Any surfer knows you need to paddle out to catch a wave or risk getting pummeled by it if you stand still. 

The same could be said in the world of enterprise software. New capabilities are released on a regular basis, as others mature and grow. Look at the increasing role that virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) plays in our daily routines as compared with a year ago — the trick is to stay ahead of these waves.

Looking ahead at the horizon for digital asset management (DAM) software, we'll see three key factors shaping its development.

1. Greater IT Involvement

Digital Asset Management has traditionally been a marketing discipline. But as systems grow in complexity and add increasingly more integrations, marketers need IT to step in and provide more support. The volume of digital assets is growing faster than the ability to effectively manage them.

IT will continue to assume more of a primary role with DAM to keep things in compliance. More effective best practices will be crucial. IT will also need to step outside of its comfort zone and collaborate more with other departments.

For some companies, this will be a dramatic shift — others might have to simply do what they’re already doing, but more intelligently.

Here's an interesting statistic: 30 percent of all servers in data centers are ghost servers. Sitting there, doing nothing — in other words, wasted resources. IT will have more of a responsibility to make smarter use of existing resources.

IT’s best practices will be pushed into the DAM space, to everyone’s benefit. And marketers will welcome IT’s involvement because they’ll be adding value to wasted resources.

Conversely, more tracking and reporting will fall on the marketing team. Marketing will learn about the discipline of risk management from IT, and IT will learn from marketing about translating knowledge to communication.

The expansion of digital assets into new formats and file types will only result in further blurring of departmental lines. 

Learning Opportunities

2. Omni-Channel Marketing Spawns Omni-Market Asset Creation

2017 is all about content: Sensors on infrastructure. Cars that take pictures. 

Geospatial and IoT technologies are changing the very definition of what a digital asset is …and where it comes from. As more and more companies become mass producers of digital content, DAM is expanding into untraditional areas. Advancements in VR and AI will continue generating new formats and file-types, too.

When everyone (and every thing) is a content creator, how do you share assets and still protect yourself legally? How do you stay proactive instead of reactive? 

Many marketing automation systems will offer elements of DAM as added features. Companies that require a higher level of security will seek out comprehensive DAM solutions.

3. Composite Intellectual Property

An asset used to be a photograph. Now it’s the Photoshop document that contains the image, the fonts, the entire multi-media file. Now you need to deal with the complexities of each little piece, every layer of the onion. And Draconian overlords are waiting to pounce on your compliance errors with legal action. 

With so many assets to track, prioritizing how you spend your time, energy and resources will become a priority.

The major shifts we're seeing are creating new roles and capabilities. Being proactive instead of reactive will put you in better position to reap the benefits of an ever-expanding wealth of precious digital assets. Where would you rather be: riding the wave or washed up on the sand?