users to create press kits and digital images with embargo dates.

How Is This Software Priced?

DAM software has pricing models that are comparable to other types of content management software. Generally speaking, it can be purchased either through a subscription plan or with a perpetual license fee.

Subscription-based A monthly or annual fee is charged to use the system, typically based on the number of users who need access. Maintenance and updates are typically included; support and training may be an additional fee.
Perpetual license fee A one-time fee, either for a single user or a single computer installation. Other add-ons, such as updates, training or support, often come at a separate cost.

Additionally, DAM software is sold in two deployment options, including as an on-premise installation or as a cloud-deployed service. Both options have advantages and disadvantages; buyers are encouraged to carefully examine all options before making a decision.

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