There are as many opinions on the topic of “Do We Still Need Digital Asset Management?” as there are grains of sand on my favorite beach in Costa Rica. While I agree with many that digital asset management (DAM) is a critical piece of the enterprise technology stack, there are scenarios when you do not (or should not) need DAM. Here’s my list of top five reasons why you don’t need DAM.
You Can Get By with Functionality Provided by Other Systems
There are times when other systems in your technology stack can do DAM. Not full-fledged DAM, but various variations of light DAM. And sometimes that is just enough.
You have to be careful though while analyzing how non-DAM systems can help you (or hurt you) with asset management. Some Document Management systems offer a limited set of DAM functions -- mainly metadata management and archival.
Then there are Web Content Management systems that have some sort of a media library and allow you to upload, resize, publish images and other multimedia assets. And sometimes that is sufficient. However, the driver in this decision should not be your IT’s statement “We already use Product X for intranet, why can’t we use it for DAM?” The driver in this decision should be your business case and use case scenarios.
You’re OK with Relying on Your Agency
I’ve said many times before: There is a place and there’s a time to employ a digital/creative agency. But very often I see in the field overreliance on the agencies.
Pretty much every agency has a set of DAM systems they offer their clients, even when the clients have DAM systems of their own. Some of the agency DAM systems are in-house developed agencyware, others are white-labeled solutions, etc. You don’t need a DAM if paying your agency for DAM suits you and your budget. You may run into problems when you need to export your assets, find them, re-use them, own them; but if you have enough budget for that, too; you don’t need a DAM.
You Cannot Invest in a Proper DAM Product Selection
Now, let’s be honest: Selections and procurements of enterprise software technologies suck.
DAM is no exception. The number one mistake I see in the field is procurement of the wrong software for all kinds of wrong reasons. If you cannot afford to do due diligence and conduct a proper selection, without shortcutting many of the necessary steps (such as reference checks, pilot projects, vendor demos that are not canned), then you probably shouldn’t buy a DAM system.
I realize I may sound harsh here (I prefer to think I am realistic, though), but I’d rather you not waste your company’s money on a poorly selected DAM system.
You Don't Have Budget for Digital Asset Managers and Metadata Managers
Operating a DAM system is not a job for your summer intern. Or for your receptionist. Or for that photographer you’re hiding in the basement.
Very often, organizations invest in DAM technology, but do not budget for the human resources it is going to take to run that DAM. And most likely, if you’re buying a DAM system, you’re looking to improve some organizational deficiencies when it comes to managing your digital assets.
Technological deficiencies go hand in hand with people deficiencies. You need to budget for both. And plan to hire those smarty-pants librarians that have been trained in metadata management to help you get your metadata model before the implementation starts (not after). Otherwise, you may as well continue struggling without a DAM system. If you do not have dedicated resources, you shouldn’t buy a DAM.
You Operate in the Text-Only World
It is probably unlikely that you operate a website, a brand, a catalog without using a single image. Images speak louder than words after all.
The point I am trying to make here, if you can get past the exaggerated subtitle, is that you need to know your assets before you need a DAM. You need to know the difference between short- and long-form video and audio production versus video streaming versus photos and illustrations ingest and transformation.
How do you use your assets? How do you want to use your assets? How do you use assets to improve your customer experience management strategy? There are a lot of questions to answer before you’d need a DAM. Get your strategy in order first, technology will follow.
Title image courtesy of Anton Gvozdikov (Shutterstock)
Editor's Note: Read more of Irina's thoughts on DAM in The Time for DAM in Customer Experience is Now