Dave Jones, VP of Product Marketing, Nuxeo, advises enterprise leaders that now is the time to redevelop their DAM strategy for the maximum possible competitive advantage.
The more digitally ambitious organisations become with their marketing activities, the greater the complexity associated with managing their rich media assets and connected digital rights and permissions. Over the last two decades, companies have responded by establishing some level of digital asset management (DAM) capability. The Gartner Market Guide for Digital Asset Management published last year suggests that more than half of enterprise marketers have some kind of DAM solution in place today.
Yet, as use of digital assets (photos, audio, videos, animations and more) become more sophisticated and widespread, the systems for coordinating, keeping and checking everything must evolve too. In many cases, companies are still using relatively rudimentary content management platforms, or DAM infrastructures that have been cobbled together from piecemeal solutions. This leaves teams at the mercy of poor visibility and coordination, and general inefficiency as users have to hunt around for the latest versions of files, or to understand how and where digital assets are being used.
As a result and to support new generations of digital campaigns, organisations are beginning to revisit their approaches to digital asset management. It’s not uncommon for large companies to have amassed up to 20 different technologies for storing and managing digital assets. Each may have been put in for a specific use case, in a particular part of the business. This has resulted in legacy silos and restricted functionality.
All of this may be holding businesses back, but market-leading DAM technology can help address such issues.
Intuitive Asset Management
Legacy digital asset management systems tend to require that any content fits neatly into specific categories. But what happens when the content doesn’t fit that mould, or when each set of users has its own perspective and priorities?
These differing perspectives are not reflected in traditional content organisation systems and this can limit their effectiveness. A copyright professional reviewing an asset may have to scroll past 10 irrelevant fields of technical photography data and a big image preview before getting to the information on rights management. A social media manager who only needs to see an image with specific dimensions may have to wade through irrelevant metadata fields and image renditions.
Ideally, a DAM system will be readily configurable for individual teams so that each person sees only what’s relevant to them and can manage their assets intuitively. Similarly, product teams should be able to organise their ideas and workflows around individual products; campaign marketing teams in terms of campaigns; and photographers by photo shoots.
Flexible, ‘object’-based asset organisation is the key here. By supporting the creation of objects such as ‘product’, ‘campaigns’ and ‘photo shoots’, a modern DAM will allow assets to be cross-referenced and accessed by teams according to the organisational structures that matter to them.
Importantly, adaptation should also be possible without recourse to the software provider or IT team – both of which can drive up the cost of ownership of a DAM system, or set of systems.
Scaling to manage growing volumes of content
To ensure longevity, any new solution will need the ability to scale to cope with soaring digital asset sizes and volumes. Content needs in many enterprises have been doubling every 12-24 months and signs of strain are common. File transfers are slow; transfers of large files are difficult and error-prone; and searches can lag badly – or even timeout – during peak DAM usage.
A modern DAM should also be able to handle high search volumes, advanced searches and rapid, full-text searches of assets and metadata, and foster global collaboration and content reuse with fast file transfers – even for the largest file formats.
New solutions should also allow for additional processes around digital assets, e.g. asset project management, approvals, direct publishing of content to web content management (WCM) and social channels, and automatic content updating based on data and metadata from other systems.
Then there’s upstream and downstream analytics, helping teams to measure the value of content and ensure assets are delivered on time and on target and across all appropriate channels.
Providing a single source of truth for all asset production
A good digital asset management system should provide some level of work-in-progress functionality and workflow automation to optimise what happens to digital assets and keep track of their status.
A leading DAM will ideally act as a single source of truth for all asset production. Each version and each change should be able to be viewed directly within the DAM interface. A good system will employ cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies to enable automatic tagging and metadata creation.
Efficiency improves again when the DAM is a near-invisible layer on top of applications already used by teams and has shortcuts for tools that are relevant to their roles. A designer for example, could search for an auto-tagged image directly from InDesign, find it instantaneously and keep the project synced with the DAM for easy collaboration with other designers.
Instant control of assets for heightened risk management
A fragmented or inefficient approach to digital asset management creates potential not just for inefficiency, but also for risk. A contemporary DAM, however, will allow for detailed user-level and asset-level permissions, so no user can access content they’re not supposed to see. It will also safeguard a brand’s reputation – from digital watermarking to automated legal review processes based on specific language or images, configurable workflow automation and security integration helps keep teams protected.
Then there’s the ability to act swiftly in the event of a crisis. Retailers and sports teams affected by negative publicity associated with a sponsor or model, which go on to terminate the relationship, will want the assurance that every associated campaign and asset can be located and action taken promptly.
With such a DAM, with linked talent records for each model or sponsor to campaigns and digital assets, teams would have instant control.
Delivering an outstanding customer experience
Original DAM systems were intended primarily as repositories for finished assets. Today, DAM is increasingly linked tightly to the customer experience. The right system will help organisations simplify the creation, review and publishing of new, personalised content using ‘atomised’ assets. Automation of asset personalisation can cut the time to create such content by up to 80%, according to Nuxeo research.
A good DAM solution will also enable a more complete view of the customer, via full tracking of asset access, making it easy to see which are getting traction and which are less effective. The best solutions can even serve assets directly to end-users. This reduces duplication with experience and web content management (WCM) systems; ensures customers always see the latest approved content; and makes it much easier to track the value of assets upstream. Fast search tools make it easy to identify, find and re-use high-performing assets.
In a fast-moving digital-first world, the ability to locate and manage rich-media marketing assets more easily, quickly and cost-effectively makes good business sense. As long as any new investment allows for new waves of changes yet to come, now is the time to redevelop your DAM strategy for the maximum possible competitive advantage.