Published On: Thu, Dec 3rd, 2015

Basics of Digital Asset Management

Digital asset management (DAM) is a process that can simplify tasks to organize and access digital files. Companies and/or individuals may have an abundance of creative digital assets such as cool photos or well-designed branding visuals, but if they can’t find them when they need to, a slew of problems can occur. Mismanaged digital files can lead to redundant work, lost items, and wasted time looking for the misfiled assets. DAM can streamline the processes to keep everything easily accessible, so that searching, retrieving, organizing, and archiving files can be performed in a snap.

Basics of Digital Asset Management

Digital Assets Lifecycle

Digital assets such as audio files, documents, photographs, videos, movie clips, and presentations have a lifecycle that needs to be managed. When each of these assets are created, there is planning, designing, and development involved. After ideas have become realities, the creative items need to be distributed to internal and external users. To accomplish this, access must be granted, ideally in a layered method, giving specific permissions to departments, websites, social media sites, and/or marketing platforms. Finally, assets must be stored and preserved, so they will be available as needed. With DAM, all of this can be accomplished from a central location.

Benefits of DAM

When owners incorporate DAM into their businesses, they can expect to see multiple benefits. Once they’ve managed their digital assets appropriately, their companies can spend less time searching for assets, save money by eliminating redundancy and lag time, and improve their ability to organize visual and audio files and media. With solid organization, team members can focus on new creative projects rather than try to find or recreate lost artwork and designs.

DAM Options

There are three basic choices when it comes time to choose a digital asset management system. These DAM options are:

  • Open Source: This is a third party or on-premise system with software that is available publicly. This option is less secure than others, but the public-collaboration aspect can be a plus.
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): SaaS is a cloud-based system, which is accessible via the Internet. Some pluses of this method are that costs are reasonable, capacity is flexible, and it can be easily accessed.
  • On-Premise: With the on-premise choice, a DAM system is installed on on-site hardware, which gives it an extra security component. There will be maintenance and updates to be performed regularly, so ongoing tech support should be planned for.


The language of a digital asset management system is its metadata. Metadata can include titles, descriptions, keywords, author name, creation date, and formats. Definitions about assets and data are an important part of the organization, classification, and accessibility of a system. DAM setups have their own metadata configuration, so it’s important to check out all the options before deciding upon a system.

In addition to all of the above, DAM systems can also assign permissions to various users or user groups. This helps designers, webmasters, and other individuals achieve proper access to the areas where they can search, create, retrieve, or organize digital files. Companies can keep a handle on all their digital assets when they have the right management system, and once they do, they’ll wonder how they ever got along without it.