What is Digital Asset Management?

Posted on: January 20th, 2012 by Charlie Wright No Comments

The Alphabet Soup of Digital Content Management

          We recently spoke at the University of Wisconsin-Madison E-Business Consortium.  What a great group of engaged attendees whom are all wrestling with content management issues.  It was surprising how much the acronyms just add to the confusion about choosing some type of software to manage digital content. Every company had different acronyms to reference the different repositories, i.e., artwork, files, pricing, marketing collateral, etc.  No one could agree on what constituted an Enterprise system, Content Management System or even a Web Asset Management System. Before the end of the day it sounded like a jumble of letters, none of which helped people understand the functionality they had or needed. 

          I had great empathy for those customers whom were looking for some way to manage, collaborate, edit, and distribute their content. When customers call saying they need to look into a DAM system, many times the functionality they are looking for bleeds over into PIM (Product Information Management – managing product and pricing information) or Web publishing. Rather than picking the alphabet solution, companies should be thinking through their entire work flow as well as identifying desired pain points.

4 questions companies should ask themselves:

  • What are you trying to manage and why?
  • What are you using it for?
  • Who else needs to have that information and how do you want to get it to them?
  • Who decides what the FINAL source is and how is that controlled?

          Instead of starting with a search for a product, it’s time to take a step back.  Putting a software solution on top of an inefficient workflow just makes that inefficiency faster.  Software alone won’t solve the issue without understanding how it fits in the larger needs of the users and the company.  A good place to start is evaluating your work processes from start to finish.  Step outside of the “we’ve just always done it that way.”  Ask why?  Is there a better way to do it?  Are there steps that are redundant? Step outside the legacy systems that may already be in place.  If those were not there, how would you do it? Once you can identify the work that needs to get done and the resources you will need to do it, then you can look at the solutions, regardless of the acronym du jour for those products.