A wise educator once proclaimed that there is “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Not only is this true today, but it's an absolute necessity where rich media assets compete for attention and use within a multichannel distribution framework. Assets are located, changed into different formats and delivered to television, mobile, print and social media with various degrees of accompanying metadata. To speed the process there needs to be a place -- and specifically a central place -- where all rich media assets may be managed for specific use and distribution. A Digital Asset Management (DAM) system can be that place: the Place of Everything (PoE).

A variety of clever acronyms have been word-smithed for our collective enjoyment over the last couple of years. In particular, Cisco defines the Internet of Everything (IoE) as, “bringing together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable.” We were also introduced to the Internet of Things (IoT) -- uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure.

DAM and its placement within the content industries and solutions can be seen as combining these definitions to be a valued structure within an organization -- a “place of everything.” This article argues that in order to exact this PoE, a great deal of consideration needs to be paid to the foundational structures of the DAM to ensure that it is intentional, grounded in good design, always striving to adhere to the business requirements at hand and provides an organized solution for its users.

What is Digital Asset Management (DAM)?

As a refresher, DAM consists of the management of tasks and technological functionality designed to enhance the inventory, control and distribution of digital assets (rich media such as photographs, videos, graphics, logos, marketing collateral). DAM enables the ingestion, annotation, cataloguing, storage, retrieval and distribution of digital assets for use and reuse in marketing and business operations. A digital asset is any form of content or media that has been formatted into a binary source and includes the right to use it.

And by design, DAM is intentional and purposeful. The practice of managing digital assets achieves operational control of your organization's information and intellectual property and leverages their growth potential. DAM may also enhance other mission-critical systems such as e-commerce and online shopping experiences. DAM must be grounded in strategy and supported by business decisions driving the program. DAM as the PoE serves as the single source of truth for all assets within an organization.

DAM Considerations

It’s commonly known but worth repeating: technology should never lead the decision making process for DAM demands -- the business sets the foundation for strategy first. Technology is incredibly important and the vendor review and selection process is a critical step, but that step must follow the business requirements and digital strategy.