Understanding DAM Functionality

Digital asset management (DAM) has many components. We touched upon this a bit in the article, Examining the Lifecycle of Digital Assets, where we highlighted four high-level processes: creation, management, distribution and archival. But there are a lot more facets to the digital asset management process, and each company’s needs drive the DAM solution that’s best for them.

Understanding Digital Asset Management Functionality

Today we’re going to take a look at the mechanics of a digital asset management system, helping you better define what your current DAM needs are, as well as give you a glimpse of what your needs may transform into down the road.

DAM functionality is typically an area that gets a lot of attention when it comes to distinguishing between options A and B. DAM solutions are similar to organizations, in that each possesses many distinctions. Typically, a DAM provider begins with a core DAM system (almost always a repository). The core system is the foundation of the DAM solution. Once it’s in place, a variety of DAM packages can be added to the foundation to build a comprehensive tool that’s tailored to handle processes and tasks that go beyond digital asset storage and management — which is the role of the repository.

That being said, let’s take a look at some things you should consider when examining the functionality of a DAM system. For our purposes here, we’re going to exclude the variants of price and integration …

  1. Does the proposed solution meet my requirements?
  2. Are there tools I do not currently need?
  3. Are there functionalities that I need, but cannot get?
  4. Are there functionalities that can be added? Is there a cost associated with these add-ons?
  5. What types of asset formats can the DAM solution handle? (images, videos, PDFs, office documents, etc.)
  6. Does the solution provide conversions to multiple formats? (For example, Tiff to Jpeg)
  7. Will I be able to preview my assets?
  8. How can I control users & permissions?
  9. How can I send assets to others?
  10.  Can my assets be watermarked?
  11.  Can digital assets be locked, or viewed only by certain users?
  12.  Can embedded metadata be leveraged?
  13.  With system usage, is reporting and/or analytics available?
  14.  Do I have the capacity to require approval for downloads and/or access?
  15.  What type of asset versioning is in the DAM?
  16.  How flexible and robust are the search capabilities?

Although this list of questions isn’t exhaustive, it’s an excellent place to start when looking at DAM systems. For more information on DAM core criteria, feel free to peruse an article we wrote over at Widen.com called Core Criteria of Evaluating Digital Asset Management Solutions, where we examine the service side of DAM — in other words, the provider that handles your DAM solution.

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