Where does DAM innovation come from? Like human relationships, it’s complicated. People change, great plans go awry, the new becomes old. 

All the pieces for game-changing innovation in DAM are there. Customers, users, service providers and vendors all contribute to the foundation for innovation in the DAM market. It requires a lot of work, the right conditions and a bit of serendipity — just as it does for a beautiful relationship.

Part of a Broader Ecosystem

DAM is an integral part of digital experience, enabling rich experiences for better engagement and better productivity with collaboration, automation and insights from analytics. Businesses are using rich media in creative and engaging ways to drive unique experiences and interactions with brands and products. Talking with companies about how it’s done uncovers that it is not so much about DAM, but the result of highly creative service providers, integrators and IT people. DAM is one of many technology tools providing services to many different interdependent constituencies and channels of engagement.

We saw this in action at a recent DAM user group meeting. As the attendees spoke with one and other, they recognized the many ways that they were already networked. A manufacturer of tractors and heavy equipment licensed their brand to a maker of boots and outdoor wear, who had their own branded online and physical stores. They, in turn, sold their branded outdoor wear to a major retailer. 

Each of these organizations are makers, buyers and sellers with multiple corporate departments involved, including marketing, legal, IT and operations — plus a network of interrelated partners including agencies and service providers. Each company has its own go to market strategies, internal and external processes, marketing and customer channels, back office reporting and commerce systems.

The interdependencies in this digital supply chain microcosm require the sharing of brand, images, packaging, product information, contracts and much more to facilitate and grow value for each organization. Complicating this supply chain is the fact that each company has different systems and, more importantly, is at different stages of maturity in their own digital transformation and digital experience. It is a complex ecosystem, indeed.

A 3-Legged Approach

So, where does DAM innovation come from? Innovation is precipitative, meaning that first, the right conditions have to be in place. Innovators view the landscape from a different lens, an angle that doesn’t have to accept the status quo. I see it as a three-legged stool of strategy, technology and accelerators.

Learning Opportunities


Whether you’re a user, maker, buyer or seller you must understand the organization's landscape, and the bigger picture. How and where are digital assets planned, created, used and stored? It is not just a use case but how DAM and digital experience fit in the company’s business plan. Understand the dependencies and relationships in the ecosystem of partners, contributors, consumers and customers. Where is value being added and leveraged? Know where you’re at in your digital experience and DAM maturity cycle.


DAM is a “media-enabler” — it makes digital assets available, sharable and accessible beyond the DAM environment or marketing department silos. How are the right assets and metadata made available in the applications that your internal and external constituents use? How are unnecessary processes and costs eliminated or streamlined? How can your digital assets be used to enhance other applications and workflows with embedded, “widgetized” functional components to access and share assets and metadata?


Creating innovative solutions by interconnecting and integrating disparate technical environments within the creation chain, the digital supply chain, the commerce chain and other linked productivity chains, by providing DAM services to constituents. Digital assets have an inherent value, and players in the creation, distribution and consumption chains measure that value in different ways. Tracking and reporting that value creates more value, ultimately demonstrating reduced costs, increased revenue and greater ROI throughout the interconnected chain.

Bringing together DAM vendors, service providers, agencies, integrators, customers and users to create market innovation, means DAM cannot rest easy in the status quo. It needs these three legs to support complicated relationships, to improve collaboration and to bring game-changing innovation to the market.

Title image by Greg Rakozy

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