Digital Asset Management Industry Trends

3 minute read
Edward Smith avatar

DAM user I’ve worked with in the past recently emailed asking for a few bullet points on DAM industry trends. He is planning to expand his DAM service in 2013 and wanted to know my thoughts for an upcoming presentation. After giving it some thought and responding, I realized that these bullet points would be useful for anyone involved in a DAM initiative and therefore would make a great CMSWire article. 

With that said, here’s where I think the DAM industry is headed:

Larger Collections in Terms of Size and Number of Assets

The use and availability of more content-creating devices like smartphones and tablets in the enterprise, along with higher quality formats like HD video, requires scaling DAM to meet current and expected capacity needs. This means managing large 1,000,000+  item collections and multi-terabyte catalogs and acquiring the necessary software and hardware to do so.

Integration of DAM with Other Business Systems

Leveraging the files and metadata in DAM into and out of other systems minimizes redundant work and data storage, further improving workflow efficiency. DAM needs to talk with the Content Management Systems, Enterprise Content Management, Customer Relationship Management and other IT business systems. This means using the APIs available in DAM and the other systems to develop custom integrations between solutions.

Expansion from a Creative-Workgroup Silo into an Enterprise-Wide Resource

DAM is no longer a tool only used by the marketing department, but instead a resource used by everyone in the organization. This means organizations need to ensure that enough user licenses and computing capacity is available and greater reliance on web portals to provide self-service access to the DAM. Furthermore, the DAM tools made available to the casual user need to be easy to use to minimize the amount of end-user training required and to minimize the number of helpdesk requests.

Automation and Streamlining of the Asset and Metadata Ingestion Process

As DAM is no longer a tool used solely by creative professionals or subject matter experts, casual users need easier ways to upload and tag assets. This means relying on automatic metadata generation and extraction and capturing upstream metadata by using forms like custom XMP File Info panels.

Increased Server-Side and Cloud Processing

The idea is to move computer processing and data storage workload away from the user’s desktop machine and into the server room. Relieving the user’s desktop machine of these demands means they can continue working while the DAM is performing tasks such as asset ingestion or processing.

Learning Opportunities

For example, the DAM handles a file conversion job instead of relying on a Photoshop batch that may bog down the machine. Furthermore, moving processing and storage workload from the server room into the cloud promises additional benefits like reduced costs, flexibility and security. This means using DAM server-clustering for fast rich media processing and conversion, as well as running DAM using cloud services when appropriate.


I’ve always recommended that organizations start small with DAM and build on small successes, as opposed to starting big and perfecting everything at once. I think the trends outlined above reflect that practice, because these are incremental improvements that can be made to existing systems.

That’s where I think things currently are and where they’re headed with DAM. What do you think? Let me know in the comments section.

Title image courtesy of Ben Haslam / Haslam Photography (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: Another article on DAM by Edward Smith is:
-- Who Should Enter Metadata in Digital Asset Management?

About the author

Edward Smith

Edward Smith has more than 13 years of professional experience assisting computer users and has a background as a Mac OS X and Windows systems engineer, technical trainer, and DAM consultant. In his current position at Extensis, Smith is the in-house expert for all things digital asset management related and contributor to the DAM Learning Center.