TSP • @myTSPnet
Photos. Videos. Audio files. Games. Interactive ads. Digital documents. Streaming movies. We live in a digital world and keeping track of everything can feel like a full-time job. In one of his standup acts, comedian Jim Gaffigan said, “We all have so many photos...and sure, we all want our computers to run slow. But what are we supposed to do with all these photos? I just keep taking them, click, click, click...download all of ‘em. We don’t even weed through them. ‘Ah, I’ll just get another computer. That’ll be my Disney trip computer.’ We used to have boxes of photos in our closets. Now it’s just old computers. ‘Hey, there’s our wedding computer.’”
What Gaffigan describes is one way to handle digital asset management, but it’s not ideal. Below are some much less painful and more secure suggestions, plus why digital asset management matters for every business — unless you just really want to keep a bunch of old computers in a closet.
THE BASICS — WHAT’S A DIGITAL ASSET?
Digital assets are files such as videos, photos, music and other digital media. As digital content creation and sharing increases, digital assets continue to grow in use and number. Most companies now struggle with too many digital assets, which suck up storage space and easily become disorganized, creating confusion and wasting time and energy. Digital asset management has become so mainstream, it’s often referred to as DAM. According to the Harvard Business Review, digital assets across the entire economy doubled between 2000 and 2015.
WHAT ARE DIFFERENT TYPES OF DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT (DAM)?
Digital media management software tools were once used exclusively by publishing companies, but now many businesses have customer facing websites or retail websites, so DAM is becoming more mainstream. Brand asset management systems focus on content for marketing and sales materials, such as logos, brochures, product images and other marketing collateral. Library asset management systems are designed for storage and retrieval of larger amounts of media that doesn’t change as often, such as photo and video archives. Production management systems emphasize storage, organization, and revision control for digital media that changes more often, such as video games. Finally, cloud-based asset management focuses on allowing users to access assets from any device, including mobile phones and tablets.
WHY IS DAM BETTER THAN MY INTERNAL SERVER?
Digital Asset Management actually takes the place of your internal server — talk about freeing up some closet space! Your internal server can only be accessed when you are physically in the office unless you use a VPN, so every time someone needs your product images, the new logo or a video from a sales conference from five years ago, you either have to hope someone saved it in a clearly marked folder on that internal server or wade exhaustively through all your old e-mails, hoping to find the right file. DAM makes storing everything you and your business need in one place easy and fast, so you can find exactly what you want quickly and share it with clients or partners right away.
IS DAM SECURE?
Every company should be focused on security, which is one of the reasons DAM systems are becoming more and more prevalent. DAM software uses enterprise-level encryption standards to protect your files, which includes both their storage and any channels you may share them through. DAM systems can also add features such as watermarks for visual items, backups and multi-step authentication. When you share files, DAMs allow you to set expiration dates on how long that content is visible to the user. DAMs also keep track of who edits a file, and when, so you can easily tell who has been viewing individual items and when changes were made. Since more legal documents and licenses are now digital, having a DAM in place can also be part of achieving security compliance for industries or the government.
CAN’T I JUST KEEP USING DROPBOX OR DRIVE?
Most businesses’ Dropbox or Drive accounts are about as organized as their 10-year old email accounts, which is to say, not very clearly. If every single person who ever used those accounts hasn’t been meticulous and formulaic about naming every single file, finding anything can be a chore. DAM, on the other hand, is a visually simple way to organize, search for, and format the assets you need, while managing who has access and for how long. Many DAMs on the market are intuitive and aesthetically attractive. Compare them to your Dropbox account, which probably looks like a closet piled high with papers that threaten to tip over and crush the next person to open the door, and DAM is a no-brainer.
MY COMPANY IS SMALL — DO I REALLY NEED DAM?
According to research from the McKinsey Global Institute, the companies that master digitization the fastest are the most equipped to win market share and profit growth. Digital asset management software is more accessible than ever, and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Having a DAM in place helps you better utilize the assets you have already invested in, like your logo, allowing you to more easily present a cleaner, more organized image to customers, potential clients and the media. Don’t think of DAM as another expense, think of it as a way to better protect the investments you’ve already made. DAM is also a serious time saver, since employees will no longer have to scour scattered sources to look for that one thing you really need, right now.