10 Reasons Your Business Is Ready For Digital Asset Management Software

Digital Asset Management software represents a significant investment to your business. Before deciding on a solution you need to evaluate how you manage and share digital assets today, the value the software will bring your business and the impact it will have on cost reduction and sales growth.

If your business does not use DAM software today you are likely getting by with a combination of home-grown business processes and disconnected tools and databases.

These systems are resource-intensive, manual and costly.

So how do you know if it is time to invest in Digital Asset Management software?

In this post I list 10 reasons why businesses should consider DAM software. Some of these will apply to your business, some will not. For those that do, think about how they impact costs and sales. This will help you determine if you are ready for DAM software.

Are you ready for DAM software – 10 things to consider?

1. Managing and sharing digital assets is resource-intensive

This is really a ‘catch-all’ reason why you should be considering digital asset management software – it is taking too many resources too much time to manage and share your digital assets.

At some point in time, most businesses begin to realize that they are solving their digital asset management challenges with people not solutions, and that this approach is unsustainable.

Producing digital assets is not an option, it is a requirement. For example, you need product images, PDFs and often video to sell effectively online; product brochures and data sheets are required for both online and offline selling.

The bottom line is this:

  • Creating, QAing, publishing and sharing digital assets without the help of DAM software is complex, costly and will take more resources than you have available. This is especially true if you have thousands of products sold through multiple reseller channels.
  • Centralize digital assets enabling managing, sharing, tracking, reporting, and security.
  • Automate repetitive tasks (see point #2).
  • Reduce dependence on human resources to manage and share digital assets.
  • Decrease the time it takes to get digital assets working for your business (see point #7).
  • Decrease operational costs and increase sales opportunities.

How can DAM software help?

  • Centralize digital assets enabling managing, sharing, tracking, reporting, and security.
  • Automate repetitive tasks (see point #2).
  • Reduce dependence on human resources to manage and share digital assets.
  • Decrease the time it takes to get digital assets working for your business (see point #7).
  • Decrease operational costs and increase sales opportunities.

2. Digital asset management processes are repetitive

Tasks that resources do again and again are perfect for DAM software automation. Here are some obvious examples (and there are many more) of repetitive digital asset tasks:

  • Naming, sizing, and formatting digital assets according to the specifications required for internal uses (catalog and ecommerce systems) and external uses (distribution to resellers).
  • Sending digital assets to resellers and updating systems to record the details – who, what, when.
  • Updating multiple databases with the location of all digital assets scattered throughout the organization.
  • Creating, managing, and associating metadata to digital assets.
  • Fully or partially automate repetitive tasks freeing up resources and lowering the costs of managing and sharing digital assets.
  • Resources are available for other important business activities.
  • Increase sales by decreasing the time it takes to get your digital assets into the sales process (e.g. sending assets faster to reseller channels).

How can DAM software help?

  • Fully or partially automate repetitive tasks freeing up resources and lowering the costs of managing and sharing digital assets.
  • Resources are available for other important business activities.
  • Increase sales by decreasing the time it takes to get your digital assets into the sales process (e.g. sending assets faster to reseller channels).

3. Tracking missing digital assets is complex

As I mentioned earlier, digital assets play a critical role in sales and marketing especially when it comes to ecommerce. If your products are missing digital assets your business is losing sales, it’s that simple.

With digital assets in multiple disconnected systems throughout your business, the task of determining which products are missing digital assets is complex.

Let’s look at an example of a large manufacturer:

  • They produce more than 10,000 products.
  • They produce various digital assets including product images, PDFs and videos.
  • All products have one or more images.
  • Some products have brochures, information sheets, and / or how-to videos.
  • Some products are missing only images, some are missing images and other assets, and some have all their assets.
  • Some assets are in various stages of production.
  • Digital assets are not centralized and reside in multiple disconnected systems through the business.

How on earth would anyone who is responsible for making sure all products have all required assets navigate this maze. It would take at least one full time person and they would be marginally effective.

How can DAM software help?

  • All digital assets are centralized or referenced in the Digital Asset Management software. Digital assets are associated directly to products. The people responsible for ensuring that the digital asset library is complete will access the system to generate reports on which assets are missing e.g. query the system for all products that are missing images, query the system for all products in category X that are missing product brochures.
  • Missing digital assets can be produced based on these reports.
  • If you are using production workflow systems like Image Production Management the Digital Asset Management software can plug directly into these systems for tracking asset production in real time.

4. Anywhere / anytime access to digital assets is not possible

When digital assets are scattered in multiple disconnected systems resources are not able to access the assets when they need them.

When resources cannot access the assets they need one of two scenarios unfolds;

  1. They make do without the assets resulting in lost sales.
  2. They create new assets resulting in duplicate assets with potentially inconsistent quality.

Lack of accessibility also means search is limited – resources are not able to search and locate the assets they need.

How can DAM software help?

  • Centralize digital assets allowing users to search and locate assets whenever they need them.
  • Categorize and tag digital assets for efficient search.
  • Eliminate digital asset ‘silos’ throughout your organization.
  • Provide easy browser-based access to digital assets.
  • Digital assets and users can be grouped according to your business rules and asset permissions can be assigned to these groups.

5. Digital asset security is difficult to monitor and enforce

When digital assets are in disconnected systems – departmental databases, networked servers, individual computers, storage hard drives – implementing, monitoring, and enforcing security and backup is difficult. More often than not assets are left vulnerable and loss is inevitable.

Creating digital assets (e.g. photographing and editing product images, designing graphics and brochures, shooting video) is an expensive endeavor to say the least. And considering their importance in the sales and marketing process, these assets need to be secured and backed up regularly.

How can DAM software help?

  • Digital asset management software allows you to centralize your digital assets in a single system where you can perform regular backups and implement policies to govern user rights and permissions.
  • Provide a basis to protect the business’ digital asset investment.

6. Sending digital assets to resellers is a manual process

Businesses that sell though distributors and retailers (e.g. manufacturers) must format and send digital assets to all their resellers on a regular basis. Sales suffer if resellers do not have up-to-date digital assets for all the products they sell. The task for formatting and distributing assets to resellers can be resource intensive, slow and costly for many reasons including:

  • The manufacturer can have many resellers, hundreds in some cases.
  • Each reseller buys a specific set of products from the manufacturer.
  • Resellers can have different formatting requirements for the digital assets they receive from their suppliers. Take product images as an example, reseller formatting requirements could include variations on file naming, image resolution, image height and width, dpi, file type etc.

Most medium to large manufacturers have a full-time resource assigned to the task of ensuring resellers are fully equipped with the digital assets they require.

How can DAM software help?

  • Automate the entire digital asset formatting and delivery process:
    • Create a profile for each reseller which includes the details of the products they sell, the digital assets they require, the formatting specifications for the digital assets, how they want those digital assets sent (FTP, DVD, online file sharing service), and the frequency they want assets sent.
    • As digital assets are added to the system they are formatted and sent to all relevant resellers.
    • Decrease the time it takes get digital assets in the hands of resellers which leads to stronger reseller sales.
  • Decrease the time it takes get digital assets in the hands of resellers which leads to stronger reseller sales.

7. Digital asset ‘time-to-market’ is long

Before I get into this point let me define what I mean by ‘time-to-market’:

  • Time-to-market is the time it takes to 1) determine which assets need to be produced, 2) produce the assets, 3) QA and publish the assets to your digital asset management system, and 4) send the assets to your internal systems (e.g. catalog and ecommerce) and your reseller network (customers).

As I mentioned earlier, digital assets play a significant role in sales and marketing. The quicker you get your assets into the sales and marketing process the sooner they can generate value for your business.

If there are multiple resources, departments, disconnected systems and non-automated workflows involved in the digital asset production process time to market for your digital assets will be long and costly.

How can DAM software help?

  • It is quick and easy to identify which products require digital assets – generate ‘missing assets’ reports.
  • The digital asset management software connects directly to your production workflow systems allowing you to report on assets in production and to monitor their progress.
  • Good digital asset production and management systems have built in QA functionality allowing you to QA assets before they are approved for publication and sent to internal systems and resellers.
  • As mentioned in the point #6 above, with Digital Asset Management software the entire process of formatting and sending digital assets to internal systems and resellers can be automated decreasing the time-to-market considerably.

8. Standardization and management of digital asset metadata is difficult

Before we dig into this point let’s look at a few definitions:

  • Digital asset metadata: data that is embedded in the asset itself (e.g. Exchangeable image file format (Exif) data) or associated directly to the digital asset through manual entry or automated upload (e.g. description, ownership, modified date, tags, keywords).
  • Digital asset without metadata: this is not really an asset at all; it is simply a rich media or electronic file, nothing more. Examples would be: a product image and brochure; an audio, video and graphics file; catalogs; banner ads; and animations. Digital asset files that do not have metadata associated with them are difficult to search for and manage and their effectiveness in the sales process is limited. In short, they add little value to the business.
  • Digital asset with metadata: a media file with metadata associated to it. When the media file has complete metadata it become an ‘asset’ that it is searchable, manageable, and can add value to the business.

I recently watched a webinar hosted by The Real Story Group where analyst Theresa Regli explained the electronic file vs. digital asset concept very well. This webinar is worth watching just beware that the video has some glitches with respect to starting, stopping and pausing.

Because digital assets are scattered throughout the business in disconnected systems it is difficult to implement metadata standards. Assets have varying degrees of complete and quality metadata attached and assets therefore become difficult to manage, search, and share.

How can DAM software help?

  • Centralize digital assets for easy anywhere / anytime access to manage metadata.
  • Create easy-to-use metadata forms associated directly to each digital asset allowing users to enter and modify asset metadata.
  • Metadata forms allow you to define and enforce standards for entering and managing asset metadata.
  • Generate reports on digital assets missing metadata and empower users to collect that data and update the digital assets accordingly.
  • Automate the process of importing and updating the metadata for digital assets.

9. Quality control processes are inconsistent or non-existent

The quality of the digital assets you produce matters when it comes to the sales and marketing process. It is therefore important to have workflows in place to control the quality of the digital assets and implement standards to enforce consistent quality standards.

It is not a simple task to monitor and enforce digital asset quality control standards when:

  • Digital assets reside in multiple disconnected systems throughout the business.
  • Digital assets were produced at different times by different groups within the business.
  • Workflow tools are not available to QA assets before they are published.

Consider the example of a business with thousands of product images that were captured over a period of time by multiple groups (e.g. marketing and cataloging). These images are used to publish catalogs, for marketing promotions and for distribution to resellers to be used in ecommerce and other sales initiatives. Some images are high quality marketing shots while others are low quality production shots. These mixed quality images show up on the same reseller’s sites and in the same product catalog. This does not reinforce a consistent brand message to customers nor does it help drive more sales (poor quality images hurt sales).

How can DAM software help?

  • Use QA functionality to review quality before the digital assets are officially published.
  • View asset history using versioning functionality.
  • Direct connection to workflow software like Image Production Management systems.

10.Multiple versions of the same digital assets exist in various systems

Duplicate digital assets are a big problem for many businesses. Duplicate assets are created for several reasons including:

  • Digital assets reside in systems that are not connected and cannot be efficiently searched. Users are unable to locate the digital assets they require so they assume they have to create them. The net result is that the business has more than one copy of the same assets in its various data repositories.
  • When assets like product images are formatted according to the reseller specifications prior to sending, copies of the assets are made and stored. This can create thousands of duplicate images.

Duplicate assets increase storage requirements, are inefficient to search, and are difficult to manage.

How can DAM software help?

  • Manage all digital assets in a central system accessible by all users anywhere anytime.
  • Store only master digital asset files not variations. When it comes to formatting and sending assets to internal systems and resellers, format the master file, send the assets, and delete the variations once sending is complete. Duplicate files are eliminated.

Are you ready for digital asset management software?

I hope this post was informative for you. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. If you would like to see Visual SKUs DAM in action, please complete this form and we will be in touch with you shortly.

Patrick Weilmerier
Patrick Weilmeier
<p>Patrick leads Visual SKUs marketing activities and is focused on understanding customer needs, aligning with sales to generate opportunities, expanding markets, and growing revenue.</p>

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