One of the most desired (and basic) postulates of a Digital Asset Management system is the ability to search and find assets.
So even before you decide to buy and implement a new DAM system to take advantage of much needed search and find functionality, take a look at your vast DAM landscape and try to figure out in which corners your assets reside.
They're Here … Somewhere
Can you find all your digital assets? Can you list the multiple places those assets may be stored?
Answering these questions will be important as you start thinking about your DAM implementation and the asset inventory that should precede that implementation. That's because you will need to migrate or ingest those assets into the DAM system. Eventually. It's also the time to think about your governance and metadata model — but this is a whole other topic, for a later time.
All too often, even if there is an existing DAM system in place, the assets tend to be scattered around the enterprise. This is not necessarily because employees are trying to circumvent a DAM system they dislike using. In most cases, it happens in small and large companies alike simply as a matter of convenience.
Creative folks have terabytes and petabytes of space on their own servers or hard drives, and it is generally more convenient for them to store assets (and especially creative files and work in progress) close to their hearts.
Sales and marketing employees may use email and memory sticks to store and distribute assets, such as sales presentations and other PowerPoint presentations. Whether the company information in those .PPTs is up-to-date or whether the logo is according to brand standards may vary widely.
Here, There, Everywhere
If you work with photographers, they may prefer to put proofs and images from photo shoots into their own DAMs and give you a preview link. In this case, the retouched and approved versions of the images may ultimately make it into the company DAM. But the other images are likely to be lost.
Agencies also tend to operate in their own DAM environments, following a similar paradigm to photographers. The difference: They will probably charge you more money the next time you want that photo with puppies from that photo shoot in the Smoky Mountains from the summer of 1995.
Internally, you have employees using all kinds of shared drives, personal folders and file cabinets. With proliferation of the cloud (and don’t get me wrong, there are multiple advantages to file management cloud tools), employees are turning more and more often to other asset repositories — often outside the firewalls, like Google Drive, Dropbox and others. Is anyone surprised that assets get lost?
Barriers to Success
The bottom line is that many silos are created in the DAM world. What makes silos a scary concept in the enterprise? The fact that one silo cannot talk to another. As a result, there’s lost assets (and lost business opportunities) and a lot of duplication of assets, effort and money.
No wonder the first complaint of so many DAM users is “I just can't find the assets.”