Access to digital resources has never been greater. A plethora of rich digital files are available at the touch of a button, in theory. Knowing what to use for the best, in terms of quality, relevance and legality to name just a few issues, is another matter. And the time involved finding the right image/video/document: well that can be a piece of string.
In a large organisation, with many different parties creating material for distribution among clients and colleagues, the results can be baggy with little brand consistency or quality control. People need quick, easy access to resources (photos, video, documents, presentations etc) that they can be confident they have a right to use and which strengthen the message they wish to convey.
Digital asset management (DAM) is not new, but it has had to grow up fast. Put simply, DAM software provides a database of digital assets, preferably with the metadata relating to each file detailing what it is and how it can be used. At least, users need to be able to organize, find, retrieve and share digital files. Beyond that, the systems need to be developed to best facilitate the envisaged use of the assets.
Who needs it?
It is easy to see why DAM becomes part and parcel of effective project management: marketing personnel can strengthen brand consistency; designers can have appropriate digital resources at their fingertips; and sales teams can access up-to-date materials.
Coherent asset management gives organisations control over:
Who is using what? You know who to talk to if there are any questions regarding an asset.
What are the assets being used for? You can group assets together for ease of retrieval and suggest different options.
How often are assets being used? You can create more of a similar theme of popular ones and even disable those that are being over exposed.
The quauity and originality of files? You can give them access to approved assets, rather than poor, ubiquitous images picked off the web, so that the organisation’s brand and reputation is maintained.
Are they allowed to use the file? You can ensure all digital files used have the correct permissions for a given purpose at a given time. As such, there will be fewer disputes or cases of files being used in inappropriate situations.
Having a strong database of assets that colleagues can access will mean that they are more likely to stay on brand and use approved assets. But there is more: in this fast-changing world, DAM must evolve with the changing technologies that open up new ways of working. For example, cloud computing means that, if appropriate, users want to be able to access all the benefits of a central repository at any time and anywhere and on any device, including their smart phone. Be aware of security issues, though, and possibly pursue a web-based solution that gives the benefits of cloud with out the risk. Any new DAM software needs to take all this into account and be flexible enough to adapt to future changes we don’t yet know about.