Back in the early days of Digital Asset Management, one of the major benefits touted was the advantage of all your digital assets in a single place. The ability to collect, manage and organize digital media in a single repository was huge.

No more CDs and DVDs hiding in desks, or trying to find the right image on one or more shared network drives. DAM eliminated all those islands and silos of digital media assets.

Since then digital assets have become pervasive in organizations and the amount of digital media has grown exponentially. Today, in many organizations, it’s not which Digital Asset Management system, it's how many DAM systems do you have.

It seems the original problem of islands and silos of digital assets has been recreated -- except now there are islands and silos of DAM all around the organization.

There are many reasons this is happening, such as an organization’s budget and purchasing structures, autonomous regions and departments, point solutions tailored to specific departments and, probably the main reason, lack of an enterprise-wide view of digital media and strategic planning to deal with it.

There is nothing wrong with a point or departmental DAM solution. It’s cost-effective and provides relief for the immediate problem. On the other hand, organizations are seeing a growing number of production services, from internal and external providers, including video studios, graphic design, photo, product demos, webinars and online training. At the same time, all of the rich media created is destined for an increasing number of channels -- online, web, social, broadcast, print, PR and mobile.

Multichannel production and publishing services are used by nearly everyone in the organization. As more people want these rich media production and publishing services, departmental DAM systems are lacking in multichannel production and publishing capabilities. These systems often rely on third party software and customized integrations as the “glue” so everything plays nice together.

There is a need to consolidate and extend DAM to serve the entire enterprise, unifying DAM services and workflow throughout the enterprise and eliminate DAM silos and islands.

The Rich Media Ecosystem

If you view an enterprise organically, it is a vast ecosystem in which digital content exists. Rich media is much more liquid and flows dynamically throughout an organization. Within this ecosystem are many unique and specialized environments to create, produce, package, publish and distribute rich media content to many different communication channels.

Yet production environments remain fairly linear and manual; if I am making a video or creating an image it moves through established workflow steps to get to a final approval. Then it is thrown over the transom and other teams package and publish the content tailoring it to fit the destination channels for consumption.

People, processes and technology support these specialized production and publishing environments and usually people manually direct the processes. Collaboration and workflow offer incentives for users to be more effective, more integrated.

Digital Asset Management creates huge expectations to bring order to the ever-increasing amounts of rich media being generated and managed. Basic tools and workflows to import, store, access and deliver digital media are being refined to efficiently coordinate and maximize the reuse and repurposing of content from many specialized production environments.

More metadata is generated to coordinate, stage and publish content to multiple channels. Analytics, auditing and reporting provide greater insight and an essential feedback loop, all part of that greater ecosystem supporting the digital content life cycle.

Orchestrating the Flow

The ecosystem is still evolving as it encompasses more areas of the enterprise and people are the key drivers. As more integration and connections are established, to link DAM and other information management technology, more people, processes and technology are involved. Managing the flow of rich media, digital assets, metadata and information is more dynamic. There are more interdependencies. Ecosystems are complex.

Strategically, it is much more than merely a Digital Asset Management environment. Orchestrating the production, packaging, publishing and distribution to reuse and repurpose rich media across all the different channels adds a new dimension for DAM and greater value to the enterprise.

This orchestration layer adds micro and macro views of the velocity of work activities, resources, investment, revenue and consumption. The digital media streams are interconnected, interrelated and interdependent. There are so many points of crossover as these streams flow through an organization and digital media orchestration will be a major intersection point as it evolves and adapts in the Digital Ecosystem.

DAM at the Crossroads

When you look at DAM, it is becoming more of an enterprise technology, requiring tools to orchestrate complex workflows, collaboration and creative processes. There are enterprise concerns for governance, compliance, security and analysis.

On the other end of the continuum, driving multichannel production and publishing are the growing recognition of Customer experience management and its driving goal of continuous improvement, customer satisfaction and customer retention.

Added into this mix are the growing datasets, Big Data, with the requisite crunching of information, metadata, profiles, preferences, history and analytics, which all come together in the digital ecosystem. Digital Asset Management sits at that intersection where information management, and multichannel production and publishing converge to create a relevant, meaningful and personal customer experience.

DAM started as a way to aggregate and manage digital assets in a single repository. Now, collaboration and workflow, combined with the core DAM functionality, lets you extract more value from your digital media and more productivity from the operation.

Digital media is no longer a static asset. Its value changes over its life cycle. Being able to maximize that value with a supporting DAM ecosystem is a continuously evolving proposition.

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