Advancing your DAM strategy

Have you embraced the need for a digital asset management (DAM) system but aren’t sure what else you need to identify for a successful system adoption? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll introduce you to the organizational considerations you need to keep in mind when selecting your DAM system.

Still wondering if a digital asset management system is what you need? Check out Before You DAM and DAM Basics first to learn more about the benefits of using a DAM system and what to look for when you’re just getting started.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

Digital asset management covers a wide range of activities and concepts. The learning curve is simplified as connections build on the DAM system adoption journey. For example, the work you did in assessing your needs during the Before you DAM stage will inform your workflow, and knowing what kinds of digital assets you have informs your DAM category structure.

DAM workflow

Digital asset management takes management. And implementing a DAM system is an opportunity to change the way you manage your work — for the better. But automating a manual workflow requires careful consideration. To hone in on how and where DAM will support workflows across your organization, engage the people who will use, create, or view digital assets.

Talk with these individuals about their current workflow to help you identify areas that can be improved, and draft a user adoption strategy that includes a training program to ensure consistency across your user base.

Structuring your DAM system with categories

A DAM system is well organized if users are able to find the assets they need quickly and easily. Metadata and categories work together to provide the organizational structure and are customized for specific needs.

Metadata is information that describes and defines a digital asset, or “data about data.” It is tied to an asset and provides information like image title, photographer name, creation date, and other keywords.

The category structure — also referred to as a taxonomy — allows for easy searching and filtering of assets. This tiered method of organization creates a “parent/child” hierarchical system.

Here are three sample category structures to follow as a best practice:

Sample Category Structure for Digital Asset Management

Implementing a DAM system

The implementation phase comes after a system has been selected. This might seem far in the future, but you should be thinking about implementation now because it will help you determine what kind of service support you want from a potential vendor. Some include implementation support and others offer it at an additional cost. And in some cases — such as open-source digital asset management software — you will be responsible for managing the entire process on your own.

And even with the highest level of implementation support you still need an internal DAM champion to move the project forward. A typical implementation process includes these high-level steps:

  • Identify your users and DAM team
  • Develop a metadata schema, category taxonomy, and user permissions
  • Prepare current digital assets and metadata for migration and category assignment
  • Upload your digital assets
  • Create a site look and feel that reflects your organization’s branding
  • Plan for the project launch
  • Manage the DAM system launch, including user training and onboarding
  • Conduct ongoing user management

Rights management in a DAM system

In today’s digital world, licensing, copyrights, and usage guidelines are more important than ever. Protecting your organization and ensuring proper use of digital assets is essential. Through the use of metadata, user roles and permissions, end-user license agreements (EULAs), and watermarking, DAM offers effective ways to managed licensed assets. Additionally, asset analytics can help ensure proper digital asset use.

Security considerations for digital asset storage

At the most basic level, securing digital assets means keeping them protected and unavailable to certain user groups. Security considerations also include the backing up of files and metadata.

The kind of security assurances you need varies according to your organization and the type of DAM system you select. On the organizational side, if you handle sensitive documents like medical records, there are strict guidelines regulating how they must be stored and secured. On the system side, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), open source, and on-premise DAM each come with their own considerations.

A DAM strategy that works for your organization

Although there are numerous DAM platforms available on the market, none of them are a one-size-fits-all solution. Careful consideration of your organization’s workflow, business goals, and security needs can ensure that you select and implement a DAM system that is appropriate and enormously valuable for your organization.

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