"We have stood here alone in what is called isolation -- our splendid isolation, as one of our colonial friends was good enough to call it." -- Viscount George Goschen, First Lord of the Admiralty, February 26, 1896

There is no victory in a content strategy founded in isolation. Digital Asset Management (DAM) initiatives cannot be established as an island, or an enterprise silo waiting to be filled. Instead integrate them socially into various areas of the enterprise or linked technologically to other systems.

A DAM system that is part of a larger fabric brings operational and intellectual control of digital assets, but requires taking on the great responsibility of efficiently and effectively managing assets, daily workflows and forward-thinking growth strategy. Any successful DAM implementation requires not just new technology but a holistic digital strategy that integrates with the enterprise’s ecosystem to generate revenue, increase efficiencies and emerging market opportunities.

What Is DAM? What Isn't DAM?

A successful DAM program consists of the management tasks and technological functionality to inventory, control and distribute rich media such as photographs, videos, key art, audio and marketing collateral. Tasks may include ingestion, descriptive tagging, storage, retrieval and distribution of digital assets for use and reuse in marketing or business operations.

The advantage of DAM is that many tasks, formerly performed manually, can now be automated using software. However, strategic stewardship and long-term process implementation still need to be established with careful planning and oversight of a team.

DAM can be a digital playground for co-creation and collaboration, bringing process and technology together as agents of change. A unique and distinguishing aspect of DAM is that it can serve as the single source of truth for rich media assets across file formats, publications or broadcast channels, but it requires an integrated strategy.

This is particularly true when DAM must interact with other systems like web content management, document management, content management and records management systems. Cooperative governance, processes and workflows across platforms allow these other systems to leverage the organizational capabilities of DAM for their own purposes.

Positioning the DAM as the single source of truth with a view toward integration takes foresight and a keen understanding of the relationships between internal departments or external suppliers or clients.

Building the House of DAM

DAM systems are technology solutions but DAM strategy is the true foundation for controlling assets. The key variables that make up the strategy include business requirements, staffing considerations, stakeholder preference, preservation and rights requirements. Understanding these variables before choosing and implementing DAM require multiple conversations across the enterprise, which if undertaken positively and with enthusiasm, can have the additional benefits of creating a foundation of support within the organization and platform for future growth.


A successful DAM that is integrated with other systems or workflows will provide:

  • Better Service -- A single interface that integrates DAM with other systems is efficient for users. Standardized processes decrease the likelihood of errors or duplicated effort
  • Lower Costs -- More modular architectures result in code that is easier to write and easier to modify, lowering implementation costs. And streamlined processes make for more productive staff, lowering operating costs and making a more positive environment
  • Increased Flexibility -- The modular nature of integrated systems make their parts more manageable and often reusable as use cases change or new ones are added

Preparing for the Future

DAM can shift the perspective of how all layers of the organization can use assets to speed time to market or respond to competition. Content is king, but a holistic digital strategy brings content together in more meaningful relationships that strengthen the brand or message.

Working across the enterprise to get the digital house in order allows for delivery of assets to multiple channels and partners with diverse requirements. The diversity of input also increases the ability to be prepared for the future. 

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image  by  emilio labrador