graphic designer
While businesses often introduce DAM systems with marketing in mind, new use cases crop up once the system is fully up and running PHOTO: rawpixel.com

Digitals asset management (DAM) systems can benefit anyone who needs to deal with the distribution, use and control of brand approved images. And so it seems only natural that DAM systems should reside in the marketing department. 

Yet while they may start there, the uses of both the assets and the DAM’s functionality quickly stretches everywhere across a company.

DAM Casts a Wide Net

When I ran the content management team at a manufacturing company, the DAM platform was originally introduced to control the flow of approved images to the company’s online presence. We were revamping the website and ecommerce platform. A key part of the project was to improve the images used, and to make sure they were both brand and safety compliant. 

It quickly became apparent that part of that process involved not just storing the images, but developing a visual content strategy as well.

Before too long the word spread that we now had a single safe source for brand-approved images. The next logical step was to ensure our print publications, such as brochures and technical specifications, as well as any marketing collateral, were all pulling images from the same source. 

Soon we were talking to other groups in the company, and even our dealer network, about how they could contribute to and access the DAM. Instead of just storing the images selected for use on the website we were soon storing every picture from a product photo shoot. Suddenly the company archives became interested. 

In the space of 18 months we had passed one million assets and over 8,000 users accessing them.

Unexpected DAM Use Cases

The most interesting result was how the DAM became the source for applications and use cases we had never considered.

We had developed a way to create lightweight 3-D models of our products, and started storing the source files for those on the DAM, too. Suddenly the DAM was the source driving augmented reality proof-of-concept innovations, which we used to populate digital signage at dealer showrooms, as well as training, facilities planning, trade shows, coffee table art books, calendars, licensed merchandise and more. 

By the point I left the company we had recorded 16 different use cases across the company for the content stored in the DAM, and I’m sure there’s even more now.

From Aerospace to HR

The thing is, I was far from alone in witnessing how a company can use a good DAM platform in different, powerful ways. Since joining OpenText I’ve seen other uses, including:

  • Media companies who use their DAM to deliver DVD packaging and advertising banners that automatically resize and place the correct logos and text based on the intended markets and distribution channels
  • Drinks companies where the DAM is a central component of their high-profile sports sponsorships programs
  • A rail company that uses the DAM to manage rail inspection videos from cameras mounted on the front of locomotives
  • An aerospace engine company that uses its DAM to store and analyze images of parts from any engine involved in an accident
  • A museum created a DAM-driven production line to scan thousands of physical objects from their collections and puts them online, giving access and information on historical objects that are rarely seen
  • Legal and HR departments using the search functions and the DAM metadata to build reports on when certain people appear in various images, or when particular tag lines have been used in what markets

Once you have a fully functional digital asset management system with a useable amount of assets, combined with a well-defined metadata schema and a visual content strategy, you’ll turn to it as your single safe source for enterprise imagery, videos and more.

So how are you using your DAM platform? I’d love to hear about other interesting use cases of the DAM moving beyond the marketing department.