Digital Asset Management Implementation Best Practices


In the 90s, libraries were the only home of digital files. Today, digital assets that include rich media, personalization variations, IoT data, and global content are majorly stored, managed, and accessed in the cloud. This transformation in digital asset generation and its management has brought exciting opportunities but with challenges.

Now, enterprises have surpassed the time over the most common reasons for implementing a DAM system. A Digital Asset Management system is now a significant value-adder and efficiency-booster for enterprises by acting as a single source for all brand communication. Given its growing importance in digital business, best practices must not be ignored while implementing a digital asset management solution in the business ecosystem.

What is Digital Asset Management?

A digital asset can be in the form of images, graphics, text, audio, video, and rich media. Digital asset management (DAM) is the practice of storing, managing, rendering, accessing, transforming, and distributing digital assets for desired business purposes. DAM systems are used for various purposes, including creative production, brand consistency, operational and administrative roles, and more. It covers marketing, sales, HR, manufacturing, legal, finance, customer support, suppliers, ad agencies, distributors, and more. DAM can be used both internally and externally for an organization. It can be implemented as a software license or hosted service.

Key DAM Use Cases

Many large enterprises use more than one type of digital asset management system to manage and govern their complete life cycle of assets covering multiple departments, regions, countries, and languages. DAM is also one of the critical components to drive digital transformation within the enterprise.

Media Asset Management

It comes into a category that exclusively handles images, audio, and video files. It offers features and workflow tools to allow you to store and manage video content in a centralized location and link it further for video editing software. It provides work-in-progress support for creative professionals with access to the asset repository within creative tools. The software is integrated with creative workflow management to manage and track the finished version of assets. MAM is generally used for ad agencies, video production, and TV space.

Brand Asset Management

It majorly focuses on brand relates assets for brand management. It includes brand workflow for managing the complete cycle of brand assets, maintaining copyrighted or intellectual property rights, and other brand-marked assets to protect brand integrity and reputation. Brand asset management software enables marketers and brand managers to access all communication content in one place. In addition, it facilitates controlling content usage, ensuring brand consistency with clear guidelines, and promoting asset re-use across channels and mediums.

Advanced Asset Management

It deals with more sophisticated use cases to address the ever-expanding branding and marketing demands of enterprises. It enables you to manage marketing material such as collateral, signage, emails, digital ads, and landing pages and handle information collected from sensors, Internet of Things (IoT) devices. When your business demands use cases like performance analytics, multichannel content distribution, and AI-driven image tagging, VR/360° previews, and facial recognition, you can create an integrated DAM platform with your core business system.

Digital Asset Management Best Practices

The features and functionalities of a DAM system do not necessarily available out of the box, and they need to be activated. So, implementing them in aligned with your business vision using best practices is preeminent in today’s complex and changing technology landscape. Your odds of success with digital asset management deployment will undoubtedly improve if you apply standard best practices. These best practices include:

Best Practice 1: Explore Existing Gaps and Measure your DAM Maturity

You first need to prioritize your business needs that you want to address with DAM implementation. You should start by finding existing challenges and gaps in order to build a suitable DAM use case. Along with that, you must measure the level of DAM maturity at your organization level.

  • Define your objective and find existing gaps in the management of digital assets
  • Identify desirable functions and features of the DAM solution and assess your readiness to adopt them
  • Consider how DAM fits in with your existing marketing ecosystem and related application ecosystem
  • Prepare and document your digital asset management integration strategy 

Toolkit to measure your DAM maturity

The DAM Foundation offers a DAM Maturity Model tool to measure the proficiency in digital asset management.

The model is based on 5 Competency Levels: Ad Hoc, Incipient, Formative, Operational, and Optimal. The level of sophistication and functionality increases from Ad Hoc through to Optimal.

The tool includes 4 parent categories— People, Information, Systems and Processes which are further subdivided into a total of 15 Dimensions. The model provides you guidelines on how you can build a mature DAM strategy. You can use this tool to assess and pinpoint where you might be lacking in terms of infrastructure, functionality, management, and expertise.

Best Practice 2: Define Requirements in Aligned with Business Objectives

Setting project requirements in advance can increase project success and minimize overall project cost. It is critical to understand why the project is being proposed and how it will help your associated team perform the tasks without getting deep down in the technicality of the solution.

  • Define high-level functional requirements and non-functional requirements
  • Identify incoming and outgoing data and asset flows
  • Consider the pros and cons of implementing the approach you want to take
  • Develop benchmarks and involve stakeholders from across the organization
  • Validate requirements with business partners
  • Set expectations on metrics, inputs, and outcomes

Best Practice 3: Perform Holistic Risk Assessment

Performing risk assessment is important to avert costly mistakes. It is better to take comprehensive feedback from different users, take a walk-through of storyboard components with team members which are critical in the overall workflow. While performing assessment, you must focus on the entire system and analyze how it will impact your current business ecosystem.

  • Audit your digital assets from a security and accessibility point of view
  • Identify roadblocks that could delay the project or its time to value
  • Analyze how your DAM solution will impact existing or planned workflows
  • Define how you track, control, and govern exploding digital assets
  • Take advantage of roles & permissions for an added security layer

Criteria for performing risk assessment

Risk Assessment Factors What to Consider
Digital Asset Management
  • How will new and existing digital assets be protected to ensure only authorized person can access? 
  • How will new digital asset creation, processing, storage, versioning, transformation be handled?
Operational Team Awarenes
  • How will your team get familiar with the operation and management of digital assets? 
  • How much training or expertise will require to fully leverage the system?
Information Access
  • For how many people user right needs to be established? 
  • Will the access rights be regularly audited and reviewed for different users?
Governance and Control
  • How to implement the process to manage copyright issues, brand guidelines, and regulatory requirements?
  • How to ensure privacy and protection of critical assets?
Performance Verification
  • How will the implemented system perform in the context of usability and scalability?
  • How easy the system will be to use for the end-users?

Best Practice 4: Choose the Implementation Approach that Adds Consistent Values

You should adopt the implementation approach that serves both your short-term and long-term business objectives. Work with an expert implementation partner who can effectively and carefully plan the software purchase and rollout of the DAM software in alignment with your budget, operational team, management, and ongoing optimization.

  • Determine the critical feature set for initial deployment including the following components
    • Assets: Migrate all digital assets into the new system with quality, cleanliness, and robust mapping
    • Automation: Choose actions or workflow that you want to automate for validation, assignment, auto-response, and more
    • Analytics: Make sure analytics is easy to access to continuously improve your overall digital asset management strategy
  • Include employees and managers as active participants in the deployment process
  • Start with a pilot test and then scale
  • Gain all the clarity on ongoing maintenance costs and post implementation

Comparison of implementation approach

Global Implementation Local Implementation
To implement a standardized global process for your diverse digital assets

Implement it locally for certain departments

Eliminate silos and unify globally distributed assets for analytics and reporting

Consolidate locally generated digital media repository at one place 

Build consistent brand communication across channels and regions

Improve consistency and make compliance easier at the local level 

A large-scale deployment

Deploy for a specific region


Also Read: 7 Factors that Should Influence Your Choice of a Digital Asset Management

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