In the rush to transform workplaces from ‘traditional’ to digital many of the technologies that were staples of the enterprise before the pandemic have been set aside for now, as organizations look towards unified communications and enterprise collaboration to enable remote working. One such technology is Digital Asset Management (DAM).

Digital Asset Management In the Past

In the past, DAM was often put in place to run in tandem with other enterprise suites like enterprise content management (ECM) or even document management. DAM was largely used to organize and manage online assets like photographs and videos and often separate to other kinds of content. However, the need to manage photos and videos has never been greater given the emphasis on video for B2B and B2C communications. Even still, not a lot of people are talking about DAM. So, what’s happening.

Clearly, organizations haven’t overlooked the need to manage these kinds of assets as a recent research by Global Industry Analysts (GIA) published recently in its "Digital Asset Management (DAM) — Global Market Trajectory & Analytics", report shows that the market will be valued at $12.9 Billion by 2026. The report also indicates why this might be the case. It explains that in enterprises with huge burgeoning repositories, the absence of effective digital content management systems and workflows often leads to employees wasting substantial man-hours locating and retrieving required files from the repositories or producing poor quality output by making do with whatever resources are at hand due to the difficulties trying to find the appropriate content from among the millions of stored files.

Effective infrastructure, strategies, and mechanisms are therefore required for previewing, retrieving, transforming, distributing and sharing new and existing digital files in order to extract the maximum value from the existing inventory of digital assets.

The report adds: “Building infrastructure for securely accessing, sharing, and utilizing rich digital media content poses a number of challenges including the use of expensive specialty systems and solutions, and the deployment of strong networks to handle the high load for supporting user access to large-sized files from a centralized library.

Related Article: Search Makes the DAM and Metadata Oils the Search

DAM Isn't Necessary for Every Business

According to Evelyn McMullen, a global technology analyst at Nucleus Research, DAM is not necessarily for everyone. She cautions that instead of jumping into the market feet first, the need for digital asset management systems is best determined on a case-by-case basis.

For these large enterprises- especially ones looking to improve digital branding strategies, implementing DAM and ECM solutions in tandem can help different departments better focus on the content they are working with. Additionally, DAM solutions often have integrations with creative and marketing software, delivering value for teams in these areas.

“If a separate centralized source for digital assets results in substantial time savings and improved output, then it will most likely deliver a positive ROI,” she said. “As an additional, less-quantifiable benefit, these organizations can improve branding consistency better than they would be able to with standard ECM.”

DAM for Competitive Advantage 

That said, they can provide enterprises with a significant competitive advantage. When done properly, digital asset management reduces risk by offering access to only those who need it, and dramatically increases velocity by simplifying reuse of different assets, said Brad Hart, chief technology officer at Minneapolis-based Perforce.

Learning Opportunities

It also provides enterprises with the ability to not only tag, find and reuse their intellectual property (IP), but also securely control access, provide traceability, and ensure all changes made to these assets are tracked.

“When it comes to cross-functional collaboration, the security digital asset management systems provide is critical. Enterprises may have non-technical users, such as designers and art directors, that are perhaps used to sharing assets via non-secure channels like text or email,” Hart said.  “The right digital asset management tools will find a way to easily bring non-technical users into the fold with intuitive functionality but are still secure and maintain tightly controlled access.”

What Should the Right DAM Offer?

New York City-based Nuxeo has been working with DAMs since 2009. As an open source Enterprise CMS provider it built DAM (Digital Asset Management) on its ECM platform and has been expanding it ever since. Alan Porter is the director of product marketing at Nuxeo, which was recently bought by Hyland. He points to a number of things a DAM brings to an organization.

  • Brand management: DAMs improve brand management by supporting brand consistency and providing transparency over creative content; employees have access to metadata across multiple systems, allowing them to view content in context and make the proper decisions.
  • Capitalizes on emerging trends: Enables faster capitalization on emerging trends* by automating inefficient manual processes and building operational agility necessary for creative teams. With an exploding market of small niche brands, using a DAM solution is vital for CPG manufacturers that quickly want to capture attention in a fast-moving environment.
  • Product development: Accelerates product development and launches by connecting products with complete product information, enabling an enterprise’s creative team to produce product-related content faster and speed the time to market of new products.  

There are two other considerations that need to be considered, according to Trevor Larson CEO of Orem, Utah-based Nectar.  

  • External Sharing: DAM is a worthwhile investment because of the time saving, how easy it makes reusing and repurposing assets, and the many workflow automation benefits. By using metadata to identify digital assets, you can dramatically cut down on the amount of time it takes employees to find what they need, and DAM gets rid of the need for external sharing and editing applications because the software allows for ample repurposing and distributing of existing assets.
  • Integration: DAMs are best leveraged through the integration of your other apps and systems. If you are doing this manually, it is a time-consuming and potentially costly process. Otherwise, it requires creating and using an API, which implies either in-house technical know-how or outsourcing it.


DAM has to be adopted by the entire organization to maximize ROI. Not only do the end-users need to indicate that the solution is right for them but, once purchased, employees will need training and support, which implies ongoing IT costs. As visual assets of all types play an increasingly important role in the way companies, brands and individuals alike connect and engage, so to do the platforms that enable the creation and delivery of these business-critical experiences.