Things to Consider Before You DAM

So you’re thinking about implementing a digital asset management (DAM) solution? You’re likely here because you’re struggling with how your organization currently manages rich media, like photography, videos, creative assets, presentations, and audio files. While this can be incredibly frustrating, you’ve already taken the first step to solving your digital content woes.

Many companies like yours found themselves in a similar situation before investing in a DAM solution to help them manage, distribute, and store their digital assets. Mike Krause from Brunswick remembers what it was like when his team was struggling to get their assets and information out to the people who needed it. But now, “When we get a new brochure that comes out, we don’t have to send out 20 different copies of it to 20 different people. We put it in one location and they can get when they need it,” he shares.

Mike’s experience might have made you shout out loud, “Yes! That’s what’s happening here!” Or maybe you already know you need a DAM system but don’t know where to start. We’re here to help you evaluate your options, so you are better prepared for your DAM journey.

Read on to learn more about:

Starting your DAM research

The selection of your DAM system should begin with an assessment of your workflow processes and system requirements. This will help you identify a vendor that meets the unique needs of your organization.

If you’ve already researched DAM solutions or have considered other software, you likely have experience with a request for proposal (RFP) or request for information (RFI). If not, or if you need help getting started, our RFP/RFI template provides a great outline of key questions to answer to help ensure a successful partnership with your software provider. This template is a great jumping-off point that can — and should — be adjusted to fit your business needs.

Digital Assets and Internal DAM Assessment

Assessing your DAM requirements

A few basic questions are all you need to kick off the internal assessment of your DAM system needs. They might seem obvious, but committing them to paper will allow you to develop justifications to share with your colleagues, begin conversations with vendors, and draft your proposal requests.

Ask yourself:

    • What types of digital assets do you use?
    • How are you currently managing those assets?
    • What are the biggest challenges you or your brand face with your digital assets?
    • Who will be the primary users of the DAM system?
    • Who will be the system administrator?
    • What problems are you trying to solve?
    • What business goals will benefit from streamlined DAM capabilities?
    • What kind of service support do you want from a vendor?
  • Which approach to system security is best for your organization?

Also consider anything that might be specific to your organization such as global teams, managing multiple brands, and other digital transformation projects currently in process or starting soon.

For more information about assessing your DAM requirements, check out these blog posts:

10 short questions that assess your DAM system needs

One simple step to finding your digital asset management solution

Five tips to identify your business goals for DAM

Know your DAM requirements

All of this information will help you solidify your business goals functionality needs, and allow you to begin completing your RFP/RFI template.

Building a DAM Solutions Team

Building an Internal DAM team

Depending on your role and the size of your organization, you might start the assessment process yourself and bring in other contributors later. Having an internal decision-making team is a big help, especially with long-term adoption. This group will assist in determining DAM software needs, evaluating options, and supporting implementation and adoption. Who you decide to include on this team depends on your organization and the key audiences using your system; but if you need help identifying your stakeholders, this group is often comprised of marketing, sales, creative, and IT staff so those are great departments in which to start your search.

When selecting team members, don’t forget that every team needs a champion, someone to manage the project and drive it forward. There are a lot of moving parts in the selection and implementation process, so as you begin talking with vendors and engaging in demos, it will help if you know who your DAM administrator will be. It might be one person or divided between multiple individuals. For an overview of DAM admin responsibilities, check out the blog post What Does a DAM Administrator Do?

Choosing a digital asset management system

Once you’ve accessed your DAM requirements and assembled your internal team, your information gathering will continue by researching DAM vendors, seeking advice from other DAM users, test-driving your favorite options, and attending DAM conferences.

Research DAM vendors

A lot of information about DAM systems is available from credible, independent organizations and vendors. If you’re researching different DAM solutions, our community page is a great place to start. It provides access to a variety of resources, including vendor directories, product comparisons, and reviews. You’ll also find links to key sources for industry news, analysis, and thought leadership, such as the Content Marketing Institute and CMSWire.

Research DAM vendors

A lot of information about DAM systems is available from credible, independent organizations and vendors. If you’re researching different DAM solutions, our community page is a great place to start. It provides access to a variety of resources, including vendor directories, product comparisons, and reviews. You’ll also find links to key sources for industry news, analysis, and thought leadership, such as the Content Marketing Institute and CMSWire.

Test-drive the vendors on your short list

Unlike a demo — where someone shows you the system functionality — a test-drive allows you to experiment with features, see how the product performs, and evaluate it yourself. This level of access might be called a trial or a sandbox evaluation…we like to call it a bake-off, and we think it’s an extremely valuable part of a DAM selection process. For more information about how to approach this in-depth and hands-on experience, check out “The Bake-Off Cheat Sheet: A Guide to Testing DAM Systems.”

Attend DAM conferences

DAM is part of the martech ecosystem, which is a vibrant, expansive, and rapidly growing industry with numerous conferences and events. If time and budgets allow, consider attending one or more as they’re an easy way to get a feel for vendors and meet others in the DAM community. They provide great opportunities to learn about DAM technology, connect directly with experts, and get your questions answered. Some vendors, like Widen, allow potential customers to attend their annual user summit; while Henry Stewart Events offers yearly DAM conferences around the world.

Continuing on your DAM journey

We hope this article has given you a better understanding of the DAM selection process, as well as a clear idea of what your next steps should be. If you haven’t already, start identifying your goals and reviewing the way you currently organize and share your digital assets. Begin building an internal decision making team, and start researching your options. All of your informed and thoughtful planning will help position your organization for successful and sustainable DAM adoption!

For more information about digital asset management, feel free to visit the DAM Basics page.


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